From Lyon, we drive east into the Alps — into a valley dominated by Mont Blanc, Europe's tallest peak. Statues celebrate famous mountaineers with their sights set on Mont Blanc. Within minutes, the powerful cable car sweeps us up 10,000 vertical feet from Chamonix to a pinnacle called the Aiguille du Midi. At nearly 16,000 feet, Mont Blanc is the top of Europe. And you can look down on the classic hundred-mile trail that circles Mont Blanc — part of which we'll be hiking later.