Top Ten France Classic Adventures

Hike Up Mont Blanc
By Patricia Ochs

This is the big one, the quintessential French adventure. The highest point in Europe (if you're not counting Elbrus in southern Russia), Mont Blanc soars to 15,771 feet (4,807 meters). And if, like many adventurers, you'd like to scale its heights, you'll be rewarded with views of Alpine spires and glaciers extending from France into Italy, Switzerland, and beyond. Here's how you do it: Take the tramway from La Fayet or St. Gervais-les-Bains to Nid d'Aigle at 7,780 feet (2,372 meters). It's a relatively easy hike along the scenic path to the Refuge de Tête Rousse at 10,453 feet (3,187 meters). Then the going gets really rough: You cross the Grand Couloir—an avalanche corridor—and head up a steep path to the Refuge de l'Aiguille du Gouter. Spend one night there and start again at two a.m. (ouch!) in total darkness. Up you go, past the Bivouac Vallot to Les Bosses as the crunchy snow trail to the top narrows, and soon the world is laid out at your feet.


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