Lonely Planet review
A jagged needle of rock rearing above glaciers, snowfields and rocky crags, 8km from the hump of Mont Blanc, the Aiguille du Midi (3842m) is one of Chamonix’ most distinctive landmarks. If you can handle the height, the 360-degree views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps from the summit are (quite literally) breathtaking.
Year-round the vertiginous Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi cable car links Chamonix with the Aiguille du Midi. Halfway up, Plan de l’Aiguille (2317m) is a terrific place to start hikes or paraglide. In summer you'll need to obtain a boarding card (marked with the number of your departing and returning cable car) in addition to a ticket. Bring warm clothes, as even in summer the temperature rarely rises above -10°C at the top.
From the Aiguille du Midi, between late June and early September, you can continue for a further 30 minutes of mind-blowing scenery – think suspended glaciers and spurs, seracs and shimmering ice fields – in the smaller bubbles of the Télécabine Panoramic Mont Blanc to Pointe Helbronner (3466m) on the French-Italian border. From here another cable car descends to the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur.