Cable cars and Mountain Railways
For over a hundred years, the mountain railways have been taking people up to marvel at the scenery in Chamonix, and a trip on at least one of these remains a must-do for any visitor to the town.
Aiguille Du Midi
Spiriting you up from summer to winter in fifteen minutes, the Aiguille Du Midi is simply unmissable. The majesty of the peaks that surround you at the top is quite indescribable, and the scale incomprehensible until you see the tiny specks of mountaineers moving towards the summit of Mont Blanc. This was the highest cable car in the world when it was built and remains the highest in Europe, as well as still being the world’s tallest vertical ascent (over 2800 m from base to top)
From March to September, you can traverse the glacier to Italy on the Hellbronner lift and experience the otherworldly magnificence of the Grand Plateau and its surrounding cirque. Full opening times for summer
Winding on its rack and pinion track through the pines, the Montenvers train emerges to reveal a beautiful vista of the Mer de Glace flowing with glacial stealth down from Mont Blanc. It’s the starting point for many wonderful walks (including some lovely paths back to the chalet), there’s an ice cave carved every year out of the glacier, or you can have a very good lunch on the panoramic terrace at the restaurant and return on the train.
Opening times for Montenvers, Summer
Tramway du Mont Blanc
Another beautiful journey, this time through alpine meadows as well as woods, finishing up at a wonderful viewpoint over the Bionassay Glacier on the flanks on Mont Blanc. The train leaves from a very pretty station in St Gervais or Le Fayet – you can get the Mont Blanc Express (see below) from close to the chalet to the departure point.
The Mont-Blanc Express
You can take this beautiful line all the way from the station at Les Praz de Chamonix, about 5 minutes walk from the chalet, to Martigny in Switzerland one way, or St Gervais – Le Fayet the other. Well worth doing if you like to take in the scenery in a more relaxing way, or stop at the mountain villages which it connects, either to explore them or to take the lifts further up. Travel between Servoz and Vallorcine (i.e. within the Chamonix Valley) is free with the Carte d’hote which youll be given on arrival. You can buy a ticket on the train if you are going further than this.
Flegere, Les Grands Montets, Balme and Vallorcine
These lifts access the higher mountain areas and allow you to experience the glorious views and high alpine environment without the long (though very beautiful) walk up the side of the valley. Many walks connect two lifts so, you can walk across the top through the outstanding scenery. The hiking and climbing posibilities are literally endless from these access points.
Les Bossons Glacier
A small lift which takes you up to a lovely restaurant below the icefall of the Les Bossons Glacier, which towers above the terrace, creaking occasionally. A particularly good spot for lunch on a hot day, as the cool breeze from the glacier is very refreshing. Open throughout the summer.