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France’s Sea of Ice

By Linda Tancs

One of the biggest attractions in France’s Chamonix Valley, Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) is the country’s largest glacier, measuring over 4 miles long. The best way to get to it is to take the little red train from Chamonix (site of the first Winter Olympic games) to Montenvers. One of only a handful of rack-and-pinion railways in France, the train climbs a steep track to around 7,000 feet, reaching a stunning vantage point above the glacier. From there you take a cable car to a point near the glacier, which leads to over 400 steps and some ramps into a man-made ice grotto. That may sound like a lot of work to see an ice cave, but you’ll be rewarded with ice sculptures lit in a colorful, otherworldly fashion. You can also view an exhibition of beautiful mountain crystals found in the region.

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