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Hiking in Chamonix, Chamonix

France's insider take:

Not for nothing does Chamonix call itself the "birthplace of mountaineering." In summer, the mountains are a hikers' paradise, with sparkling-clean air, pine forests, jagged peaks, and meadows filled with wildflowers. Lightweight shorts and boots are sufficient, and trekking poles are useful. Beware of patches of old snow, especially early in the season. Trails are well signposted and accessible either from the valley floor or by cable car. For a good day hike, take a cable car to Plan d'Aiguille then hike across to Montenvers, or take a lift up La Flégère then hike to Lake Blanc.

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