(This post follows ‘Driving to Chamonix’)
We spent the next couple of days exploring Chamonix. We bought the 2-day pass that entitled us to unlimited rides on gondola lifts, cable cars etc.
First, we took a gondola lift to Planpraz. Planpraz is a plateau. It is a popular spot for paragliders to take off into the French sky. We saw many paragliders in the air. The sky seemed busy all day.
We reached Planpraz around noon. It was sunny and hot. There was nothing for us to do at Planpraz except enjoy the views of Mt Blanc. After we had an eyeful of it, we headed further up; we took a cable car up to Le Brevent.
Le Brevent is about 525 metres further above Planpraz. It is like a hilltop. It didn’t have a plain ground. It kind of stood adjoining other smaller mountains which many tourists and hikers were exploring enthusiastically.
We enjoyed the views from Le Brevent far more than those from Planpraz. We were particularly in love with the view of one pond or lake which could be Lac du Brevent. It looked very picturesque, divine and pristine. We felt like dipping ourselves in the visibly ice cold water. However, it was farther than it looked. We kept the dip for another time.
Le Brevent had one small shop selling limited variety of food and beverage and one decent restaurant with great views of Planpraz and Mt Blanc.
On our way up and down Le Brevent, we saw several hikers making it up or down the steep hill. That was very inspiring! Actually, the whole of Chamonix is a popular spot for hiking, trekking and camping. Maybe, we could try all of this too next time.
Back in Chamonix city, we walked through the market. We enjoyed some window shopping and an ice cream or two!
That evening, we went to Glacier des Bossons. We took a chairlift ride up the Bossons village which is about 1425 metres above sea level. It was our first ride in a chairlift and it was quite exciting!
Frankly, we didn’t know what Glacier des Bossons was and what it offered. We went there merely because it was close to our chalet and that we wanted to utilise our 2-day pass!
We had thought that we would take a walk around the village and stay there for a while if we liked it. We walked along a narrow path in a jungle that led up the mountain. We walked for about 10 minutes; we realised that we can not make it to the top in the limited time and energy that we had. So, we returned to the chairlift station in about 20 minutes.
The chairlift operator asked us if we saw Glacier des Bossons. We showed complete ignorance. He encouraged us to walk up in a direction that was opposite the one we had just returned from. We seriously didn’t show much interest. He was adamant, he said it’s not far and it would be worth. Well, what had we to lose?!
So, we started walking up again. There weren’t too many people there. It seemed to be a lesser known or lesser preferred spot among tourists. The trail was beautiful. On the way, we saw remnants of the Air India flight 101.
Then, we heard deafening sounds of a waterfall. When, we walked further up, we were awestruck by the view. It was Glacier des Bossons. It was a huge glacier that was melting (a seasonal occurrence accelerated further by global warming) and coming down in gushes. It was awesome! We had never seen anything like that before! We stayed there for some time and took in the views. On our way back, we could not thank the chairlift operator enough!
The next day, we took the Aiguille du Midi cable car to Mt Blanc. Actually, it takes two cable cars to reach Mt. Blanc. Mt Blanc was very impressive; in fact I find even the name very impressive and elite. Sadly, global warming had started to show its effects on what might have once been a majestic massif. It wasn’t as cold as Jungfrau was in 2010.
We spent a lot of time exploring the mountain. We enjoyed views of parts of the Alps that belong to France, Switzerland and Italy. From Mt Blanc, we enjoyed the views of Le Brevent and Planpraz! We stepped into the ‘void’ too.
We were very keen on taking the panoramic cable car ride. However, just a few days ago, there was an accident and the authorities had shut operations. The ride takes us across France into Italy! How exciting is that?! Alas, we could not experience that.
After an elaborate lunch, thanks to miscommunication between Vinod and the waiter ( 😀 ), we headed back to Glacier des Bossons again. We wanted another dose of the chairlift ride and sounds of the melting glaciers.
Back at the chalet, we accepted a gracious invitation from our hosts (owners of the chalet) to join them and their family friends for some drinks. That evening was pleasant and deserves a separate blog on the experience!
The next day, we took a walk near Torrent de Taconnaz. It was another breathtaking sight. We spent a lot of time there. Yet, we didn’t feel satisfied enough. Yet, we had to leave; we had to head off to St Niklaus, our first stop in Switzerland.