At the summit of Mont Blanc , inside the glacier ” Mer de Glace ” and sleeping in a shelter at 2000mt … a wild itinerary to discover Chamonix and its marvelous mountains.
We start our journey from Milan and the possibilities to get to Chamonix are many. Among these my favorites are:
- With the car: about 3h for a total cost of 100 euros (of which 60 only for the Mont Blanc tunnel)
- With Flixbus: about 13 euros per journey starting from Lampugnano and arriving in Chamonix (about 4 hours)
Once we arrived in Chamonix we were greeted by a snowy landscape – contrary to what we could see earlier in Italy.
The valley all around Chamonix is on the whole sunny only in the afternoon being surrounded by high mountains, but when the sun’s rays make the mountains shine you can not help but fall in love with it!
We then set off for the ” Train du Montenvers!” To arrive at the Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers and admire the glacier already from the train.The ride takes no more than 20 minutes and once you reach the first stop (the refuge) you can enjoy a good mulled wine or an excellent lunch at the refuge a few meters away and perched on Mont Blanc at 1,913 meters.
This route is suitable for everyone , young and old as no particular efforts or large enterprises are foreseen. In the map below is the itinerary that will lead us to the glacier (in this case the itinerary is marked on foot but do not worry, it will not take 2 hours!):
What separates us now from the glacier are the approximately 400 steps that we can just inside, after a short descent by cable car (the is located at the exit of the train).
Throughout the walk along the steps you can see how far the glacier arrived in the past years and so it takes a sense of sadness. Take a look where the glacier arrived only in the 90s! It is called ” la Mer de Glace ” because in the past years it was really a sea of ice, whereas now only an idea remains, especially during the summer, without considering that in a few years we will not be able to admire all this.
At the end of the staircase there is the ice grotto, inside which nice scenographies and testimonies of the history of the glacier have been reconstructed. The lap inside lasts about 5-10m. The ice cave is carved into the living glacier and must be excavated every summer as the glacier moves about 70 m each year. Inside there are some ice sculptures like a bear, a fireplace and a throne in which you can take some souvenir photos!
You can view more glimpses inside the glacier taking a look at my video dedicated to this experience 🙂
On the way back, before taking the cable car, there is the Restaurant Le Panoramique Mer de Glace (in summer) in which there is a small door that leads to a beautiful collection of minerals .
Then take the cable car and continue to the terminal Neige shelter a few steps from the train stop. This refuge has one of the most privileged and wonderful views; the glacier! In the morning you can open the window curtains and BAM, see the glacier. Have breakfast and BAM, the glacier!
Booking at the shelter you also have access to half board (you do not want to hunt some animals to eat at that altitude?) À la carte with a choice between delicious dishes ranging from cheese to chicken, from soups to salads … and finally .. a wonderful sweet !
Not to mention the two beautiful dogs, extremely tame and sweet, who visited us during dinner! Nothing sweeter 🙂
Ps: they also have a small library corner and one in the dining room where you can relax and read in peace 🙂
After a good breakfast in a room with a wonderful window we salute the shelter – with the promise of returning in summer (the landscape must be even more magnificent with the contrast of the green grass and the glacier) and we head for the time of Mont Blanc. Yes, the Aiguille du Midi is definitely a must for a trip to Chamonix!
Once you get off the train access is not very far and after a few minutes we are in front of the cable car that will take us to the summit of Mont Blanc. The price is not entirely affordable; about 60 euros to get to the top but once you get there you will understand why that price and the majesty of the plant.
Do not imagine but the queue to go up is really long (of course try to go in the morning, the best time to go is from 11 to 14) and it is therefore good to book the visit in advance.
The route takes about twenty minutes and there is a first descent to the first stage Punta Helbronner at about 3400 meters (you can buy a ticket only for this stage but does not make much sense) and then continue on 3800. Although not afraid of the heights really makes an impression to get up to the top as the slope is really pronounced, especially in the last stretch.
Some warnings: DO NOT take small children (forbidden under 3 years), if you bleed your nose once you get off is normal as you will have just suffered a drop in pressure.
The area is really great and orientate, at least for me, it was not so easy! Once found the heart of the structure I also found the elevator that would take me to discover the ” step into the void ” or a small glass structure in which to dare to .. look down!
In this case I have not had the opportunity to try this emotion (but in the path to get there there are glass floors even if partially covered) because being too cold outside ( about -16 ) it was not safe to be there!
In this regard: is it cold ? Well, as you say a bit ‘in general of the cold in the mountains “is not that cold wet city” and I well endured the -16 with a mountain jacket. More than anything else they were freezing my hands in taking pictures 🙂
In short, Chamonix never ceases to amaze us … and this is just a part of “wild and wonderful” that these areas have to offer 🙂
I leave you with this photo taken at night at the Terminal Neige shelter. If I have not convinced you with this, you still have to leave immediately to change your mind!
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