France | French Alps: The Tarentaise Mountains

Explore Mont Blanc from the Isere River and through the remote Tarentaise Mountains.

France
  • Mont Blanc: The Softer Side Trek
  • MontBlanc: The Softer Side Trek
  • Mont Blanc: The Softer Side Trek
  • Mont Blanc: The Softer Side Trek
  • Tarentaise
  • "It was fun because even though it wasn't a private tour, it ended up just being my family/friends on the trip so 6 of us. Nikola was able to adjust the hike based on what we were able to do or wanted to do which was awesome. I liked the amount of time we stayed at each hotel and how we didn't really have to choose where we would eat for dinner - it was all done for us. It was so awesome! We had a lot of really amazing sites while we were there. It was my favorite trip ever."- Sunnie K.

Trip Highlights:

  • Hike the open countryside above Bourg St. Maurice.
  • Visit the Eglise St. Michel on the hill above Le Châtelard.
  • Enjoy three nights in the famous village of Val d’ Isère.

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 1700’s. And lucky for the rest of us it is so big and strategically placed on the French, Italian and Swiss border that it is visible from the higher peaks of every Alpine country in Western Europe, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France. Actually, on a clear day you can even see it from the higher peaks in Slovenia! Historically it is almost its own country; the House of Savoy then annexed to France in the 18th century.

Unlike the highlands of the Haute Savoie on the flanks of Mont Blanc, the terrain along the banks of the Isere River offers simply fantastic walking through truly antique and perfectly preserved hamlets in astonishingly remote locations.

Far from the frantic pace of Chamonix, our trip through the Tarentaise Mountains allows us to explore these fascinating valleys virtually alone and at a relaxed pace. We connect the villages of Bourg St. Maurice, tiny St. Foy, and the bustling winter hotspot of Val d’Isere.
The Isere Valley is as well known for its cuisine as for its mountains and we explore the finest of the finest that each village has to offer. Hiking days are gentle to moderate and we change villages every two or three days to further relax the pace.

Trip Itinerary

Transfer (5 minute taxi ride) to our hotel. There is train service to Bourg St. Maurice as well as bus possibilities from Geneva or Lyon. Meet your guides and group for an orientation, cocktails and dinner.

Hike the open country-side above Bourg St. Maurice. Our day begins with a quick transfer to Les Chapelles. This village exemplifies the authentic and ongoing importance of farming culture in the Haute Tarentaise. An easy path rambles past several more quaint villages including La Thuile, La Nant and Les Echines-Dessus before descending to Les Echines-Dessous. Return to Bourg St. Maurice hotel.

Transfer to Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise by way of another panoramic hike in the upper Tarentaise. A short transfer brings us to Montvalezan and the start of our hike. We will pass the 400 year old Eglise St. Michel standing alone on the hill above Le Châtelard. This is certainly one of the most important view points around. The trail then dives into the forest for a beautiful stretch before opening up in the ancient farm hamlet of La Falconière. The picnic potential here is of very high quality. Now a relatively short descent ensues to another wonderful alpine village, Le Miroir. After a short break here we finish to our next destination, Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise.

We are off to the high country today as we ascend the Val de Mecuel. Our objective is a mountain hut near La Motte at the foot of the Point de Archebloc and in close proximity to the Italian border. Return to Sainte-Foy.

Today we visit the village of Le Monal, seemingly trapped in a time long forgotten. Our hike from the Sainte-Foy ski station traverses beautiful open country with grand views of the Tarentaise’s greatest glacier guarded summit; Mt Pourri! After lunch in the village we continue to the Lac du Chevril by Tignes and transfer to exotic Val d’ Isère.

An outstanding day in the Grande Sassiere Nature Reserve. Today’s trek begins at the Chalet La Sassière and follows gentle terrain to the Lac du Sassiere where we will spend  leisurely picnic under the beautiful peak of La Tsanteleina. Return to Val d’ Isère hotel.

A final outing above Val d’ Isère ends the trip on a dramatic note. From the village of Le Fornet (the highest in Val d’ Isère) we follow an incredible trail through the Gorges Malpasset. Coming out in the open high country on the other side we reach the Refuge du Prariond for a proper French Alpine Club lunch with inspiring views of the massive terrain that makes this region resonate with the most discerning mountain enthusiasts. Return to Val d’ Isère hotel.

French Alps: The Tarentaise Mountains | France

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Brittney Clarke

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