Mont Blanc Circuit / Tour de Mont Blanc

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Mont Blanc Circuit / Tour de Mont Blanc

Postby Rupotty » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 3:02 pm

I am just planning my second walk in Europe next year Tour de Mont Blanc or Mont Blanc Circuit, I have ordered the Ciccerone guide from fishpond who have a heap of good travel books cheap, shipping from UK supplier is free!

I plan to do a slightly easier walk missing out Chamonix at the start due to the steep climb, can take the cable car instead, any recommendations? Then visit Chamonix at the end via Le Brevent

Anyone have any hostel experience on this route any recommendations for hostels?

If you would like to join us PM me

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Re: Mont Blanc Circuit / Tour de Mont Blanc

Postby Mark F » Tue 28 Aug, 2012 9:29 am

If you want to get in a couple of days walking before a big ascent then start at Les Houches and catch the lift up to the Bellevue ridge. It is then a descent to Contamines and a reasonably gentle climb to Col de la Croix-du-Bonhomme. There is plenty of accommodation and refuges (cheap to stay - expensive to eat at) around the TMB but remember that this the most popular multi day walk in Europe so you should book your accommodation if there in mid July-August or take a tent.

The TMB doesn't actually go through Chamonix; it passes above it on the Brevant Ridge with absolutely superb views of Mt Blanc and descends to Les Houches if travelling anticlockwise.

Next year I'll be in the Pyrenees completing the HRP (Gavarnie - Banyuls).
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Re: Mont Blanc Circuit / Tour de Mont Blanc

Postby Hallu » Fri 28 Sep, 2012 3:39 pm

People always think "French Alps" when they think about a big hike in the European mountains (I'm French myself) but often forget about the Italian side of the Alps. Parco nazionale gran paradiso was created to protect the ibex in the 20's, whereas the French waited for it to be wiped out from the French Alps to create the French counterpart of gran paradiso 40 years later, La Vanoise... Now they're joined together and form the biggest protected area in Europe (1250 km²). If you're flying all the way to Europe, I suggest you try a circuit bringing you to both the French and Italian sides of the Alps. Because of its size, it's less crowded than the famous hikes around Chamonix. And let's be honest, Chamonix is too touristy.

PS : I did Gavarnie and Banyuls when I was a teenager Mark, separately of course, my parents always brought us in the Pyrénées for summer, it can be quite hot, good luck. Fauna-wise, the Alps are richer though. If you speak French, have a look a this useful website : http://pyrene.free.fr/parcourir/recits/hrp/liste.htm
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Re: Mont Blanc Circuit / Tour de Mont Blanc

Postby Mark F » Sun 30 Sep, 2012 11:38 am

Hi Hallu -

Thanks for your comments. I have already walked the HRP from Hendaye to Gavarnie and enjoyed the wonderful contrast between the Basque country from Hendaye to Lescun and then the higher Pyrenees through to Garvarnie. My trip next July is to finish the HRP through to Banyuls or Amelie-les-Bains if I am slower than I would like. I have also walked the GR5 and GR52 in the Alps. I agree that there is more fauna to see in the Alps but I enjoyed the Pyrenees a little more, the peaks seemed more immediate and the lakes add another dimension. After that my aims are to explore the Apennines in Italy and slowly work east across Europe. So many places to see so few years to do it.
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Re: Mont Blanc Circuit / Tour de Mont Blanc

Postby Hallu » Mon 01 Oct, 2012 11:14 am

Well you sound like a very passionate hiker =) If you love walking the mountains and want less crowds (at least compared to the Alps) I suggest you also try the Cévennes. It's not very high, only 1700 m tops, but it's a little bit of a secret region in France (at least in the eyes of foreigners or Parisians), people mostly know about the Alps, the Pyrénées, or even the Vosges and Jura, not much about the Cévennes. It's know for vultures, numerous valleys, Stevenson's trip on his donkey (and his route became a track, the GR70), and some strange features : people are allowed to live and hunt in this national park, to maintain its biological equilibrium. The beauty is more subtle, but for some reason many travelers fall in love with it.
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