French Mont Blanc sees you walking the best of the French segment of the legendary TMB and staying in three consecutive three-star hotels and a superior two-star, to boot. The first day’s walking offers you a choice of climbs up to the sumptuous trail locally known as the ‘balcon du sud.’ Whether you opt for the infamous ‘ladders section’ of the GR, or the less demanding GRP, you bask in Alpine wonderland and enjoy jaw-dropping views of the Mont Blanc massif; and still get to eat lunch on the banks of arguably its most attractive lake – Lac Blanc.
Having avoided the descent by the much-maligned cable car, the next day commences with a ride back up to exactly where you left off the previous afternoon – simple! But don’t forget your hiking sticks as there may still be some snow on the Col de Brevent. Then enjoy the sense of absolute isolation as you join the chosen few that get to see the views of the other side – La Montagne de la Coquille, which is likely to see you signing up to walk the Via Alpina on your return home. And just when you felt it couldn’t get any better, it does: the awesome views of Mont Blanc itself from the aptly-named panoramic terrace of Brevent restaurant.
French Mont Blanc then offers you another choice of routes for the big finalé: either more breath-taking views from the High Route, including the memorable rope bridge section over the Bionnassay Glacier, or the gentler, all-weather option and Low Route that links together some fine alpine villages on route to Les Contamines.
Three of the finest days’ walking anywhere in Europe and certainly in the Alps, along the Mont Blanc trail from Argentiere to Les Contamines with options on two days to suit your preferences on the day.”
- Maddie-Morganne of The Enlightened Traveller
Needless to say, decisions as to which trail to opt for can be deferred until the morning in question, as you walk in a blissful and enlightened state in the knowledge that our transporter is delivering your luggage to your comfortable and welcoming hotel well in advance of your arrival.
French Mont Blanc is arguably the most spectacular three days of walking that the Alps, and France itself, has to offer. If you only have a few days to spare, but wish to savour the essence of what the TMB has to offer, then this is the tour for you.
- €595.00 Euros or £535.00 Pounds Sterling
[per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room]
- Enjoy the cream of the French TMB, with two options for the first and third days’ walking to suit your preference.
- Stay in the best accommodation available – private rooms with en suite facilities – no dormitories.
- Walk anti-clockwise for an enhanced experience.
- Choose between the ladders or the GRP up to the legendary ‘Balcon du Sud’ and the serene Lac Blanc.
- We transfer your luggage from hotel to hotel.
- 4-night, harder self-guided tour inn-to-inn tour round the western section of the Mont Blanc Massif.
- Average 5 hours and 9 miles/14½ kms a day.
- Start any day, from mid-June to mid-September.
- Tour starts in Argentiere and ends in Les Contamines.
- Convenient access from Paris or Geneva, Switzerland.
- Luggage transfers throughout – up to 20 kgs per person.
- Comfortable and welcoming ‘superior 2-star standard,’ hotels throughout with en-suite facilities.
- 4 nights B & B in ‘3-star standard’ hotels and all hotel taxes
- 3 evening meals – leaving you free to chose diner from the options near your hotel in Les Praz/Chamonix.
- Luggage transfers throughout¹.
- Hiking Insight Notes™ that empower & make orientation easy
- Two 1:25,000 scale maps & themed vacation dossier.
- 7/7 Emergency telephone help-line service with native-English speaking backup.
¹ One case per person, max.20 kgs weight.
- Due to the location of Argentière, a short bus or train-ride from Chamonix, the options for getting to there are frequent and plentiful. Spend your arrival day in Argentiere, or check out Chamonix itself.
- By Bus – Frequent SAT coaches take you from Geneva Airport or Northern Italy to Chamonix.
- By Air – Getting to Argentiere [Chamonix] is relatively straightforward from the following major airports:
1. Geneva International Airport, with onward connections by train [hourly via Martigny] or bus [via the SAT bus company] or via airport transfer.2. Lyon International Airport, with onward connections by train [via Annecy].
3. Charles de Gaulle with onward connections by train.
- By Rail – The Mont Blanc Express: This SNCF railway line serves all villages from St Gervais-le Fayet to Martigny (Switzerland) via Servoz, Les Houches, Chamonix, Chamonix Les Praz, Argentière and Vallorcine.
- Our customers recommend RailEurope.com for research and ticketing.
- Family-run accommodation, carefully selected on the basis of superior facilities, location, service and welcome;
- Three fine 3-star hotels and one ‘superior 2-star standard’ hotel;
- Private rooms throughout – no ‘dortoirs’/dormitories.
- Early booking is advised and en suite facilities the norm.
- Warm, but short summers;
- Alpine flora and fauna – ibex, bouquetins, marmots;
- Classic alpine topography: jagged, ice-covered peaks and flat, glaciated valleys;
- A fine and varied mix of undulating trail through alpine pasture and along broad ridge. Morning climbs and late-afternoon descents are the norm – except for the third day.
French Mont Blanc – Tour Itinerary
[All distances, times and elevation figures are approximate]
Day 1: Arrive in Argentiere and check into your centrally-located and comfortable three-star hotel, with easy access by the Mont Blanc train. Then get up to speed with your walking notes and map awaiting you at Reception.
Argentiere to Les Praz de Chamonix via La Flegere
[7 miles/11 kms, 5½ hrs, +1100ms/-470ms]
Two options for the climb up to Lac Blanc: the GRP and the ‘Grand Balcon du Sud’ or the gentler climb via the TMB proper plus the ladders. Imagine you’re the only one there before descending the rocky steps to La Flegere and the cable-car down to the Chamonix Valley.
Night in Les Praz de Chamonix.
Les Praz de Chamonix to
[10½ miles/17 kms, +770ms/–1550ms,
Balcon du Sud
Walk out the hotel, take the cable car up to La Flagere and get straight into the TMB action: le Balcon du Sud, the splendid col du Brevent, the magnificent panorama from Brevent itself and the descent to Les Houches via Le Merlet.
Night in Les Houches.
Les Houches to Les Contamines
a) The Low or all-weather Route
[10 miles-16 kms, +90 ms/–640 ms, 4 hrs] or
b) The High Route via Refuge de Miage
[11 miles-18 kms, +840ms/–580ms, 5¾ hrs]
Avoid the knee-crunching and monotonous climb, take the cable car up to Bellevue and, depending on the weather, and your mood, opt for the trail that suits you to Les Contamines.
Night in Les Contamines.
Day 5: Departure day – breakfast and onward journey by bus and train or airport transfer. Bon retour et a la prochaine!
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Independent testimonials about The Enlightened Traveller can be read here:
- Arguably the most spectacular three days of the whole TMB tour
- Complementary accommodation - the very best the TMB has to offer
- Options on the final day to suit you: the High or the Low Route.
- The 'ladders section' is not for vertigo sufferers, but an alternative variant is available for you!
- Not for the faint hearted - but certainly for the healthy who keep fit with regular walking
- One morning ascent and two afternoon descents, well worth the effort - but we help you avoid the rest via two cable cars.
Walking the Balcon du Sud is an ethereal experience that most avid hikers will not want to miss. Enjoy it over two days and it's twice the fun!"
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