Mont Blanc is 4808 m high and it's the highest montain in Europe. This record gives it the nickname of "King of Alps". Actually, Mont Blac is place of challenges and natural attractions and one of the most famous tourist destinations of Valle d'Aosta.
Mont Blanc was the name of a mountain that separeted us. From tomorrow it will be the name of a the tunnel that unites us.
Mont Blanc: one of the most visited spots of Alps
Mont Blanc is one of the most visited spots of Alps. Every year there are around 15 millions of tourists.
Since the past centuries, the call of the montains has been always strong. Since 1741, the stories of the English aristocrats William Windham and Richard Pococke about their journey in the Ice-sea have spread in every part of Europe arousing great interest.
Shortly, rich tourists, the most English, arrived in the isolate mountain centers of the Kingdom of Sardinia to see the mysterious glaciers and the unconquered mountains.
These montain villages are the place where the tourism is born. Before the winter tourism and then the summer tourism too, as direct consequence of the unexpected race to conquer the impervious and inviolate summits.
The opening of the first hotel in Chamonix in 1770 gave rise to the growth of the hotel industry. Then there was the building of luxury hotels in Courmayeur. Together they became the most sought after holiday resorts: they were frequented by noubles, writers, scientists and the first alpinists, before that the tourism became a mass phenomenon.
The conquest of the Mont Blanc's summit
The first climb on the Mont Blanc's summit was on the 8th August 1786 with an expedition of two young explorers, Jaques Balmat, a 24-year-old crystal finder, and Michel Gabriel Paccard, a 29-year-old doctor, both from Chamonix. The summit's climb was one of the most important historical events: the two young men arrived on the top of the montain after 14 hours and half from the start and stayed there for 34 minutes. The alpinism was born with this event!
After there were many other climbs on the Mont Blanc. The first woman to reach the top was Marie Paradis on the 14th July 1808, escorted by her 14-year-old son Gédéon and Jaques Balmat as their guide. Thanks to this venture, the woman was nicknamed as "Marie du Mont Blanc". Instead, the first winter climb was on the 31st January 1876 and was conducted by Mary Isabella Stratton, Jean Charlet, Michel Balmat and Sylvain Couttet.
Even today the mountain walls of Mont Blanc are a popular destination for the mountaineers from all over the world. It's possible to climb the Mont Blanc with the right equipment and training and above all an experienced guide: there you will feel the snow under your crampons and enjoy the view from the Top of Europe. The best way to live this experience is always relying on the Alpine Guides.
The best period of the year to climb is definitely summer and, considering the hard journey, need to be already expert mountaineers. On the path it's possible to spend the night and regain strengh in one of the many mountain huts and bivouacs.
The Mont Blanc Garden
In Courmayeur, at an altitude of 2175 mt, there is Saussurea Alpin Garden, the Europe's highest botanical garden. It's one of the four botanical garden in Valle d'Aosta and it hosts almost 7000 square meters of native plant species of Mont Blanc.
The garden takes its name from Horace-Béneédict de Saussure, the first scientist to promote the Mont Blanc's climb. In the garden there is a flower dedicated to him too: the Alpina Saussurea.
It was set up in 1984 by The Donzelli, Gilberti and Ferretti Foundation that protects and studies the Mont Blanc. Since 1987 is active the "Escape Mont Blanc" project too, with the target to design an international park. Inside the park there are many animal species: the Alpine chamois, the eagle, the deer, the roe deer, the marmot, the fox, the Common buzzard, the common kestrel and the barded vulture. The park is open from June to September.
The Mont Blanc's Cableway
Skyway Monte Bianco, the new Mont Blanc Cableway, enable you to set out on an amazing journey to discover majestic landscapes and live an unforgettable experience. As walking for long distances is not required, this experience can be enjoyed by everyone, unless health problems make it inadvisable to stay at high altitudes.
The three stations, Pontal d'Entrèves at 1300 m, Pavillon du Mont Fréty at 2200 m and Punta Helbronner at 3466, are connected by two cableway sections, which are protected spaces built in glass and steel that harmonize with the sourrounding enviroment. The cable cars rotate a full 360 degree along the route, affording full view of the sourrounding peacks.
During the ride, it's possible to stop to visit the Alpine Garden (previous paragraph) and the playground Skyway for Kids. On the inside of Pavillon du Mont Fréty, there are two restaurants, a bar, an events room, a small shopping center and the winery of Cave Mont Blanc. Then there is also a museum area, Hangar 2173, with the exhibition of the cableway's history.
Arriving in the last station, the main attraction is a circular scenic terrace 14 meters in diameter, with a unique all around view over most of the highest peaks of Western Alps. Inside, a Crystal Exhibition Hall, a self service restaurant, a bar and multimadia information points.
Once on the top, during the summer, do not miss the Panoramic Mont Blanc Gondola lift ride ove the Glacier du Géant to the French station Auguille du Midi (3777 m). Excaveted in the heart of Punta Helbronner, there are safety staircases and elevators that connect with the pedestrian tunnel leading to the Torino montain hut.
For more information about Skyway, I suggest you to visit its official wesite.