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«Return to Chamonix»

A special 5-part photo-illustrated story of a trip to the French Alps. After decades of absence I revisit France, introducing Marie to the idyllic mountain town of Chamonix. I also have my paraglider with me and do an SIV over Lake Annecy.

Return to Chamonix, Part 1 – France Is In The Air

The year is 2019. With the exception of a couple of brief, in-airport layovers while flying to or from South Africa with my head in the clouds and thoughts adrift, it has been a decade and a half since I committedly set foot on French soil. A small eternity. So when, casually brandishing the double-edged […]

Return to Chamonix, Part 2 – Club Alpin Français

Seated in the garden behind the Chamonix house, a glass in hand and dreamy eyes on the peaks above, I set my thoughts adrift and land in Côte d’Azur, long, long ago. Tucked against a small cape covered in towering pine trees and lapped at by the scintillant Mediterranean Sea, the flowery town of Antibes […]

Return to Chamonix, Part 3 – SIV Over Lake Annecy

That first night in Chamonix, we sleep blissfully and get up in Goldilocks fashion, not too early nor too late, preparing strong coffee with the provided stove-top espresso maker. Marie has smuggled a batch from Brooklyn, a special Beirut roast recommended by Gus at the Atlantic Ave Damascus Bread and Pastry Shop. It is even […]

Return to Chamonix, Part 4 – Retour à la montagne

High above Chamonix, a sharp granite needle called Aiguille du Midi shoots into the sky as if attempting to escape Earth’s embrace. Belonging to a crisply jagged ridge called les Aiguilles de Chamonix, the Aiguille du Midi tops at three thousand eight hundred and forty-two meters, or almost thirteen thousand feet above sea level, which […]

Return to Chamonix, Part 5 – The Geneva Spur

We leave Chamonix behind late morning on Pentecost Sunday, heading northwest through the Aravis massif towards Geneva. The weather has deteriorated into a stormy mess and we progress slowly under bleak light and tremendous downpour, the mountains gently fading in washed-out grayness at our backs. Having promised a friend that we would drive by the […]