Introduction to the Mont Blanc Mountain and Massif for Newbies

Posted on 07 December 2022

The Mont Blanc Massif Mountain range are the most amazing French alps landscapes, if not the best. Put aside your beach and sea views to admire majestic mountains that every year, people flock to conquer. Mont Blanc massif sits on the French Italian border, although the northern tip runs to Switzerland. In the French territory, the Mont Blanc range is king. Famous glaciers include Glacier des Bossons, the Bionnassay Glacier and the dome glacier.

The majestic view of Mont Blanc white mountain is seen from miles around, and many say the massif and mountain sparked the beginnings of modern mountaineering. The Mont Blanc and surrounding mountains all together form a fantastic gallery of Mother Nature at her best. If you are looking for somewhere close to the Mont Blanc Mountain, look at the towns of Italian Courmayeur, Saint Gervais Les Bains, Chamonix and Les Houches on the French side. Otherwise, get ready to explore this impressive landscape.

About Mont Blanc Mountain and Massif


Summit of Mont Blanc Mountain

Mont Blanc translates into the white mountain, although the name in Italian is Monte Bianco. The summit of Mont Blanc at 4,807 metres above sea level means this mountain reigns supreme as the highest French alp summit, the second highest mountain in Europe, and the world’s eleventh most elevated. The second highest mountain peak is on the southeast face, Mont Blanc de Courmayeur or Monte Bianco di Courmayeur in Italian.

That gives a good idea of the mountain’s importance as the tallest in the alps and why it attracts people worldwide to want to experience this vast adventure playground. For those who want to reach the summit of Mont Blanc, Gouter is the most popular climbing route, which takes an average of two days, although a mountain guide is essential. Towns surrounding the Mont Blanc Mountain include Courmayeur in Italy’s Aosta Valley, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains and Chamonix in the Haute Savoie region.

For many years, the massif was unheard of in international hiking circles. Then in 1786, Jacques Balmat and doctor Michel Paccard climbed the Mont Blanc summit, achieving status as the first to do so. This was the beginning of French alps mountaineering. Just 22 years later, Marie Paradis became the first woman to have climbed Mont Blanc. Quite an achievement since mountaineers in those days didn’t have the planning tools we do now. These days, it is the dream of many hikers to climb the summit of Mont Blanc. Other famous Massif mountains include Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc du Tacul.

Hiking in the Mont Blanc Massif Mountain Range

The attraction for hikers is the 11 significant summits over 4000 metres in height. The massif also attracts glacier fans thanks to Mer de Glace and Miage Glacier. The Mont Blanc Mountain and massif attract more than 6 million visitors yearly because of hiking and skiing opportunities. Unfortunately, some people push the boundaries annually, and hikers die on normal routes. This proves the Mont Blanc massif’s strenght and that there is no defeating Mother Nature. Hikers have 2000 different mountain routes to choose from, ranging in difficulty and length. However, even normal routes need careful research and planning to complete.

hiking hut french alps

Tour de Mont Blanc Route

The most famous mountain route is the 170-kilometre Tour de Mont Blanc, which takes approximately 11 days to complete. As Europe’s most famous long-distance walk, it passes through France, Italy and Switzerland. Passing through several valleys, including Chamonix valley, Montjoie valley, Vallée des Glaciers, Val Veni, Val Ferret, Val Ferret, and the Arpette or Trient valley. Basic accommodation along the routes also prepares meals, but always try and book beforehand because it is not unusual for some places to be booked. Check the official Mont Blanc website for approved accommodation, route details, safety tips, and the latest weather conditions.

The Mont Blanc Tunnel

If ever there was a prize for the most amazing mountain tunnel road, Mont Blanc tunnel would be a worthy contender. The Mont Blanc tunnel connects France and Italy through Chamonix to Courmayeur in Aosta Valley. The idea for the tunnel was first born in 1949, although it didn’t open until 1965. Running for a staggering 7,215 miles, the tunnel also runs under the Aiguille du Midi summit, a staggering 8000 feet under. To understand the tunnel’s size, construction workers had to blast through 19,000,000 cubic feet of mountain rock to form the path.

The Famous Aiguille du Midi

The Aiguille du Midi, at a staggering 3,842 metres, is a famous mountain of the Mont Blanc Massif. Directly accessed from the French ski resort of Chamonix by the Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi cable car, which is the world’s highest vertical ascent, the summit features a fantastic viewing platform which gives off fantastic mountain views. In addition, the peak is famous for the famous “Step into the Void.”

This tourist attraction, operated by Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, opened in 2013 and is a popular French Alps’ off-slope activity. Also called Aiguille du Midi Skywalk, this is not for the faint-hearted. Void Skywalk is a glass room with a ceiling and floor. Step into the box and look down to see a drop of 1000 metres or admire stunning mountain peaks and views. The cable car and attractions are a must-do for your bucket list of Mont Blanc.

While there, visit the nearby museum with mountaineering and climbing memorabilia, and dine in 3842, one of the world’s highest restaurants. Aiguille du Midi also attracts many visitors during summer, but thanks to the high altitude and bright sun, they still need to wrap up warm with protection. For hikers, numerous routes showcase the best of this mountain. At the same time, the Vallee Blanche 20-kilometre ski run attracts off-pistes skiers, although mountain guides are highly advisable.

mountain cable car

Mer de Glace Attractions and Montenvers Train

Nicknamed sea of ice, Mer de Glace, the French Alp’s largest Glacier, is 7 kilometres long and 200 metres deep. As a popular attraction, people reach the Glacier via the Montenvers train from Chamonix and then the famous cable car. But also see the Ice Grotto exhibition featuring caves and sculptures about glaciers, geography, and the history of Mont Blanc. Then visit the Montenvers station restaurant for amazing views alongside traditional French cuisine.

Mont Blanc Tramway

Starting in Saint Gervais and heading to Bellevue Plateau at 1900 metres, the Mont Blanc tramway runs from December to March every year. As France’s highest mountain railway and Europe’s fourth highest, this isn’t your average train ride. However, many tourists ride it just for the fantastic views along the way, and hikers use it to reach certain points of specific routes starting from Nid d’Aigle. Another way to get to Bellevue Plateau in other months is Les Houches’s mountain cable car, which also offers fantastic bird’s-eye alpine views.

Also, About the Mont Blanc Massif

From the massive Mont Blanc Mountain to other delightful alpine landscapes in France, our blog talks about individual towns and places to explore, whether you want to go skiing, hiking, or buy French Alp property. Two popular places, though, are..

Chamonix: In the French Alps Haute-Savoie Mountain region, this ski resort is close to Geneva, the airport and the city. Chamonix is a trendy destination for short trips and weekends, with many foreigners buying ski property there. It is a 15-minute drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy, and you can catch the train to Switzerland. Chamonix is an ideal location if you fancy visiting all three countries in one trip.

Saint Gervais Les Bains: This mountain commune in the Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in South Eastern France is also part of Bonneville. The wider commune encompasses several villages, including the summit of Mont Blanc. The commune has a significant variation in altitudes ranging from Le Fayet village at 570 metres, Saint Gervais Les Bains at 900 metres and the stunning summit of Mont Blanc Mountain.

french alps town