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Walking in France - the Vercors & Trieves Plateaux - 7 days

A wonderful walking holiday which will appeal to average walkers who wish to explore and enjoy a secret corner of France.

It includes a tour of this imposing mountain in the Vercors, Mont Aiguille, which dominates the Trieves Plateau.

Lady's Slipper orchids

a distant Mt. Aiguille

high meadows, big mountains

We'll eat out in traditional French bistros and resturants.

In Mens, in the 14th century "Chateau de Passieres" and in the special "Sabot de Venus" with it's home-made specialities.

Trieves Plateau in foreground

Itinerary - difficulty grade B

Walking in a secret area of France - the Trieves

The walking is never too hard, the emphasis is on the DISCOVERY of this new area on foot, but also by meeting local people and trying the excellent, wide range of local food and wine.

The VERCORS Plateau:
Best-known as a base for the French Resistance during WW2, this high limestone plateau is still a wild, remote and beautiful area. Orchids thrive in these conditions and we should be able to spot several different varieties including the Red and Black Vanilla, Spotted, Ladies Slipper and Elder orchids.

The TRIEVES Plateau:
This is an area little-known even to the French. It's an area hidden away between mountains to the east (Les Ecrins) and west (Vercors) and climatically mid-way between the south of France and the northern Alps.
It's an area rich in history. Settled by the Celts and then the Romans and with it's main market town and our base, Mens, full of friendly, independently-minded craftspeople and farmers.
Mens is now a major "green" centre for France and we'll include a visit to "Terre Vivante", a large ecological centre with wonderful organic gardens, and a restaurant.

your detailed itinerary
Day 1 Arrive Geneva Airport - 3 hr transfer by motorway to our hotel in peaceful La Richardière - evening briefing with local wine and traditional food.
Day 2 Vercors Plateau From the trailhead in Chichilianne we climb steadily through shady forest to reach the high, flat, grassy Vercors Plateau at 1,820m (6,000ft). We cross the plateau for 2 hrs before descending steeply to our hotel. We should see several varieties of Orchid (5 hrs walking).
Day 3

Mt Aiguille is the most remarkable of the many mountains in this region. This classic circumnavigation starts and finishes in the village of Richardière. We hike through forest and open ground and we'll be able to study all the facets of this remarkable peak. Our highpoint is the Col de l'Aupet (1,653m, 5,400ft) (7 hrs walking).

We should see several varieties of orchid including the" Ladies Slipper".
(Mt Aiguille was first climbed on 27 June 1492, then not again for 350 years!)

Day 4

Mens After a lazy breakfast we visit France's premier "green centre" "Terre Vivante" with it's wonderful gardens and ecological housing projects. After a picnic lunch we walk just 200m uphill and then traverse along a broad ridge, through fields of wheat and barley, to arrive in the bustling market town of Mens and our new hotel (3 hrs walking).

Day 5 Mt Jajene Our minibus leaves us at the trailhead (1,335m, 4,400ft) and we walk uphill through flower-filled alpine pastures to the Col de la Chante. From here we follow the grassy ridge of Mt Jajene (1,784m, 5,850ft) with great views over the Vercors, the Ecrins and the Southern Alps. We descend to our waiting minibus (5-6 hrs walking).
Day 6 Le Chatel This is the finest viewpoint for the whole Trieves plateau and our objective today. From the trailhead we climb steadily through mixed forest and then open pasture to the wide, flat, summit ridge of Le Chatel (1,937m, 6,350ft). Here we can picnic and admire the views on all sides before descending to our waiting minibus
(5 hrs walking).
Day 7 Last minute shopping before your transfer to Geneva Airport for midday.

walking in the vercors, France
tired but happy hikers

Our first hotel base (3 nights) is the charming 2-star Hotel au Gai Soleil in peaceful Richardière.

Our second hotel base (3 nights) is the lovely >>>
3-star "Auberge de Mens",
right in the heart of the busy market town of Mens.

hotel in the Trieves, France

for background information on this region which is in the very south of the département (county) of Isère.
walking in the Trieves, France
The Trieves plateau

This is a sample itinerary, the actual itinerary will always be of the same quality but may vary depending on factors like the weather, mechanical breakdowns of lift systems and the wishes of clients.
Click for prices & dates

Based on:
2 people sharing a twin room with shower in a 2*/3* hotel in Richardière & Mens for 6 nights.
Single room supplement is no problem if you prefer this.

What is included:
Airport transfers, breakfast (nights 1-6), lunches (days 2-6), all evening meals, all cable cars and lifts, all technical equipment (e.g. bikes, horses, wetsuits etc), instruction by fully qualified instructors for each activity, transport each day and evening, all entrance fees.

What is NOT included:
Lunches on travel days (days 1& 7), all alcoholic drinks, insurance, any medical costs, postcards and presents.

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