Aiguille du Midi Cable Car: How to See the Best Mont Blanc View in ChamonixWhat to expect from taking the cable car from 1,038 to 3,777 metres
The Needle of Midday
Rising high above the picturesque town of Chamonix in the French Alps, the summit of Aiguille du Midi (Needle of Midday) is the highest of the Chamonix Needles at 3,842 metres – and the most impressive.
These “needles” (sharp mountain spires) comprise some of the most beautiful and dramatic mountain views in all of the Alps if you ask us.
As if that wasn’t enough, just behind them you’ll see Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in Western Europe.
And the best thing? Catching the views of the needles and Mont Blanc only requires a quick cable car ride from the centre of Chamonix; whizzing you from 1,038 metres down in the valley to 3,777 metres at the top station.
In this travel guide to visiting the Aiguille du Midi by cable car in Chamonix, we’ll tell you all about what to expect, when to visit, how to get there and answer the most frequently asked questions about the experience.
Table of contents
- Why visit Aiguille du Midi by cable car
- What to expect when visiting Aiguille du Midi by cable car
- Our experience at Aiguille du Midi
- When to visit Aiguille du Midi
- How to get to the Aiguille du Midi cable car
- Will I get altitude sickness at Aiguille du Midi?
- Frequently asked questions about visiting Aiguille du Midi
- What to bring to Aiguille du Midi
The Aiguille du Midi cable car is located in the city of Chamonix (officially “Chamonix-Mont-Blanc”) in the French Alps in the department of Haute-Savoie, bordering Switzerland to the north and Italy to the east.
Why visit Aiguille du Midi by cable car
If you only make time for one experience during your time in Chamonix, we certainly wouldn’t blame you for taking the cable car to Aiguille du Midi.
Riding the highest cable car in France to visit the imposing, jagged spire (which looks like it’s taken directly from a Bond movie!) is one of the most popular attractions in the Alps for a reason – and definitely one of the best things to do in Chamonix.
The Aiguille du Midi top station (located at 3,777 metres above sea level) offers unparalleled 360-degree views of the Chamonix Valley – and of the iconic Mont Blanc summit still located more than 1,000 metres above you.
Up here, you’ll also find the hair-raising Aiguille du Midi Skywalk (“Step into the Void”), Europe’s second-highest mountain restaurant (“Restaurant Le 3842”) as well as the Pointe Helbronner cable car (“Skyway Monte Bianco”) taking you high above the glaciers all the way to Italy.
What to expect when visiting Aiguille du Midi by cable car
Technically, the Aiguille du Midi cable car is made up of two independent cable car systems.
First cable car (Chamonix to Plan de l’Aigulle)
The first cable car takes you from the town of Chamonix at 1,038 metres above sea level to the Plan de l’Aiguille station at 2,317 metres above sea level, for an elevation gain of 1,279 metres.
This trip takes 6 to 8 minutes with a speed of 7 to 10 metres per second.
Second cable car (Plan de l’Aigulle to Aiguille du Midi)
The second cable car then takes you all the way from Plan de l’Aigulle to Aiguille du Midi at 3,777 metres above sea level, for an elevation gain of 1,470 metres.
This trip (also) takes 6 to 8 minutes, with a slightly higher speed of 9 to 12 metres per second.
Top station (3,777 metres)
Once you’ve reached the top station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car, it’s all about enjoying the magnificent views.
Explore the various viewing platforms to take in the vistas from different angles and perspectives. See if you can point out the nearby spires – and, of course, don’t miss the iconic view of Mont Blanc.
We recommend taking the elevator to the summit, which sits at 3,842 meters above sea level on the aptly named 3842 Terrace. The elevator is quite small, so there may be a short wait in line.
This is also where the Step into the Void – Aiguille du Midi Skywalk is located – a glass box with a chilling 1,000-metre drop. It’s free to visit but the line can be long. At least it was when we visited in June.
Apart from the views, explore the 4D cinema, the various exhibits around the mountain station and the Museum of Alpinism, the highest mountaineering museum ever built.
Our experience at Aiguille du Midi
We visited Aiguille du Midi on the 27th of June.
After parking at Centre-ville / Parking du Grépon, we walked to the Aiguille du Midi cable car station in Chamonix (Téléphérique Aiguille du Midi).
As we had previously bought our tickets online, we presented a QR code at the scanner to enter the line for the cable car.
With a new cable car arriving every 5 minutes, we didn’t have to wait for long.
The first cable car ride went smoothly and so did the transition to the second ride at Plan de l’Aiguille.
How it feels to stand at 3,777+ metres above sea level
Arriving at Aiguille du Midi almost 3,000 metres above where we started, it was noticeably colder than down at the valley floor when we stepped out of the cable car.
The views were also immediately nothing short of gorgeous.
It was a little bit cloudy (as can be expected from the high mountains) but we could easily see the dramatic needles around us as well as the epic summit of Mont Blanc.
After having spent around an hour catching all of the jaw-dropping vistas, we took the cable car back down to Plan de l’Aiguille. Here we walked around for a little while before heading all the way down to Chamonix again.
When to visit Aiguille du Midi
The best time of day to visit Aiguille du Midi
As clouds often cover some or all of the views later in the day, the most popular time to ride the Aiguille du Midi cable car is in the morning.
A clear day is of course to be preferred! Check the weather at the peak here.
The first cable car departs from Chamonix between 06:10 and 08:10 depending on the season.
The last departures to go back down from Aiguille du Midi are between 15:00 and 17:00.
How to get to the Aiguille du Midi cable car
If you’re staying in Chamonix, you can easily walk to the Aiguille du Midi cable car bottom station.
It’s located at 100 Pl. de l’Aiguille du Midi in the southeastern part of town.
By public transport
From the Chamonix train station (Chamonix – Gare SNCF), it’s about 10 minutes to the cable car by foot, so it’s also very convenient if you’re travelling by public transport.
With 800 parking spots in summer and 400 parking spots in winter, it rarely fills up.
The first hour is free, and after that, the price is 1 EUR per hour.
Will I get altitude sickness at Aiguille du Midi?
With altitude sickness occurring when you ascend too rapidly to heights above ~2,500 metres, it’s definitely possible to get altitude sickness at Aiguille du Midi (located at 3,777 to 3,842 metres above sea level).
- Everyone reacts differently to altitude sickness and many visitors won’t be affected at all.
- The lack of oxygen can make you a little lightheaded and catching your breath might be a tad bit more difficult.
- Symptoms of altitude sickness also include nausea, a lack of appetite, drowsiness, fatigue, feeling dizzy and a rapid pulse.
- Ask the staff for help. Please do not hesitate to call the staff at Aiguille du Midi for help if you feel any symptoms. They are trained to help in cases of altitude sickness.
- We thankfully didn’t feel sick but beware of any symptoms and know that they will most likely be alleviated almost instantly by going back down to the valley.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to stay well-hydrated as dehydration can make altitude-related symptoms worse.
If you have preexisting medical conditions or concerns about altitude sickness, consult with a doctor before your trip up to Aiguille du Midi. Officially, visits are discouraged in cases of severe colds or heart problems.
Frequently asked questions about visiting Aiguille du Midi
- What is Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix? Aiguille du Midi is a mountain in the French Alps at 3,842 metres above sea level that can be visited with a cable car from the small mountain town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.
- Why is it called Aiguille du Midi? Aiguille du Midi means “Needle of Midday”. Being such a sharp-looking mountain peak, “needle” makes intuitive sense. It’s named “midday” as the sun is often right behind it at midday when seen from Chamonix.
- How do I get to Aiguille du Midi from Chamonix? The best way to get to Aiguille du Midi from Chamonix is to take the cable car. The first cable car is from the Aiguille du Midi bottom station in Chamonix to Plan de l’Aigulle. From there, the second cable car goes all the way to the Aiguille du Midi mountain station at 3,777 metres above sea level.
- Can you hike to Aiguille du Midi? Yes, it’s possible – but there’s no official path and hiking up to Aiguille du Midi should only be done by professional mountain athletes with lots of alpine experience. Instead, consider hiking up to the middle station of Plan de l’Aigulle from Chamonix. Hiking the Grand Balcon Nord Trail to Refuge du Montenvers from Plan de l’Aigulle is also a popular option.
- Are there guided tours to Aiguille du Midi? Yes, there are official guided tours and thematic workshops at Aiguille du Midi. Make your reservations here.
- What is the elevation of Aiguille du Midi? The elevation of the cable car station at Aiguille du Midi is at 3,777 metres. From here it’s possible to take an elevator to the summit at 3,842 metres.
- What’s the best time to visit Aiguille du Midi? Visiting Aiguille du Midi as early in the day as possible is preferred as the risk of cloud cover increases during the day.
- Are there restaurants at Aiguille du Midi? Restaurant Le 3842, Europe’s second-highest restaurant, is located at the top of Aiguille du Midi. It’s open year-round for lunch but closed in November. There’s also a café/snack bar called Cafeteria Le Summit 3842.
- Can I ski or snowboard at Aiguille du Midi? While Aiguille du Midi is not a ski resort, it serves as a gateway to the high-altitude terrain and world-renowned off-piste skiing areas of the Mont Blanc Massif. Experienced skiers and snowboarders use the Aiguille du Midi cable car to access these challenging backcountry routes. Keep in mind that skiing or snowboarding here requires advanced skills and knowledge of avalanche safety and it’s recommended to do so with a certified guide.
- Is Aiguille du Midi open year-round? Aiguille du Midi is generally open year-round but check for any maintenance closures (often in November). The Aiguille du Midi cable car also closes in bad weather and high winds.
- What’s the weather like at Aiguille du Midi? At almost 4,000 metres of altitude, the summit of Aiguille du Midi is much colder than the weather down in Chamonix. Dress in layers and expect snow and ice even in summer.
- How long should I plan to spend at Aiguille du Midi? Plan to spend around 2 hours at Aiguille du Midi to fully enjoy the views and attractions though it’s also possible to catch the best views in a shorter amount of time. We spent around an hour at the top. Taking the cable car all the way up and down again takes about 45 minutes in total including waiting time.
- What’s the cost of admission to Aiguille du Midi? The price for a roundtrip to Aiguille du Midi is generally 75 EUR per adult. Booking in advance, it’s sometimes possible to purchase a ticket for 55 EUR. The official tickets can be bought online here. Consider the Mont Blanc MultiPass if you plan on riding more cable cars in the Chamonix Valley.
- Is it allowed to fly your drone at Aiguille du Midi? No, it is not allowed to fly a drone at Aiguille du Midi.
- Can I see Mont Blanc from Aiguille du Midi? Yes! In our opinion, the best view of Mont Blanc is from the summit of Aiguille du Midi at 3,842 metres.
- Are there any discounts for students, children or seniors at Aiguille du Midi? There might be discounts available for children aged 5-14 and seniors aged 65+. Check the official prices here. If you travel with more than 2 children from the same family, the third, fourth and fifth child travels for free.
- Can I book tickets for Aiguille du Midi in advance? Yes, as visiting Aiguille du Midi is one of the top attractions in Chamonix, it’s a good idea to book tickets for Aiguille du Midi in advance (especially during peak tourist seasons). Book just a few days in advance if possible to plan for the weather.
- Is there parking available at Aiguille du Midi? Parking is available just 5 minutes away by foot from the Aiguille du Midi bottom station at Centre-ville / Parking du Grépon with 800 parking spots in summer and 400 parking spots in winter. The price is 1 EUR per hour with the first hour being free.
- What can I expect from the view at Aiguille du Midi? You can expect breathtaking panoramic views of the Mont Blanc Massif including the surrounding dramatic peaks and glaciers as well as views down into the Chamonix Valley.
What to bring to Aiguille du Midi
- Travel insurance (adlink). Never travel without it!
- A good camera – here’s a guide to the gear we use.
- Sunscreen (adlink). The sun can be strong up here.
- Warm clothes. It’s much colder at Aiguille du Midi than down in Chamonix. Bring layers.
- Sturdy shoes.
- Water and snacks. Stay well-hydrated to minimise the risk of altitude sickness.
Sustainable travel tips
To minimise your impact, follow these guidelines:
- Bring drinking water in a refillable bottle.
- Avoid single-use plastics.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Take only photos, leave only footprints.
- Respect wildlife.
Thanks for reading
Thanks for reading our travel guide to visiting Aiguille du Midi by cable car. We hope it has been helpful!
What do you think about Chamonix?
If you’ve been to Aiguille du Midi, hearing about your experience would be awesome.
If you haven’t been yet, please don’t hesitate to ask us anything below in the comments. We’re glad to help.