If you watched Sunday’s stage of the Tour de France then you saw the famous bike race enter Switzerland and finish the day at the top of a climb in the alpine village of Verbier. Verbier is an optional stop along our popular Hiker’s Haute Route (extended version).
Today’s stage offers more fantastic views as it ascends from Martigny, Switzerland, over the Col du Grand Saint Bernard before descending into the Aosta Valley of northern Italy. This is grolla country and one of our favorite hidden hiking spots. The tour even descends through a small village called St. Rhemy, an absolutely charming little hamlet that we’ve enjoyed on many occasions. It wasn’t too long ago that I almost got our luggage van stuck between two walls of a narrow alleyway in this pint-sized town. Anyway, the race continues across the Col du Petit Saint Bernard and back into France for a finish in Bourg St. Maurice.
Watch the tour on television if you get a chance. The beginning and middle part of the stage offer a great chance to view the surroundings before the race heats up and the cameras hone in on the cyclists. I saw some great views this morning of the Mont Blanc Massif and of l’Aiguille du Midi, a popular mountain spire that towers over Chamonix, France, the beginning of our Tour du Mont Blanc and Hiker’s Haute Route. I also enjoyed some great views of the Aosta castles during the latter part of the stage. This day of the Tour de France offers a great opportunity to see one of our treasured hiking domains on television. Treat yourself. Tonight’s expanded coverage begins at 8:00 PM eastern on Versus.
Photos: Hiking in front of the mighty Mont Blanc Massif and our cozy home for the night in St. Rhemy, Italy. By Chris Pranskatis