Another great attraction in Chamonix on many families’ list is the Montenvers train journey up to the Mer de Glace glacier. The famous little vintage red coggle train will take you on a relaxing 20 minute journey up the mountainside, through forests and tunnels cut through the rock, and up to the glacier at 1,913 m (an ascent of about 1000m). Children from the age of 12 months are allowed aboard.
Montenvers Departure Station
The departure station for the Montenvers train is just behind the Gare SNCF, and there is an old locomotive for children to play on as they wait.
Activities at Montenvers Arrival Station
There are beautiful views from the arrival station, though a view upon the glacier is also a stark reminder to us of global warming.
Once at the arrival station, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained.
- Glaciorium – an interactive and educational space highlighting the formation of the Mer de Glace, its history and its future evolution;
- Ice Grotto – a 30 mins walk via a trail, or a 5 mins gondola ride (with 400 steps), takes you into the heart of the Mer de Glace glacier!
- Temple of Nature – an optical theatre, with rear projection on glass, here stories are told by the scientists and artists who loved this nature spot;
- Terminal Neige: Refuge du Montenvers – go back in time, and stop for a warm drink or lunch at this famous hotel built in 1880 (re-opening June 2017, after renovation work)!
There are some well sign-posted snow-shoe circuits that leave from the Montenvers arrival station.
During the Christmas holidays, Santa sometimes makes an appearance on the Montenvers train, so check dates and times with the Tourist Office.
For current rates and opening hours, please check the the Mont-Blanc Natural Resort’s website for Montenvers. (bookings can be made online).
Terminal Neige: Refuge du Montenvers
The newly renovated 1880s Grand Hotel du Montenvers is now under new ownership and up and running! For more information about the hotel, rooms, restaurants and events, see here.
Address of Departure Station:
35, Place de la Mer de Glace
Tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 22 75
Parking: free parking opposite at the Parking des Planard