Leaving early from Annecy paid off and we arrived in Chamonix under partly cloudy skies. We weren’t able to check into our room yet so we dropped of our bags with the receptionist at Hotel Le Faucigny. From there, we headed straight to the Aiguille Du Midi gondola station. We bought the tickets (expensive, but well worth it) for a round trip to the top and started our ascent. The gondola goes from 3,396’ in Chamonix to 7,602’ at Plan d’Aiguille and then to 12,605’ at the top of the needle. The views get better and better as you ascend. Here’s a few pics of the journey:
Half way (Plan d’Aiguille)
Above the clouds, on top of Aiguille du Midi, with views in all directions
We ate at Café 3842m, which is supposedly the “highest Café in Europe”. It had a really good selection of lunch items and ridiculous views as well. We hung out for a while, panting with every step, and made our way back down. Amazingly, the whole trip up or down only takes 15mins in the gondolas!
We walked back to our hotel and got the key to our room.
It was small, very clean, and had an amazing view from the window.
We took an hour or so break (had been up and going since 5am) to research dinner places, check emails, and unpack. We shopped at the zillions of outdoor gear/clothing stores, found awesome brands we had never heard of, but didn’t end up buying anything (there’s no shortage of backpacking gear at our house) as we were trying to keep to our budget. For the first night’s dinner, we wanted to take a break from the salty/cheesy stuff but stick with Savoyard cuisine while in the area. We ended up at La Caleche and ordered a 3 course menu that hit the spot, but was soooo much food:
Particularly good was Jen’s entrée, which consisted of smoked Magland sausage and Crayeuse cheese (bottom of first picture). Stuffed from dinner, we kinda-sorta thought about getting a drink somewhere afterwards but ended up heading back to the hotel and crashing until 9am the next morning.
We woke up to amazing views from our hotel window (shown earlier) and walked to Elevation 1904, a café near the train station. We both ordered baguettes breakfast sandwiches that were gigantic.
The rest of the day consisted of shopping and doing laundry. The weather turned to rain right after our outside breakfast. We enjoyed some ice cream cones as a mid-afternoon snack and a traditional fondue dinner to cap it off.
The Alps area has a much more “laid back” feel to it, which was a good break after much more formal Paris. I would recommend either Annecy or Chamonix to anyone!
Check out our page, 3 Weeks in France, for a full summary of our trip!