50 YEARS OF TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
50 YEARS OF TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
SEVEN SEAS TRAVEL • EASTPOINTE, MI 48021 586-775-7300
Mont Blanc is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Mont Blanc, meaning , "White Mountain", is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of Russia's Caucasus peaks. The Mont Blanc massif is being put forward as a potential World Heritage Site because of its uniqueness and its cultural importance, considered the birthplace and symbol of modern mountaineering. In 1946 a drilling project was initiated to carve a tunnel through the mountain. The Mont Blanc tunnel would connect Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy and become one of the major trans-Alpine transport routes between the two countries. Activities here include hiking, climbing, and backpacking.
The footpath of Les Gorges de la Diosaz offers a spectacular and unusual visit into a natural and wild environment. The shaded footpath is easy and solidly implanted, sometimes into the steep rock face, sometimes even crossing the torrent by agreeable footbridges, allowing you to enter into the mysterious and picturesque landscape. You can observe and admire the majesty and raw beauty of Mother Nature while standing in front of the cascading waterfalls.. Waterfall follows waterfall with a constant roar as the water throws itself into giant bowls and deep gulfs to finish in a transparent froth before continuing its way down the gulley through rocks shaped by the water. Bare tree trunks, piled up on the banks of the torrent give witness to the violence of the storm waters.
To the northwest of Mont Blanc there are a number of fine summits that visitors to Chamonix often overlook. One of the most impressive is the Dômes de Miage. The Traverse of the Dômes de Miage offers a very fine two or three day outing of more moderate climbing. The climb itself traverses three summits of the peak and includes both rock and ice. The route is often right on the crest of the snow arête, exposed and airy. But usually there is a good track and the climbing is not overly technical. This route is very scenic, and the views of nearby Mont Blanc and the Bionnassay are hard to beat. As a final bonus, you can stay at the Conscrits hut, a very new, thoroughly modern and comfortable hut, one of the best in the massif.
The highest rack railway train in France awaits you for a marvellous trip to the foot of Mont-Blanc. The Tramway du Mont Blanc runs from the bottom of the valley in Le Fayet all the way up to the Nid d'Aigle, above Les Houches. The rack and pinion train stops four times before getting to the end of the line at the Nid d'Aigle (eagle's nest) viewpoint, from where you get a fabulous view of the Bionnassay glacier, the beginning of one of the mountaineering routes up Mont Blanc. The journey up from St Gervais Le Fayet takes around an hour and a quarter and allows you to climb from 580m up to 2380m at its final stop. There are a number of lovely hikes in the area and mountain bikes are permitted on the tram subject to space. During the winter, the train stops at Bellevue and provides access to the Les Houches ski area.
The Télécabine de la Vallée Blanche is a passenger cable car linking a mountain peak above Courmayeur (Italy) to a peak above Chamonix (France) by passing over the Mont Blanc massif, in the Alps. The cable car connects the peaks of Aiguille du Midi (12,395 ft) and Pointe Helbronner (11,371 ft), over a distance of some (3.1 mi). This tourist attraction spans the valleys between the two peaks, high above the Mont Blanc Tunnel. The Vallée Blanche Cable Car has fixed track cables carrying 12 groups of 3 small cabins each and takes some 30 to 35 minutes for the whole distance, including 5 short stops corresponding the stops of the cabins arriving in the stations at either end.
Foods You Must Try In Chamonix
The crozets are small pieces of pasta, usually flat and square, made with buckwheat or wheat. They are normally used to prepare two delicious regional dishes, the 'croziflette' and crozets with diots. They can be served just cooked and mixed with cheese, especially local varieties such as Tomme or Beaufort. They are also a common side dish to diots in white wine.
Pierre-chaud and braserade are strictly for committed carnivores. Pierre-chaud" literally translates as "hot rock" - a red hot slate on which you sizzle a selection of raw meats. The braserade is along the same lines but is more similar to a table-top BBQ. The meats come cooked to your liking with a choice of seasonings, and a selection of sauces and potatoes or fries.
The Fondue Savoyard is the classic après ski dish in the French Alps that creates a warming atmosphere after a cold day on the mountains. A sturdy pot full of melted cheese into which you dip chunks, crusty bread or a French stick. The cheese is a concoction of local cheeses, flour to thicken, garlic and a glug of alcohol (white wine generally). Be careful, this delicious meal is rather addictive.
