Adventure of the Week, Walking

Adventure of the Week – Complete Tour du Mont Blanc in Comfort

25 Sep , 2019  

Europe’s classic long-distance trek the Tour du Mont Blanc passes through 3 countries and provides superb mountain views of the Mont Blanc Massif and the surrounding valleys. This version of the Tour du Mont Blanc is perfect for those who want to enjoy all of the Tour du Mont Blanc whilst staying in comfortable accommodations.


In a nutshell

Where?

Begin in the picturesque village of Les Houches with a climb up and out of the Chamonix Valley to Bellevue (1,801m) from where you have the option of 2 routes to Les Contamines. From Notre Dame de la Gorge the path turns upwards and climbs steadily on the Chemin Roman through the Contamines Montjoie Nature Reserve eventually reaching the rugged landscapes of Col du Bonhomme (2,329m).

The next mountain pass you reach is the Col de la Seigne (2,516m) where you pass from France to Italy, stopping to take in the spectacular views of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. The trail descends through high alpine meadows past refuge Elisabetta into the Val Veni and past the snout of the huge Glacier du Miage to Visaille, where you catch the shuttle bus into Courmayeur. From Courmayeur, you climb up to the Grand Col Ferret before descending through picture book scenes of chalets, grazing cattle and fabulous alpine views on the approach to La Fouly, an idyllic alpine village of chalets overflowing with flowers.

Grand col Ferret

Grand Col Ferret

Having taken a bus from La Fouly to Champex you have a choice of routes to take to the small village of Trient. The official route passes through pine and larch forests interspersed with alpine meadows and provides great views over the Rhône Valley, alternatively the more demanding route takes you via the spectacular Fenêtre d’Arpette to the Trient Valley – climbing to heights of 2,665m this route is challenging but extremely rewarding.

Reaching the Col de La Balme (2,191m) on day 7, the entire Mont Blanc massif stretches out in front of you; the Chamonix Valley, the summit of Mont Blanc, the Aiguilles, the Mer de Glace and the Argentière glacier!

Col de Balme

The Col de Balme

For many walkers, the final two days of the Tour du Mont Blanc, the views across the Chamonix Valley to the Mont Blanc Massif are simply stunning. On day 8 the trail climbs upwards via Aiguillette de Argentière to the Grand Balcon Sud of the Aiguilles Rouges, taking in a few fixed ladders on the way.

As you walk through the Aiguilles Rouge Nature reserve expect to see Ibex and Marmot before reaching the turquoise Lac Blanc. The final day of walking the Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the toughest but most rewarding as it takes you all the way to Les Houches via the rocky pedestal of Le Brévent (2,525m).

This final day can be shortened at a number of points which shortens the descent from Le Brévent to Les Houches. Celebrate the end of your walk around Mont Blanc in Chamonix, the centre of mountaineering in the French Alps.

Lac Blanc on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Lac Blanc. Thanks to Julie Flanagan for the picture.

Distance?

With various walking options and cable car availability on some days, the total distance is variable however the maximum distance is 123km. The average daily distance is 15.5km with a minimum daily distance of 9km and a maximum daily distance of 20km.

Grade?

Moderate to strenuous. The Tour du Mont Blanc is a tough trek with considerable ascent and descent on each day on mountainous terrain that is rocky and rough underfoot. We would suggest that you are an experienced walker who is looking for a challenge, however, if you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle, regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk.

Why walk here?

  • Experience Europe’s best long distance trek, taking in spectacular alpine scenery and sights such as the Chamonix Valley, the summit of Mont Blanc, the Aiguilles, the Mer de Glace and the Argentière glacier.
  • The camaraderie along the route as you share experiences and meet interesting people from all over the world is one of the most special things about the Tour du Mont Blanc.
  • For the challenge! Although the Tour du Mont Blanc has a big reputation, in reality, the TMB is within most peoples grasp.
Take on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Take on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Planning and preparation

Getting to Les Houches

By Air: Geneva is the best airport for the Chamonix valley. You can catch a train or bus but the best option is a pre-booked shuttle. Chamexpress is one of the better ones and costs 28 Euro each way.

By Rail: TGV to Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet, see www.voyages-sncf.com for ticket information. For the return, there are regular trains between Chamonix and St Gervais les Bains Le Fayet.

By Road: Highway A40-E25 Mont Blanc-Chamonix, exit Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet. More information at www.viamichelin.fr. Free parking can be found in Les Houches at the Bellevue Cable Car station and in Chamonix at the Aiguille du Midi and at Montenvers station.


If you are unsure about which Tour du Mont Blanc itinerary is right for you or have any questions at all, the Macs Adventure team are here to help, contact the team on [email protected].

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I have been a member of the Macs Adventure team since March 2013, and since joining my travel wish-list has developed ten-fold! Glasgow is my home, and a wonderful city to live in, however I love nothing more than enjoying the access to the Scottish countryside on my doorstep.