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 Mt Tacul, Mt 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.
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.
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 gondalas 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. 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 point in Chamoinx, as well as the Epicerie du Midi next to the Heliopic Hotel, and many cafés/restaurants in the Chamonix Sud area. At Plan de l’Aiguille there is a the Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille where you can have lunch, and at the very top there is the Cafétéria Summit 3842 and the upmarket The 3842 restaurant. Or you could simply take a picnic lunch to enjoy at the Plan de l’Aiguille!
Hiking Possibilities en famille
In the summertime, a good option with older children is to walk from the Plan de L’Aiguille across to the Montenvers area (this takes about 2 hours) and to take the Montenvers train back to Chamonix (combined tickets are available). Or you could walk down from the Plan de l’Aiguille for some fun at the Parc d’Attractions (though this can be tough for the knees, as it is pure descent!). If you plan to do either 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).
Opening hours and rates
Please check the official website for Mont Blanc Natural Resort Aiguille du Midi for current opening hours and prices.
100 Place de l’Aiguille du Midi
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 22 75 (Mont Blanc Natural Resort)