Mont Blanc to the Mediterranean

From the Mountains to the Sea along the GR5

Overview

Hike from mighty Mont Blanc, with its perpetual glaciers, to the palm-fringed beaches of the Côte d’Azur, where the Maritime Alps plunge into the blue Mediterranean. Setting off from Mont Blanc, we hike through age-old villages and in high alpine meadows where cowbells echo and blue gentian bloom. 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 head for a celebratory dip in the sea. Our unique French adventure has been featured as one of Outside Magazine’s “Trips of a Lifetime.”

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Megève / Mont Blanc Massif

Amid the splendor of the French Alps, we hike up to Mont Joly for spectacular views of Mont Blanc then cross the Col de Bresson below Mont Blanc’s south-facing flanks.

Hotel Au Vieux Moulin
Megève, France
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Hotel Autantic
Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France
Day 3 (1 night)
Days 4-7
Vanoise National Park

Entering the Vanoise, our trails lead above treeline 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 to Col de la Vanoise (8,255'), with three alpine lakes along the way. One of our hikes is in the Vallée Etroite, a remote Italian-speaking valley.

Hotel de la Vanoise
Pralognan-la-Vanoise, France
Days 4 to 5 (2 nights)
Hotel La Clé des Champs
Val Cenis, France
Day 6 (1 night)
Relais des Deux Cols
Val Cenis, France
Day 6 (1 night)
Auberge de la Paix
Briancon, France
Days 7 to 8 (2 nights)
Days 8-10
Briançon / Queyras Regional Park

We enjoy a day to explore Briançon, a pretty town with a strong medieval character, or take an optional day hike in the surrounding mountains. In Queyras, one of the most untouched areas of France, we hike across emerald meadows to the Col Cross, where Corsican mouflon sheep roam.

Auberge de la Paix
Briancon, France
Days 7 to 8 (2 nights)
Villa Morelia
Jausier, France
Day 9 (1 night)
Hotel L'Ecureuil
Auron, France
Days 10 to 11 (2 nights)
Days 11-14
Auron / Mercantour National Park / Levens / Nice

Auron, the gateway to Mercantour National Park, is one of the Southern Alps' largest ski resorts and in the summer offers many wonderful hiking options. We follow the GR5 across the last of the Alps before they drop to the sea, then head to the coast for a swim in the Mediterranean. Depart on Day 14 via Nice.

Hotel L'Ecureuil
Auron, France
Days 10 to 11 (2 nights)
Hotel La Vigneraie
Levens, France
Day 12 (1 night)

Highlights

Highlights

Hike our unique mountain route across a spectacular range of cultures and landscapes
Explore secluded mountain villages and less-traveled national parks
Enjoy a small group—maximum 12 people—and expert Trip Leaders

Details

Length: 14 days
Cost From: $7395  
Arrive: Megève, France
Depart: Nice, France
Lodging: 13 nights rustic hotels and inns
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

12 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 5-7 hours a day, altitudes between 6,000-9,400 feet, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike). This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.

Other Trips You Might be Interested in: