Aiguille du Midi

The Aiguille du Midi is a 3,842 meter tall mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps. The name "Aiguille du Midi" translates literally to "Needle of the Noon" or "Needle of the Mid-day". The mountain gets its name from the fact that it lies to the south when viewed from in front of the church in Chamonix.

A cable car runs to the summit where there is a viewing platform, a café and a gift shop. The cable car was built in 1955 and held the title of the world's highest cable car for about two decades. It still holds the record as the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035 m to 3842 m.

The Aiguille du Midi lift was first thought of by two Swiss engineers in 1905. Their plan was to link the hamlet of Les Pelerins with the summit of l'Aiguille du Midi. The project met technical problems and was abandoned. Four years later a French company, Funicular Railways, made a new attempt and the first section Les Pelerins - La Para was opened in 1924.

The second section La Para - Les Glaciers was completed three years later. It was then the highest cable car in the world. With the outbreak of the WWII and the opening of the Planpraz to Brevent cable car, the popularity of the Aiguille du Midi diminished and it was closed in 1951. An Italian engineer Count Dino Lora Totino was called in to rebuild and extend the cable car. Four years and a lot of hard work later, the new Aiguille du Midi cable car was finally completed. It was entirely renovated in 1991.

View from Aiguille du Midi.

View from Aiguille du Midi