Insta-Adventure: Jason & Emilie Explore The French Alps

12 October 2016
Read Time: 3.8 mins

Our Instagramming friends @helloemilie and @jasoncharleshill ventured out of Paris to the river city of Lyon, before hopping on the very fast train (TGV) to the wonderland that is Chamonix in the French Alps. The towering Mont Blanc was their constant companion as they explored the beauteous peaks and lakes of this region on the French-Italian border. Here they share what they loved most about this leg of their European soujourn.

How does Lyon compare to Paris?

After Paris, Lyon was a great change of pace for us. Where Paris is big, grand and everything magical, Lyon is smaller and a bit more quaint and has all the charm of a smaller traditional French town.

What did you get up to in Lyon, and what did you like most?

We had a short stopover in Lyon and with no time to waste we walked the beautiful streets of the old town, which is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The streets are paved in cobblestones and there are so many hidden alleys, which made it so much fun to explore and navigate our way through. Being such a short experience, we have so many fond memories from our time in Lyon, from the wonderful people and the architecture, but we really enjoyed the sunset we shared overlooking the whole town from La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere.

You got to Lyon on the TGV – what was it like zipping through the countryside?

Watching the French countryside pass by at 300 kilometres and hour was pretty surreal. It was great to see the landscape and the villages as we made our way toward Lyon.

Was the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to Chamonix the perfect photo spot?

Imagine being placed over 3,800 metres up in the French Alps with a 360-degree view of some of Europe’s tallest peaks. It literally takes your breath away.

8000ft above the Chamonix Valley..

A photo posted by Jason Charles Hill (@jasoncharleshill) on

What was your first impression of Chamonix?

Wow ... the mountains were much bigger than we expected. We have always wanted to visit this part of the world and to be able to see Mont Blanc from anywhere in town was an incredible experience.

Chamonix is known for skiing but you were there in the off-season – what did you get up to?

We are always drawn to the mountains and as we arrived in town we knew we had to explore as much as we could in the time we had, so we hiked. The great thing about Chamonix is that all the ski lifts are still in operation for hikers, so you can make you way up and back down the lifts if you just want to get your mountain fix without working up a sweat.

On our first evening, we took Le Brevent cable car up to 2,525 metres to catch sunset, then hiked the three hours back to down under moonlight to Chamonix. It was an amazing experience to be out in the clean mountain air under the shadow of Mont Blanc.

What was your favourite thing to do/see in Chamonix?

It is all so beautiful but if you can only do one thing it has to be the Aiguille du Midi cable car because you don't get too many chances in life to be at over 3,840 metres, which would normally only be accessed by experienced climbers.

More France inspiration:

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Did you find the perfect mountain in the Alps?

There are so many but you can’t go past the grandest of them all, at 4,808 metres – Mont Blanc.

Tell us about Le Faucigny Chamonix, where you stayed.

Le Faucigny Chamonix was amazing. Right in the centre of town and five minutes’ walk from the cable cars and from our room we had a dream view of the tallest mountains in the Alps.

What was the most unexpected thing to do in Chamonix?

One morning we decided to borrow some bikes from the hotel and take a ride and just see where we would end up. Within 15 minutes we found some beautifully reflected lakes that were crystal clear and full of fish.

Lake doubles in the French Alps... Chamonix @chamonix_france @flightcentreau #openmyworld

A photo posted by Jason Charles Hill (@jasoncharleshill) on

Did you manage to capture the alpenglow?

On our hike down on the first evening, we were lucky to experience some alpenglow over Mont Blanc, which truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What was the most amazing thing to photograph?

The mountains! Seriously, the mountains here are huge and with the colours of the pines and wildflowers and snowy peaks, it’s literally a photographer’s heaven.

Lost in the wild flowers in the French Alps... @chamonix_france @flightcentreau #openmyworld

A photo posted by Emilie Ristevski (@helloemilie) on

What would you recommend to your friends about the French Alps?

Pack your hiking boots and put away the internet for a few days. The air is clean and the mountains are beautiful and the trails are endless.

Would you come back for the ski season?

Absolutely yes! We would love to see this place transform into a winter wonderland one day!

Next up: Jason and Emilie explore Rome.

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Renae Spinks

Travel for me is about conversations and connections. There’s nothing like setting foot in a new land and meeting people a world apart. From talking to North Sea fishermen in Norway’s Lofoten Islands to breakfast chat at a B&B in my own back yard, there’s always a story to share and a tale to tell.