France may be known for its luxury hotels, exquisite food, rich culture and fashion more than the adventurous sports. If you are looking for some adventure, while spending your holidays in France, then Chamonix is the place. Chamonix, situated between wonderful mountains in Southeastern France, is a great winter sports resort town. It is also known as “The gateway to the European Cascades”. As a matter of fact, it was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Skiing was introduced in Chamonix at the end of the 19th century by Dr. Payot. Although it’s known as the oldest Ski resort in France but it has many other winter sports to offer like Paragliding, Snow shoeing, Ice climbing and rafting. This is surely the place where everybody would want to go at least once in lifetime.
Aiguille du Midi
Aiguille du Midi, a famous mountain in Chamonix is known for its Cable car ride. It lifts you over 9000 feet within 20 minutes. Aiguille du Midi is the highest point that can be touched by cable cars. It is known as one of the most thrilling cable car rides. It holds the world record of highest vertical cable car. On reaching the top, the whole Mont Blanc massif can be seen easily. This crazy but brilliant idea was adapted from the Aiguille du Midi lift. This thrilling and amusable ride is something nobody would like to miss.
Cannes is known for annual Cannes Festival, Paris is known for the Eiffel Tower and Chamonix “ The gateway to the European Cascades is known for Skiing off course. Just imagine yourself skiing through big slopes and around trees going with a super speed. Chamonix has recently started its official website by which anybody can register for Ski holidays and accommodation too.
Don’t know how to ski? You don’t need to be a diehard skiing fan to enjoy yourself. Everything is done under proper supervision of fully qualified experts.
The non-skiers also can enjoy plenty of winter activities like snowmobiling, ice climbing, ice hiking, sleigh riding etc. It is absolutely necessary to go ice climbing in Chamonix but only with a guide to ensure safety. The Compagnie des Guides( It is an association founded in 1821 to satisfy an increasing demand to ascend Mont Blanc. It was created by local men who knew the surrounding mountains inside out.) runs an ice climbing school and provides ice climbing courses. If you already have good climbing skills, the Compagnie des Guides will organize a climb as per your climbing abilities. Its really a mind blowing experience.
Horse drawn sledding is available and it is best to ask the Tourist Office for the details. It is a great experience to be pulled by huskies sitting in a sled but in the Mont Blanc valley, you will also have the opportunity to learn to mush a team. Doesn’t it sound awesome, well, blows my mind and hope yours too.
No doubt, the best place in Europe to go snow hiking is Chamonix. It becomes more clear when you see the village at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of Europe. However unless you know the alley well, don’t go hiking alone. Hiring a guide is the best way to explore the region. Summer is the best time to try snow hiking in Chamonix.
Lots of outings are organized by the Campagnie des Guides, you can choose to go just for a day or a five day trek. They also organize a “night time walk” going through forests and offer a delicious dinner too. Quite Flattering! Snow shoeing is a great way to discover the mountains and it is an activity that everyone can enjoy, children or seniors. In Les Contamines, a special snowshoeing tour called “Mini Aventure igloo” is organized for children aged seven to twelve. Children learn about the animals of region and learn how to build an igloo.
There is Panoramic Restaurant right at the top station of Mont Blanc Tramway. The view from there is remarkable. You see the entire town of Chamonix, Mont Blanc and most importantly sunshines which are irresistibly beautiful. The restaurant serves Savoyarde food as well as pasta, soup, steak and even foie grass. It is also possible to reserve your table in advance too. The presentation at the restaurant is really overwhelmingly attractive. With top food and a breathtaking view of the Mont Blanc Massif, it is worth a visit.
It is a lake in the Aiguilles Rouges massif. You can hike to Lac Cornu from the lift at Planpraz. On a sunny day it is sheer bliss to watch the lake.
Now, what else is great about Chamonix? This is a question that has thousands of answers. Those who are not looking for all the pumping sports and stuff then Sightseeing can be the reason to spend summer holidays in Chamonix. There is Helicopter tours available to fly high over the Chamonix and take some beautiful shots.
There is Haute Route, Mer de Glace, Mont Blanc Tramway, Lac Blanc, Bossons Glacier, Pointe Helbronner and the list goes on and on. This place is definitely worth experiencing.