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Chamonix and the French Alps

  • 7 Night Route

    Price From: £880

Le Pays du Mont Blanc

Back to Routes
Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

Near Chalet les Pres

Near Chalet les Pres

Alpenrose

Alpenrose

Looking down from the Col du Tricot

Looking down from the Col du Tricot

Mer de Glace from above Montenvers

Mer de Glace from above Montenvers

Rampion

Rampion

Alpine splendour

Alpine splendour

Pierre Blanche looking west

Pierre Blanche looking west

Price: £880
Nights: 7
Grade:
Walk: 3¼ - 6¾ hr/day
Max. party size: 10

Travellers Reviews

The family feeling in Les Contamines was amazing.

Sabrina was a fabulous host. Even with poor weather I enjoyed my time here. My absolute favorite part of the holiday was the "extra loop" option when heading from Les Houches to Chamonix. I think this route should be highly recommended. I almost didn't do it because it sounded like it was just an option to get extra vertical km in. However, it was a stunning walk - I had most of the trails to myself... it ended with a perfect check-in at the last hotel! I would go back to Chamonix area and the Hotel Aguille du Midi in a heartbeat for a long
weekend.

Siobhan O'Connor, Aarhuis, July, 2016

Scenery was spectacular....

...and walks offered allowed me to select and adapt which was useful.
The contrasting hotels were very good - very different but each with their own charm and identity.

Judith Canavan, Grimsby, August 2015

Your local contact was supremely useful.

Lizzy pulled out the stops to make sure that our rainy days were filled, for which we are extremely grateful. The morning spent in the climbing museum in Chamonix was absorbing.

Arthur Rollins, Baltimore, September 2016

More independent feedback
About the Route

At a glance

7 nights (6 days walking). An extra night or two at Chamonix could be well used with extra walking options available. Easier walking options available on all days.

How much walking?

Full days: 6-19km per day, 3¼ - 6¾ hrs walking
Using shortening options: 6-13km per day, 2-3½ hrs using daily shortening options

Max. Grade:

The finest mountain scenery in Europe

Our harder Alpine route, at the foot of Mont Blanc, is one of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular landscapes in Europe. Whichever way you turn, you are met by one breathtaking view after another. Mont Blanc, rising innocently some 4000 metres above you can look deceptively near until viewed through a telescope, whilst considering how many attempts it took before man reached its summit. But our walk is lower, in the alpages, the delightful meadows, flower-decked in June and July, which demand that you stop, breathe in, listen to the cow-bell silence and take in the extraordinary vistas around you. Sit down and relax before you rush on to your next authentic Savoyard hotel, as the paths are demanding, though so rewarding.

Walked by On Foot staff: Simon

REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com

Route Highlights

  • The finest mountain scenery in Europe
  • Alpine meadows and summer flowers
  • Glaciers and snowfields – the Aiguille du Midi cablecar (3840m)
  • The Bionassay summer suspension bridge
  • Hedonistic relaxation by the pool (days 6/7)

We Recommend

Extra nights in Chamonix to do additional walking - various suggestions, depending on the season.

Eating and Drinking

The home of mountain cooking, the Chamonix area is a gourmet’s delight – there’s plenty of choice when evening meals are not included, but save yourselves also for the delights of the Aiguille du Midi’s kitchen. Watch out for a lot of cheese-based concoctions. And as it’s France, the wine is good.

How much Walking?

Full days: 6-19km per day, 3¼ - 6¾ hrs walking
Using shortening options: 6-13km per day, 2-3½ hrs using daily shortening options

This is alpine country but we have tried to make it accessible to all grades.  Some stiff ascents and steep downhills. Well-marked paths and good signage. Highest point on route: 2,354m.

Hard: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 972m (230m-1330m) per day, grading down as far as:
Easy-Medium: CUSs 540m (230m – 580m) using shortening options

GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for most of route.

Important note: Times given for each day are  walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops.  “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb.  See “Walk Grading” for more information.

When to go?

