Nathalie and I drive the fifteen minutes of curvy road between Vallorcine and Argentiere, the next town over, a hair closer to Chamonix, bigger and bolder than Vallorcine, complete with a real Migro for a grocery store.
The people here, from what I understand, are neither French nor Alpinists. No, they are from their valley, their land, proud to be from the slot of space between this mountain goddess and that one, isolationists, pioneers, WWII survivors who sought refuge far into the woods, willing to survive winter after winter away from the conveniences of the city in exchange for life.
Argentiere, then, is a fascinating walk of a place, a mountain town like I know ’em and love them, old, thick walls protecting the inside from the outside, square, squat homes, the occasional Mother Mary keeping vigil.
Curious, this little bastion is Protestant, anamoly in Catholic France, but even the church declares Mother Nature victor, it’s welcome! sign rendered hypocritical by a walkway covered in meters of snow.
Oh, Alps, how I love thy buildings and roaming moo-cows with your giant cow bells.