Mont Blanc Family Walk - France to Italy
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A specially tailored walk for families around Mont Blanc from the Chamonix Valley to Courmayeur
There are few walks in the world which offer the incredible views and high alpine vistas found on the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). To combine this walk with a family holiday ensures that all members of the family experience the spectacular trails and wonderful alpine spirit of the French and Italian Alps. Guided along mountain trails this relaxed itinerary starting in the Chamonix Valley provides awesome views of Mont Blanc with overnight stays in high mountain huts. Carrying only a day pack, our donkeys transport our bags and supplies. Staying in local refuges and gîtes we feast on French and Italian cuisine. This itinerary, suitable for active children from age 7 and up, provides an exhilarating alpine walk with unforgettable vistas around every bend.
- Trek through stunning alpine scenery around the highest peak in Western Europe
- Experience the exhilaration of trekking through two countries in the European Alps
- Enjoying the culinary specialties
- Sharing your walking day with other families and the donkeys which enrich your alpine experience
Day 1 Join Les Houches and walk to Bionnassay or (5 hrs/600m)
Today begins by meeting the rest of the group and your guide in the Chamonix Valley town of Les Houches. You will be advised of the meeting point with your tour confirmation. There will be a short briefing where you will pack gear in the kit bags provided (to be loaded onto the donkeys) and begin walking. The route follows the classic anti clockwise direction. The first climb of the trip takes you to the Col de Voza (1653m) before crossing the tracks of the Tramway du Mont Blanc to reach Bionnassay. The evening will be spent at either Bionnassay or Le Champel in a refuge with shower.
Day 2 Descend to the grand Val Montjoie and continue to refuge (5–5½ hrs/200m)
The walk today begins with the backdrop of the Domes de Miage and an exceptional view of Mont Joly and the Montjoie Valley. Continue to the pretty Notre Dame de la Gorge church and ascend an ancient Roman road towards the Col du Bonhomme. A steep narrow track takes you through the forest following a narrow gorge to Refuge de Nant Borant and the accommodation for the night (or alternatively you will continue a further 30 minutes to Refuge de la Balme). Overnight refuge with shower.
Day 3 Cross the Col du Bonhomme to refuge du Bonhomme (5hrs/1080m)
The walk today is one long ascent to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and a short time talter to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m). Enroute there is ample opportunity to take in the stunning views and appreciate the historic nature of this route from France to Italy. First encounters with Marmots are likely, although being quite shy they disappear quickly. Along the route you are likely to encounter snow, particularly earlier in the season, so boots are essential. The refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme is the highest we stay at on this section of the trail and one of the few where vehicle access is not possible. In early season departures where donkey's are unable to cross the Col du Bonhomme, you may need to carry your overnight requirements. From the refuge the views are expansive and impressive and there is also the opportunity to view wildlife such as Ibex and Marmot. There are a number of board games to occupy the kids whilst you relax in the company of your fellow hikers. Overnight refuge with shower.
Day 4 Walk via Les Chapieux to Refuge des Mottets (5hrs/350m)
Descend steeply through alpine pastures brimming with wildflowers to the small hamlet of Chapieux. Today there will be opportunities to visit cheese farmers and purchase Beaufort Cheese. Continue to the Refuge des Mottets (1870m) at the base of the Col de la Seigne. Overnight refuge with shower.
Day 5 Enter Italy via the Col de la Seigne (5hrs/600m)
Today’s walk takes you across the border into Italy. The ascent to the Col de la Seigne (2516m) is via a series of steep switchbacks which open out to a wide trail when you reach the pass. The view across to the Glacier des Glaciers is superb from this pass. On a cold and windy day, the new information centre is a welcome respite in addition to offering a wealth of facts about the region. Continue to Rifugio Elisabetta which has a prime location, excellent view of the glacier and surrounding peaks and superb Italian mountain cuisine. Overnight refuge with shower.
Day 6 Through the Val Veni and past the Miage Glacier to Rifugio Maison Vieille (4hrs/400m)
On a good weather day there are extraordinary views on this section of the trail – many believe this is the best walking day on the TMB! Like walking on a balcony with the lofty heights of the south face of Mont Blanc, the dramatic spire of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey and the tumbling Miage glacier with you throughout the walk which coupled with the profusion of alpine blooms and glacial streams will certainly take your breath away. A picnic stop anywhere along this balcony trail is essential to absorb this view before continuing to the Rifugio Maison Vieille. Overnight refuge with shower.
Day 7 Descend to Courmayeur (3hrs/0m), trip concludes
On our last days walk we descend steeply via a series of switchbacks and ski runs to Courmayeur where you can reward the family with a gelato to mark the end of the hike. After a final picnic we say goodbye to our donkeys, Gepato, Barnabas and Socrates.
- 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners (does not include drinks) – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Lunch is picnic style including salad, bread, cheese, meat, fruit and something sweet. Dinner will consist of 3 courses which usually include regional specialties.
- 6 nights accommodation in mountain refuges / gîte hostels on a dormitory share basis. It may be possible to pay a supplement to the hosts of the accommodation and receive a private room. This is not guaranteed and is subject to availability.
- Luggage transfer by donkey – max 7kgs (excesses are refused so please test the weight of your luggage before meeting the group, allowing 200g for the kit bag). It is possible early or late in the season that you may need to carry your overnight requirements for one or two days if the snow conditions on the trail are not suitable for donkeys.
- Experienced mountain guide
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Accommodation is dormitory style in mountain refuges or Gîte hostels. There can be up to 40 people in one room in some refuges but less on most nights (around 10-12). Beds are often bunks but can also be one long platform with separate mattresses. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. You need to bring a sleeping sheet and towel. Blankets are provided. At times it may be possible to arrange with the accommodation hosts to have a private family room and a supplement is paid directly to the host. This is subject to availability and not guaranteed.
Wet weather gear, sunscreen, walking boots, warm clothes, minimum 30 litre day pack and sun hat – walking sticks are recommended. Sleeping sheet & towel required for accommodation. (A comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).