On our first full day in Chamonix, we opted for a shorter hike as the weather was unfortunately overcast and foggy. Despite knowing that the views would not be perfect, we decided to take the gondola lift up to Planpraz and then follow the steep hike up to the top of Le Brévent, which affords stunning views of the glaciers surrounding Mont Blanc. If only the weather had cooperated, this would have been an absolutely stellar hike and I deeply regret not taking the cable car back up for some photos on a clear day before we left Chamonix. Regardless, if you have three days in Chamonix, visiting the top of Le Brévent is a must as it gives you an incredible appreciation and perspective of not only the entire Chamonix Valley but of the Tour de Mont Blanc itself. On top of Le Brévent, you will delight in panoramic 360-degree views of it all and it will truly blow you away, even in the clouds.

To reach the start of the hike, you have a few options. You can hike the entire thing which would take roughly five hours one way or you can ride the cable car to Planpraz  (the station is located walking distance from town) up to 2000 m/6,562 feet, and then begin your hike up to Le Brévent at 2525 m/8284 feet. Once on top of Le Brévent, the options are endless as you connect up with the Tour de Mont Blanc and can hike from there toward Lac Blanc or Les Houches. For us, we simply went to admire the incredible panoramic view of Mont Blanc.

Chamonix, France

We purchased our tickets and learned after the fact that it is most economical to purchase a multi-day gondola pass. You can purchase 1,2, 3 or 6 day passes on the Mont Blanc MultiPass which covers all 8 areas in the Mont Blanc Massif. It is a great deal and a must-have as you will certainly want to visit the famous Mer de Glace and the Aiguille du Midi while you are in Chamonix. Best of all, it is unlimited so you can hop on and off taking time off your hike or else just ride the gondola up to get some photos if the weather is nice.

For our hike, we chose to do the route on the lefthand side of the map. Some hikers go behind Le Brévent to continue along the Tour de Month Blanc while others continue on towards La Flégère and Lac Blanc. Unfortunately, our timing was off as they were updating the Flégère gondola so we were not able to easily reach Lac Blanc from Chamonix. Instead, it was a full day of hiking (which ended up being the best hike of our entire trip).

Map Le Brévent of courtesy of Chamonix Mont-Blanc Tourist Office.

We rode up in the clouds to the top of Le Brévent wishing the clouds would magically roll away but it was not meant to be. Although the photos don’t do it justice, it was spectacular and I could only begin to imagine how utterly breathtaking the view must be on a clearer day. A view of Mont Blanc and all her glaciers dancing down the side of the Alps.

Le Brévent, Chamonix, France

On top of Le Brévent, at the first gondola stop.

We got off the gondola at Planpraz, snapped a few photos and began our steep hour and a half hike straight up to Le Brévent. As my calves burned, I started to wonder if it was really worth the effort given the mediocre day. I imagined sitting down in beautiful Chamonix enjoying a coffee or relaxing at our hotel. But I am never one to give up and quit a hike, regardless of the weather. So I persisted.

Click to enlarge and open photos as a slideshow

The hike became steeper and steeper as we worked our way up to the top. There weren’t many others on the trail given the cool, cloudy day.

Le Brévent, Chamonix, France

If only the sun had come out.

Le Brévent, Chamonix, France

Click to enlarge and open photos as a slideshow

After passing through some snow, we reached the very top of Le Brévent where we could see forever.

If only the sun had come out.

Le Brévent, Chamonix, France

If only the sun had come out.If only the sun had come out. But atlas, it didn’t.

Le Brévent, Chamonix, France

Le Brévent, Chamonix, France

I had promised to come up again on a clear day before we left just so I could see it in all its glory. But I was just too tired to do it again after all the hiking. I guess it leaves yet another reason to go back to Chamonix again. There is always a reason.

 

16 comments

      1. Just saw the weather report which is saying some places in the Chicago area may have 6″ of snow, with snow starting tonight. We’ll see how that goes. But after all, it is November.

  1. This is a bit off-topic, but I remember after going to the Monastery in Petra, James and I didn’t even think of doing the High Place of Sacrifice because we were already so exhausted. Your penchant for hiking, and the fact that you do hike regularly, really pays off. This trip to Chamonix and your past hikes, including the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, have certainly rewarded you with good health. I’m currently planning for a short trip somewhere in Indonesia or Southeast Asia in April 2020. I’ve been pondering to go somewhere with historical sites. But now I’m thinking if hiking would be a good alternative.

    1. Yes, I did all of that in seven hours of hiking! I was so exhausted when I reached the top of the High Place of Sacrifice that I had no idea how I’d do the 45 more minutes walking to get out of Petra. It was really hot too and I only took a twenty minute break to eat my sandwich that day. I’m glad I’ve got my dad’s genes as he is an incredible hiker and I tend to still have the energy in me too. There are lots of excellent hikes in Indonesia. So I hope you do a hiking trip as I’d love to see the photos.

    1. Yes so true! I still have two more hikes from Chamonix and I’m saving the best for last because it was the most incredible hike of all. The photos turned out spectacular!

  2. Even though the weather wasn’t good it still looks magical and you still saw some wonderful scenes! Any day in the mountains is better than a day at work! 😊

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