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The forest path from Chamonix to Montevers








Montenvers, Signal Forbes, Grand Balcon Nord, Plan d'Aiguilles

One of the most popular walks in Chamonix is the short section of Grand Balcon Nord between the cable car station at Plan d'Aiguilles and the mountain railway at Montenvers. In this direction you have a gently descending walk before going back uphill to Signal Forbes and then down hill again to Montenvers. Relatively easy and the luxury of transport both up and down.

The better option however is to walk up from Chamonix to Montenvers, meeting all those who caught the train up, and then walking across the balcon to Plan d'Aiguilles.

A gentle start past the childrens mini - luge which looks like great fun and one day if we have the time we will have to try out! the path climbs steadily up through forest to a small refuge, Grillet, then passes over the lines of the rack and pinion rail way, if you are lucky you get to gloat about the achievement of walking up as a carriage full of people passes by.

The path eventually leaves the forest and climbs up to the  Montenvers station, where you can have a slight detour down onto the Mer Du Glace Glacier which winds down the Valee Blanche from Mont Blanc or visit the Ice Grotto cut into the side of the glacier. A more entertaining option though on  a hot day is to spend ages trying to get served by snobby staff at Grand Hotel Du Montenvers - expensive and not worth the wait, there is a more accommodating snack bar at the train station.

The Mer Du Glace

From Montenvers the path snakes up hill above the Mer du Glace with great views towards The Drus  opposite before reaching Signal Forbes.

2204 metres and a total height gain from Chamonix of 1100 metres, it is difficult to take in that you have walked up a hill as high as the tallest hill in England.

Then the path heads down before crossing the glacier boulder field along a good marked path to Plan d'Aiguilles. As most people are heading in the opposite direction it's an opportunity to practice the French, funny how so many English pass by with a quick ' err, bonjour', 'Britney, don't go too close to the edge, bonjour, bonjour'.

I am determined to greet everyone with a good hearty 'Hello' meanwhile behind I hear Lizzie not too far behind 'bonjour, bonjour'.

Heading across the Grand Balcon Nord to Plan de l'Aiguille


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