Mont Blanc is in...?

Hello fellow dopers,

Today I was in class, and was asked the question of What/where Mont Blanc is.

My answer was that it is the highest peak in France.

The teacher then corrected me that it is in fact part of Switzerland.

I knew that the mountain was on France’s border, though I always assumed that France claimed Mount Blanc as its own. Upon further research, I found it to be a part of France, Italy and Switzerland. No references gave a clear indication that one country claimed ownership of it.

My question is, to which country is Mont (or Mount?) Blanc attributed to? Or is there no definite answer? (I’m thinking that changes in borders between countries may have added to the ambiguity.)

According to several websites, Mont Blanc is in France.

Well I cannot give a definitive answer but I have climed M.Blanc while in the Confederation Helvetica (Switzerland) and while in Italy and France. I think it is much like Four Corners in the US. It is on the border of several countries. I may be wrong but that’s just my experience.

It is not one mountain but a whole range in the Western Alps, running southwest to northeast for 30 miles where France, Switzerland, and Italy meet.

The summit of the highest peak (4807m) is on the border of France and Italy - the massif extends over to Switzerland but not the main peak.

It depends how you defind things - the whole range, the massif or just the mountain itself. Here is a link to a small map:

My wife is from Val D’Aoste in the NW of Italy, where the Mont Blanc is. It’s just like the other posters said - it’s in all three countries. You can climb it from all three countries, you can ski it from all three countries, and you can see it from all three countries.

Thew chances are that if someone says “Mont Blanc” they mean the French part. If they call it “Monte Bianco” they mean the Italian part. I don’t know what the swiss call it - it probably depends on the swiss person in question, since they speak 4 different languages in Switzerland.

Interestingly enough, the Matterhorn is also in Switzerland and Italy, the Italians call it “Il Cervino”.


That’s the closest answer so far, but it’s still not 100% true.

In fact the exact border between France and Italy is under dispute since the 17th century. The italians claimed that the border was on the summit, whereas the French claim that the highest point is several hundreds of metres inside French territory. I believe that the Italians have had to back down a bit recently though.

There’s no doubt that it’s most accessible from France, with Chamonix in a nice alpine valey on the French side easily accessible with trains from Paris.

Nice answer. The only problem is that it suffers from the common mistake of being wrong.

Firstly, since we’re in GQ, define “most accessible”. Hmm. Not that easy is it ?

What you meant to say is that it is perfectly accessible from all 3 countries.

That is all.

Actually I believe the highest peak in Europe is Mount Elbrus (5642m) of the Caucasus Mountain range, which goes through Russia, Georgia and Armenia.

“Actually” suggest somebody is disputing the fact. :confused:

Nobody here has claimed any other candidate for the highest mountain in Europe. When I referred to the “highest peak” I was talking about the highest of the, previously mentioned, Mont Blanc massif.

C’est tout.

Exactly what part of it is wrong?

Let me re-phrase that into ‘most easily accessed’. First we have to separate sight-seeing from climbing:

There’s no doubt that there are more bus loads of tourists coming to Chamonix (FR) than to Martigny(CH) or Aosta(IT), to see the breathtaking panorama.

If you want to get a bit closer, the easiest way is to take the cable car to Aigue-du-Midi, or the train to Nid d’Aigle. (From Chamonix (FR) and Le Fayet(FR) respectively).

If you want to get to the top, the most common ways are the ‘standard route’ via Tete Rouse and Dome Gouter, and the Cosmique route, where you take the cable car to Aigue-du-Midi - both from France. While I’m sure there are ways to ascend from Italy, I’m fairly certain that it’s not as common. I haven’t heard of any routes starting in Switzerland, and I can’t imagine where they would start. It’s a long long walk from the Valais valey floor… Yet again, I’m sure that it’s done, but not as easily as from Chamonix.

No it’s not. It’s common courtesy to provide hard facts when accusing someone for lying.

Cite (For border dispute as well as regular rooutes.)

Simple answer, ignoring border disputes: Mont Blanc lies on the border between France and Italy. Switzerland does not come into it - your teacher was wrong.

The main summit is France’s highest point, at 4,807 metres. Italy’s highest point is a subsidiary summit, Monte Bianco de Courmayeur, at 4,748 metres. (Cites from CIA World Factbook). The highest point in Switzerland is the Dufourspitze, at 4,634 metres some 173 metres lower than Mont Blanc.

So it appears that the highest summit is entirely in France, at least as far as the CIA is concerned. (But you can be sure that if the military is ever called upon to bomb it, the ordnance will land somewhere in the vicinity of Clermont-Ferrand regardless :wink: )

Sorry, misguided rather than wrong.

And I do not need a cite. I have skied Monte Bianco / Mont Blanc from both side and suffice it to say that you’re not going anywhere, on either side, without a ski-lift.

And your cite is taken from a French website. Catering for tourists to France. If you google “Courmayeur” - then you’ll get a whole load of websites claiming that the “best” or “easiest” way is is from the Italian side.

As I stated above, it is equally accessible from either side.