Mer de Glace: Stealing Beauty of French Alps
The Mer de Glace, or the Sea of Ice, is a huge glacier in the massif of Mont Blanc, more likely reminding a frozen river elegantly and mysteriously meandering between the mountains and creating a breathtaking view which wins the hearts of thousands of travelers every year.
The Mer de Glace is considered as the second largest glacier of the Alps and the largest glacier of France — it is about 7 km long and 200 m thick, its width varies from 700 to 1950 m. Unfortunately, the Mer de Glace has become the victim of climate change and has been ruthlessly affected by the global warming. According to the scientists, the glacier has already lost about 700 million cubic meters of water during the past century. Under such climatic circumstances, the Mer de Glace will continue to melt, loosing about 40 m every year, and to melt our hearts, astonishing by its strength and vulnerability.
To take a look at this splendor of nature, the most comfortable and, dare to say it, beautiful way to reach the glacier is to take a Montenvers train which will bring you to the top station right in front of the observation deck. The little red train leisurely brings you up from Chamonix at 1913 m, so that you could enjoy fairy sceneries out of the wide windows. There is something in the ambience what gives you a feeling of travel though time: imagine, while big cities are being built up, changing their appearance day by day, you are here and now, sitting on a wooden bench of a charming train among forests and mountains which existed before us and will exist after.
Human beings are sometimes oversaturated and often want to go deeper when it comes to new impressions. If the contemplation of the glacier from outside doesn't satisfy you enough, you can easily come down the stairs (but not so easily in fact — the metal stairs create a twisting and pretty tricky way down and especially up) from the viewing platform to the ice cave right inside the Mer de Glace to reinforce your feelings. A little walk deep into the glacier through the cave decorated with lights and ice sculptures won't leave you indifferent. Each year the cave has to be carved out anew since the glacier tends to slide down little by little as can be seen from the old entrances which are already out of use.
No matter in winter or in summer the Mer de Glace is an equally spectacular sight which is certainly worth seeing. Nevertheless, by a lucky chance once visiting this area in the end of winter, you can become a witness of the birth of a tiny blue lake tenderly growing out of the melting ices of the glacier, the miracle which will conquer you with its natural purity. However, the history is silent about its existence.