Like any ski resort, come spring, summer or winter, there are activities a plenty for you to choose from in Saint Gervais (in the Chamonix Valley). Quite apart from the skiing and walking, you could opt for mountaineering, ice skating, paragliding or swimming. But if you want a slightly more effortless kind of adventure, why not head for the highest tram in France – the tram to the foot of Mont Blanc!
Get off the piste
You can catch the tram from Le Fayet or Saint Gervais, and it takes about an hour to wend and wind its way up and through the mountains to the Nid d’Aigle (in the summer) which stands at 2,372 metres or to Bellevue in the winter. The Nid d’Aigle (Eagle’s Nest) is the starting point for the ascent to Mont Blanc and in the summer, you can walk to it from the lower point of Bellevue. It’s a tough but rewarding walk which will take you about 2 hours. And you need to check weather conditions before you set off.
Sticking with the tram, there are various stops along the way which include the only winter access to the village of Motivon and the Voza Pass which has views across the Bionnassay Glacier and the Aiguille du Goûter. Then the tram goes over the ridge of the mountain.
The tram has been running for more than 100 years and the three engines that work the line are rather sweetly called Anne, Marie and Jeanne. Apparently, they were named after the owner’s daughters back in the 1950s (at the time the line went electric).
It’s a fairy tale journey with pine forests and large open plains gradually giving way as you crawl up into the open arms of the Alpes. And it’s definitely an altogether more gentle way of exploring the mountains.
A round trip on the tram to the foot of Mont Blanc starts at €31.50 with children a bit less and family packages available. There are 8 departures a day but more in high summer.
Want to take a fab break in the area? Peak Retreats have great self catering appartments in Saint Gervais: peakretreats.co.uk