Chamonix Dominates Top Ten Tourist Sites
The cable car accesses mountain bike runs and paraglider take off points...
A new report by the Haute Savoie tourism organisation has placed Chamonix at the top of the tree with the alpine resort boasting five out of the ten most visited sites within its valley.
Looking back at the summer 2011 season, Chamonix has continued to attract thousands of visitors a day to the resort, so here’s the full run down of the top ten visitor attractions in Haute Savoie area of France:
Aiguille du Midi cable car Chamonix – this two-stage cable car whisks you up to 3842m with amazing panoramic views towards Mont Blanc, over the Mer de Glace and across Helbronner to Italy. The lift welcomed 784,983 visitors in 2010, making it by far and away the single biggest tourist attraction in Haute Savoie.
Montenvers Railway Chamonix – this little mountain railway winds it’s way up the steep 5.5km track to 1913m to the station overlooking the impressive Mer de Glace glacier. A true feat of engineering, the railway was opened in 1909 and welcomed 721,195 passengers in 2010.
Brevent cable car Chamonix – facing the Mont Blanc massif, heading up to the Plan Praz mid station and then Brevent summit at 2525m affords fantastic views of the Mer de Glace from the other side of the valley and down the valley towards Les Houches. A total of 455,486 visitors enjoyed the views in 2010.
Saleve cable car – if you come to Chamonix via Geneva airport, you’ll pass under the cables for the Saleve cable as you whizz down the motorway in Etrembieres. The cable car accesses mountain bike runs and paraglider take off points, but for the less sporty you’ll enjoy superb views of Lac Leman (or Lake Geneva to us!)
Chateau Museum Annecy – home to the counts of Geneva until 1394, this beautiful chateau is on the hillside above stunning Annecy and opened its doors to 94,705 visitors in 2010. If you are in Chamonix and fancy a daytrip, Annecy with its gorgeous old town and crystal clear lake is just one hour from Chamonix by car.
Les Gorges du Fier – these gorges near Annecy are particularly spectacular as they are so steep. The whole area has been made accessible via wooden bridges and walkways, so you’ll find yourself above, below and behind the waterfalls.
Tramway du Mont Blanc – this mountain railway runs from Le Fayet at the bottom of the Chamonix valley all the way up to Nid d’Aigle above the Les Houches ski area. Taking 50 minutes, the journey is a superb way to see the forests, pistes and Mont Blanc from a completely different angle and it’s actually the highest rack and pin mountain railway in France. In winter you can take your skis with you too!
Parc Merlet – sitting at 1500m above the hamlet of Coupeau in Les Houches, Parc Merlet is an animal park with a difference. The views over the Bossons and Taconnaz glaciers are amazing and the animals are all typical of the mountains around Chamonix, so you’ll see Chamois, Cerf and Marmottes. And no, they’re not in cages, they are free to roam around the mountain park.
Les Gorges du Pont du Diable – discovered at the end of the 19th century, these deep gorges were carved out by the Dranse River, high above Morzine. Over 50,000 people walked around the impressive landscape in 2010 and it’s just over an hour to drive there from Chamonix.