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Trip Report Mt Blanc weather

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Several times each year, people on Fodors plan short trips to visit the Mt Blanc area, and inquire about the "normal" weather in the region, and whether they will be able to see & enjoy Mt Blanc - or will it be covered in clouds. The responses (guesses, usually) are normally vague.

We just returned from a week's stay in a Gite close to Mt Blanc, on a hillside in the village of Domancy - within the Sallanches Basin. Domancy is about a 25 min drive west of Chamonix. We've stayed in 65 gites in different regions in France, and this one was perhaps the best gite we've stayed in so far. Probably the most comfortable and certainly the best views. The Gite had floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides with spectacular views of the Sallanches Basin and a "postcard" view of Mt Blanc - when it wasn't covered in clouds. On Thursday this week (July 21) a stage of the Tour de France goes through Domancy on a time-trial leg of the race. The TdF will be in the region on July 22 & 23 also.

This trip was our fourth visit to the Alps, for a total of 5 1/2 weeks. It's our observation from prior trips that the weather is normally less cloudy in the morning than in the evening.

Here is what we experienced:

Saturday July 9 - we arrived around 4PM and Mt Blanc was visible - with a few clouds covering the face. We checked the weather forecast on the internet, and it was expected to be mostly sunny on Sunday, partly cloudy on Monday - with a thunderstorm in the evening. Tuesday through Thursday were to be mostly cloudy with rain & thunderstorms. We decided it might be best to take as some "lifts" in the area on Sunday & Monday - before the rains started.

Sunday July 10. We left our Gite early and took the 8:40 departure on the Tramway to Mont Blanc from the St Gervais station (10 mins from our gite). This is a normal mountain train that goes to the Nid d'Aigle. We had good views of Mt Blanc with just a few clouds. The entire trip (with a 1 hr "look-around" at Nid d'Aigle) took 3 hours. When we returned to our gite around 1:30PM, Mt Blanc was perfectly clear with no clouds at all. We took lots if pictures from the gite.

About 4PM we took the Mont d'Arbois cable car from St Gervais up to Mt Arbois. Mt Blanc was completely covered in clouds as were most of the high peaks around the Sallanches basin.

The temperatures were in the low 90s F in Domancy today. We dined outside on our deck at the gite - admiring what we could see of Mt Blanc (very little).

Monday July 10. The weather looked pretty good - so we left our Gite at 8:15am and were on the Le Brevent lift in Chamonix at 8:45. The weather was excellent - good visibility, but a few clouds "running by" to make the pictures more dramatic. We had a hot chocolate at the cafe on top, and then lasagne and wine for lunch at 11:30. We spent around 2 1/2 hrs wandering around Le Brevent. By the time we departed, Mt Blanc and the other peaks in the area were almost 100% hidden behind clouds.

This night we had dinner in Chamonix and Mt Blanc was mostly hidden in clouds. As we returned home from dinner - it was raining heavily.

Tuesday July 12. Rain all day. We rarely saw Mt Blanc. By 6PM, there were many low clouds and we could not see Mt Blanc at all, nor any of the peaks in the Sallanches basin around us.

Wednesday July 13. Very low clouds & fog. We could not see Mt Blanc, the other peaks, and even St Gervais. Rain started around 3PM, and it was 55 F for a high in Domancy.

Thursday July 14. Extremely foggy with low clouds in the AM - lower than yesterday. You would not even know that you were in the Alps. Very poor visibility. Rain at 1PM. Low fog lifted a little - but we never saw Mt Blanc. High temps in Chamonix today was 44F. Tomorrow's forecast is to be somewhat better.

Friday July 15. Weather looked OK, so we got an early start and drove through Chammonix (temp 41F) to Argentiere and took the Aiguille des Grands Montets lift. It had snowed sometime in the past 2-3 days and the temperature at the top of the lift was minus 8C, and there was 13CM of fresh show. We were cold - but the views were spectacular. Mt Blanc was mostly clear with a few clouds for dramatic effect. We spent around 2 1/2 hrs engaged with this lift - having lunch at the mid-level stop - where it was somewhat warmer.

Starting around noon - Mt Blanc was in & out of clouds. When we got back to our gite in the early afternoon - Mt Blanc was entirely hidden in clouds.

Saturday July 16. Mt Blanc weather was perfect - the morning we departed (naturally). The weather forecast for the following week called for perfect sunny weather - and warmer. For the upcoming Tour de France.

In summary, we were there for around 6 1/2 days and had three half-days where we could see & enjoy Mt Blanc and four days which we could not.

Stu Dudley

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