In the shadow of Mont Blanc
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Tour dates: 20 Aug to 04 Sep 2008.
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Our visit in 2007

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Les Houches to les Contamines

We had returned to the Chamonix valley via the Mont Blanc tunnel.
Now, after a walk to les Houches, we took a téléphérique to the
Hôtel-Refuge du Prarion.

It was early in the day, so we strolled a little way...
...and lay in the sunshine looking back at our accomodation.

The location is spectacular.
Opposite it are the lower slopes of Mont Blanc.

We enjoyed views of the sunset from the terrace
and from the side of the building.

Left photo - Mont Blanc
Right - looking West.


After dark, the lights of the Chamonix valley glittered below.
(Food was good too!)

Continuing to les Contamines

The following morning we took the less-frequented route via la Charme.
There are some thick woodlands on this route.

The paths are well-signposted...
...yet have a certain rustic charm.

Once out of the woods, the sun was hot.
A cold drink at Bionassay was welcome.

There were some damp and shady sections on the route.

...but even shady sections can be hot when going uphill!

Once out of the trees, the sun was very hot.
Th first village horse-trough is at le Champel
the second just after an uphill section into la Gruvaz

Les Contamines

Le Grizzli, where we have stayed before, was closed due to fire damage.
We stayed at Hotel Christiania, where we have also stayed previously.

First walk

This is a delightful walk, which we described last year.
Amazingly we have now done it twice without meeting another walker!

This year the EDF material-transport téléphérique was down
and the wires draped over the path.

Our route is the path, marked on maps, starting from le Cugnon
and leading to the Combe Noir

We descended to Nant Borrant
where we had a cool drink.

Afterwards we crossed the valley-bottom trail
to return to les Contamines using a footpath
on the West flank of the valley.

According to the signs, this path is only
a few minutes longer than the valley-bottom trail.
The signwriter did not know the path!!

That said, it was a pleasant path.
It comes back in near Notre Dame de la Gorge.

Second walk

We went up the Télécabine de la Gorge
and walked uphill more or less along the line of
the higher téléphérique, which had just shut for the season.
Then we walked back down to les Contamine, passing this outdoor pleasure centre.
(A mediocre walk)

Return to Chamonix

This was done by bus and train.
We got a shock when the bus stop was engulfed in the street market.
We had to walk back past our hotel to the other end of town

The bus took us to St Gervais les Bains, where the Tramway du Mont Blanc starts.
We took a more mundane train to Chamonix.

A night at la Flégere

Very convenient - up the téléphérique from les Praz
then 80m to the refuge door.
We left our packs at the refuge and went for a walk.

The path is a pleasant one...
...and there were lots of ripe Myrtilles to eat.

La Flégere to le Tour

I have previously done all of the paths to le Tour bar the lowest one.
We took that one and we saw some Marmots and some deer.
The latter were just too far to identify.

We saw some high lenicular clouds near Mont Blanc.
(Such clouds are a glider-pilot's dream)

This low path is very pleasant.
It is fairly heavily-wooded for much of the way.

Our last night

We spent his at the Chalet Alpin du Tour.
I wandered through the village between rain showers.
I was quite surpised to see this plaque on one of the houses.
It was the once home of Michel Croz, who died during the
first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.

Back home

The following day we were whisked to Geneva Airport by a Mountain drop-offs minibus.
Then back to East Midlands Airport.


View Photo Set 1/3 | Set 2/3 | Set 3/3 | Diary
Our visit in 2007