Some fifteen villages and resorts make up the geographical area of the Mont-Blanc region, which lies close to the Italian border. This alpine territory stretches from the Arve and Arly valleys to the plateaus and glaciers on the slopes of the Mont-Blanc massif.
From Chamonix to the Mer de Glace
At the foot of the Aiguille du Midi and the Aiguilles Rouges massif, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is the attractive capital of mountaineering, with the victorious ascent of the roof of Europe as early as 1786. The mythical Mer de Glace can be reached by the picturesque red rack railway Montenvers. Its shrinking size bears witness to the global warming of the planet. On the spot, enter the bowels of the glacier through a cave. A vertiginous cable car takes you to the summit of the grandiose Aiguille du Midi (3842 m) which overlooks the Vallée Blanche, a popular ski area. In the plain below, the blue glacier of Les Bossons is easily accessible. By the picturesque red rack and pinion train of Montenvers, you can reach the mythical Mer de Glace, which stretches over 7 km. Its shrinking size is a testimony to global warming. On the spot, enter the bowels of the glacier for a surprising experience.
Picturesque lakes and cottages
At the foot of sparkling glaciers and famous peaks, such as Les Drus or the Aiguille Verte, at the end of the Arve valley, the typical village of Argentière is close to Switzerland, accessible via the Col des Montets or through a tunnel.
From the chalets of Les Houches in the mountain pastures, go to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. Since 1807 tourism has developed around the virtues of a thermal water that gushes out at 39 degrees, with the construction of palaces and bourgeois villas. Take the historic Mont-Blanc tramway, the highest cog railway in France, which leads to the Nid d'Aigle (2,372 m). Between 2,000 and 2,500 metres above sea level, panoramic trails reveal a dozen lakes, gorges and waterfalls, always with Mont Blanc as a backdrop.
Flower-filled villages and Baroque abbeys
Opposite the foot of the Aiguille de Varan, the Passy plateau welcomes Nordic skiers and hikers from spring onwards. On the road to Cluses, like Chamonix, Sallanches, a large flowery and lively town in the Arve valley, is also an ideal base camp for exploring the Mont-Blanc region.
After admiring the exceptional colourful decor of the baroque church of Saint-Nicolas de Véroce (18th century), push on to the resort of Les Contamines-Montjoie, which nestles between Mont Joly and summits at an altitude of over 3,000 metres.
Passing through Domancy or the charming resorts of Cordon and Combloux, you reach Megève. Between the Mont d'Arbois and the Aravis mountain range, grand hotels and prestigious chalets converge on the ancestral village, a mecca for winter sports since the beginning of the 20th century. But Megève, with its soothing green setting, is also teeming with sporting and cultural activities and entertainment all year round.
During your stay at one of the campsites in the Mont-Blanc region, don't forget to visit the charming sites of Servoz, Vallorcine and Praz-sur-Arly. Via the Mont Blanc Tunnel it is easy to reach Courmayeur and the Francophile Valle d'Aosta in Italy.
Set to music
The mountain pastures resonate with the echo of folk festivals and numerous music festivals, such as the one held in a dozen prestigious Baroque sanctuaries. The good mountain air is digging in, so get together around a good raclette or tartiflette, accompanied by Savoyard wines and cheeses...
Campsites in the Mont-Blanc region
To contemplate at leisure the highest peak in Europe in the Mont-Blanc region, you can take advantage of the ten or so campsites in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and two establishments in Sallanches.