Chamonix – Country Roads of France
Off season, the views of Mont Blanc etc. are still spectacular. Warm (28°C) at ground level, but take the Teleferique up to the Aiguille de Midi (36€, two stages, 3,872 m) and it’s a lot colder at the top – especially in the ice grotto – so take a warm jacket. You can take a free lift up to the Aiguille itself by walking through to the second section of the small complex. This is the same height as Llasa in Tibet, or Poon Hill in Nepal, well over 12,000 ft. so if you’re not used to heights, take it easy and catch your breath before leaping up any steps…
Amazing views of the Mont Blanc area but clouds can come in rapidly (they covered our view of Chamonix from the top, for example). Paragliders fly around here and alpinistes trek off across the snow ridges, quite a drop if you miss your step!
Maison Carrier in Chamonix is a good restaurant a little off the beaten track, but great atmosphere and many photos of famous climbers in the region – I sat under Mallory – in the room on the left as you come in.