The View from Above: Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

High Above the Clouds - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
High Above the Clouds – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

Facing Fear

Fear is a part of our daily lives in some form or another. We all confront situations that make us weak at the knees and that make our heart pound a little faster. For some, it is public speaking. For others, it is spiders. For many, it is failure. But, no matter what we are afraid of, it is important that we do not let it consume us.

That is why it is important to face our fear. To look it in the eye. To try to overcome it. And if that is not possible, then we need to learn some techniques and/or coping mechanisms to ensure that fear doesn’t hold us back from doing the things we want to do.

I have been trying to overcome my fear of heights and flying for a long time. For those who follow my blog, you know that it always hasn’t been this way. There was one incident all those years ago which sparked and ignited my anxiety.

However, I refuse to let it hold me back. And even though I want to back out or give up sometimes, I always find that little bit of bravery deep down inside which enables me to surge forward.

I know I have talked about it before, but this post is another prime example of how facing your fears can turn into a beautiful memory that will last a lifetime. It shows how something will be even more precious to you because you nearly backed out, but you didn’t. It shows how being brave can create a shining moment of pure bliss!

Picture Perfect - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Picture Perfect – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

Chamonix, France

Chamonix is a lovely quaint town situated in the French Alps and borders Italy and Switzerland. The town lies at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps.

My husband and I spent five glorious days there during our stay in France, right before our Canadian wedding. Yes, when most brides are usually stressing, I was traveling through France with stops in Lyon and Chamonix, before making our way to Paris, and then, onto Canada.

The following is one of my fondest memories of the place. [I may write a blog post specifically about the town of Chamonix in the future.]

The Cable Car Arriving - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
The Cable Car Arriving – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

The Cable Car at the First Stop [Half Way there] - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix
The Cable Car at the First Stop [Half Way there] – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix
Rewind 10 Years Ago – The Journey Up

It may have been ten years ago, but it feels like it happened just moments ago. [Well, it will be ten years ago on Friday, September 11th, 2015.] I recently flicked through the pictures I posted on my personal facebook account of that day and each memory still remains so fresh, like a blissful dream.

But, getting up there was anything but blissful.

We had been in Chamonix for a couple of days by then, but we had opted to wait for the perfect day to make the journey. The adventure had a hefty price tag and we wanted the best conditions, weather wise, which would warrant the most amazing views. [Check out this website for more info and current rates.]

I recall the excitement I felt waking up that morning, the tension in my body while I tried to enjoy a baguette and coffee for breakfast, and the shakes of nervousness I had when we joined the line to purchase our tickets.

I remember stepping into the Aiguille du Midi cable car with several others, most racing to claim the perfect stops to gaze out of the windows. However, I was the only one gripping to the pole that stood in the middle of the cable car for dear life.

As we started to move, I could feel myself leaving solid ground. I shut my eyes even tighter and focused on my breath, but even that couldn’t drown out the loud beating of my heart. My palms became sweaty when I felt the swinging movement. My legs started to tremble when I felt it swaying from side to side.

Soon, we were back on solid ground. We needed to switch to the second cable car to continue the journey upward. I panicked. I told my husband I couldn’t continue. I begged him to go on to the top without me. But, like most times, I had a moment of bravery, and I was in the second cable car, being whisked up even further.

We climbed higher and higher. My ears popped as we reached higher elevation. I could feel the chill from Mont Blanc welcoming me. We were soon above the clouds and had reached our destination, standing on top of a mountain, at a whopping 3842 meters in the air.

I stepped out of the cable car and I felt dizzy. It was hard to walk as my legs felt numb. A solid bridge, that hung nearly 4000 meters stood before me. There was no land beneath it – needless to say, it was a very long way down. The mere sight of it made my stomach sick. But, I pushed forward.

View From Above - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
View From Above – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
The Bridge - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
The Bridge – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
The Structure at the Top - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
The Structure at the Top – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
The View - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
The View – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Helicopter Above the Clouds -Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Helicopter Above the Clouds -Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

The Scenery = Pure Bliss

I took a deep breath and crossed the bridge. Only then did I realize how magical the view was. Eventually, the nervousness faded and I was able to appreciate the beautiful scenery surrounding me. I soon forgot about how high I was, but rather how I wanted to stay there for as long as possible, to treasure the scenery surrounding me.

