This walk combines some of the most popular sights of the Mont Blanc region – the stunning views and breath-taking scenery at Aiguilles du Midi and the Mer de Glace, one of the biggest glaciers in Continental Europe – with fantastic walking in between.
Today is full of possibilities! Take the cable car from Chamonix to Plan d’Aiguille to start your walk. However, we thoroughly recommend that you take the cable car all the way to the top, to Aiguille du Midi, which towers above at a staggering 3,842 meters. This is certainly the highest point you will get all trip and will give you unparalleled views. When you’re finished, make your way back down to Plan d’Aiguille, which serves as an intermediate stop between top and bottom and start your relaxing walk back down to Chamonix. With only a small and relatively short climb, this day is one of mostly descents, taking you down into Montenvers, previously renowned for its Grand Hotel, which provided accommodation for some of the first mountaineers. Here you can take another cable car down to the Mer de Glace, one of the largest ice glaciers in Europe, before either taking the train back to Chamonix or choosing to walk back. Either way, today is a day of many sights, but one that allows you the flexibility to choose what you’re interested in.
Aiguille du Midi is an absolute highlight of today, and indeed of the whole trip, so make sure to take some time to explore the many different features and views it has to offer - they are all fantastic! If you intend on taking the cable car all the way to the top, it is very popular and queues can be long, so it's best to get up early in an attempt to beat the crowds and giving you plenty of time to complete the walk.
The most important thing to remember is that if you intend to go up to Aiguille du Midi, that you dress appropriately. This entails warm clothing, a hat, strong sunscreen, and anything else you may need. Also, please remember that because of the high altitude, it is possible to feel a little bit unwell. In this case, the only thing to do is to descend back to a lower altitude.
Bring warm clothing if you intend to go to Aiguille du Midi, along with any other essentials you may need. Obviously a camera for capturing some of the views is also crucial!
Sturdy hiking boots will suffice for today's walk. Although it isn't too technical of a descent, you may be more comfortable with walking poles.
Although there are opportunities for food at Aiguille du Midi, it will be more expensive and it might be slightly busier. We recommend bringing plenty of snacks so that you can always go your own pace and work around your own schedule. The tickets for a cable car ride to the top and back cost around 60 euros (June 2017) and for the Plan d’Aiguille it is about half, so make sure you bring plenty of cash or your card for paying with.
Points of Interest:
Aiguille du Midi
At 3842 m, Aiguille du Midi is the highest mountain peak that you will reach during this trip and is the closest you will get to the Mont Blanc.
On a clear day, you will be able to see many different peaks from the various viewing areas and platforms, including of course the imposing Mont Blanc Summit. It is also possible to see other iconic peaks, like the Matterhorn. The complex boasts several restaurants, a museum (the highest museum in the world) and several panoramic viewing platforms, along with a newly built ‘Step into the Void’ feature. For more information about the Aiguille du Midi, make sure to check the weblink below.
Mer de Glace
The Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), which is over 7 km long and 200 m deep, is the largest ice glacier in France, and one of the largest in Europe.
From Montenvers train station it is possible to take a short cable car ride down to the Mer de Glace. Near the Mer de Glace you will also be able to see the Ice Grotto, a man-made structure which is rebuilt every year. This is because the Glacier moves approximately 70 meters every year.
You may also be interested in visiting the Glacorium, which was built in 2012 and features several exhibitions explaining the formation of glaciers and how they form.
This walk is included in the following itineraries: