For Mother’s Day weekend, the kids had a long holiday weekend from school, so we decided to take a road trip. Our first stop was Chamonix, a village in the southeastern region of Haute-Savoie, France. Chamonix is one of the oldest ski villages in France, and is home to Europe’s highest mountain, the famous Mont Blanc.
Chamonix is, of course, famous for it’s incredible skiing. But it’s also a beautiful place in the warm months. We LOVED the Parc d’Attractions de Chamonix! It’s a super fun kids park with zip lines, a fantastic summer toboggan run, and, best of all, this flying boat ride that sends you barreling down the chute in a little red boat and up over a ramp, flying through the air, landing in a little lagoon. Pretty fun!
We rented an apartment through HomeAway, and it was lovely. The view of Mont Blanc was the stuff dreams are made of.
We also took the Montenvers funicular high up in the mountains to see Chamonix’s most famous glacier, the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice). It is the largest glacier in France at 7km long and 200m deep, and is one of the biggest attractions in the Chamonix Valley. Once you arrive at the glacier area, a small cable car takes you down from the train station onto the Mer de Glace glacier , where you can enter an ice grotto and actually go into the glacier. How cool is that? The grotto has to be dug out every summer since the glacier moves about 70m every year. The Gallery of Crystals, also on the glacier, features a collection of some of the most beautiful crystal specimens in the Mont Blanc massif.
After all that excitement, we spent some down time back in Chamonix village, getting ice cream, walking around town, and playing at a fabulous park.
Our last adventure in Chamonix was heading up to the Aiguille du Midi on Mont Blanc itself. The Aiguille du Midi is a 3842m peak in the Mont Blanc massif of the French Alps. This is the closest you can get to the absolute summit of Mont Blanc without hiking or climbing. The Aiguille du Midi is the highest mountain peak in the French Alps served by an aerial lift system. The name translates literally to “Needle of the Mid-day.” The mountain lies to the south-east of Chamonix and when viewed from in front of the church it indicates that it is noon when the sun passes over its summit. Hikers and skiers were crowding the cable cars to get up top, since even though it was May, there was plenty of snow up top! There were even jumpers in wing suits up there, and watching them jump off the ledge would make most people weak in the knees. Hoping Vin didn’t get any crazy ideas from them…
Chamonix is a lovely spring or summer destination. You can hike, relax, take in the sights, or even ski Mont Blanc. We loved our time there. Next stop…Annecy!