A trip by 🚠 cable-car up to the 🏔 Aiguille du Midi is a highlight for most tourists on a trip to Chamonix, whether they are planning ⛷ to ski the Vallée Blanche with a guide, or simply want to head up to the dizzying height of 3842m (2 cable cars and a lift), for magnificent views of the 🏔 majestic Mont-Blanc and surrounding peaks! The experience keeps getting better and better, with more and more activities and exhibitions on offer from Mont Blanc Natural Resort:
- 🏔 Le Pas dans la Vide – this is a 5-sided glass box suspended from the Terrasse 3842, allowing visitors to enjoy the magnificent views with a certain surge of adrenaline (you are advised to arrive early to be sure to be able to enjoy this activity!);
- 🖼 L’Espace Verticale – the highest museum dedicated to alpinism ever built!
- 🏔 L’Espace Mont Blanc – from behind the comfort of large windows, visitors can admire one of the routes up Mont-Blanc, with views of Mont Tacul, Mont Maudit and Mont-Blanc;
- 🚠 L’Espace Histoire – on your way back down, learn about the history of the construction of the cable-cars;
- 🚡 Télécabine Panoramic Mont-Blanc – if you fancy a little trip over to 🇮🇹 Italy, you can purchase a ticket for another cable-car, which will take you across the Mer de Glace . . . and then how about a ☕️ capuccino while in Italy?
- 🏔 Le Palier Hypoxie – an area where the effects of altitude on the body are explained;
- 🏔 Le Tube – at 3700m, a tube of 32m in length that takes you through the southern part of the Aiguille du Midi;
- 🌟 NEW 2020! 🌟 🎬 Total Experience 4D Cinema – ” the first mutidimensional cinema dedicatd to the mountains ” / screenings every 30mins of the first film « Bird of the summits » (12mins long);
[ note: as well as some photos from the Chamonix Tourist Office (used with their permission), I have included in this article some photos from young photographers Mathis Dumas and Doytcheva (local drone photographer). Have a look at their websites to see more photos! ]
A little history
🎥 Mont-Blanc Natural Resort‘s film « Au Fil de l’Aiguille » is a fascinating insight into the daring efforts of the team who built the original 🚠 cable-car / see « Au Fil de l’Aiguille » here:
The first 🚠 cable-car will take you up above the 🌲 forests of the valley floor to the ⛰ Plan de l’Aiguille at 2317m. This makes a pleasant stop to head outside and admire the view. A 🚠 second cable-car will then take you up to 3777m . . . from here a lift will take you up to the peak at 3842m. ⏰ You should allow at least 2h30 minimum time to do the return journey by cable-car & lift.
It is a 15mins hike from here down to the pretty little 💦 Lac Bleu:
There is also the historic 🏚 Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille nearby, where you could stop for some tarte aux myrtilles . . .
What to wear
Even in summer, it will be ❄️ cold at 3842m and very bright on a ☀️ sunny day. Make sure, therefore, to take a 🧥 warm jacket, suntan lotion and 🕶 sunglasses. If windy, then it can be especially cold at the very top! Even when visibility is poor on the valley floor, it can be sunny up at 3842m, due to inversion, so it is always a good idea to check the weather forecast if you have this flexibility!
Please remember that children under 3 years are not permitted to ride the 🚠 cable-cars for the 🏔 Aiguille du Midi ascent for a very good reason; and that reason is the possible adverse effects of altitude sickness. In fact, anyone can suffer from altitude sickness, so if you or anyone in your party is having continued efforts breathing or is complaining of feeling nauseous, then you should head back down to Chamonix as soon as possible.
Staying 🥤 hydrated is very important at altitude (so take water with you). If anyone in your group has any known medical problem, then you should consult a doctor for advice before undertaking this ascent.
Cafés and restaurants
There is a café – lounge bar called ☕️ The Vertical Café at the departure station in Chamonix, as well as the ☕️ Epicerie du Midi (see here) next to the Heliopic Hotel, (which has its own restaurant, l’Akashon), and many more cafés and restaurants in the Chamonix Sud area. A 15mins walk from the ⛰ Plan de l’Aiguille there is: the ☕️ Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille, where you can have lunch or a slice of homemade tart, and at the very top there is the 🥘 Cafétéria Summit 3842 (see here), the “highest restaurant in Europe“!
Or you could simply take a 🍏 picnic lunch to enjoy at the ⛰ Plan de l’Aiguille!
Hiking possibilities en famille
You have several options for hikes from 🏔 the Plan de l’Aiguille in summertime:
- a good option with older children is to walk from the Plan de L’Aiguille across to ❄️ the Montenvers glacier / this 6km traverse takes about 2 hours and you can then take the 🚂 Montenvers train (see MBFF article here) back down to Chamonix (combined tickets are available);
- from the Plan de l’Aiguille you can hike down to the 🌈 Domaine des Planards for some amuseument park fun (though this can be tough for the knees, as it is pure descent!), via 🐄 the Alpage de Blaitière, where you can taste some local products and see how an alpage (high mountain pasture) works.
- from the Plan de l’Aiguille you can also hike down to Chamonix via the 💦 Cascade du Dard (again, pure descent, tough on the knees!), where you will find a small buvette;
[ note: if you plan to do any of these hikes, then make sure you are properly attired (good walking boots, poles, hat, sunglasses, suntan lotion, layers, backpack with food and sufficient water) ]
Télécabine Panoramic Mont-Blanc
If you fancy extending your adventure, and heading over to 🇮🇹 Italy, you can purchase a ticket for another cable-car – the 🚡Télécabine Panoramic Mont-Blanc – which will take you across the ❄️ Mer de Glace . . . and then how about a ☕️ capuccino while in 🇮🇹 Italy?
🗓 opening hours and rates: please check the official website for Mont Blanc Natural Resort Aiguille du Midi for current opening hours and prices;
address: 100 place de l'Aiguille du Midi, 74400, Chamonix tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 22 75 (Mont Blanc Natural Resort) website: www.montblancnaturalresort.com