France itself conjures up a deluge of luxurious images. Rolling vineyards, snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, storybook villages and delicious cuisine including a favorite – classic fondue. It’s hard to say what is the best part about visiting France.
At Ryder-Walker, we visit three distinct regions of France – the French Savoie is the mountainous heart of the Alps where the queen of the Alps herself, the Mont Blanc, rises high above even the other towering peaks. In the French Pyrénées we explore the mountain range bordering with Spain and experience the historic Basque culture. Finally in Provence we head to the lavender fields and medieval villages of Provence for a much gentler French hiking experience.
We offer a mix of guided and self-guided hikes through France, visiting all of these distinct locations. Our guided treks include the classic Tour du Mont Blanc, our Haute Pyrénées Mountain Trek which straddles the border with Spain, while the French Alps: Chamonix – Mont Blanc to Val d’Isere hike offers the definitive French Savoie experience. The Tour du Mont Blanc is also offered for self-guided clients. Our exclusive self-guided treks include: The Hiker’s Haute Route – a legendary trek which follows a historic route between Chamonix and Zermatt, the TMB Vitesse – an abbreviated Tour du Mont Blanc for those who want to hike the best sections of the TMB in under a week, and our Provence: Hill Towns of the Luberon – a relaxing ramble through the most iconic villages in Provence.
The French Savoie is home to two of the most recognizable treks in Europe. The Tour du Mont Blanc is as classic as hiking gets, visiting the three neighboring countries of France, Italy, and Switzerland, the Tour du Mont Blanc has garnered its fame by simply being one of the most epic mountain tours in Europe. The Hiker’s Haute Route shares half of its trail with the Tour du Mont Blanc as you begin your journey on the flanks of the Mont Blanc in the bustling and historic village of Chamonix. Over the course of the next 12 days, we journey to the Swiss alpine heart of Zermatt. Ryder-Walker’s longest European tour and one of our most involved, the Haute Route is for true mountain lovers.
Chamonix – Mont Blanc to Val d’Isere takes a more relaxed approach to explore the lower peaks below the Mont Blanc. Featuring medieval villages, alpine lakes, and unrivaled views of the highest mountain in Western Europe, as well as an exploration of the iconic ski villages of Val d’Isere.
The Haute Pyrénées are one of the less-traveled corners of France, exploring the Haute, or high, Pyrénées mountains. Along the way, we visit time forgotten Basque villages and explore the rugged and breathtaking Pyrénées summits. The Basque culture itself is a reason to visit, with a language that shares no common ancestor with modern languages, their own historic cooking traditions, and walled medieval cities, the Basque people have a proud and fascinating way of life that isn’t quite like anywhere else in the mountainous regions of Europe.
Finally, Provence is the most gentle and peaceful option of the bunch, winding through the pre-alpine hills of the Luberon. Sweeping lavender fields, winding medieval villages, and the unique Southern-French character and cuisine make Provence among the most charming regions to visit in France.
The French countryside sows a romantic yarn. Fields full of free-roaming cattle, farmers villages that see only a handful of visitors a year, and the most classic of the classic hiking tours offer experiences that will fascinate newcomers to trekking and enthusiasts alike!
Our week-long trip to the high peaks of the Pyrénées offers an opportunity to visit the stunning mountain range which defines the border between France and Spain, and enjoy the unique cultural heritage of this enchanting region. We begin our journey in the French mountain hamlet of Cauterets, nestled on the north side of the Parc National Des Pyrénées Occidentales. Over the...View trip details
Mont Blanc is an icon; much more than a mountain. Huge enough and complex enough to always have something to offer cutting edge alpinists since the 1700s. And lucky for the rest of us it is so big and strategically placed on the French, Italian and Swiss borders that it is visible from the higher peaks of every Alpine country...View trip details
Outside Magazine named Ryder-Walker's Tour du Mont Blanc trek one of the 25 Best Hikes in the World. Hike across the borders of France, Italy and Switzerland during our ten-day Tour du Mont Blanc. Taking advantage of some little-known variations to the standard route, we lead you from the mountain-chic cafés of Chamonix, to remote mountain hamlets en route to...View trip details
Experience souleu e terraire, 'the soul of the terrain', as you walk amongst vineyards, historic villages and the famous lavender fields that characterize the Vaucluse region of Provence, France. Enjoy a great combination of countryside walking through farms, vineyards, and orchards, while rambling along herb-scented hillsides toward golden-hued villages. Provence’s landscape and light will enthrall you just as it did...View trip details
This self-guided trek links the villages of the Mont Blanc region and the western Swiss Valais, crossing through the highest mountain range in western Europe, the Pennine Alps. You hike through two distinct cultural regions, the French speaking and German speaking Alps. Starting in the bustling alpine center of Chamonix, France beneath the dramatic flanks of Europe's highest summit, Mont...View trip details
Outside Magazine named Ryder-Walker's trek one of the 25 Best Hikes in the World. Mont Blanc (15,781 feet) rises more than 12,000 vertical feet above the famous resort village of Chamonix, France. The epitome of everything that is “alpine” in the Alps, Mont Blanc beckons hikers and climbers from around the globe with its snow-white glaciers, sheer cliff walls, and...View trip details
For those who want to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc, but have a limited amount of time, we offer the Tour du Mont Blanc Vitesse. Vitesse means "speed" in French, and this shortened TMB itinerary covers the greatest highlights of our standard itinerary in five hiking days instead of eight. Our abbreviated TMB begins in Courmayeur, Italy, hikes around...View trip details
Highest mountains in western Europe, the Pennine Alps, offer a sensational opportunity for hikers to explore a spectacular alpine world. From Chamonix, beneath the Mont Blanc range, with its granite spires and glaciated peaks, a network of trails connects you to Champex. Our shorter hike is part of the Hiker's Haute Route, first walked in 1903 and dubbed the High...View trip details