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A LONG WEEKEND IN THE FRENCH ALPS

September 24, 2020 | Chamonix, France | By Whitney Hubbell

FIRST OF ALL... SHOULD WE GO?

IS IT WORTH THE DRIVE?

Chamonix has been on my list since as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I used to make powerpoint presentations to convince my parents to send me places like a tennis camp or an adventure trip. Not many of the PowerPoints succeeded, probably due to their outrageous expense or how far around the world they were, and Chamonix was one of them that didn’t convert. So about 20 years later, when I found myself in Arles, France with my boyfriend and two friends, discussing weekend getaways, I immediately thought of Chamonix. 

A cabin we encountered at the last part of our mountain biking trek on Mount ___ 

MY LIFELONG QUEST

The group needed some convincing as they seemed mostly interested in coastline adventures - especially as it was the heat of the summer in July. I decided a powerpoint presentation was imperative for my success. So for the second time in my life, I made a powerpoint presentation to complete my homage to the Alps and this time, failure was not an option. I presented the PowerPoint at dinner, and supplemented by google images of the famous alpine train, Mont Blanc’s commanding beauty, panoramic tram rides - the presentation was a huge success.

 

By the end of dinner, the group was thoroughly convinced that the he 4.5 hour drive to the Alps would be well worth it. The next day, Chris and Bre went to work at the boatyard, so John elected himself responsible for arranging the airbnb lodging in Chamonix for the weekend. He spent the entire day looking for the most quintessential alpine chalet that wasn’t a million dollars and finally settled on one. About an hour later I checked in to see the status of the booking, but the response was devastating. John found out the the weather would be horrid and a 4.5 hour drive to Chamonix to sit in the rain would be less than ideal. For the second time in my life, my quest to Chamonix would be denied. I was crushed.

A cabin we encountered at the last part of our mountain biking trek on Mount ___ 

OKAY, TIME TO PACK.

But when Bre and Chris came home and I told them what John said, they were quite surprised as they were under the impression that the trip was still on. In fact, they had just gone to the Decathalon store to buy rain jackets in preparation! We decided that the chance of rain was a risk worth taking. *Ahhh sigh of relief* the trip was back on!!! (or it was never off). We packed the essentials for an early morning departure; essentials being picnic supplies and warmest clothes we had, which wasn’t a lot given the fact we had all packed for a Mediterranean sailing trip. 

 

The next morning, Bre made a queshe- which Bre and I snacked on in the backseat of the Jeep. Shockingly, baked egg isn’t the best smelling food to bring in an enclosed vehicle on a road trip.  

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THE JOURNEY BEGINS

According to the GPS, a little town called Annecy was the halfway point between Arles and Chamonix. I perked up at the name of the town, "Annecy? I remember that from my French class textbooks…. We HAVE to go!"

 

We arrived to the little alpine lake village and it was exactly like the pages from my textbook: insanely gorgeous. It took about a year and a half to find a parking spot in this popular tourist town, but once we got out and made our way down to the lake, the four of us were in awe; the lake was bright blue and crystal clear with dramatic mountains surrounding the circumference. It was a perfect sunny day and the water was calling our name.

 

We walked around for a little and Bre, who is decidingly, the groups voice of reason, poised the question that everyone was thinking in their minds… “why don’t we grab some beers and rent a boat for a couple hours and then continue on our way to Chamonix?” YES. I almost jumped out of my shoes to run back to the car and throw on my bathing suit.

 

So it was decided, John and I would go back to the car to get everyones swimsuits, while Bre and Red bought beers and reserved a speedboat rental. I was so excited I sprinted ahead in the wrong direction of the car and John (who has a much better sense of direction than me) finally realized our mistake and we had to double back. I changed into my bikini in the parking lot, grabbed Bre and Red’s bathing suits, and we sprinted back to the lake. Bre and Red had made arrangements for an adorable little Duffy and we piled in. Captain Red politely sat through the tutorial of how to drive a boat, and off we went. 

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HOW TO SPEND A LONG WEEKEND IN CHAMONIX