I felt on top of the world, both literally and figuratively!!

And while my husband was snapping photos, he overheard a woman telling someone where she was from. He came over and whispered ‘She is from the same area you are from.’

I went over to talk to her and sure enough, my husband had heard correctly. There were about 50 people on the mountain at the same time as us that day. It is hard to believe that two of those people were from the small area of Canada that I am from.

We stayed up there the entire morning. For a solid three hours, we took pictures and enjoyed the view. Eventually, the clouds started to creep in, signalling to us that it was time to leave.

Going Up - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Going Up – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
View from the First Cable Car Stop - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
View from the First Cable Car Stop – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

Going Down - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Going Down [The View of Chamonix from the Cable Car] – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Nearly Back on Solid Ground - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Nearly Back on Solid Ground [View of Chamonix & the Cable Car Station] – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

Celebrating Being on Solid Ground Again - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car
Celebrating Being on Solid Ground Again – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car

The Return

Going down wasn’t that bad at all. I still held onto the pole, but I managed to open my eyes for most of the ride down to the first station. Mont Blanc was invisible by then, secretly hiding above the cloud cover.

We exited the cable car and decided to enjoy the view of Chamonix for a while before taking the last cable car. I was so relaxed by then, so happy that I had made the journey. We proceeded downward and the entire adventure was over.

We had lunch at a nearby restaurant and toasted our adventure with a glass of wine. And then, my husband revealed the video he shot on the way up – the beautiful view of Chamonix, the view of the mountains as the cable car climbed, all of the people watching in awe, and then me, standing in the middle holding onto the pole like a lifeline. Priceless!!!!

And I still can’t believe it was ten years ago! It is funny how some memories remain so fresh.

What is your greatest fear and what do you do to overcome it? Be sure to let me know in the comment box below. 

**All pictures, included in this post, were taken by my husband.**

Like this post?  Then, feel free to pin one of these images!

Pure Bliss (2) - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Pure Bliss (2) – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Pure Bliss (1) - Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France
Pure Bliss (1) – Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

 

 

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53 thoughts on “The View from Above: Taking the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix, France

  1. we were there last year in August… glad to hear you like my homeland! ❤ btw, the Germans and the Dutch have a saying: we all have 2 homelands – ours and France! 🙂 in fact, there are lots of them who have purchased country houses all over France, and here in our Midi-Pyrénées region, we've been "invaded"(sic!) by them these past 20 years… 🙂

    1. Yes, Melanie! I did indeed love your homeland and had a fantastic time there. It was wonderful to travel around and see the different sides of France. I can understand why they would be eager to purchase country homes there. It is such a lovely place.

    1. Wow! Great minds think alike. I have been wanting to share my Chamonix experience for awhile because those pictures my husband took are extraordinary. They even look amazing after 10 years [as cameras have improved a lot since then]. I will drop by to read your post soon. Hope life is treating you well in Europe!

  2. These are beautiful shots, Constance. Draw dropping. What a view from above. It almost looks surreal, like that is a whole other planet at the top. Good on you for staying strong and conquering your fear of heights. It must have felt like an eternity going up, but good that the pole was quite a distraction for you. For a moment I thought you’d crush it with your bare hands… 😉

    One of my greatest fears is spiders. For a long, long time I couldn’t even look at them. Then, one hot summer’s night a massive spider the size of a fist found it’s way through my opened window. I jumped up, off course, and ran from my room. Then my mum came in with a bug spray and somehow I followed – I watched her spray it and the spider shrank to the size of a coin. I thought it was hilarious and ever since then I am okay looking at spiders 🙂

    1. Yes, Mabel. My husband did a fantastic job capturing photos of the scenery. They look amazing, even after 10 years [as cameras have improved a lot since then]. It was an incredible day, weather wise, which made for some fantastic views.

      I was so lucky there was something to hold onto. I not sure if I could have made it to the top otherwise. It was funny seeing myself so nervous though.

      Spiders are certainly not one of my favorite things either, so I can understand your fear. I know they have pretty huge ones here in Taiwan. Luckily, I haven’t seen one yet.

