The Refuge du Montenvers is an iconic refuge that dates back all the way to 1880. It was originally built with tourism in mind at a time that the Mer de Glace became increasingly popular after its orignal discovery in 1741. In those early days, tourists would head up the mountain using guided donkeys. Access became a lot easier when the Montenvers Mountain train was built and commissioned in 1909. It is incredible to think that the current cog train dates back more than a century! Montenvers is one of the main tourist destinations in Chamonix with a small gondola providing access to the Grotte de Glace, a man-made ice cave carved out into the Mer de Glace Glacier. There is also the Glaciorium, a small information center providing a lot of background on the Mer de Glace glacier. The Glaciorium is located next to the Refuge du Montenvers.
The refuge has been recently renovated and offers private rooms of various sizes including dormitory style rooms with a capacity of 7 to 10 people. There are a total of 20 rooms. The refuge also has a nice restaurant with a glass enclosed section with good views. In summer there is also a large outdoor sitting area with great views all around. We stayed in the refuge in 2022 and it was a really nice experience. It is a large place and generally feels more like a hotel than a refuge.
The easiest access to the Refuge du Montenvers is taking the Montvers mountain train from the center of Chamonix. You can also walk it and we got a detailed trail description for that options. From Montenvers the most popular trail will be the Grand Balcon Sud traverse to the Plan de l'Aiguille lift station. We got a detailed trail description for this too. Our suggestion includes a visit to Lac Bleu and the Refuge du Plan de l'Aiguille.
Linked Trails & Points of Interest
These are the trails and points of interests linked to this refuge
This trail takes you to Montenvers via de Buvette des Mottets and then down via de Buvette Caillet. A nice way to get up to Montenvers if you don't want to use the train
When to Go
Start Jun - Mid Oct
4.0 - 6.0 Hours
+855m / -855m
12+ Years old
2.0 - 3.5 Hours
Perhaps the most popular route in the Chamonix Valley taking you from the Montenvers station and the Mer de Glace over the Balcon Nord past the Lac Bleu to the Plan l'Aiguille lift station.
When to Go
Mid Jun - End Sep
2.0 - 4.0 Hours
+471m / -103m
7+ Years old
1.0 - 1.5 Hours
Location & Map
Below you will the location of this point of interest on the map. You can click the button to show the nearby trails and points of interests that are listed above on the same map. Another option is to visit our complete interactive map that shows everything that is listed on our website.