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French Alps

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Jul 11th, 2015, 09:50 AM
  #1
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French Alps

I am planning a trip to France and deciding where to go from Paris. I have been to the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland and stayed in Wengen for 3 days, which seemed like heaven. I have considered going there again, but wondered if there is a similar destination in France that would be more convenient. Is there anything as stunning in the French Alps? I am going Mid-September.
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Jul 11th, 2015, 11:28 AM
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Chamonix is at the foot of the Mont Blanc. It should be as impressive as the Swiss Alps. If driving, the route des Grandes Alpes follows the French-Italian border and goes over five high mountain passes.
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Jul 11th, 2015, 12:41 PM
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I love the Jungfrau Region and love Chamonix - glacier practically tumbling down to the town itself - one of the world's most awesome gondola rides from Pt de Aiguille to Pte Heilbronner in Italy and back - totally mind-boggling - starts right from Chamonix.

You need no car here - trains and gondolas and foot paths go everywhere - even up Mont Blanc and getting there by train is a snap and scenic either from France or Switzerland. For lots on trains and the area check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. A really scenic train trip goes from St Gervais-les-Bains in France by narrow-gauge mountain train to Chamonix then continues on even more scenic with glaciers practically tumbling to the tracks to Martigny, Switzerland and the Rhone Valley. Buses from Italy speed to Chamonix thru the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

From Paris take the TGV to St Gervais-les-Bains - about 5 hours I think then the tiny train another hour or so to Chamonix- driving times would be similar but you could hit some lovely spots in Burgundy en route - like Vezelay or Beaune and the Burgundy wine district.
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Jul 12th, 2015, 10:39 AM
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Thank you for the responses! I will have to decide if I want to head toward that side of France or the Dordogne area. In 12 nights, perhaps I can do both with Paris? I like to stay for at least a couple of nights to soak in the atmosphere. Barcelona may also be on my agenda.
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Jul 12th, 2015, 03:03 PM
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You'd have to chose probably between Chamonix and Barcelona with Dordogne somewhat in between each or if you can fly out of Barcelona then spend 3 days in Chamonix, 1 day getting to Dordoge, 3 days there, one day getting to Barcelona - longish train trips look into cheap flights from the Bordeaux area to Barcelona.
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Jul 16th, 2015, 07:01 PM
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I completely agree with PalenQ, we just returned from visited Wengen and Jungfrauich but I have wonderful memories and photos from Chamonix and the multiple gondola rides up the Pt de Aiguille to Pte Heilbronner in Italy and back . Go!
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Jul 17th, 2015, 10:35 AM
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Yes though Chamonix is very different from the Jungfrau Region around Wengen it is on par with any Alpine resort so yes go for it! Easy to reach by train and once there trains and thrilling gondolas and hiking paths go everywhere - no need for a car. Chamonix itself in a delightful town with oodles of nice family-run hotels and guesthouses. Much cheaper too than in Switzerland IME.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 11:45 AM
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I have just returned from Chamonix -- my DH and I hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc (with a group, not by ourselves...) earlier this month. We started and ended in Chamonix and I agree with PalenQ, it is a delightful town. And that glacier over the town, with Mont Blanc right at the top, makes for gorgeous photographs at sunset. Wow!

We really enjoyed walking in the pedestrian-only center, popping in to various shops, and yes, going up the Aguille du Midi tram (which was amazing!). We also really enjoyed going to the Super U supermarket and stocking up on French and Swiss chocolate bars.

you can also visit a glacier cave, which you access by a tiny train. This was also very cool. http://www.chamonix.net/english/leis...g/mer-de-glace

I would definitely visit Chamonix again.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 11:47 AM
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Also, if you will take a bus through the tunnel to Italy, we also enjoyed Courmayeur, the Italian town just over the border. One of our guides said that the trip through the tunnel is about 20 minutes. She slept at home in Chamonix while our group was in Courmayeur. Really charming.
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Jul 21st, 2015, 11:53 AM
  #11
 
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How is it in early January?

I guess you have to have some luck with the weather to go up to the top?

How is the skiing for casual skiers?
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