The best months to walk: July, August, September

Other possible months: June

The French Alps are ideal in the summer months when many of our other routes prove too warm for walking. In late June and July the ‘alpages’ are flower-bedecked and the sky crisp and clear. Early June is still quite early season for the hoteliers, and the Bionassay suspension bridge is not put back until just after mid-June – although this does not materially affect the route. The warmth and potential sunshine continue into mid-September but the evenings draw in at the start of October and temperatures drop.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for the Chamonix area

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in les Contamines

Arrive in Les Contamines. Marvel at the mountains for the first time.

Day 2 - Les Contamines circuit

A walk to Refuge Tré la Tete and onward if you wish to your first glacier, returning via a Roman road and a nature trail.  (Medium: 10km, 4hrs, CUSs 820m, with shortening and lengthening options)

Day 3 - The Lacs Jovet circuit

You will be following part of the Tour de Mont Blanc on the Roman legions’ original route, returning to Les Contamines for a second night’s stay. The goal – to reach the Lacs Jovet, at an altitude of over 2000m.  (Hard: 19km, 6½ hrs, CUSs 1180m). Shorter circuits (Medium): Various options, including taking the telepherique and starting with a height advantage.

Day 4 - Les Contamines to Les Houches

A long and fairly strenuous day taking you into the Chamonix Valley, with two options: medium, and frankly challenging. The first plateau reached, common to both routes, the Chalets du Truc, gives you superb views of the bottom of the Glacier de Miage, then either through some unspoilt hamlets and farming communities, or via the Col de Tricot, wild, exposed and breathtaking in all senses.  (Hard: 17km, 5¾ hrs, CUSs 1330m, or Medium: 12km, 3½ hrs, CUSs 580m with short bus transfer to start)

Day 5 - Circular walks around Les Houches

Circular walks around Les Houches taking in the charm of Servoz and, if you have the energy, a diversion to the Gorges de la Diosaz with their mountain torrents.  (Easy-medium – hard: 9-19km, 2 – 5 hrs, CUSs 350-880m)

Day 6 - Les Houches to Chamonix (Les Bossons)

A day walking through the forest, visiting the Parc de Merlet, where you can see local fauna, to finish up (if you wish!) with a swim in the outdoor swimming pool at your Hotel. Harder optional extra loop for superb views over the Mont Blanc range.  (Medium up to hard: 3½-6 hrs, 9-13km, CUSs 840-1100m)

Day 7 - Chamonix – Aiguille du Midi – Chamonix

The climax of your week – a final (optional) trip up a cable car to over alt. 3800m, for the best views, weather permitting, in the Alps, a walk along the Grand Balcon Nord, and a dramatic view of a glacier, returning to Chamonix via the cog railway for your last night’s celebrations.  (Easy: 6km, 3–3½ hrs, CUSs 230m)

Departure Day

Deaprt hotel – or choose to stay further nights.

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY AIR

The best airport for both European and intercontinental flights is Geneva.

Land by: 16:00  (14:30 Sat/Sun/public holidays)

Return flight earliest: 13:00 if transfer by train, possibly earlier if available bus

Land by/earliest return times not applicable if using pre-booked taxi.

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.

ARRIVING BY TRAIN

Nearest railway stations:

Start: St Gervais-Le Fayet

End: Chamonix Les Bossons

Typical rail journey from UK via Paris:

London: Eurostar to Paris (N), transfer to Paris Lyon for the TGV to St Gervais-les-Bains-Le-Fayet. ~9.5 hrs.

Chamonix Les Bossons:  10 minute local train to Chamonix Mont Blanc, then TGV direct to Paris Lyon.  Transfer to Paris (N) for Eurostar for London St Pancras International.  ~13.5 hrs.

See www.seat61.com/France.htm – there is a click through to choose your town of arrival and departure, and a warning note about the timetable.

 

Getting to the start of the walk

The first hotel is in Les Contamines and the final one in Les Bossons/Chamonix. The following information will help you with transfers from Geneva airport. For transfers from train stations, see above.

