A three country, three culture hiking tour of Europe's highest peak, the Tour du Mont Blanc is a coveted goal of hikers worldwide. Dramatic alpine scenery vies with the fascination of visiting towns in France, Italy, and Switzerland during this ten day tour encompassing Europe's most spectacular mountains and the challenge of a number of high, remote passes.
Completing the entire circuit in eight hiking days, you will take advantage of a number of little known variations. Based out of a mix of charming country inns, first class, old world hotels and simple hiker's hosteleries, visit Chamonix, Contamines, Courmayeur, Champex, Trient, and Argentiere. The unique combination of good accommodations and spectacular hiking makes this tour a wonderful reward for the physically fit. Because luggage transfers between countries are expensive and inconvenient, hikers should be prepared to carry three to four days' changes of clothing at a time.
Day 1 Arrive Geneva, Switzerland. Transfer to Chamonix, France. Overnight in a grand, old world hotel.
Day 2 Enjoy a moderate introductory hike to Les Contamines, France, with views over the peaks and glaciers of Chamonix. Overnight in a charming country inn.
Day 3 Pass the pilgrimage site, Notre Dame de la Gorge, ascend an ancient Roman road to La Balme, then ascend more steeply to the refuge at the Col du Bonhommme. Descend through splendid meadows to the quiet hamlet of Les Chapieux, France.
Day 4 Cross into Italy over the Col de la Seigne, with staggering views of glaciated peaks of the Italian side of Mont Blanc. A long descent leads to Courmayeur, Italy. Overnight in an elegant old world hotel with haute cuisine and a large selection of regional wines.
Day 5 You are treated to ever-improving views of the the Brenva face of Mont Blanc, its most impressive and imposing aspect on our remote, rarely traveled variation. Overnight in a pleasant new refuge in the Val Ferret.
Day 6 Ascend to the Grand Col Ferret, the Swiss border, with stunning views of the Grand Combin then descend through pristine meadows to the Swiss Val Ferret. Bus transport takes you to the idyllic lakeside town, Champex and our charming, chalet style inn.
Day 7 The Fenetre d'Arpette offers the steepest hiking of the tour and a fabulous outing. A picnic here above the beautiful Glacier du Trient is truly unforgettable. Descend into the tiny hamlet, Trient, and a simple inn.
Day 8 From Trient, leave Switzerland behind and reenter France via the Col des Posettes, a pleasant variant of the TMB, to finish in Argentiere. Overnight in a comfortable French country inn.
Day 9 The hike along the Grand Balcon Sud offers spectacular views of Mt. Blanc and the Aiguilles, or needles, of Chamonix. Return to our old world hotel for a splendid final dinner.
Day 10 Depart.
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