Getting to Chamonix to start the Tour du Mont Blanc

July 17 and 18, 2019

Our flight to Montreal was supposed to leave at 11:30 am, so we didn’t have to get up too early to make the flight. But we woke up to rain, so we decided to take a taxi to the airport instead of public transit. Paul called Yellow Cabs to arrange a pick-up and after nine minutes on hold the dispatcher answered and sounded confused. He told the dispatcher that we weren’t on Jervis Street and gave him our actual address. We waited for over half an hour and when Paul called back, the dispatcher said “Our records say the taxi already picked you up.” By this time it was 10 am and there was no chance of getting to the airport on time by taxi.

So Rosemary called our neighbour Nancy to see if she could take us to the airport. Luckily she was home, so within five minutes we were on our way. Once we were at the airport we were at the gate within minutes, because we had paid for business class. The flight took off on time, and sitting in business class was really great! Getting on the plane first, good food and snacks, and a very comfy seat. We could get used to that! In Montreal we were off first and walked about 100 metres to our Geneva flight. Way better than Toronto airport where you have a 15-minute walk.

The Geneva flight was delayed by half an hour but once on board everything went smoothly. After dinner we reclined our seats into beds and went to sleep. What a treat sleeping in a horizontal position!

The Mountain Dropoff van to Chamonix took about an hour and fifteen minutes and it dropped us off at the Hotel Richemond, which turned out to be a lovely old hotel. Our room was very spacious and the view from our balcony was lovely. We checked in and started to reorganize our packs. We had booked the Tour du Mont Blanc through Alpine Exploratory and our deal included having them transporting our bags between hotels, so we only had to hike with day packs.

The view from our balcony
The view from our balcony

That done, we watched a bit of the Tour de France on TV but it was one of the boring bits so we decided to go out for a walk instead. Having been in Chamonix three years ago we knew our way around so we just wandered. But even with comfy reclining beds on the plane we’d only slept for about four hours, so we decided to return to our room for a nap.

About 5 pm we woke up and went out to get some dinner. We wandered along the pedestrian street looking at the various restaurants and finally decided to go to one where we had eaten breakfast at three years ago, Café Valentino 2. Rosemary had spaghetti Bolognese and Paul had the special, which was tartiflette and a salad. Both were good but nothing special, but the food made us feel much better.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a grocery to buy lunch food for tomorrow, and back in our room we reviewed our route for tomorrow. We had decided to take the cable car at Bellevue, which would cut out 650 metres of elevation. Tomorrow we begin!

Next: TMB Day 1, Les Houches to Les Contamines