from annecy, we headed to the town of chamonix, hoping to get a glimpse of the tallest mountain in the alps, mount blanc. we lucked out with spectacular, clear weather and got a lot more than a glimpse. the two days we spent in and around chamonix left me feeling totally overwhelmed by incredible natural beauty – we took in so many magnificent views.
on our way to chamonix, we stopped by another ski town, morzine. we took a cable car up a mountain and enjoyed wildflowers, vistas, meadows and sweet alpine air. (you’ve gotta love pretty water fountains for drinking straight out of!
when we drove into chamonix, the top of mount blanc was covered with clouds. it was getting sunsetty and we were hoping the skies would clear, but we were still super pumped to see this amazing mountain. we got settled in to our hotel and then i walked down the street into town while ian got the boys settled in bed. i saw some charming sites under the pastel clouds and then gradually, gradually, the rounded white top of mount blanc appeared as night replaced day. it was thrilling.
the next morning we headed out to explore. chamonix is home to the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, and we were pumped to ride it and get up close with mount blanc. we couldn’t get tickets until the afternoon so we headed up the mountain on the opposite side of the valley first. the views from the top were outrageous.
ian and moses went back down that mountain for their trip up the aiguille du midi cable car. kids under three weren’t allowed, so we split up for two trips. daddy and mo were stunned by the steep ride up and the powerful esperience of looking out over a sea of alps, across huge fields of snow, and up to the massive mount blanc glacier. moses wasn’t too keen on a stranger taking his photo though, ha.
they stopped at the half way point (there are two separate cable cars to get to the top) and hiked over to a pretty little mountain lake, where moses showed off the magnet he chose in the gift shop at the top.
an attempt to capture the nail-biting (at least for someone with a deep fear of heights, like ian!) descent, and to remember the constant reminders to all adults to wear their masks!
while ian and mo had their adventure together, gabriel and i took a different cable car further up from the spot where we had all been together on the opposite side of the valley. this ride brought us across a chasm between mountains to an even higher point that provided 360 degree views.
gabes and i came down both cable cars and had a little bit of time to explore chamonix (and get some gelato) before it was my turn to go up aiguille du midi.
ian had told me the ride and the views at the top were incredible, but nothing could have prepared me for how crazy amazing this was. here’s a photo from the half-way point, waiting to get on the second cable car that goes literally straight up that rocky cliff! (mount blanc is in the distance on the right.)
pictures don’t do this expanse justice – it was simply jaw-dropping. there are about half a dozen platforms / viewing areas perched on the peak of mount blanc’s next door neighbour mountain. i wandered between them and i could not believe the stretch of natural wonder in front of my eyes!
did you spot the tiny hikers among the expanses of white in the photos above? there’s another cable car that runs from this spot across the field of alps into italy (you have to remember your passport if you’re riding that one!). it was a bit much to add that on with our two trips (and it’s expensive!) but maybe one day we’ll be back 🙂 i soaked in the beauty until my head started pounding from the altitude and then i headed back down to my boys.
i did take a bit of time to walk to the mountain lake ian and moses had found on my way back down, though, feeling a little more centered at a lower elevation!
meanwhile, ian had taken moses and gabriel to this little amusement park with rides and trampolines on the outskirts of town. they had a blast!
we found a magnet to bring home from chamonix – our magnet collection obsession continues…! i sent this photo to ian asking him to help me decide which one when i went out for a grocery run before we departed for our next road trip stop – we went with the one on the left!
the mountain views from chamonix filled our souls with enough spectacular beauty to last us quite a while. after much deliberation on what we should do with the rest of our road trip (not sure if wanted to drive further from london or not…) we decided to go for it and drove through the mount blanc tunnel into italy … en route to cinque terre!