Mont Blanc; now that's a mountain.

Mont Blanc (zoom in to see observation tower and bar @ 4000 metres)

Chaminox - Mont Blanc (France)
Ever since Pete and Steve came back to Maleny with all their France stories I have always wanted to go there to visit at least once. These days I can see France out of my bedroom window but I still like to visit it and walk on the soil and cobblestones at least once a fortnight. I wish learning the language was as easy as the drive. Then again, maybe if I opened up a book and did some study that would  get me the same result as getting in the car and driving there. They talk a lot about immersion French here. I prefer the old fashioned ‘osmosis’ style French lessons.
Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe (4810 metres), is about ninety minute drive from Rolle. As usual we didn’t get going until late morning but still managed to arrive there around twelve thirty. How convenient. Lunch time! Chaminox is the ski resort village at the base of Mont Blanc on the French side. Mont Blonc is surrounded by France, Italy and Switzerland. There is an 11.6 kilometre car tunnel under Mont Blanc from Chaminox to Italy. The adventure ride at Mont Blanc is the cable car that goes up to 4000 metres above sea level where you can get out have a hot or cold drink then walk along a suspended bridge to another peak then go 42 metres up inside the mountain in a lift to an observation deck with views of Mont Blanc and the valley. It was a bit cloudy the day we were there  so we decided not to go up. There is also a train that can take you up to 3000 metres above sea level if you are not too keen on being suspended half a kilometre above the snow. The wall to wall glaciers are spectacular also.
Chaminox has a nice feel. A bit early for the ski season but plenty of day trippers around. The alpine hiking would be spectacular here and they also have an ultra-marathon running race covering 160 kilometres, through the mountain trails and passes in summer. How they ever got the cable up to four thousand metres was a feat of endurance and human endeavor using 32 mountain climbers to carry the original cable up in 50 kg back packs. After another sumptuous French lunch (yes Jodie had the goat’s cheese salad again and I the jambon, fromage and mushroom omelette with frites) we cruised around the retail sector and sampled some of the local patisserie delicacies.
As we decided against taking the cable car we finished off the day doing a walk of the perimeter of the village. Yes we did find a chalet we just loved (see photo) and we will bring any visitors up here anytime they care to visit. I found out after we came home that we could have kept driving up the valley and we would have arrived at Martigny in the Swiss canton of Valais. Martigny is famous for the outrageous number of Henry Moore sculptures it has for public consumption. From there we could have driven to Montreux then home. Lucky there is always a next time.
Au revoir.


Our chalet (wish)

The ice and snow


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