Geneva airport:
Outward: Pre-booked taxi transfer (advised owing to major works on the public transport system) from Geneva airport to first hotel 1½ hrs – there is a bus 3 times daily from the airport to Les Contamines, but it could mean a long wait after your flight arrival. An alternative is chamexpress.com – click into Geneva/Chamonix transfers and then choose Les Contamines, and custom drop off point.

Return: Via the scenic Mont Blanc Express train service or either a shared taxi transfer with chamexpress.com, OR a pre-booked (through us) taxi transfer from Chamonix to Geneva Airport c. 1½ hrs OR a train from Chamonix les Bossons to Chamonix Gare, and a bus from Chamonix Gare to the airport – 3 buses daily at wide intervals.

For pre-bookable taxi costs, see “Prices”.

Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information

Where You'll Stay

Whilst the walking may be hard, one reward will be some excellent cooking.  Our hotels and chambres d’hotes are all family run and each has a unique and personal feel. Please note that the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix les Bossons closes in mid-September, and the (alternative) Hotel de l’Arve in Chamonix town is then used on a B&B basis. Exceptionally in 2016 the route is unavailable between 16 and 23 July inclusive as the Tour de France passes through the area.

Les Contamines – Le Hameau du Ptou (B&B)

Night 1, 2 & 3

Les Contamines – Le Hameau du Ptou (B&B)

In the heart of the village, a traditional chalet offering 3 chambres d'hotes in a warm family atmosphere.

Les Houches – Hotel du Bois (B&B)

Night 4 & 5

Les Houches – Hotel du Bois (B&B)

Views of Mont Blanc, an informal chalet-style hotel with good facilities - pool, sauna, massages and the like!

Les Bossons – Aiguille du Midi (Dinner, B&B)

Night 6 & 7

Les Bossons – Aiguille du Midi (Dinner, B&B)

Traditional very French hotel with pool and excellent restaurant.

Prices

Price: £880 for 7 nights

Total 7 nights in shared room, all breakfasts, luggage transfers, 1 picnic and 2 evening meals.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated (e.g. for taxis), and may vary with exchange rate fluctuations – check with On Foot for your guaranteed price.

Savings and supplements

Single Room Supplement: From £255

Lone Traveller Additional Supplement: From £120

Larger party saving (on identical itinerary) – £60 off per person (except first two)

 

Add Ons

Extra nights in any hotel: Contact us

Taxi Geneva Airport to St Gervais (1.5 hrs): From £151 for 1-4 persons; £182 for 5-8 persons

Taxi Chamonix to Geneva Airport (1.5 hrs): From £151 for 1-4 persons; £182 for 5-8 persons

Travellers Reviews

The family feeling in Les Contamines was amazing.

Sabrina was a fabulous host. Even with poor weather I enjoyed my time here. My absolute favorite part of the holiday was the "extra loop" option when heading from Les Houches to Chamonix. I think this route should be highly recommended. I almost didn't do it because it sounded like it was just an option to get extra vertical km in. However, it was a stunning walk - I had most of the trails to myself... it ended with a perfect check-in at the last hotel! I would go back to Chamonix area and the Hotel Aguille du Midi in a heartbeat for a long
weekend.

Siobhan O'Connor, Aarhuis, July, 2016

Scenery was spectacular....

...and walks offered allowed me to select and adapt which was useful.
The contrasting hotels were very good - very different but each with their own charm and identity.

Judith Canavan, Grimsby, August 2015

Your local contact was supremely useful.

Lizzy pulled out the stops to make sure that our rainy days were filled, for which we are extremely grateful. The morning spent in the climbing museum in Chamonix was absorbing.

Arthur Rollins, Baltimore, September 2016

More independent feedback
Reserve your dates Add to shortlist
Lizzy Ashley Cooper

Route designed by:

Lizzy Ashley Cooper

Lizzy grew to love Mont Blanc and the surrounding area so much that she made it her home. She regularly walks the paths and routes in the forests, mountain slopes and meadows, with their abundant flora and other wildlife. She is a keen ski tourer.

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