Sunday, September 01, 2013

Chamonix :: Col de Balme

For the first week of our summer vacation this year we decided to go to Chamonix. Usually this would be a ski and winter destination for us, but for sometime now we have wondered how the French Alps would be like during the summer. We love hiking, which Chamonix offers in plenty, so when I stumbled upon the Vallorcine Residence & Spa website, and saw that their apartment rental prices were actually not that expensive we decided to go for it.

Vallorcine is a small village about 20 mins drive from Chamonix, and 10 min from Argentiére. It's actually very close to the Swiss border. The Residence was very nice, it's close to the main road but we had an apartment facing the back (towards the mountains and the ski lifts) so it was peaceful and quiet. There's not much going on in Vallorcine, but there were two very good restaurants nearby: L'Arret Bougnette by the train station, and the fabulous La Ferme de 3 Ours up the road. We didn't try the spa but the complex had an indoor swimming pool which we used often, a mini golf course (which Sara loved), even a small playground area for children. Also across the road there was a nice esplanade/café with inflatable and poney rides, which on Saturday also featured a small flea market.and where I found some lovely old French childrens' books.

On our first hiking day we decided to try an easy route and go up to Col de Balme. We drove to Le Tour and caught the chairlifts up to the top, leaving us at an altitude of 2186 m.
:: enjoying the beautiful views all the way around
:: from the top of the chairlifts we walked first to the Refuge
:: where there was a bit of snow fun
:: and then walked on to the Croix de Fer
  :: some bits of snow here and there to walk over
:: took a peek at the Lac de Bossons

:: and finally picked a nice spot with a view for our picnic lunch
:: where someone loved picking wild flowers
:: then we decided to go down to the chairlifts again by a different route
Hike Duration: from 9:00 to 14:00, with a lot of stops in between
It's a nice family hike, very easy even with a small toddler

1 comment:

Hoje Conhecemos... said...

Acho uma excelente alternativa no Verão poder passar alguns días de tranquilidade nos Alpes, nós estivémos na parte austríaca e a pesar de ter sido pouco tempo adoraríamos voltar. Adorei as fotos...são uma fonte de inspiração (e motivação) para fazer algo parecido.