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travel diary: lac blanc | chamonix, france

By April 7, 2014 europe, france, travel, travel diary

I have some exciting news. My new blog website will be launched within the next week!

I’ve been working on it for a few months now and can’t wait for you all to see it.

I don’t want to give away too much because I have a bit of a surprise for you 🙂

Today I have some beautiful photos of a hike I did last Summer.

We had dear friends, Jamie & Anette, visiting for 2 weeks and after a few too many indulgent dinners, we thought it about time to stretch our legs.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I feel a bit sluggish or have over-indulged I like to get some exercise in the fresh air. Slugging away in an air-conditioned gym just doesn’t have the same appeal to me.

Luckily it was just before the weather turned so we decided to head for Lac Blanc. Isn’t she pretty?

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 14

Now. Jamie & Anette aren’t what you would call avid hikers. As we were leaving – he was wearing leather loafers and she was wearing Vans. I thought that was rather cute.

So after a quick stop to hire hiking shoes, we headed off.

The best part of this hike is that it’s beautiful even before it begins.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 44

There are quite a few routes up. You can either take the Flégère/Index cable car and hike from there (around 2 hours up) or hike from Chamonix all the way up. If you aren’t big on hiking, i’d suggest taking the first option.

Of course if you hike up, you can still take the cable car down. But if you are going to do this, i’d suggest buying your return ticket before the hike.

We decided to hike the whole way up and down, and although this wasn’t exactly the route that we took, since then we’ve been advised the best walking route is from the Col des Montets carpark.

You can take the bus at 9am from Place du Mont-Blanc in Chamonix, which arrives at 9.30am at the Col des Montets carpark.

If you have a car, I would suggest parking at Flégère then catching the bus from there to Col des Montets carpark.

At Col des Montets (1,461 m), you can take the trailhead behind the Botanical reception chalet of the Aiguilles Rouges reserve. The trail rises quite quickly and within 30 minutes you have a great view of the Argentière glaciers on one side and  Vallorcine Valley on the other.

It won’t be long before you have an 180° panorama of the Mont-Blanc valley summits – Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille du Chardonnet, Aiguille Verte and the Drus.

Having hiked for a few months already, the mister and I were quite a bit faster than out guests, so I was able to get a few gorgeous pics of them looking down the valley.

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Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 22

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 21

I think this was the longest hike they’d both ever done – I was quite impressed! Because it’s not exactly easy.

After around 2 hours, you will reach a fork in the road where you will take the path towards Argentière/Flégère.

Don’t forget to look around, appreciate the view and take some photos – you might even make a few friends.

From here you can see the famous Montevers Mer de Glace & Chamonix ski areas.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 20

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 18

When you can see the Chéserys lakes on the right, follow the path until you reach the southern side. From here, you can see the Lac Blanc refuge and the rest of the route.

Be prepared because the last hour is hellish with quite steep rocky bits.

We climbed in almost silence for the most part.

Once you finally arrive, you should see this.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 28

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 04

Overall, if hiking from Chamonix, I would allow 3.5-5 hours to get there. It took us just over 4 hours.

The mister was rather hungry so he made a beeline for the banks of the lake.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 26

The others were a bit behind us – which gave me a bit of time to explore. Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 27

In no time Jamie & Anette arrived and found us the perfect picnic spot.

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Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 37

So we perched ourselves on a rock and ate our lunch. I’d recommend bringing loads of lunch because the hike leaves you famished. And don’t be fools like us and only bring 1 bar of chocolate between 4. There was a bit of fighting over the last square.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 42

Having not seen Jamie (or met Anette) it was so nice to be able to do this hike and enjoy such amazing scenery together.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 43

 Of course a few happy snaps to send to our mums were in order.

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Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 08

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In the summer the lake thaws and has that simply breathtaking turquoise colour.

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Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 30

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 41

I was tempted to take a quick dip – but with winter around the corner it was rather freezing.

But it’s perfect for re-filling your drink bottle for the journey down. The others weren’t game but I did, what’s fresher than crystal clear lake water from the French alps?

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 40

I absolutely love these photos of the lake mirroring the mountains and sky.

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Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 12

We could have stayed there all day, but given the decent hike ahead of us, we commenced our decent.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 01

When descending, you should go back the way you came and turn towards the refuge where the path is signposted “L’Index”. When you reach the top of the chairlift, as mentioned you can take the Flégère/Index cable car or walk back down.

From Lac Blanc, I’ve been told you shouldn’t take the path signposted “La Flégère” which is a true hikers highway in both directions and very busy.

It really was the best hike I have ever done – and I will leave you with a few panoramas I took.

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 17

Lac Blanc | The Macadames - 16

The evening was spent indulging in another dinner out and then a early night. We all slept very well that night.

Now it’s time you get out a take a hike – let me know about it in the comments!

Who knows I might be in your neck of the woods one day and I’d love to get the scoop on your favourite hiking spots!

Anisa – The Macadames. xx

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