Today we use our free bus/train passes to travel up the Chamonix Valley to Vallorcine. The passes were given to us on the first day, and are used to encourage every one to leave their cars at home or in the car parks rather than clog up the narrow roads to/from Chamonix. As we walk to the bus stop, we pass the patisserie - I make a mental note to call in on our return!
Somehow, the boulangerie isn't as attractive!
The bus is already loaded up with cyclists and their mountain bikes and we slither into a space at the rear adjacent to the bikes. At Le Tour, just beyond Argentiere, a special mountain bike track was built in 2014 and these guys are clearly dressed for the downhill experience - the bikes don't need pedals but they do need very good brakes. The scenery changes as we climb higher, more plateau and meadowland than Chamonix because it hasn't been built on. I can imagine how Chamonix once looked and wish I had visited a long time ago.
When the bus stops, we're only 2.3 kms from Switzerland (Martigny), so it is possible to travel from Italy, through France to Switzerland in a matter of hours by train. There are no cafes in Vallorcine, so we hop on the train back to Argentiere and find an excellent lunch café, Le Grenier. I have a delicious crepe filled with spinach and mushrooms - you only get a picture of the last mouthful because I forget to snap it before I tuck in!
The train departs Argentiere with us on board - it's clean, and definitely on time. Tomorrow we travel for 5 hours by train from Chamonix to Lyon - I expect it will be as good as this local train
We've missed the wildflowers, which are at their best earlier in the summer. But I spot some Flanders poppies, so bright and chirpy
The cornflowers attract some visitors too.
I'm intrigued by a woman sitting plucking stems from these chanterelle mushrooms - they'd be delicious in an omelette
And so back to Chamonix for the last evening - a quick stop to replenish stores in the local supermarket include a very nice Chablis. We have been spoilt for choice in wines. And not to forget the patisserie - after all it is our last night in Chamonix!
And I must add that Richard and I shared this tarte des fruits with my sister and her family, we didn't eat it all!