Aiguille du Midi is a mountain peak in the Mont Blanc massif dominating the skyline from the village center of Chamonix, France. Reaching 3842 meters in altitude with accessibilty by cable car from the center of Chamonix, it is one of the closest places one can get to Mont Blanc without having to climb it.
About Aiguille du Midi
For more than 50 years, Aiguille du Midi has been the highlight of Chamonix. With an altitude of 3842 meters, Mont Blanc’s little brother offers a splendid view over the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Aiguille is French for “needle,” and when you see the peak you will understand why they call it thisname. Every year, about half a million people visit the Aiguille du Midi by cable car, reaching the summit in two stages. A viewing platform on top offers a panoramic shot of the Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps and a restaurant. On clear days, it’s even possible to see the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa massif, some 200km away. The peak was first succesfully climbed in 1818.
Accommodations around the Aguille du Midi
The Aguille du Midi is part of the Mont Blanc massif located on the France/Italy border. Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around the Aiguille du Midi, with Chamonix being the best. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:
Chamonix Lodge owned and operated by mountain lovers! Whether you are here to take part in the numerous winter and summer outdoor activities or just for sightseeing, we want you to feel the love that we have for the amazing town of Chamonix and the stunning mountains that surround us.
Hôtel Le Chamonix is located in the center of Chamonix, 50 meters from the tourist office and bus stops that will take you to the foot of the slopes of Chamonix. You will have close to the hotel all the shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs to relax after a good day of skiing. Most of the rooms are facing Mont Blanc and you can admire from your bed the beautiful landscapes of this mountain range.
Hotel Gustavia is a significant landmark in the Chamonix valley. Many of our rooms has a fantastic view of Chamonix’s greatest attraction, Mont Blanc. With its 4810 meters it is the highest summit in western Europe.
The valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking and as a starting base for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street is full of bars, restaurants and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix is – as you can expect – pricey. The many campsites offer a budget alternative but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay; the neighbouring villages of Argentière and Les Houches are your best choices.
Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views of Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodationsare similar to those in Chamonix.
Refuge des Cosmiques
The Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the closest mountain hut near the peak and the second highest in the French Alps. Located at an altitude of 3593 me it is ters often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds at 42 euros (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).
Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille
The Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille is easily reachable by getting off at the first stop of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan d’Aiguille). Not only is this a great place to start your hike, but the overlook views over the Chamonix Valley make it a great place for lunch. There is one room with ten beds available, even in the winter season. Owners, Claude and Marie-Noelle, accommodate visitors at 2207 meters of altitude. Spending the night here costs 24 euro per person or 54 euros with meals included. Wifi is available and pets are allowed as well.
Refuge du Lac Bleu
This mountain hut can be found in the heart of the Aiguille Rouges mountain range close to Lac Bleu, a popular hiking destination. This makes the refuge a popular lunch stopover during a hike to Lac Bleu. Besides lunchtime meals, the 2352-meter high mountain hut can accommodate up to 40 people. The hut can easily be reached from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station.
The Bellachat Refuge is a very basic mountain cabin at 2152 meters of altitude. There are no hot showers and the only restroom is an outside toilet. Three dormitories are available for overnightsside by side, and you should bring your own sheets. Still, the Bellachat refuge is a popular place to visit due to its exceptional views of Mont Blanc. The sunny terrace is a great place for a lunch stop. Lunch includes typical alpine food such as homemade soups, salads, local cheeses, meat and blueberry tarts.
Hiking around the Aiguille du Midi
Plan d’Aiguille, the first stop on the Aiguille du Midi Cable car at 2207 meters, is a popular hiking starting point. Walks along the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, Lac Bleu or descending to Chamonix valley are among the best to explore the area.
Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers
The hike starts from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station and leads via the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, near Mer de Glace. Most people hike the trail one-way before returning on the Montenvers scenic train to Chamonix station. The hike takes about 2.5 hours and is a great way to admire the impressive mountain ranges of Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc.
Lac Bleu trail
Views of the Mont Blanc massif from Lac Blue are found on many postcards sold on the village streets. Needless to say,Lac Bleu is a popular hiking destination for active travelers. The lake itself is not big nor that impressive, but it’s the way there and the views on the nearby Mont Blanc that makeit worthwhile. Hiking from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station requires only a 15-minute walk, making it an option for families with children.
Hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets
Another, though more challenging, hike from Plan d’Aiguille is the 3.5-hours hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets. The hut is located just above 3000 meters making for a big ascent and requiring glacier crossing. It is a popular route in winter for ski descents from Mont Blanc.
The other side of the valley offers splendid views of Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2 hours and 30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not very crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.
Tour du Mont Blanc
The tour du Mont Blanc is a multi-day hike often completed in ten days. This is one of the best options for experienced hikers with enough time during their holidays, and is regarded as one of the best hikes in Europe. The trail contours around the Mont Blanc massif and crosses three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Nights are spent in mountain huts or accommodations in the valleys. The many different angleson Mont Blanc make it a hike with diverse views.
Hiking with kids
Hiking with children in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude difference, however there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you. Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.
Things to do around the Aiguille du Midi
The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42 meter higher. Here, you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views of the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are admirable. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif; you can descend all the way to Courmayeur.
Another main tourist attraction is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. It departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus, that used to reach all the way to the valley base.