  3. Congratulations on managing the cable car ride and going around the mountain. Three years ago we went to Hua Shan near Xi’an which is one of the holy mountains in China. Needless to say the cable car ride was scary for me as it brought us to roughly 1800m, more often than not the ground was barely visible. Later we went up to the south peak with 2100m or so, it was packed with people there just as in the cities 🙂

  4. Breathing taking views. Love the photos.

    Lloyds of London in the City of London has quite a story to it. It stands out in so many ways; planning permission, design, upkeep (inside out). It is an iconic building designed by the infamous Lord Rogers.

    It has in the past, open to the public for one day only. As one step into the elevator, one is taken back by the views all around you. Then, one’s heart beat skipped a bit, the floors of the elevator are transparent.

    1. Thanks so much!! I’m glad you like the photos!

      The elevator in the Lloyds of London Building sounds terrifying [but the architecture of the building looks pretty awesome]. I think I would have problems riding in it. I know some cable cars here in Taiwan have glass floors. I think I would have many terrified if I ever got in one of those.

      1. You have good taste in architecture, Constance. High five!

        We, from the Young Chamber of Commerce went on a private tour of Lloyds of London. They never warned us about the glass floor. I only found out as I stepped into the elevator and the door closed. Where were we heading? Yes, top floor. What’s more, the elevators are located on the exterior part of the building. Nicceeee!

        In the Irish Republic, we came across a sheer drop on a hiking trip. We had to turn back and went on gentle but a longer route because I couldn’t do it. On another hiking trip in the republic, I went down on my bottom; it was steep but grassy. Yes, I had a wet bottom not out of fear but the grass was very wet. Lol, this was Ireland. It’s called the Emerald Isle because they receive so much rain.

        1. Yes, and I bet the elevators are glass? That would probably be scary. We had one of those types of elevators in one of the newer buildings of the university I attended, but it only had four or five floors. It was a weird feeling being whisked up from the ground.

          That happened to me once as well. There was a vertical climb, but it would have been far more dangerous to turn around as we had just climbed over a steep incline of loose rocks and we were just meters from the top.

  5. Before I read the post, I thought you were going to say that you skied down! I felt nervous. I am also scared of heights. I think I remember you posting on this topic before. I know how hard it can be to face that fear!

    1. Yes, I know I have written about this topic in the past. Sorry for being a little repetitive. However, there was no other way to describe the cable car journey and the French Alps experience unless I talked about it again. And I really wanted to share those pictures.

      It is funny you should mention skiing. I used to take the ski lift and ski down some pretty steep slopes. I don’t know if I would have the nerve now.

  6. I’m not particularly afraid of heights, but that trip would have frightened me. Congratulations on overcoming your fear. The view was gorgeous–all those rough mountains peeking out of the clouds and the blue sky above.

    When I see a snake, it always sets my heart pounding, but I guess that’s not unusual.

    1. We were very lucky that the weather was perfect and the scenery was just stunning. Out of the five days we were there, this was the only clear and sunny day. You couldn’t even see Mount Blanc the day we left.

      I think I would be terrified if I saw a snake in the forest or something. That being said, I have held a snake around my neck a couple of times.

  7. The view was truly amazing!

    I am not specially scared of heights, but I don’t enjoy ferris wheels, cable cars and things like that. They just don’t feel safe, haha. Particularly in China… I have seen some really old cable cars!!

    1. We were truly lucky that the weather cooperated for us and we got to see such amazing views.

      I don’t think I would be able to go on an old cable car, especially if it looks old [usually that means it isn’t well maintained.] However, I would love to have the nerve to take the Sun Moon Lake cable car.

  8. Ohhh I can clearly remember when I was there too. I am also very afraid of heights!! I was in Charmonix, but didn’t go up the Mont Blanc, but rather another mountain for skiing with my sis. I think it was the most terrifying cable car I have been to. I cried the whole time going to the top, my legs were trembling and I felt like I was in free fall. I hate this fear, sometimes it prevents me of doing so many fun things.
    Returning was also not bad, but the way up was the worse, I was really really scared. 😦

    You are brave!! Congratulations for making to the top, I don’t think I could have done!!

    Thank you for joining #MondayEscapes

  9. That is wonderful that you faced your fears! I always find after you face them you will always be rewarded in the end and I’d say seeing that view is just a wonderful reward! Loving the view, makes me want to visit this place now!

