July 03 - 12
August 07 - 16
August 28 - September 6
Price: US$ 1900 (CAD$ 2000)
Group size: 3 - 8 guests
Tour du Mont Blanc Express (TMB) 8 days, 6 days of hiking:
August 08 - 15
August 27 - September 3
Price: US$ 2900 (CAD$ 3000) , single supplement: US$ 350 (CAD $400)
Group size: 3 - 8 guests
The Classic of the Classics, the Tour du Mont Blanc offers some of the most spectacular alpine landscapes, crossing several major mountain passes while enjoying breathtaking views of the giants of the Alps. From the mountaineering capital of the world, Chamonix, France, the TMB takes you from alpine meadows to the rugged, mineral world of the high mountains, and back down to the valley where tradition has gone uninterrupted for hundreds of years. During the summer months of July and August, alpine flora and fauna are prolific and wildflowers line the trails of the Tour du Mont Blanc.
With almost 2 decades of experience hiking in the Alps, we have created an itinerary, which is gentle enough for younger walkers and beginners but challenging enough to keep the most experienced trekker mesmerized by the beauty of the alpine scenery.
Keeping in mind how expensive Europe has become, we have chosen to use less expensive, family-run inns and refuges (mountain huts), reduced the amount of baggage transfers and have kept the use of cable-cars and lifts to a minimum without compromising on the quality of the experience. Along the trails, we will have time to stop and discover what makes this trek one of the classic hikes of the world. Our bi-lingual, internationally certified guides will allow you to become better acquainted with the Alpine world, its flora, fauna, long history of human habitation, culinary delights and the grandeur of the mountains.
Day 1: Meet in Les Houches, a small, typically Savoyarde town 6 kilometers south of Chamonix in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Welcome dinner and drinks, overnight in a small hotel.
Day 2: Les Houches to Miage. A short walk to the Bellevue cable car and a scenic ride up to the ridge overlooking Les Houches with stunning views from the top. Mont Blanc and its satellite peaks tower above, as the river Arve rushes below. Our hike today is moderate, with a gentle descent to a pasture where "fighting cows" from the Val d’Herens in Switzerland can often be seen asserting their dominance over the herd. We then climb to a pass and take in the views out to the Domes de Miage and its glaciers. We descend steeply to a hamlet of stone homes where cows and horses graze peacefully surrounded by hanging glaciers. Overnight in a small, family-run inn. Dormitory accommodation. No luggage transfer.
Day 3: Miage to Nant Borrant. The day starts with a short climb before reaching a plateau and our traverse under the dramatic peaks of the Aiguille du Glacier and of Tre-la-Tete. The trail follows a contour line with little altitude gain, meandering in and out of a lush pine and larch forest. Our home for the night is a privately run inn, one of the oldest in the area. Private dormitories for families are available. Inn with small dormitories. Luggage transfer.
Day 4: Nant Borrant to Les Chapieux. One of our longest hikes begins easily enough with a gentle climb along a wide jeep trail. On both sides of the path, the chime of cow’s bells can be heard and marmot’s strident whistling echos all around. Our climb continues until we reach the Col du Bonhomme and then on to a French Alpine Club hut. A short stop allows us to have a refreshing beverage and admire the Ibex, large mountain goats which are often found lounging near the hut. A steep descent takes us to the hamlet of Les Chapieux. Overnight. Double rooms are available. N o luggage transfer.
Day 5: Les Chapieux to Courmayeur. We begin the day with a short mini-bus transfer to Villes-des-Glacier where we will tour a small cheese factory producing one of the most famous cheeses in the French Alps, the Beaufort. Six massive, 40 kilogram wheels of the “queen of the Alps” are produced each day on this small farm. Cheese tasting and a guided visit are offered. From the farm we head towards Italy and onto one of the oldest trading routes in the Western Alps. Crossing the Col de la Seigne we can actually have one foot in each country. A long, gentle descent leads to the medieval town of Courmayeur, a former Roman military garrison with a pedestrian only core. Time to enjoy the gastronomic delights of Italy, the ancient stone streets of the town and the impressive south face of the Mont Blanc range with jagged peaks such as the Dent Du Geant, Grande Jorasses and Aiguille Noire de Peuterey jutting up above our heads. Hotel in Courmayeur. Double rooms. Luggage will be delivered to your hotel.
Day 6: Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti. After a hearty breakfast, we begin along the cobble stone streets of the old town before heading steeply up to the Mont de la Saxe, a massive lateral moraine, which towers above the town of Courmayeur. Once on top, the views are probably the most spectacular of the entire trip. A majority of the hike is spent on the spine of the ridge, enjoying the roar of serrac avalanches breaking off from glaciers below. Our evening’s destination is the Bonatti hut, more of a hotel than mountain refuge. Named after one of Italy’s most famous mountaineers, the hut is a beautiful structure placed strategically looking out toward the Grandes Jorasses where the alpenglow paints the mountains a palette of bright colors. Double rooms. No luggage transfers.
Day 7: Rifugio Bonatti to La Peule. Continuing along the ridge for a short time, we descend to the Val Ferret only to climb again to the Rifugio Elena and possibly the best hot chocolate in the world. Today’s climb is short and sweet with the last views of the side of the range. Once at the pass, we say ciao to Italy and bonjour to Switzerland. Weather permitting, we will scout the hills for Ibex and settle down for lunch before enjoying a lazy few hours at the pass. A short descent brings us to a working farm where local cheese called raclette is produced and we can observe the milking of cows and the labor intensive process of making cheese. Overnight in either dorms or an authentic Mongolian yurt, a circular tent-like structure brightly painted and heated by a small wood stove. Dormitories or Yurt accommodation. No luggage.
Day 8: La Peule-Ferret-Champex. Today’s hike is very short. We descend to the village of Ferret and take the Swiss Post Bus to the town of Champex where a large, trout filled lake is the center point of the town. Once settled into our lodging, we will have time to rent paddle boats or canoes and spend a lazy afternoon on the lake or take a short chair lift ride above the town and enjoy lunch with panoramic views. Overnight in a small inn. Luggage transfer.
Day 9: Champex to Col de la Forclaz. Leaving Champex, our trail takes us through forests and meadows on the Bovine trail, where herds of fighting cows from the Val Herens graze lazily. Lunch will be taken in a small hut overlooking the Rhone Valley where Romans introduced vineyards over 2000 years ago. After lunch, two hours will be all we need to reach the Col de la Forclaz and our taxi waiting to take us back to Chamonix. Overnight in Chamonix. Farewell dinner. Hotel. Double rooms.
Day 10: Transfer to international airports or carry on exploring Europe.
Note: We also customize the Tour du Mont Blanc for guests who are interested in a private trip, any length and any difficulty goes.
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Europe France Italy Switzerland Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Cultural Journey