Chamonix Mont Blanc is one of the most visited towns in the French Alps mainly down to the sheer amount of skiing and mountaineering on offer all year round.
As well as Chamonix being regarded by many as a mecca for skiing and alpinism, the town itself plays host to some of the most amazing attractions which will literally take your breath away.
Here are 3 things you must see if you plan to visit Chamonix Mont Blanc.
The Aiguille du Midi Cable Car
Situated at 3842 meters above sea level, the Aiguille Du Midi is actually the highest cable car in Europe and was the highest cable car in the world for 20 years after it was completed in 1955.
This amazing feat of engineering is probably the biggest non skiing attraction in Chamonix and takes thousands of visitors to its panoramic viewing platform every day throughout the year.
From the peak you can not only take in the beautiful views of neighboring Italy but you can also see the most famous mountain in Switzerland, the Matterhorn which is over 40 miles away.
As well as peering into the surrounding countries from your sky-high platform, you also get the best view of Mont Blanc which stands next to the Aiguille du Midi at a staggering 4810 meters tall.
At nearly a full kilometer higher than the Aiguille du Midi, the experience of standing below Mont Blanc and still being so high really puts this extreme mountain range into perspective.
After you have taken in the spectacular views that the Aiguille Du Midi has to offer you can actually have lunch and a glass of the finest French wine at the top too.
With a variety of snacks and hot and cold meals on offer, it’s no wonder that scores of people choose to take advantage and have their lunch at nearly 4 kilometers above sea level in this super extraordinary placed restaurant.
When lunch is finished you can visit the gift shop which is next to the restaurant to buy some fantastic memorabilia and you can even buy postcards and post them in the post box they have there – pretty impressive to say the least!
Just remember being so high the temperatures at the summit are often in the minus figures so don’t forget to wrap up warm when heading up, even on the hottest of summer days.
Mer de Glace
At 7 kilometers long and up to 650ft deep in some places, the Mer de Glace which literally translates to “sea of ice” is the longest running glacier in France!
The Mer de Glace like all glaciers is constantly on the move and is estimated to move up to 90 meters per year down the valley it has naturally carved over thousands of years.
Every year the team based at the Mer De Glace cut out large caves in the side of the glacier. Then, once the caves are large enough, sculptures are made in the caves, again from ice.
These range from full domestic rooms like bedrooms and kitchens to smaller objects like marmots and ice carved skiers.
They even have a large Saint Bernard dog that sits to have his photo taken, with the daily visitors in the ice caves during the summer and winter. He is super friendly as well as being super slobbery.
Slobber aside, having your picture taken with him will definitely make for a great holiday snap and bring a smile to anyone’s face for years to come.
The ice caves are a truly magical place and with the aid of lighting the ice caves in the Mer de Glace are transformed into something that you are very unlikely to experience anywhere else in the world.
The Merlot Parc
Aside from the glaciers and the famous ice caves, Chamonix has a fantastic animal park if you fancy spending a day experiencing some of the natural wildlife the French Alps has to offer.
Unlike a zoo, Chamonix’s Merlot Parc is a huge open area which allows all the animals that live there the freedom to roam at their will. Situated approximately 5kms out of Chamonix town centre, the Merlot Parc is home to many animals that you would not normally see such as Ibex, Buff, Marmottes and Lamas.
As well as the selection of Alpine animals, the views on offer from the Merlot Parc are just incredible. Mont Blanc, Le Bossons Glacier and various other Aiguilles (mountain points) such as the Aiguille Des Dru are all clearly visible form the elevated viewing point.
With prices from only €5 per person and babies going free, visiting the Merlot Parc can make for a great low-cost relaxing day out for all the family whilst taking in the spectacular views of the Chamonix Valley.
So there you have it, 3 of the biggest attractions Chamonix Mont Blanc has to offer that don’t involve putting on your skis and helmet and racing down the side of a steep mountain!
Article by Chamonix first – Geneva to Chamonix transfer provider.