This is Europe at its most wild and unexplored, a 'grand traverse' in the classic sense as we blaze a trail through the French Alps from Mont Blanc all the way to the sun-kissed beaches of the Cote d’Azur.
Soaring cliffs, floral valleys, shocking blue lakes, remote Alpine villages, luxurious mountain inns—and unparalleled adventure
One departure only—spots are extremely limited
Chamonix, Mont Blanc, Cote d'Azur
Drink it in: this is Alpine air. For being this out of breath, your lungs have never felt so refreshed. The flowing valley below holds wonder and intrigue. You’re standing where ibexes roam free, eagles soar, and Olympians have tested their meddle. Over dazzlingly jagged peaks, past shockingly blue lakes, through wildflower-pocked meadows and medieval stone villages. Every day—every hour—brings new adventure.
Forget about museums, baguettes or pain au chocolat. You’re looking at the real France. Although Hannibal conquered the Alps over 2,000 years ago, and legions of skiers and snow boarders flock here every winter, there are still wide swaths of undiscovered and little-trekked territory. Step by step, we’ll make our way up, down, and around, peak by peak, village by village, on a true ‘grand traverse’ in the classic sense, our epic journey taking us from the foot of Mont Blanc all the way to the sun-kissed beaches of the Côte d’Azur.
If you want to redefine everything you know about France, this trip is for you. Six to eight hours of hiking per day, through Technicolor landscapes, every inch of it mesmerizing, eating well and sleeping in elegant hotels and mountain inns. Join us in the French Alps on a trip like no other.
If you’re ready to explore some of the world’s premier hiking trails, and also get a taste of village life in the Alps, this trip is for you. We'll hike through sparsely populated valleys, explore protected lands throughout the French Alps, finish with a swim in the Mediterranean sea. It doesn't get better than this.
This trek is accessible for most age levels who maintain good physical fitness, have previous hiking experience, and are prepared for the demands of hiking in remote areas. Each day we walk 5 to 7 hours, with elevation gains between 1,500 and 4,000 feet. We stick mostly to established trails, at times making use of off-piste routes.
In style! This is a fully supported inn-to-inn hike led by experienced local guides. We carry lightweight day packs, while the rest of our gear is transferred daily between our hotels. We’ll have gourmet picnic lunches, with breakfast and dinner at village restaurants.
“Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains.” —Lord Byron
“The towering statues of snow-clad Alps, gazing down from the distance, awakened in you feelings of the sublime and holy.” ―Thomas Mann
True wilderness. Epic exploration. Deep backcountry. Cultural immersion. We’ve scoured the earth for hidden gems and we invite you to join us on one of these exclusive trips. Let’s explore the trails less traveled, together.
From Alpine lodges to Mediterranean resorts, we strike the perfect balance between luxury and intimacy.
This classic Beaufort hotel is the perfect place to start our journey. Comfortable rooms, al fresco breakfasts served under cheerful yellow umbrellas, and a Relaxation Area with chromotherapy treatments for rebalancing the chakras, if the mood strikes you.
Located in the heart of Landry village, with 15 cozy rooms and panoramic views of the valley below. The restaurant is devoted to regional specialities, from plates of cured meats to Savoie wines and award-winning local beers. We'll sleep well here.
This mountain chalet in Pralognan, located within Vanoise National Park, features wood-paneled walls and an indoor swimming pool, perfect for restoring the spirits after a long day on the trails.
Our hotel in Aussois has rooms with unforgettable views—not to mention a hot tub and solarium that overlook the mountains, too. We'll dine on the panoramic outdoor terrace from a menu that takes 'local and seasonal' to new heights: everything served hails from within a 10-mile radius.
Located in the center of Briançon since 892, we’ll be welcomed by the fifth-generation Bonnaffoux family. Their mountain home lies between tradition and modernity, all with a lovely chalet spirit. Relax and take in the sights—Briançon's fortifications are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Relax fireside at one of St Véran's most-prized hotels. It's the views from the panoramic terrace and lounge that you'll treasure. A wood-fired grill at the hotel restaurant cooks up some of the region’s finest game dishes.
Artsy and hip, this design-forward hotel in Barcelonnette features a rotating exhibit of multimedia works by young international artists. The quirky library and bar wouldn’t feel out of place in New York or Berlin—but the views and mellow vibe are pure Alps.
This family hotel and restaurant is a rustic stone lodge passed from father to son since 1945. With its individually decorated rooms and shaded terrace with views of the Mercantour National Park, it’s a perfect place to relax at the end of the day.
Located on Menton's aptly named Promenade du Soleil, the moment you enter this light-filled hotel you know you couldn’t possibly be anywhere but the Côte d’Azur. Enjoy a pastis on your balcony, take a dip in the rooftop pool, book at massage at the spa—and simply drink in the sun and sea at every turn.
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below or call +1 (503) 676-6795 to ask us any questions you have about traveling with Backpacker. We're here 8am-5pm weekdays, 9am-1pm Saturday PST.
Eleven nights at unique mountain village accommodations; private minibus for luggage transfers between all hotels; certified trekking guides to accompany all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; entrance fees; all breakfasts, lunches and most dinners; local beverages with meals; gratuities for local staff.
Roundtrip airfare to/from France; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s meeting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; lodge incidentals including room service, laundry, etc; personal gear; gratuity for tour leader.
This is considered a moderate hiking adventure. You will be carrying a day pack each day, with your own water and daily supplies, while the rest of our luggage is transferred by vehicle between hotels and lodges. We’ll follow well-maintained paths but sometimes go off-trail, and sleep in hotels and lodges every night. On this adventure there will be an average of 5-7 hours of walking per day. We strongly recommend that participants have a good level of fitness and are well prepared. While this trek is ideal for all skill levels, some hiking experience would also be of benefit.
We recommend arriving in Chamonix, France before Sunday, September 5, 2021 giving you plenty of time to acclimate, relax and refresh before the adventure begins. There are several options for arrival airports including the Geneva Airport (GVA) and the Chambery Airport (CMF) and transferring via train or airport shuttle to Chamonix. This adventure ends on Thursday, September 16, 2021. On our last day, Modern Adventure will organize a complimentary group transfer to the Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (NCE) in Nice, France. Your flight should depart no sooner than 1pm.
We will be sleeping and dining at mountain hotels and lodges every night.
This adventure is recommended for travelers aged 18 and above who are in good health and have some experience with hiking. You will be expected to load and unload your own backpacks and manage your own physical comfort and well-being. This adventure will be limited to no more than 13 fellow adventurers and your Modern Adventure team. We will be joined for this adventure by expert expedition guides. Each guide is highly qualified in all necessary skills to safely travel through the French Alps. They will be with us for the entirety of the adventure helping us carry group supplies and helping us see the true Alps experience.
Prices are based on double occupancy - if you would like to be paired up with a roommate you should choose ‘Single-willing-to-share’ at check out. Modern Adventure will pair you up with a roommate of the same gender to share a tent & lodge accommodations with. If you are a solo traveler and want to have your own accommodations, a $1,200 supplement will apply at checkout – these spots are very limited due to the type of accommodations on our adventure and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
US citizens do not require a visa to visit France, however are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over. For citizens of other countries, please check with the French Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.
You may cancel on or before May 8, 2021 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after May 9, 2021 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after July 7, 2021 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details). For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most 'Cancel For Any Reason' policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most 'Cancel For Any Reason' policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.