Tour Du Mont Blanc: Inn-to-Inn Hiking at the Top of the World March 30th, 2023 • by Matt Snell Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The Matterhorn may have the strongest name recognition, but for diverse and visually stunning hiking, the Tour du Mont Blanc is second to none. Its beauty is the reason our France, Italy, and Switzerland: Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking excursions are among most popular we offer—though the inn-to-inn hiking and seasoned local guides give it a huge boost as well. Here are a few notes on the highlights. Astounding Scenery Your adventure begins in Chamonix, France. This resort town has earned a reputation as Europe’s mountaineering capital—and you can tell at a glance that’s no hyperbole. As the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix has been attracting skiers and climbers for the past century. The combination of French sophistication and breathtaking natural backdrops is hard to beat, and on the Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking trip you’ll have a chance to appreciate both aspects. In town you’ll explore pedestrian-only cobblestone streets and experience Savoyard cooking. Raclette, for instance, is a distinctive grilled cheese and potato dish perfectly matched to an explorer’s appetite. You’ll also want to stop in at a bakery and sample the exquisite French pastries. As we hike the surrounding region, you’ll see Chamonix Valley from another angle. Following the Grand Balcon Trail affords sweeping, panoramic views, with the Mont Blanc massif (so called because it describes a grouping of mountains, rather than a single peak) presiding over it all. Just try and take a bad photograph here—it can’t be done. The Mont Blanc massif is the tour’s centerpiece, and you’ll see it in many different lights as we circumnavigate the peak. However, our explorations also take us to the foot of a glacier, through alpine forests and mountain passes, and along an old Roman road. Although you’ll be admiring snow-capped mountains, the weather from June to September is surprisingly temperate. Ideal hiking temperatures of 75 degrees are common. Those numbers can dip at higher elevations, of course, so we recommend bringing a few layers. Each night ends in mountain accommodations with incredible views—more on that next. Inn to Inn Hiking With the exception of Days 2 and 6, each leg of the tour travels “inn-to-inn.” That means the journey takes us from wood-panelled chalets to stone lodges to family-run hotels. On Day Five you’ll wake up in Hotel L’Autantic in Bourg Saint Maurice, France, and enjoy breakfast on the verandah overlooking the eastern side of Mont Blanc; that evening will find us at Hotel Berthod in Courmayeur, Italy, a converted country home in the center of town. On Day 6 we still hike a prime section of trail, but you may also choose to take the day off and explore Courmayeur instead. The town feels like Italy’s answer to Chamonix, so both options are equally fulfilling. Every accommodation offers some personalized twist or unique charm. Hotel L’Autantic, for example, has a sauna to relax your travel-weary muscles and prepare for the next day’s adventure. Visiting France, Italy, and Switzerland in the course of nine days will also expose you to an impressive range of cuisines—local cheeses are a running theme, but expect a few lesser-known delicacies such as wild mushroom polenta. Because the hiking sections have been selected for their beauty, hotel stops and mealtimes also serve as punctuation marks, allowing you to pause and reflect on each day’s experiences. Expert Local Guides At Boundless Journeys we pride ourselves on working with experienced local guides, and the Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking trip is no exception. Eric Thioliere was born and raised in Chamonix, and has collected a wealth of knowledge since he began guiding in 1979. As a speaker of French, English, Italian, and German, Eric enjoys excellent relationships with locals all along the route. Sandrine Goulmy has been working as a guide since 2001, with a specialization in the flora and fauna of the Alps. Her attentive, inclusive approach and deep naturalist’s knowledge make her an excellent companion—and she packs a mean picnic lunch to boot. Note we rank this trip’s activity level as moderate to strenuous, and the challenge shouldn’t be underestimated. However, the route doesn’t require technical climbing knowledge and is suitable for physically fit hikers. Distances range from seven to twelve miles, reaching a maximum elevation of 8,800. If you’d like more info to see whether this is the trip for you, call us at 1.800.941.8010 and we’d be happy to discuss the tour in detail. Read more about France, Italy, and Switzerland: Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking here If you’ve enjoyed reading and are inspired to join us or have questions about the adventures featured in this post, please give us a call at 1-800-941-8010 or send us an email at [email protected].