More Chamonix lifts and recovering medical costs in France

It was cold, but bright and sunny today. To add to my lift tally and look around a bit, we took the train to Chamonix then went up the Montenvers railway. This is not a main ski lift, obviously, but it is on the lift pass and there were a few skiers on our train. There is also a telecabin lift at the top, much used by skiers. Unlike most ski lifts that take skiers up a hill so they can ski down again. This lift takes skiers UP from the ski run, the Valley Blanche to save them walking to the train station. Naturally, we took a ride on this lift also.

The curious telecabine with just 2 bubbles that takes tourists down to the ice cave and skiers back up to the Montenvers train

The curious telecabine with just 4 bubbles that takes tourists down to the ice cave and skiers back up to the Montenvers train

The views were, as ever, spectacular. This picture is looking up to Les Drus, a famous mountaineer favourite.

Les Drus from Montenvers, the name is plural because there are two peaks, not very apparent from this photo

Les Drus from Montenvers, the name is plural because there are two peaks, not very apparent from this photo

After returning to Chamonix I took a trip up to Aiguille du Midi (3842m). There are two lifts and they are widely used by both skiers and tourists on foot. On this occasion I did not ski down though. There are two lifts effectively splitting the journey into half. I could hardly have found a better day with the views just jaw-dropping and photos really do not capture the grandeur. It was very cold and not many people were hanging around outside, so they missed a maintenance man, with Mickey Mouse ears on his helmet, abseiling down a vertical face for some reason I could not fathom. I assume it was not just for fun! Not my idea of fun anyway. I took lots of pictures and here are a couple

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View roughly eastward from Aiguille du Midi. I have named some of the prominent peaks (maybe I should have used larger fonts!)

 

 

View towards Les Houches and Servoz with low lying cloud

View towards Les Houches and Servoz with low lying cloud

My final task of the day in Chamonix was to sort out a bit of admin. Earlier in the year I had a cough which evolved into some kind of an infection and I visited a local doctor who gave me a prescription. I had to pay for both the doctor’s appointment (25 Euros, very cheap I thought) and the prescription items (about 25 euros also for 3 items, not so cheap perhaps). Since I have an E111, I can claim some of this cost back. We have done this before (we are not strangers to the French Health system and in general we think it is excellent and maybe better than UK) and there is plenty of advice on websites about how to go about it. Basically, you can send all the receipts, a copy of the E111 and your bank details (in France these are presented in the form of a special document called a RIB) to the area Health Insurance organisation, known as CPAM. They will then reimburse your bank account directly. Or, you can wait until you return to the UK and send the receipts to an office in Newcastle. Well, today I investigated and found a third alternative, which is to visit a local CPAM office. The one in Chamonix is only open one afternoon a week, but they take all your details and paper work directly and all is done and dusted. Sorry, if this is a bit boring to those who do not visit France or those who, when they do, are not ill. But it may be of interest to the rest! These might also like to know that CPAM has an English speaking helpline in France (08 11 36 36 46).

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