To the TOP of Europe, not really !


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Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
September 29th 2019
Published: May 25th 2020
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Felt like top of the world...
A casual conversation with few office colleagues on the highest point in Europe piqued my interest on Mont Blanc. My colleagues were Austrians and Swiss and each was taking credit of their country having the highest point in Europe. Unfortunately for them, Mont Blanc is the highest point only in Western Europe and is top of the Alps. And it is in France on the border with Italy. As an aside, the highest point in Europe is in Russia/Georgia.



When we had few more days of travel on the Interrail pass, we were wondering which place we should visit. We had done Swiss/Italy in summer in August and this was mid-September. We were looking for a different terrain and suddenly I remembered Mont Blanc. We thought it would be full of snow and less crowded as it was not yet skiing season.



So the frantic search for hotel began and luckily we found a good one in the famous town of Chamonix in France. Studio Aoste was a furnished apartment and conveniently located with walking distance to bus stand, train station and the main cable car station, Aiguille Du Midi. Eiran and Caroline from Studio
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We couldn't do para gliding, hence this...
Aoste were very welcoming and helpful throughout our stay there. We could just sit in the studio garden and see the Mont Blanc massifs.



We went ahead with the trip feeling a bit guilty as had some critical deadline at office and the kids had to miss school as there were no holidays. But it was worth it - a rich, soul satisfying and once in a lifetime experience!



Our onward journey took us through Switzerland and we reminisced about our summer trip. Onward journey was Frankfurt, Basel, Bern, Visp, Martingny, Vallorcine and finally Chamonix Mont Blanc. Every stop felt like we should get down and spend time in the town esp as the towns got smaller and smaller.





Aiguille Du Midi



It is the world’s highest cable car and also has the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, going from 1,035m to 3842m. The best panoramic views are from the top giving stupendous views of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps. And for a hanging from a thread experience, get into the “Step into the Void” glass cube. There’s another cable car
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Mandatory family portrait
that is more like an aerial tramway that goes to Italy but we did not take it. There is also a Lake Blanc (Blanc means White) visible from the intermediate stop of the cable car.





Montenvers Mer de Glace



The Montenvers railway from the Chamonix main station takes to a 7 KM long glacier through some pine trees and great valleys. The 400 steps to the glacier reminds one again and again how much the glacier has shrunk over the years due to global warming or whatever else ☹ There is also a glacier cave with ice sculptures in it, which the kids loved.





Glacier des Bossons



We reached there around 5pm and there was no one in the line for the gondola ride to the top. The kids loved to sit on their own on the chair lifts. There was nothing much to see and hence no crowds. The only interesting part of this site was the fact that there was an Air India plane crash in the fifties on Mont Blanc and the remnants of air craft are still there. We saw
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Glacier art work
an engine and a tyre. Interestingly Dr Homi Baba, father of Indian Atomic Energy died in this crash.









Chamonix Town Center



Last but not the least, Chamonix is a piquant town straight out of fairy tale. A picture perfect town with photo-ops everywhere. Even the ordinary town church looks spectacular surrounded by mountains.





Brevent/Flegere



Accessible straight from the town center, the cable car is more like a modern lift car. Apart from the majestic view of the Mont Blanc massifs, loved the views of the colourful parachutes jumping off the cliff. We satisfied ourselves by just jumping in the air in front of superb Mont Blanc massifs !





Tramway Du Mont



We kept this as the last event of our trip. It was both relaxing and exciting 3 hour ride. Relaxing as it was an old style tram with some charming views of the forest, pastures and some remote villages. Exciting as couple of times the ride was very steep for a tram and some times through caves. The hillside walking

One of the best natural pictures of Vihaan !
paths at Nid d’Aigle were tempting to take a hike but that will be for another way…





Final words



Worth taking off from office and school for this trip ! This was just a small glimpse of the Alps… there’s still Swiss alps, Italian and Austrian. While we are at it, why not Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Everest !


Additional photos below
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Chamonix town center
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Would have loved to do a real trek on these mountains !


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