With school just around the corner we wanted to take another day trip before things got too busy. The kid's school posted a recent excursion to Chamonix on their Instagram account and we couldn't wait to check it out. Chamonix, France is literally just across the lake from our house at the base of Mont Blanc, an easy 90 minute drive. After arriving we decided to have a picnic lunch in a shady spot outside the Mer de Glace train station.
We boarded the historic red train and headed for Montenvers. The train had a cog-wheel mechanism between the tracks to help get it up and down the mountain. The views were amazing, we'll have to come back when there's snow in the winter.
After you get off the train at Montenvers, there is a hotel, cafe and gift shop as well as several large observation decks. We headed straight for the Gondola which took you steeply down to the entry of the ice cave carved into the glacier.
Before you can enter the caves you have to go down 430 stairs that switch back and forth across the mountain. The kids held up great - one man even exclaimed in "un petit garçon!" when he saw A mastering the descent. The entrance to the cave was beautiful, the bright blue-green of the ice just popped with all of the lights. This cave is man-made and every year they dig a new one due to the glacier melting and receding. This recession is quite evident as you walk up and down the stairs to the entrance as they have been marking the top of the glacier in 5 year intervals since 1988. It still baffles me how some people do not believe in global warming!
After exploring the cave we made the hike back up the 430 stairs. We were a little worried about the kids but again they rose to the occasion (it probably helps that we promised them ice cream if they made it all the way up on their own!). We had to stop once for a quick water and apple sauce break.
We took the train back to Chamonix and grabbed dinner at a burger joint where we could sit outside the train station and people watch. It was fun to see all of the hikers, backpackers, and rock climbers walking around the city.
Last but not least, we had to get a little french practice in on the way home ....
Will has been having so much fun with the GoPro - here's our trip in 60 seconds!