When you are in Chamonix whether you are walking Mont Blanc or not you must make a trip up the Aiguille du Midi, the highest point accessible by cable car in the Chamonix Valley, then keep going all the way to Italy.
Get yourself to the base station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car in the centre of Chamonix early in the morning (as it’s a popular attraction and the queues can grow as the day progresses) and buy yourself a ticket all the way to Italy.
You’ll start your journey in a cable car originally constructed in 1955. They’re large and can fit a couple of dozen people in so try to get near the back or the front so you can appreciate the magnificent views, however the glass is badly scratched (presumably by skiers) so not good for photos but don’t stress – there are many more photo opportunities. Twenty minutes later you’ll arrive at a height of 3,842 metres on the summit terrace with a view of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps.
Your initial reaction will be WOW because you will be surrounded by so many peaks it’s incomprehensible. There’s a lot to see and learn from identifying the mountains to stepping out into a reinforced glass box suspended out over a 1000 metre precipice.
Earlier this year a new steel gallery measuring 32 metres was finished so people could make the full rotation of the central peak of the Aiguille du Midi.
But this is not all.
In the summer months, when the weather is fine, like the beautiful day we had, continue on in a smaller cable car to Helbronner in Italy on the Mont Blanc Panoramic.
These little cars seat just four people and travel for five kilometres (30 minutes) over the Geant Glacier with spectacular view of the crazy mountaineers. Below us we could see numerous groups of roped climbers, dodging the crevasses and making their way uphill.
Arriving at Helbronner, Italy the Italians have excelled building a multi-level building with viewing platforms and a restaurant so the views can be admired from every angle. In this modern and chic facility there is the 360 degree Terrace, a Crystal Room with a collection of jewels found on the mountain over many years, the Mont Blanc Room with immense glass walls making the mountains seem even closer as well as Bistrot Des Glaciers, a modern restaurant and bar.
To this facility the Italians have added the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Skyway, opened in May 2015. It is a cable car with rotating cabins, providing 360 degree views as it takes you to the valley floor of Courmayeur, Italy.
A magnificent day in the most beautiful mountains.