La Palud village
La Palud is a small village at the western end of the Val Ferret and an obvious stopping point on the Tour du Mont Blanc. There are a handful of hotels and small restaurants and a small supermarket about 1km away. There is not a great deal to do, but it is very close to the Skyway cable car and only 3km either on foot or by bus to Courmayeur town. Courmayeur is a premier ski resort and so the hotel prices tend to be a lot higher, making La Palud a sensible option.
The village is at the foot of the south side of the Mont Blanc massif and there are spectacular views of the South Face of Mont Blanc, the Dent du Geant and the Grandes Jorasses. All of these mountains have steep climbing routes that have proved to be tough mountaineering projects. The South Face of Mont Blanc in particular has seen some very bold ascents. The Innominata Ridge is typical of this with knife-edged snow ridges and steep technical rock climbing and is over 3300m (11,000ft) from the bottom to the summit. It is worth spending some time examining these magnificent mountain ridges from the comfort and safety of your hotel garden!
The Skyway cable car
Opened in 2015 the Skyway Monte Bianco was built to replace the old Helbronner lift that was located in the middle of La Palud and whisked you up to be among the high peaks of the Mont Blanc range. The Skyway took over three years to build, cost €110 million euros (!) and is believed to be the most expensive cable car ever built. The journey takes you from an altitude of 1300m to Pointe Helbronner at an altitude of 3466m (11,371ft) – an ascent of 2166m (7103ft) and the cable car revolves 360 degrees as you ascend. The views of the high mountain peaks and glaciers are spectacular and, on a clear day, you can see the Matterhorn 65km (40 miles) away. You can also connect with the Aiguille du Midi cable car (3842m) that sits above Chamonix via the Helbronner gondola – a wonderful journey that travels high above the glaciers.
Courmayeur and Aosta
Courmayeur is close by and is easily reached on foot in one hour or ten minutes by bus. The town has a main street with lots of shops, cafés and restaurants and is a welcome bit of sophistication if you have been trekking for a few days. The bus station is close to the centre of town and you can easily head to the spa at Pre St Didier (10 mins) or to the beautiful town of Aosta (1hour) which has Roman ruins and Medieval buildings.
https://www.montebianco.com/ (Skyway cable car)