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Hiking in France
The Tour of Mont Blanc
10 days hiking(+ 1 rest day)

ITINERARY - difficulty grade B+ ( height gains of up to 1,000m, 3,300 ft a day )

Day 1

Arrive at Geneva airport. You are met at the airport and transferred ( just 1.5 hours) to your CHAMONIX hotel. Settle into the valley hotel with time for sightseeing before the welcoming meal and evening briefing for your hiking tour of Mont Blanc.
Our hotel is normally the friendly Hotel Richmond -
Day 2 The Aiguillette des Houches. From our hotel we climb through spruce forest on an ascending traverse that offers superb views of the Mt Blanc range on the other side of the valley. We picnic among the wild flowers of the high meadows of Chailloux (1,923m, 6,300ft) before descending to our minibus and the same hotel (5 hrs hiking).
Day 3 The Col de Tricot. Today we leave the Chamonix Valley. We take the cable car in Les Houches and start hiking at 1,800m (6,000ft) and descend close to the dramatic Bionassay Glacier where we can touch the glacier ice. Then we climb through alpine meadows to cross the steep Col (Pass) de Tricot (2,120m, 6,954ft) and descend to LES CONTAMINES (1,160m, 3,800ft) to our comfortable hotel (5-6 hrs hiking).
Our hotel is normally the lovely Hotel Gai Soleil -
Day 4

The Col de la Croix du Bonhomme. A big day - from our hotel we climb the original Roman road and ascend through open pasture to cross the Col du Bonhomme (2,329m, 7,640ft). After our picnic we continue climbing along rocky trails to cross the high Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2,483m, 8,400ft). Then a welcome descent through meadows, past the cows which make "Beaufort" cheese, leading to our friendly hotel in LES CHAPIEUX (6-7 hrs hiking).
Our hotel is normally the friendly Auberge Nova

Day 5 The Col de la Seigne is our gateway into Italy. From our hotel we climb gradually through open grassland to arrive at the Col de la Seigne (2,516m, 8,245ft) and the border with Italy. We descend into the beautiful Val Veny and pass by a glacier lake with towering icecliffs. Then our bus meets us at the roadhead to take us to our hotel in the Italian town of COURMAYEUR (6-7 hrs hiking).
Our hotel is normally the classic Hotel Cristallo
Day 6 Optional REST DAY. After a lazy breakfast we visit the historic Roman town of AOSTA with it's Roman Wall, shops and street cafes, and icecream. In the afternoon we take an exciting white-water rafting trip down the Dora Baltea, the river which runs from Mont Blanc down through Courmayeur and Aosta. A traditional Italian evening meal finishes the day.
Note: We are probably the only company that builds in a rest day. You will appreciate it and will be able to tackle the rest of the tour feeling refreshed. The Tour of Mont Blanc is a one-in-a-lifetime moment. We feel you should enjoy it, not run round it seeing and appreciating very little.
Day 7 Mont de la Saxe. Our bus takes us to the roadhead in 10 minutes and we climb steeply through larch forest to follow a spectacular balcony trail crossing Mont de la Saxe (2,348m or 7,700ft), opposite the spectacular cliffs of the Grandes Jorasses and the many glaciers of the Mt Blanc range. Our high point is Tete de la Troche (2,584m, 8,475ft) and the HIGHEST POINT of the whole trek. We descend to our hotel high in the remote Val Ferret with great views of Mt Dolent, whose sharp summit is the frontier of France, Switzerland and Italy (6-7 hrs hiking in France).
Our hotel is normally the comfy Chalet Val Ferret
Day 8 The Grand Col Ferret. Today we cross our highest pass and leave Italy for Switzerland. From our hotel we climb gradually through grassland, past herds of Ibex, to cross the Grand Col Ferret (2,537m, 8,320ft), the highest pass on our tour. A long gentle downhill takes us to the quiet Swiss village of LA FOULY to sleep (5-6 hrs hike).
Our hotel is normally the friendly Hotel Des Glaciers.
Day 9 Champex. From La Fouly we wander through meadows, spruce forests and pictoresque Swiss chalets and villages before climbing up to our hotel by the glacier lake in the village of CHAMPEX (1,466m, 4,810ft) (5 hrs hiking).
Our hotel is normally the comfortable Hotel du Glacier -
Day 10

The Col de Forclaz. We take the Bovine way today, an old trail used to access the summer cow pastures high above the valley. We start gently in spruce forest and after crossing a number of streams we climb steeply (for 600m, 2,000ft) to arrive at the flower-filled meadows of an exceptionally beautiful traverse overlooking the Rhone Valley, 4,000' below. Our picnic spot has glorious views of the mountains of Switzerland reaching into the distance. Our high point is the Portalo (2,049m, 6,720ft). The afternoon hike descends steadily through wooded slopes to our hotel at the Col de Forclaz. (1,526m or 5,005ft) (5 hrs hiking).
Our hotel is normally the rustic Hotel du Col de la Forclaz.
Day 11 The Col de Balme. Today we leave Switzerland and arrive back France and the Chamonix Valley. From the village of TRIENT we climb steeply through spruce forest and then alpine meadows to cross the windy Col de Balme (2,191m, 7,186ft). After a grassy picnic we traverse across open grassland to climb briefly to the Aiguillette des Posettes (2,201m, 7,219ft). Then we descend a broad ridge - with spectacular views of the whole Chamonix Valley and the Mt Blanc range - to arrive at the Col des Montets, at the very head of the Chamonix valley (6-7 hrs hike).
And back to the same Chamonix hotel.
Day 12 Lac Blanc. From the Col des Montets we walk through shady forests and then climb steeply through "le passage dangereux" to traverse along the broad shoulder ridge of the Aiguilles Rouges mountains. We climb to the spectacular, photogenic Lac Blanc (2,352m, 7,715ft) for our picnic. Finally we descend (by cable car) to CHAMONIX and our starting point of 11 days ago (5-6 hrs hiking). The adventure is over, back to our hotel for a final celebratory meal.
Day 13 Your journey home, but perhaps with time for a ride up the cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi (3,842m, 2,605ft) before leaving Chamonix. Transfer to Geneva airport for your afternoon/evening flight.
Click for prices & dates

Based on:
2 people sharing a twin room in 2-3* hotels (11 nights) and in a mountain guest house (1 night).
A single-room supplement is readily available if you prefer.

What is included:
All inclusive, Geneva to Geneva i.e. airport transfers, bed and breakfast (nights 1-12 inc), big picnic lunches (days 2-12), all cable cars and lifts, minibus transport and 2 guides.

What is NOT included:
Insurance, alcoholic drinks and your postcards and obvious personal spending, including medical supplies. Lunches on travel days (days 1 and 13).

Key points:
* Everything is included in the price, there are no "local payments" and your picnic lunches are included.
* We have time to enjoy the scenery, in comfort, with good quality accomodation and food.
* We have minibus support throughout the trip too.
* There is a well-earned rest-day built in: for resting, shopping or even exciting white water rafting.

Trip Facts:
Total Distance - 155km (100 miles)
Average height climbed per day - 700m (2,300ft)
Highest Pass - Grand Col Ferret 2,537m (8,320ft)
Languages Spoken - French & Italian
Difficulty Rating - For intermediate hikers
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