Wheelchair Travel Chamonix Mont Blanc
Chamonix is exciting, even for wheelchair users. Starting at the tourist office, there is a lowered desk at wheelchair height, which is always a good sign. They gave me a special info pack (also available online ) with their accessibility information. They also advised me on which cable cars were open and answered my questions. Very friendly and helpful staff.
Wheelchair Accessible Cable Car Ride to Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix Mont Blanc
Warning: This is Europe’s highest cable car at an altitude of 3842m. I found it more difficult to breathe at this altitude. Physically fit, strong, healthy carer required (it wasn’t just me who was out of breath). Ascend at your own risk.
We went straight to the information desk outside of the station. The woman who served us should get an award for being friendly, knowledgeable about the access and super helpful. She explained which areas were wheelchair accessible, then went to the front of the large queue and bought our tickets for us. Next, she left us at the front of the departure gate queue, while she got our tickets swiped for boarding. As a wheelchair user I got boarding priority to all the cable car journeys.
The first part is the cable car to Plan de Aiguille. There is no wheelchair access to the viewing area here, so we just changed here to the cable car up to Aiguille du Midi. At the top station I had a dizzy spell. I felt quite giggly, but very weak and thought I might drop dead from altitude sickness. I survived by doing some deep breathing techniques and keeping still to conserve energy. Most areas are wheelchair accessible. There are disabled toilets, a museum and several viewing areas. We crossed the bridge and took the elevator to the top viewing platform. Here we found a 360 degree panoramic view of ice, snow and clouds nestled amongst rocky spires and peaks. Luckily we were there on a clear day, the views are spectacular.
Show your blue badge or disabled ID card to get 50% off for you and your carer. (The 50% discount applies to the multipass too.) There are free disabled parking bays in front of the Aiguille du Midi station. Ask for the key to the disabled toilets at the info desk.
Accessible Train to the Glacier – Mer de Glace, Chamonix Mont Blanc
This station was quite busy. There’s no point queuing with the crowds to board the Montenvers Mer du Glace Train. If you are in a wheelchair let the staff know and they will bring you around a different way to board the train. It involves ramps and the ascent onto the train is quite steep. You definitely need a strong carer for this part. Two members of staff also helped with the transfer, so I had 3 people pushing and guiding my chair up the ramp.
After a pleasant mountain train journey, we arrived at an altitude of 1913 metres. More ramp action to get me off the train, then a mooch around, enjoying the glacial and mountain scenery.
There is a small crystal museum with some huge crystals. It’s a fairly steep downward slope from the station to get there, but not long. There is also a sunny viewing deck that’s accessible. You can see the ice cave down below from here. The ice cave is not wheelchair accessible so I waited on the deck while my carer went down the hundreds of steps to check it out.
The path to the Glaciorium and the Grand Hotel Restaurant are okay if a bit bumpy. There is a short gravelly bit (a bit annoying) on the slope at the entrance to the Glaciorium. We watched a few short films there about glaciers.
Wheelchair Walks In Chamonix Mont Blanc
Around town - Chamonix beckons the wheelchair traveller with its relatively flat valley. The smooth pedestrianized, café lined tourist centre is easy to navigate, but stray off the beaten track and the one area you will find it is not so generous is; drop curbs.
By the river – Follow Promenade du Fori by l’Arve for a flat easy access walk.
In the forest – Go for a roll in Bois du Bouchet, where they have a lovely easy access forest walk. It caters for different disabilities and has a cute little wooden chalet for a disabled toilet at the start of the trail. There is parking just off Route du Bouchet.
How To Spend A Rainy Day In Chamonix
There are 2 museums in the town which I didn’t have time to visit. Musee des Cristaux is apparently completely accessible. Musee Alpin is an old building so it’s ground floor only for wheelchair users.
Accommodation and Camping in Chamonix Mont Blanc
Travelling on a budget we stayed at Camping Les Deux Glaciers. In late September it was quite nippy at night, which is not surprising being so close to Glacier des Bossons. There is a disabled toilet which was opened on request. No wheelchair access to the reception. The campsite is a bit hilly but there are flat pitches near the disabled toilet. The pitches are very pretty. Think rambling stream, flowers, wooden chalet huts and astonishing sunset views of peaks and glaciers from your tent. There is traffic noise though from the nearby motorway. It’s lessened by the sounds of the glacial stream (if you camp near it) and the road is not as busy at the weekend.
Check out the accessibility info online for more accommodation.
Velo Route in Chamonix
We did some wheelchair biking in Chamonix too. More info coming up in future posts.