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Chamonix and the French Alps 5 nights

  • 7 Night Route

    Price: from £870
    Standard two-centre route
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £765
    Single-centre

Le Pays du Mont Blanc

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Aiguille Verte and the Dru (Argentiere glacier on the left)

Aiguille Verte and the Dru (Argentiere glacier on the left)

Near Chalet les Pres

Near Chalet les Pres

Late summer colour (photo: Martin Woods)

Late summer colour (photo: Martin Woods)

View of Mont Blanc (photo: Martin Woods)

View of Mont Blanc (photo: Martin Woods)

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

Pierre Blanche looking west

Pierre Blanche looking west

Col de Bonhomme on the Lacs Jovet circuit (photo: Martin Woods)

Col de Bonhomme on the Lacs Jovet circuit (photo: Martin Woods)

Price: from £765
Nights: 5
Grade:
Walk: 3¼ - 6¾ hr/day

We really liked that we were independent to choose our hikes each day depending on how we felt. It was also really comforting to have such explicit hiking instructions as well as the GPS to monitor if we went off course. We never felt lost or unsafe. The accommodations were great in all aspects. The pre-trip booking and help was extraordinary as was the help provided by Lizzy.

All in all, one of the best vacations we have had. We definitely will be looking at future On Foot trips. Finally, your pricing is so reasonable compared to other companies. We feel that we really received excellent value for our money. Thank you!!!

Karen Hyslop, Santa Barbara, USA - September 2019

Everything about our holiday was first rate. The accommodations were outstanding, the variety of hikes were ideal and the communication from the operator was also outstanding.

On Foot Holidays were always quick to respond to my many inquiries and the hikes were tailored to exactly what I was looking for.

Anon - August 2019

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, UK - 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, USA

More independent feedback
A self-guided walking holiday in the French Alps with On Foot Holidays

At a glance

Single-centre route (Chamonix-les-Bossons). 5 nights (4 days walking). 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

This centre-based version of our easier take on the French Alps offers walkers the chance to experience the drama of the peaks at a more relaxed pace. Whichever way you turn, you are met by breathtaking views. 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. We offer walkers a collection of walks to be done in the Chamonix valley and its surrounds so you can choose which route to do as you go along, based on your energy levels. Walk, sit down and relax as you discover one of the most awe-inspiring and spectacular landscapes in Europe.

Important: due to the nature of this route and the remote walking environment, we are unable to accept solo walkers.

Walked by On Foot staff: Simon, Harriet and Patrick

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

TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to France, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.

Nothing but the gentle murmur of cow bells in the French Alps, at the Chalets du Truc refuge between Les Contamines and Les Houches.

Route Highlights

  • The finest mountain scenery in Europe
  • Alpine meadows and summer flowers
  • Walks can be shortened if you fancy an easier day
  • Glaciers and snowfields – the Aiguille du Midi cable-car (3840m)
  • Hedonistic relaxation by the pool in Chamonix les Bossons
  • Glaciers, meadows and the drama of the peaks
  • The stark beauty of the Mer de Glace and the descent to Montenvers

This route features the following characteristics and interests: Mountains, Woods, Birdwatching, Food, Wine

We Recommend

Eating and Drinking

The home of mountain cooking, the Chamonix area is a gourmet’s heaven – 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. The first half of June is still quite early season for the hoteliers, and some walks may also still be affected by snow. The warmth and potential sunshine continue into mid-September, but the evenings draw in at the start of October and temperatures drop.  Later bookings may involve accommodation changes too.

Important: due to the nature of this route and the remote walking environment, we are unable to accept solo walkers.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for the Chamonix area

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Chamonix – Aiguille du Midi – Chamonix

Arrive in Chamonix. Marvel at the mountains and take time to explore the bustling town and perhaps, sample the local reblochon.

Day 2 - Brévent to Argentière

Today, you could ascend by télécabine up to the high “Brévent” balcon and walk on the NW side of the valley for magnificent views across the valley to Mont Blanc (6¼hrs, 14½km, CUSs 350m). Options for other appropriate walks will be sent in your Walker’s Pack.

Day 3 - Circular walks around Chamonix

Today you might move a little further afield, to Vallorcine or Argentière by train or bus.  Using the télécabine, you could take the spectacular walk to the Refuge Albert 1er (2700m), flanking the Le Tour Glacier and its massive ice fall, and returning via a pretty path to Charamillon.  (5 hours, 9km, CUSs 500m). Options for other appropriate walks will be sent in your Walker’s Pack.

Day 4 - Les Houches to Chamonix

Consider taking a short train ride back to Les Houches, a day in the forest, visiting the Parc du Merlet where you can see local fauna.  If you feel fit and energetic, and are ready for some more vertical metres, an optional extra loop will take you steeply up to the high alpine meadows. (14km, 3½ hrs-5 hrs, CUSs 1110m). Options for other appropriate walks will be sent in your Walker’s Pack.

Day 5 - Chamonix – Aiguille du Midi to Montenvers

Optional, but certainly recommended: the climax of your week – a final 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) Options for other appropriate walks will be sent in your Walker’s Pack.

Departure Day

Depart 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.

TRAVELLING BY TRAIN

Nearest railway stations:

Start: Chamonix Les Bossons

End: Chamonix Les Bossons

Typical rail journey from UK via Paris:

From London: Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon for the TGV to Chamonix Les Bossons. ~9.5 hrs.

From Chamonix Les Bossons:  10 minute local train to Chamonix Mont Blanc, then TGV direct to Paris Gare de Lyon.  Transfer to Paris Gare du Nord 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 walks are based from Chamonix  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 from Geneva airport to first hotel 1½ hrs, or the regular bus from the airport to Saint Gervais-le-Fayet and then the train to Chamonix Les Bossons.

Return: Via the scenic Mont Blanc Express train service to St Gervais le Fayet (which links with the TGV to Paris Gare de Lyon) 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 bus from Chamonix les Bossons to Chamonix Sud bus station, and a bus from there to Geneva airport.

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 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.

Les Bossons – Aiguille du Midi (dinner, B&B / B&B)

Night 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Les Bossons – Aiguille du Midi (dinner, B&B / B&B)

Traditional very French hotel with pool and excellent restaurant.

Prices

Price: from £765 for 5 nights

Total 5 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, 3 picnics and 2 evening meals ; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in June. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.

Important: due to the nature of this route and the remote walking environment, we are unable to accept solo walkers.

Single Room Supplement: From £190
Large party saving: Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) –  discount of at least £10 per person
Maximum party size: 10

 

Add Ons

Extra nights in any hotel: Contact us
Taxi Geneva Airport to Les Contamines (1.5 hrs): From £180 for 1-4 persons; £200 for 5-8 persons
Taxi Chamonix to Geneva Airport (1.5 hrs): From £177 for 1-4 persons; £200 for 5-8 persons
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK and Ireland:  £10-£40 (per pack, location dependent)

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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