A great broken tooth of rock rearing among the Alpine fastness of the Mont Blanc massif, the Aiguille du Midi (3842m) is one of Chamonix’ most distinctive geographical features. If you can handle the altitude, the 360-degree views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps from the summit are (quite literally) breathtaking. Year-round, you can float in a cable car from Chamonix to the Aiguille du Midi on the vertiginous Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi.
Up top, you can take in the view in literally every direction (including straight down, thanks to the glass-floored Step into the Void). Halfway up, Plan de l’Aiguille (2317m) is a terrific place to start hikes or to paraglide.
Bring warm clothes, as even in summer the temperature at the top rarely rises above -10°C (in winter be prepared for -25°C).
From the Aiguille du Midi, between late May and September, you can continue for a further 50 minutes of mind-blowing scenery – think glaciers and spurs, seracs and shimmering ice fields – in the smaller bubbles of the Télécabine Panoramique Mont Blanc to Pointe Helbronner (3466m) on the France–Italy border. A new cable car can then take you a further 4km to the Val d'Aosta ski resort of Courmayeur, on the Italian side of Monte Bianco.