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  • Dalit Gliksman

Paris and the French Alps

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Bonjour from the land of patisserie and wine every day. Where baguettes and croissants have zero calories, and so does fat cheese as long as you are a true French. At least this is how the fairytale goes.

Paris, 2011 [when we were young and beautiful]

I've been to Paris four times by now, and every single time I've visited different places. it's huge and has endless places to see.

We stayed at Victoria Palace Hotel, a classy neighborhood near Saint Germain and Luxemburg Palace. The hotel is a 3-min walk from a metro and bus station, a quiet location with plenty of restaurants and cafes.

Victoria Palace Hotel, Paris

How to spend 48h in Paris?

Explore the Le Marais neighborhood. Take the Metro/Bus to Saint Paul station, and buy products for the perfect picnic breakfast

Cheese at Fromagerie Laurent Dubois Bastille , fresh baguette at Miss Manon. And go for a fine picnic at Place des Vosges. Additional delicious Pattiseseries are nearby; Maison Landemaine and Maison Aleph.

Keep walking the beautiful allies of La Marais and grab a quick bite at a tiny and delicious sandwicherie names Chez Alain Miam Miam.

Have an early dinner at Frenchie Pigalle [first come first serve] and then climb up [12 min walk] to see a sunset at the Montmartre Cathedral.

Picnic at Place de Vosges, Paris

Grab a bite at Chez Alain Miam Miam

The Montmartre Cathedral

Dedicate the next day to exploring the 7th ARR neighborhood. Breakfast at Coutume Cafe, and walk through Luxemburg Palace toward the Pantheon and Saint-Etienne-du-mont.

Lunch at Le Relais de L'entrecote. A classic French restaurant serves only one dish. A perfect caesar salad, entrecôte with creamy incredible Provance mustard sauce and french fries. That's it. Trust me you won't regret it.

Les Invaldes, Paris

If this is your first time in Paris, you should be a tourist and visit the iconic sites such as The Louvre, Gallery Lafayette, picnic at the Eiffel Tower park, Arch de Triumph, and shop at Champs de Elysees boulevard.

But my favorite spots in Paris are; The Montmartre Cathedral, Les Invalides Museum, Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Luxembourg Gardens, and Albert-Kahn museum and garden county‬.

Visiting a new patisserie every day should be your main goal on this trip because they are simply the best. Here are some of THE best boulangeries out there; Maison Landemaine, Yann Couvreur Patisserie, Miss Manon. For Chooclate lovers visit Jacques Genin and Alain Ducasse.

Annecy Lake

Five days in the French Alps

Take a train from Paris to Annecy (4.5 h). A small beautiful town under the Alps. Take a boat tour of the lake, explore the old town and hike around the lake, and visit Chateau de Annecy, Palace I'IIe, and Thiou River. From Annecy take the train to Chamonix (1h) [unless you're staying in a different village]

Annecy Old Town

How to spend five days in the French Alps

First, the best time to visit is June. July and August are also good weather-wise but packed with tourists. We visited during mid-August and for us it was perfect.

The biggest and most famous city is Chamonix, however, we decided to stay in Argentiere. Less touristic, and 12 min ride from Chamonix.

Where to stay?

We choose a basic 2-star hotel Le Dahu to fit our budget and needs, and it had anything we needed. Good breakfast and a comfy room. The only disadvantage is it's located on the town's main road and can get noisy, but many of the hotels in the Alps are built on the main road.

Two more places I've seen but haven't visited: Yeti Lodge and Hotel Les Grands Montets.

There is no need for a car rental in the French Alps which saves a lot of money and makes it easier to travel. A free shuttle bus goes all around towns, cable car stops, and trailheads. Also, the Alpine train can get you quickly to Swiss and other destinations.

Argentiere, French Alps

Day 1: explore Aregentiere; there is a beautiful river stream and many hiking routes, the best one is Argentiere Glacier. Walk 8 min the Grands Montets cable car to go up to the trailhead [3,400m]. The hike takes around 1.5h for each direction [including stops and taking photos], flat and easy. We walked on a group of 75-years-old granny and myself 5-months pregnant.

When you head back down, eat lunch near Restaurant La Cremerie du Glacier located in the middle of the first near the town's river. [during high season, reservation is required]

Another sweet spot in town for lunch or a snack is Tête-à-Thé. For Parisian patisserie try Boulangerie L'alpain.

Day 2: Hike to Lac Blanc

Take the shuttle to Les Praz and take the La Flegere cable car up to the trailhead [two cable cars are needed, you change at the top]

From the trailhead, hike for 2.5h in each direction [moderate hike but not too difficult]

Lac Blanc, French Alps

Lac Blanc, French Alps

Lac Blanc, French Alps

Day 3: Chamonix and Mont Blanc; walk the beautiful town and shops. You'll find the best brands out there for hiking and skiing.

Catch the cable car from Chamonix city center up to Mont Blanc, Aiguille Du Midi at 3,842m for an amazing view of the famous Mont Blanc. No serious hiking today [besides the shopping you'll do]. And take a deep view of the beautiful unforgettable landscape of Chamonix.

You can also take a cable car to the Courmayeur [Italian side] from Chamonix, supposed to be beautiful but we didn't visit.

Tickets for Mont Blanc cable car are limited per day, check the weather in advance and reserve your spot in case you're visiting during high season and forecasting a sunny day.

[no refund in case of bad weather]

If you're into extreme sports, there is a paragliding option from the mont blanc with a guide.

Chamonix, Mont Blanc

Day 4: Mer de Glace, Alpine train to Les Drus mountains

Book Alpine train tickets that go up to Les Drus and the Glacier. Departs from Montenvers Mer de Glace Train [in Chamonix] The train and trail are suitable for kids, the hike down from Les Drus takes 30 min round trip and has many stairs along the way. A cute coffee shop for lunch is available in Les Durs stop.

We combined this on the same day with The Mont Blanc and bought multipass at a discount.

Day 5: Courmayeur takes the bus to Italy, to visit the beautiful Alpine town. [also possible by cable car as I mentioned earlier]

If you're into more hiking and got more time, plan ahead and hike the TMB Tour of Mont Blanc from French Alps to the Italian and Swiss parts [Approx. two weeks is needed] Cabins are available along the trail.

Author notes;

  • Summer days can get warm but a coat is always needed. Bring a light and warm jacket, and comfortable shoes.

  • The cable car can get pricy, try to buy a weekly pass if possible and aligned with your trip plans

  • Check the weather before you hike and expect rainy days, I recommend staying 1-2 days longer than you think is needed just in case of bad weather

  • Every morning we bought Fresh cheese and baguettes for lunch on the trail. after 15:30 almost no restaurant serves lunch in town so plan ahead.

Aiguille du Midi, 3484m


Aiguille Du Midi, Mont Blanc

Paraglide at Chamonix
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