Its claim to fame is being the highest point in Europe. Lucky for us, our trip to France would take us through the Mt. Blanc tunnel connecting France and Italy (just over 7 miles long at a price of $50 each way--love the tolls!), and our gite would be within a couple hour's drive of the famous mountain. So, it was a must see on our list.
The only thing we worried about was having a clear day of weather to enjoy the mountain.
The selected morning, we woke up early (early for vacation, at least), and loaded the kids in the van with an on-the-go breakfast. We wanted to waste as little time as possible.
The research we had done suggested a few things we could do in the area. A cogwheel train would take us to a glacier tunnel that we could walk through or we could take a cable car/gondola called a telepherique to a peak (L'Aiguille du Midi) with a view of the mountains. Initially, we thought we might go to the tunnel, but when we got there all the kids asked, "Are we going to the top like we did at Zugspitze?" so we decided to bite the bullet and go big. Telepherique here we come!
Ted waited in line for tickets, and while in line he overheard some other people talking about a gondola at the top that would take visitors across a glacier to a peak in Italy. Wisely, he bought tickets for that as well. To the tune of $300+ for all the combined tickets.
Eventually it was our turn to board the gondola with 50-70 of our not-so-closest tourist friends. Sardines.
It was two separate gondola rides to the top, which wasn't exactly Mt. Blanc's peak.
During the second ride we rode through the clouds and this is what we saw.
It was just so pretty.
From there we boarded the gondolas to Italy. This part of the trip was breathtakingly beautiful. And it was so peaceful and quiet. The gondolas were designed for 4 people so we were in two separate ones, and not crunched with a bunch of other people. I loved this part of the experience. We sat quietly and watched the amazing views both at eye level
and the glacier below us
and marveled at the (crazy) hikers.
We found the Snow Beast, parked at one of our stops, an appropriate machine for the climate
When we finally got back to the town (Chamonix, home of the first Winter Olympics) we strolled around a pedestrian area, picked out some souvenirs and postcards and ate dinner before driving back to our gite in Pratz.
Another great and picture-perfect day. Some might call it Telepherique-ific!