French Alps: Grand Traverse

Save the Date | Departing Fall 2019

epic journey

This is Europe at its wildest and most unexplored. We'll bypass the traditional Route des Grands Alpes and blaze our own uncrowded trail from the mountaintops to the Mediterranean sea, for a one-of-a-kind trekking experience.

Hiking in France comes with a certain panache. Like this epic 12-day trek for example. It’s a peak-hop going from Mont Blanc to the Mediterranean. We pass jagged tooth-like peaks capped in snow, shimmering lakes, mountain villages, alpine farms, then pop into Italy briefly before finishing with a dip in the sea along the sunny Côte d’Azur.

This is Europe at it wildest, as we’ll get incredible access to grazing alpine ibex, chirping marmots, and soaring eagles and bearded vultures (Europe’s largest bird of prey). And because it’s France, we’ll find ourselves in Beaufort to try the freshest imaginable piece of its namesake cheese. And it’s hard to walk a few yards without accidentally buying more cheese. Yum.

This trek – staying in a different village inn every night – takes on the Alps in their most natural state, with a triplet of French of national parks. The Vanoise is France’s first national park and setting for the 1992 Winter Olympics, where pinnacle peaks tower over edelweiss-filled meadows. Mercantour is where feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir hiked solo in the 1930s, prompting her memoirs that read as sort of a prequel to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. This trek is ideal for all skill levels – all you need is a love of mountains (and French cheese!).

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