    1. Thanks so much, Yvonne. It is always awesome to look fear in the face and to overcome it. I am so glad that I had a moment of bravery as it would have turned out to be one of my biggest regrets if I hadn’t seen those amazing views with my very own eyes.

  10. Beautiful! Good on you for conquering your fear of heights. I also have a fear of heights but strangely when it comes to cable cars it doesn’t bother me so much. I think it’s because I get lost in the views and focus on that instead of my nerves. I’m sure you’re glad you made it up there to see the view from above!

  11. I’ve never been to Chamonix, but your post and photo are really convincing. The Aiguille du Midi Cable Car ride looks a little scary though…

  12. This place is breathtaking. Wow! Can’t believe how beautiful it is. Glad to hear you didn’t let your fear interfere with this adventure. I like to read stories like the ones you have presented here. I am afraid of heights and of planes too. However, do not let those fears stop me from certain things I want to do or accomplish. In less than a month, I will be taking a long flight and I am starting to worry about it. I keep telling myself that everything is going to be ok and that the reward will be awesome.

  13. I love heights and any time I’m on the top of something, I think about jumping off (with a parachute or similar) but I remember a few years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I got on a cable car like this one and I had a panic attack. I had to lay flat on the floor of the car so I didn’t pass out. Everyone had to move to the side for me and it was packed. It was something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. Never again will I judge people for their fears. Sometimes you can’t control it. Congratulations for overcoming it 🙂

  14. Please write about your stay in town! The location alone (France, Italy, AND Switzerland!?) sounds stunning; left over from another time. This is a beautiful post; I love it! I can imagine that video is hilarious! From the ride up to the views to the glass of wine at the bottom, this just sounds heavenly.

  15. I am not a fan of heights either, but somehow skiing has made me a lot better. I am still not great, but I can do gondolas easily now, like when Gordon left me to catch the gondola from 3,300m at Zermatt by myself. I shook the whole way and was the only one in the damn thing

  16. That view and your photos are gorgeous! I have a friend who is terribly afraid of heights and cable cars are a nightmare for him, but in the end, the view is always worth it 🙂

  17. What a way to face your fear! The cable car sounds a bit scary – i’d be nervous at that one! I used to be scared of flying until one day I had a horrific experience flying back from Shanghai to Xi’an and it seemed to cure me. I was so tired I just couldn’t be bothered with it anymore!

  18. My legs started shaking as I read your post! I don’t like heights much, but push thru too. I’m so glad you did, because your husbands photos are beautiful!! I try not to let fear keep me from experiencing life at its best. I hope you keep facing fear and experience more great adventures!! Thanks for sharing!

  19. I’ve always wanted to go to Chamonix and even more so now! That’s an amazing trip to do before you get married. And well done to you for facing your fears and getting up that high. Your shots are so worth it! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  20. Lovely pictures, it looks like a great place to try to conquer your fear; definitely a good reward for going to the top 🙂 We went to Lyon as part of our honeymoon, it was beautiful! I wish we had got to see the Alps. We have friends that just go back from hiking around the Alps for 2-weeks it is all so beautiful.

  21. Wow, that must have been hard to do with a fear of heights. I’ve done cable cars like that in Switzerland, and while I don’t have a fear of heights, I have to admit to feeling a little uneasy. For me, just seeing that the car is suspended in the air freaks me out a bit! What beautiful photos, and a sweet memory of facing a fear with your hubby by your side, right before your wedding!

  22. I know exactly how you feel. I’m scared of deep water and very rarely swim in the open sea or venture out into the deep water when I’m by the beach. One time I actually pushed myself to swim a bit further out even though I knew the water would be deeper. It wasn’t that far out but my heart was pounding the whole time I swam further and further until I turned back. It’s not easy to conquer your fears so good that you managed to do it this time. 🙂

  23. Wow stunning scenery and amazing pictures! I love the Alps and we’ve been lucky enough to go there several times – Chamonix is on my wishlist. My husband gets physically ill on cable cars and I’ve had a few stressful rides with him. Last year I went up Mt Pilatus near Lucerne by myself as he refused to go any higher than first base. It’s so beautiful up in the mountains 🙂 Best wishes, Rosemary, Le Chic En Rose #mondayescapes

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