Sold Out| Europe at its most wild, a 'grand traverse' from Mont Blanc to the Côte d’Azur
You’re standing where ibexes roam free and eagles soar, breathing in the crisp mountain air. Gazing out over dazzling jagged peak as you hike past striking blue lakes, through wildflower-dotted meadows, and around medieval stone villages, you realize just how lucky you are. This is Europe at its wildest and most unexplored; and step by step, up, down, and around, peak by peak, you’re one of the very few to experience a true ‘grand traverse’ of the French Alps all the way to the sun-kissed beaches of the Côte d’Azur.
Forget about cathedrals and museums—this is a whole new side of France. Starting at the foot of Mont Blanc, we’ll bypass the traditional Route des Grandes Alpes and blaze our own trail as we hike, village by village, through the world’s prettiest mountaintops. This is the French Alps adventure you’ve been dreaming of, traveling on our September departure alongside Outside travel editor, Tasha Zemke.
If incredible trekking with all the finest French touches is what you seek, this 12-person adventure is for you. Hike five to seven hours a day through jaw-dropping landscapes, sleep in mountain lodges and village inns each night, and eat very well—this is France, after all. Join us in the French Alps for a journey like no other.
This is a fully supported hike led by experienced local guides. Our nights are spent at mountain lodges and inns. We carry day packs, while the rest of our gear is transferred between accommodations. We’ll have gourmet picnic lunches, with breakfast and dinner at village restaurants, crowning our adventure with a plunge into the Mediterranean sea.
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. We'll cover 100 miles in total, each day hiking 5 to 7 hours with daily elevation gains between 1,500 and 4,000 feet. We stick mostly to well-maintained paths, but sometimes go off trail.
We’ll hike through unspoiled valleys and explore protected lands throughout the French Alps with expert local guides and, on our inaugural departure, Outside editor Tasha Zemke. She's excited to experience the beauty of the French Alps with the Outside community.
“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
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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, with comfortable chalet-style rooms, al fresco breakfasts, and a terrace overlooking the mountain village and gardens.
Located in the heart of Landry village, sleep in cozy, elegant rooms and enjoy views of the valley below. The restaurant is devoted to regional specialities, from plates of cured meats to Savoie wines and local beers.
This modern, chic mountain chalet in Pralognan is in the heart of the village, with wonderful views. We love the spacious rooms and full-feature spa (fitness room, massage, sauna, Jacuzzi) and terrace bar.
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 welcoming hotels. It's the views from the panoramic terrace and lounge that you'll treasure, along with the spa and wood-fired grill at the hotel restaurant.
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.
Facing the beaches and clear waters of the Mediterranean—the moment you enter this breezy, 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.
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Eleven nights at unique mountain lodges and village inns; private minibus for luggage transfers between all accommodations; certified trekking guides to accompany all hiking 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 trip leader.
This is considered a moderate hiking adventure. We will cover approximately 100 miles in total. We will carry a day pack each day, with our water and daily supplies, while the rest of our luggage is transferred by vehicle between hotels and lodges. We sleep in hotels and lodges every night. We’ll follow well-maintained paths but sometimes go off-trail, averaging 5 to 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, previous multi-day hiking experience is encouraged.
We recommend arriving in Chamonix, France, one day ahead of our trip start, 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. 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 from NCE airport should depart no sooner than 1pm.
We will be sleeping and dining at elegant mountain hotels and lodges each night. There is no overnight camping on this adventure.
This adventure is recommended for travelers aged 18 and above who are in good health and have previous experience with multi-day backpacking. You will be expected to load and unload your own gear, carry a portion of the group gear, and manage your own physical comfort and well-being. This adventure will be limited to no more than 12 fellow adventurers plus 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. Also traveling on our September departure is Outside editor Tasha Zemke. Please note that Outside Interactive, Inc. is not responsible for the organization or operation of this experience, which is governed by Modern Adventure's Terms of Service (see link below).
Prices are based on double occupancy. If you are a solo traveler and want to have your own accommodations, a $1,500 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.
We'll spend most of our days hiking in the French Alps. We'll use a private passenger van or minibus for ground transportation from our mountain inns to/from the day's trailhead. We'll carry day packs when we hike, while our luggage will be transferred by vehicle between our accommodations.
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.
On our August departure, you may cancel on or before April 9, 2022 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after April 10, 2022 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after June 8, 2022 there is a 100% cancellation fee. On our September departure, you may cancel on or before May 14, 2022 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after May 15, 2022 there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after July 13, 2022 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. Since this adventure takes place in some remote locations, it can be difficult and expensive to plan medical evacuations. It is each guest’s responsibility to be covered by emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance, or to be prepared to cover the cost yourself, for expenses related to an emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.