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The Montenvers train

This charming little red train has been ferrying travellers up to the Montenvers site and the world famous Mer de Glace glacier since 1908.

Surrounded by prestigious summits, les Drus (3754 m), les Grandes Jorasses (4205 m) and les Grands Charmoz (3842 m), the Montenvers site offers numerous exhibitions to enable everyone to know more about the life of the largest French glacier (7 km long !) and about nature in the Alps.

La Mer de Glace (Ice Sea)

With a surface area of 40 km2 and a length of 7 km, this is France’s largest glacier.
Its width varies from 700 to 1950 metres and the thickness of the ice is on average 200 metres, and sometimes exceeds 400 metres. The Mer de Glace extends over a difference in level of 2500 metres, between the altitudes of 3900 m and 1400 m.

Three glaciers join together to make up the terminal spur of the Mer de Glace. The Leschaux glacier, of which Les Grandes Jorasses mark the summit, the Le Tacul glacier, which links the Vallée Blanche and the Le Géant glacier, and finally the Le Talèfre glacier.

Until 1820, the Mer de Glace could be seen from Chamonix. However, each year it retreats little by little and only one part can now be seen. The immense moraines at the edge of the glacier are evidence of this movement.

At the dawn of the third millennium, this hundred-year-old train still has sparkling vitality. With over a million passengers each year, it is one of the valley’s great attractions. Without it, Chamonix would not be Chamonix.

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Additional Photos by Amol Herlekar (amol) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 82 W: 106 N: 214] (952)
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