Go to the top of Europe in Aiguille du Midi

Chamonix


If you’re into skiing or mountaineering, for sure you’ve heard of Chamonix. This famous Alpine heaven became worldwide known for hosting the first Winter Olympics back in 1924, and it still lives up to the expectations its reputation brings. Not only for sport junkies, but for anyone that enjoys breathtaking sceneries.

That’s how Aiguille du Midi made it to my list. I love hiking and being in the mountains, and although climbing is not my thing (except for the occasional volcano), I wanted to see Mont Blanc face to face. I’m really lucky because my soul sister lives in Chamonix, so when I went to visit her, as a birthday present, she took me up the cable car that gets you to 3842 meters, to the best sights you can get of the highest mountain in Western Europe. Best.Present.Ever. ❤️❤️❤️

Aiguille du Midi

We had the nicest crisp autumn day. With no clouds on the sky, the day was perfect to hike around and soak in the magnificent views of the Alps. From the Aiguille du Midi you have a 360° view of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, you can take ‘a step into the void’, onto a 2.50 m glass cage out over a 1000 m precipice, and you can catch a ride on a gondola lift over the Glacier du Géant to the Pointe Helbronner in Italy, for more incredible views of Monte Bianco.

I think that photos speak louder than any words I could come up with to explain how spectacular this place is. But you can judge for yourself…

Aiguille du Midi
Aiguille du Midi from the ground
Aiguille du Midi, France
Half way up, trying to grasp how majestic these mountains are
Aiguille du Midi, France
Ready for the second part, the cable car that gets you to the very top
Aiguille du Midi, France
While some people got ready to climb Mont Blanc…
Aiguille du Midi, France
The long and steep climb of tallest mountain in Western Europe
Aiguille du Midi, France
Tiny people from the cable car
Aiguille du Midi, France
And imposing mountains surrounding us
Aiguille du Midi, France
All around us
Aiguille du Midi, France
With one sight more impressive than the last
Aiguille du Midi, France
Can you see how happy I was?
Aiguille du Midi, France
Chamonix at the feet of the mountains
Aiguille du Midi, Step into the void, France
Stepping into the void. How cool is this?
(Please don’t judge the outfit. I prepared to backpack during summer, which became autumn. And I did’t expect to go to the top of Europe!)
Glacier du Géant, Italy
With my soul sister in the Italian side ❤️

Plan Praz & Le Brévent

I was able to come back a few years later. I spent time with my soul sister and her lovely family, and this time I took my boyfriend along. He’s a skier, so this trip was in winter time.

The snow all around us gave the place a completely different light. It was the perfect opportunity to explore even further. From Chamonix, you can take a gondola lift to Plan Praz at 2000m. After you get tired of taking photos, grab a coffee and sit down to enjoy the view. It’s hard to want to go somewhere else, but make the effort and take the cable car up to Le Brévent at 2525m. Nothing but a big WOW will be on your mind. Its incredible views of the valley where Chamonix is placed, of the Alps all around you, make you want to stay there forever, especially if you are as lucky as me and have a sunny, warm day in mid-February. I couldn’t bring myself to go down. Hours went by in minutes. It’s that beautiful.

Le Brévent, Chamonix, France
Happy to spend a day up in the mountains with this lovely human ❤️
Le Brévent, Chamonix, France
What I’ll be doing when I go back to Cham
Le Brévent, Chamonix, France
For birds nothing seems to be too steep
Le Brévent, Chamonix, France
Snow-covered roofs of Chamonix
Le Brévent, Chamonix, France
Le Brévent, you took my breath away
Le Brévent, Chamonix, France
Seems like even the skiers had to stop to absorb the gorgeous views
Le Brévent, Chamonix, France
I sat here, feeling like a was a bird looking down at the summits of the mountains

Mer de Glace

What I thought would be the highlight of the trip was Mer de Glace. This ‘sea of ice’ is a 7.5 km long valley glacier located on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery is spectacular, but I couldn’t help to be heartbroken when I got closer.