A typical Alpine dish is the raclette - melted cheese spooned over your plate of potatoes, meats, salad and pickles. The French way of serving raclette is to mount a half moon of cheese on to a small table-top grill and let it drip over your food, scraping up the excess cheese with a little wooden spatula.
The diots are Savoyard sausages that are either natural, smoked, or have a distinctive cabbage flavor. Traditionally they are cooked in wine, either red or white and onions and served with crozets or polenta. You can buy them in most “charcuteries” or supermarkets in the French Alps. And some restaurants in the French Alps will have this on their menu.
Kind of like a fancy hash brown, rosti is a pan-fried potato cake, often topped with cheese or a fried egg. Originating from the Valais region of Switzerland, rosti is made from finely grated potatoes and fried until golden and crispy. The classic recipe is the Rosti Valaisanne, a hearty dish topped with bacon, fried egg and cheese, often served with pickled gherkins and baby onions.
If you need warming up from a long day on the ski slopes there is nothing more comforting than a dish of tartiflette. A substantial meal of potatoes layered with cheese, cream and pieces of bacon, this is an ever popular dish in Chamonix mountain restaurants. Individual portions will usually be cooked and served in an earthenware dish. It is perfect skiing food due to it being hot, tasty and extremely filling
Farcement is a very unusual dish that combines sweet and savoury ingredients such as bacon, onions, prunes, raisins, potatoes and cream. This is not a particularly common dish in many restaurants, you're most likely to find it in old family-run places that serve very traditional mountain cuisine.
FFrom Chambery, the cake of Savoy is made with flour, corn, sugar and eggs. It seems relatively simple, but the secret to this delicious cake lies in its preparation: The sugar and eggs are beaten at a high speed, for a long time. Then the cake is cooked for a very precise amount time. This cake is delicious, particularly with icing sugar on the top and with some apple jam. And you can find this cake in the local boulangerie.
From Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers in Savoy. The Saint-Genix is basically a brioche, with red coloured pralines and sugar. It is normally served with tea or coffee, in the afternoon. This sugary treat is perfect to get your energy levels back up after a long days ski. You can find this speciality in most local boulangeries.
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The L'Arve River flows for approximately 62 miles through France, in the département of Haute-Savoie, and for a good distance in Switzerland. It is a left tributary of the Rhône. Rising in the northern side of the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps, close to the Swiss border, it receives water from the many glaciers of the Chamonix valley (mainly the Mer de Glace) before flowing north-west into the Rhône on the west side of Geneva, where its much higher level of silt brings forth a striking contrast between the two rivers. Boating and rafting are common activities here.
The Chamonix Pinot Noir Reserve shows a ruby red colour, with notes of cherry, wild red berries, crushed black pepper, cinnamon and violets on the nose. Although firm in structure and intense in flavour, textures are mellow and round, expanding with time to extraordinary opulence and length on the palate. It should reach its prime in about five to eight years after release.
Grapes: Pinot Noir 100%
Wines and Liqueurs To Try In Chamonix
Our Chamonix Chardonnay is released in the first year after the harvest. The wine shows bright straw yellow colour with golden highlights and ample aromas in scents that recall tropical fruits and grapefruit, mingling with hints of oatmeal, caramel and nutmeg. Medium-bodied with richly complex flavours, mellow fruit sensations are deftly fused with oak in a long, elegant finish. It should reach its prime in about 5 years from release.
Grapes: Chardonnay 100%
The Génépy is a common mountain plant found in the Alps, but you may know it as the traditional herbal liqueur drank in many of the French ski resorts. Typically Savoyard, this kind of alcohol is generally served at the end of the meal, as a 'digestif', but it can also be enjoyed as an “aperitif”. Not as sweet as other digestif’s, it has a strong herbal taste that resembles chamomile or feverfew. You can find Génépy in the local shops, and on the menu in many typical savoyard restaurants.
Famous Waterways in Chamonix
If you’ve only got one day in Chamonix and you ask a local where to go, it’s more likely than not that you'll be told to get yourself up to Lac Blanc. It’s stunning in every direction - the seats on the patio of the nearby refuge, the dirt paths winding down the valley slopes. And Mont Blanc is just across the way, towering and glittering at nearly 16,000 feet. There’s often snow year-round up at the lake, but in the warmer months, the trails are completely accessible. The lake itself isn’t the real highlight. There are infinite highlights on the route up to the lake, from enormous boulders to smaller ponds, intimidating stone walls, and jaw-dropping panoramas.
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