This hiker’s dream journey brings you from mighty Mont Blanc, with its eternal glaciers, to the palm-fringed beaches of the Côte d’Azur, where the Maritime Alps plunge into the blue Mediterranean. Setting off with sweeping panoramas of Mont Blanc, we hike in high alpine meadows where cowbells echo and blue gentian blooms, and through age-old villages that are a step back in time. Heading south, we follow the legendary GR5 trail across remote national parks of singular beauty, then enter brightly colored hill villages that announce the Mediterranean is near. Arriving on the coast, we kick off our hiking boots and head for a celebratory dip in the sea!
This trip was a wonderful blend of beautiful alpine scenery, great outdoor exercise, charming towns, and interesting foods. Each day was a treat, and our guide worked in special stops on the days we had to drive longer distances (like for cappucino in Italy!).
— Inge K., Concord, MA
Megève / Vanoise National Park
Our first hike reveals the splendor of the French Alps and Mont Blanc, and in the Vanoise, we follow dramatic trails with views of the glaciated Pralognan Valley and the ice cap of the Dôme de la Vanoise. A ramble along an old Roman road leads us beneath the granite peaks of the Grande Casse (12,648') to Col de la Vanoise (8,255'), with three gleaming alpine lakes along the way.
Queyras Regional Park / St. Martin-Vésubie / Mercantour National Park
In Queyras, one of the most untouched areas of France, we hike across emerald meadows to the Col Cross, where mountain sheep roam. A relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere comes to life in St. Martin-Vésubie, where men play pétanque in the square and sip Pastis. Mercantour National Park, with its tiny perched villages, is the setting for spectacular and remote hikes with vast views.
Menton / Nice
After exploring the Vallée des Merveilles, with its Bronze Age rock art, we follow a trail with views of the sea up to the Col de Razet, then head to the coast for a well-earned swim in the Mediterranean. Depart on Day 14 via Nice.