From Chamonix there’s a cute little rack-and-pinion railway that takes you to the Montenvers site at 1913 m. After a 20 minutes ride surrounded by pine tree forests, steep slopes, and cute little deer sighting, you arrive to an imposing panorama of the Mer de Glace glacier, Les Drus and Grandes Jorasses. So far, so good. Actually, freakin’ stunning!
From the train station, there’s a gondola that takes you down to the glacier. Here’s when the sadness overtakes you. The gondola was built to reach the glacier, which you could do back in 1980’s. The glacier has been melting dramatically since then, so they have been building staircases to reach it. In 1990 you needed 12 steps to reach it. In February 2019 a total of 500 steep steps were needed! This means that the glacier loses 4 to 5 meters every year. Every year. Are there really still people that think climate change is not real?

Well, let’s go back to the nice part. After climbing down 500 steps you’re at the doorstep of the very heart of the glacier, at the grotte de glace, the ‘ice cave’. Simply magnificent. Take your time to absorb the views, you have 500 steps to climb up. My technic is to stop regularly to take photos 😅

Chamonix - Montenvers train, France
Even the train station from Chamonix to Montenvers is damn cute!
Mer de Glace, France
The panorama of Mer de Glace when you arrive is jaw dropping, with the massif Grandes Jorasses in the background
Mer de Glace, France
Aiguille du Dru or simple Les Drus
Mer de Glace, France
Less than three decades ago the glacier reached this level. How can this not be utterly sad?
Mer de Glace, France
In the middle of winter you can see it melting. I don’t have the heart to go back to see it in summer
Mer de Glace, France
Grotte de glace, the entry to the heart of the glacier
Mer de Glace, France
This is how walking inside of a glacier looks like
Mer de Glace, France
500 steps up to the gondola that gets you to the train station

Chamonix

With so much astonishing nature around, you tend to forget about the town. Leave an afternoon to stroll around Chamonix. Everything is expensive as hell, and it’s full of shops, and quite crowded, but it still has some charm. My favorite spot is the bronze statue erected in the town’s main square in 1887 to commemorate the centenary of the first ascent of Mont Blanc. In it you can see one of the two climbers, Jacques Balmat, and their financier, Horace Bénédict de Saussure. You can see the joy in Balmat’s face. Probably the same one I’d have if I was able to climb it, even more if I was the first one to do it.

Chamonix, France
Yep, all the way up there!

Was it worth a spot in the list?

Charles Dickens visited the area in 1847 and wrote “Mont Blanc and the Valley of Chamonix, and the Mer de Glace, and all the wonders of the most wonderful place are above and beyond one’s wildest expectation. I cannot imagine anything in nature more stupendous or sublime.” I will just second his words <3 It is indeed one of the most amazing places to visit in France. Once you’re there, don’t miss a visit to charming Annecy, it’s totally worth the detour!


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Go to the top of Europe in Aiguille du Midi

20 thoughts on “Go to the top of Europe in Aiguille du Midi”

    1. Thank you, Rhonda! Although I love photography, in this case it was the scenery that did most of the work. Impossible to get a bad shot there 🙂

    1. Same here! I like skiing, but I spend more time trying to stead back up… Being on the mountains I love! ❤️

    1. What surprised me the most is how magical it is regardless of the season. It’s a great destination all year round!

  1. I wish I could ski! I was born with clubfoot and although my feet have been corrected, I’ve been warned that if I was to break a foot, it would be very difficult to fix them. I would happily sit in an alpine ski lodge drinking cocoa and watching everyone else ski, however! 🙂

    1. I’m sorry about clubfoot, but I’m sure you’d enjoy Chamonix anyway! A hot drink and some jaw dropping scenery is all I need to be happy too! 😊

  2. Your photos are absolutely stunning – especially the ones from inside the glacier. What an amazing experience. It looks so lovely there.

    1. Thank you, Christa! It was really fun to spend time taking them ❤️
      Tour du Mont Blanc sounds incredible! If I go back in summer, I’s love to do it 😊

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