A Week in the Alps, Pt. 1

It’s been a whirlwind week, which I’ll try to cover over a couple posts.

Last Saturday, Ben and I packed our bags and drove 7 hours east to Saint-Étienne, where we met up with Ben’s cousin Ellen. Saint-Étienne is a UNESCO-designated City of Design, and every other year it hosts the Biennale International Design Festival, featuring design artists and projects from UNESCO Cities of Design around the world. This year’s highlighted city was Detroit, and as the point person for both Detroit’s UNESCO designation and its involvement in the festival, Ellen was in town for a week to oversee operations. It made for the perfect excuse to meet up and embark together on a mini adventure once her work obligations wrapped up.

(The Biennale was fantastic, by the way.)

With the French Alps as our general destination, we stopped for a couple nights in Annecy, a small town that sits prettily on the banks of Lake Annecy and makes eyes at the looming mountains in the distance. We rode bikes along the water and couldn’t help but stop every few minutes to marvel at the view.


We found Annecy to be just as alluring in the evenings, as we strolled along the canals and watched the sun dip gently behind the colorful facades of the town.


On Wednesday, we continued into the heart of the French Alps, lodging for a couple days in the quaint ski town of Chamonix. Our first order of business involved getting as high as possible. Literally.

We took a rather precarious cablecar ride to the top of the Aiguille du Midi, one of the highest peaks in the Alps, where we were treated with a 360° view of the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. At an elevation of more than 12,600 feet, the entire experience was breathtaking, in more ways than one.


We ended the day with a quick visit to the Musée des Cristaux, a small museum display of dazzling crystals, many of which were discovered right in Chamonix.


To be continued . . .


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