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Hands down my favorite place that you can visit! There's something so special about this city in the French Alps. Nestled at the base of the Mont Blanc, Chamonix is something out of a fairy tail. It feels like a town or village, but it is in fact much larger than you could ever imagine. The city is filled with restaurants, shops, lovely flowers and a crisp river of glacier water flowing through the city

If you've never considered visiting Chamonix, do yourself a favor and just book the flight to Geneva, Switzerland and pop on the bus down to Chamonix. I promise you won't regret it!

Okay, I'm going to try to keep this short and not overload this blog with pictures of beautiful views with food and unbelievable sunsets (even though, that's a HUGE part of the beautiful city).

Home to the UTMB - which is basically the world series for Ultra Trail runners, Chamonix is not just for the runners. I will say it is a melting pot of cultures particularly around the start of September and such a sight to see. The people who take on this endeavor are truly elite athletes.

Chamonix is often a starting point for people interested in taking on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Chamonix is also an excellent place for people who want to learn to climb or parachute. If you're more of a winter sport person, Chamonix has excellent options for skiers as well and is known across Europe for its slopes.

Prior to starting the Tour du Mont Blanc, I stayed in Chamonix for about 2.5 days. I highly recommend staying at Park Suisse, if you have the budget and want to indulge in luxury. They have several pools and a bar on the top and are walking distance from nearly everything. If you're on a bit of a tighter budget and want to stay in the center of things, you can also stay at Pointe Isabelle (which is often used by groups beginning the TMB). Pointe Isabelle is just foot steps from the train station and where I left from after completing the TMB before proceeding up to Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.

While in Chamonix, I tried parachuting for the first time, checked out the Aiguille du Midi, jumped on a train and trekked down to an Ice Cave, caught the tail end of the UTMB, made some new friends and took on some beautiful hikes.

Okay, so let me back up... THE MONT BLANC. What about it?

  1. Mont Blanc = White Mountain in French

  2. The summit is 15,777ft or 4,809m, making it the highest mountain in Europe

  3. The Mont Blanc is "owned" by France and Italy under an international agreement, despite that the Mont Blanc summit is in France. Courmayeur, Italy is the start to reach Italy's highest summit - Monte Bianco di Courmayeur.

  4. There's a 7-mile long tunnel that links France & Italy underneath the mountain.

  5. The Tour du Mont Blanc is a trek that takes you around the Mont Blanc through three countries: France, Italy & Switzerland

  6. More than 20,000 climbers reach the summit each year. That being said, be prepared to put down a hefty deposit if you plan to do so.

Lets talk about Aiguille du Midi:

The name translates to "Needle of the Mid-day." Nestled at 3842m in the sky, this is peak is a sight to see (especially in the summer time). The Aiguille du Midi is the highest cable car in France and the closest that you can get to the summit of Mont Blanc without hiking or climbing. Be prepared to be stuffed into it and book your tickets in advance through the Mont Blanc Natural Resort. While booking, be sure to add the pass to access the Montenvers Train Station and Mer de Glace. This will allow you additional adventures and access to the Ice Cave nearby.

Okay, I mentioned an Ice Cave... Lets talk about getting down to the Ice Cave. First, you'll take the train. Then you'll take a cable car down to the start of these stairs. You'll hike down several stairs surrounded by a beautiful canyon, where you'll see people taking climbing lessons begin their day on a different trek.

It's a lovely sight to see if you have the time. The inside has ice chairs and sculptures carved into it. I'd advise going early as it does get crowded.

My biggest regret is not using my own Go Pro for parachuting, because it turns out the Go Pro that my guide used didn't work after all. I highly recommend flying over Chamonix if you have the chance. I would try to take lessons to be able to do it myself if I went back. It's a very surreal and beautiful feeling while looking at the astonishing Mont Blanc.

Anyways, when in France... GO TO CHAMONIX.

I promise you won't regret it. I would love to go back for skiing adventures, possible climbing lessons and/or parachuting lessons.

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