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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


   
Independent Trekking Holiday
  • Trekking Tour of the Vanoise

Dates for 2018
  • From mid June to mid September
Price 7 nights
  • £610 per person
  • €670 per person
Price 6 nights
  • £565 per person
  • €620 per person
Grade
Profile
  • 7 nights, 6 days self guided back-packing trek from hut to hut around the Vanoise National Park in French Alps
Highlights
  • Trekking through the amazing mountains of the Vanoise National Park in the French Alps (created in 1963)
  • Exciting walking between amazing alpine peaks with pristine glaciers rising majestically above wild, remote valleys
  • The Vanoise National Park has a rich fauna and flora including the largest population of Alpine Ibex (bouquetin) in France 
  • A relatively quiet and unspoilt region of the French Alps
  • Stunning limestone peaks, sculpted by ice creating a landscape of amazing natural beauty.
  • A real alpine trekking experience taking in a number of high cols and 5 nights in high mountain huts (refuges)
Testimonials
  • "My first time in the Alps. It was spectacular. Also loved the little booklet, made everything very easy. Also great to have a map as back up. Very good instructions." A.Quick, UK
  • "Fabulous walking and staying in refuges in wild mountains. Best holiday we've had for ages." O & S Watts, UK
  • "I have been to all sorts of places in the world and the general feel and hospitality of the various Refuges was tops. I am still in awe of the fine food they all served up and the lunches seemed at times as if the various refuges were competing with each other to excel. Your service and the trip was everything I expected and could ask for." G. Morris, NZ see more Testimonials
Accommodation and Meals
  • Two nights in comfortable three star hotel before and after the trek and 5 nights in high mountain huts (dormitory style accommodation)
What's included
  1. Full board accommodation in mountain huts whilst on trek, 5 lunches, 2 nights in hotel at the start of the holiday, detailed walking notes and maps.
What's not included
  1. Transport to Vanoise, Alps France, Drinks, lunch on arrival and departure days plus during the first day's trekking, travel insurance
 
  1. See also our trekking hut-to-hut tour around Mont Viso in the Piedmont of Italy
Walks

Vanoise & Walks

This self guided walking holiday in the beautiful Vanoise National Park of the French Alps is a trekking tour which circles the Glaciers de la Vanoise - hence its other name "Tour des Glaciers de la Vanoise. This walking tour start and finishes at Pralognan.

The tour of the Vanoise is a circular trek which allows you to be at close quarters with elegant high mountain peaks and stunning alpine glaciers. Less frequented than the Mont Blanc range, this stunning alpine region in the Savoie (Savoy) known as the Vanoise offers a quieter but no less spectacular alternative. Designated a National Park, the Vanoise offers an ideal natural, unspoilt wilderness for walking and trekking holidays where souring alpine peaks with pristine glaciers rise majestically above wild, remote valleys.

The Vanoise National Park is home to a great many alpine peaks over 3400m including a few that rise above the Vanoise glacier, the  largest glacial plateau in western Europe. Your week's trekking takes you past some outstanding mountain scenery, including the sheer Aguille de Vanoise, the Grande Casse, and La Dent Parrachée. The highest point of this part of the Alps is the resplendent Grande Casse which sits at the head of the valley from Pralognan, a traditional alpine village, unspoilt by modern development. It’s an amazing location surrounded by immense rock walls which glow pink in the evening sun.

Don’t forget your binoculars, as there are a host of protected species including the famous alpine bouquetin (ibex), chamoix, bearded vulture and the golden eagle. Among the nationally protected plants in the Vanoise National Park are about ten species of androsace, the Alpine aquilegia, different sedges,  Alpine Bells, Queen of the Alps, various mountain primroses and the last French stronghold of the twinflower. More information on the wildlife in the Vanoise mountains.

Discover more about the Vanoise by visiting our info page or view our slide-show


Walking profile

Your day's walking on this independent trekking holiday average between 500m to 1000m of ascent and about 6 hours of walking. The difficulty of this holiday is increased due to carrying your own gear, which is why it is graded challenging. We will supply you with a kit list to ensure that you carry the bare minimum. The holiday is ideal for those with some mountain walking experience, and would suit both those looking for a first alpine holiday, as well as those more experienced. You should be reasonably fit before you start the trek.

The paths are generally good although they are mountainous in nature and often exposed. Early in the season you may encounter snow fields when crossing some of the higher cols.

The itinerary is detailed from Pralognan la Vanoise but it is also possible to book the tour starting from the Refuge Orgere above Modane. Please contact us if you would like more details.

Day 1: Arrival,

Travel to Pralognan en Vanoise. Night in hotel.

Day 2: Pralognan - Col de la Vanoise

This is a great first day's walk which starts by passing the impressive waterfall "Cascade de la Fraiche". Your route then climbs an ancient route used to carry salt, trekking around the base of the stunning rock spire Aiguille de la Vanoise sculpted and polished by ice. At the Col de la Vanoise (2517m), you’ll come face to face with the Grande Casse, a true giant of the French Alps, with its gleaming toungue of ice lapping at the crystal lake at its base. Here you'll find your first night's refuge. (+1100m, 4.5hrs)

Day 3: Col de la Vanoise - Refuge de l'Arpont (2677m)

Your day's walk leaves the Col de la Vanoise and after passing a couple of lakes descends the narrow Valley de la Vanoise. The trek then contours scree slopes below the Pointe de la Rechasse before following the western valley sides of the Doron de Termignon with glaciers above. The landscapes are dramatic and beautiful. You can follow a trail from the hut to the lac d'Arpont for close up views of the glacier coming down from the plateau. (+300m, -450m, 5.5hrs)

Day 4:Refuge de l'Arpont - Refuge de la Dent Parrachée

Your day's trek follows alpine meadows covered in wild flowers and rocky slopes below the impressive peak - La Dent Parachée. Keep your eyes open for ibex and marmots. You'll cross numerous streams and small valleys as the path ascends and descends in turn before the trail heads north above the reservoirs Plan d'Amont and Plan d'Aval. (+770m, -585m, 6hrs)

See below for description of 6 night / 5 day version of this walking holiday

Day 5: Refuge de la Dent Parrachée - Refuge de l'Orgère

Your day's trek is a relatively easy day and takes a balcony route traversing the mountain sides. Your trek starts by traversing above the reservoirs Plan d'Amont and Plan d'Aval before reaching the Col du Barbier. A small descent takes you through high sloping pasture and brings you into forested slopes before reaching your characterful mountain refuge, located below the Aiguille Doran. (+350m, -860m, 5hrs)

Day 6: Refuge de l'Orgère - Refuge de Peclet Polset

At almost 2800m the Col Chavière is the highest mountain pass on the circuit and early in the season has snow on its slopes. After climbing through forest, the route ascends to the right of the Tete Noire. Once reached, the col offers great views across the Vanoise peaks as well as the other great alpine ranges. Your route descends to the refuge through screes and small pools. At the Peclet Polset you can enjoy a short excursion to the beautiful Lac Blanc located in a wonderful setting below the Col du Souffre. The mountain hut is in a lovely spot surrounded by beautiful alpine peaks rising on all sides. (+900m, -300m, 5hrs)

Day 7: Refuge de Peclet Polset - Pralognan la Vanoise

Your final day's walking descends a lovely valley below the imposing mountain walls of the Pointe de l'Echelle, Point de l'Observatoire and later the Roc de la Valette. You'll pass through alpine meadows as you descend gradually towards civilisation.

Day 8: Departure

Departure after breakfast

6 night / 5 days walking

Day 5: Refuge de la Dent Parrachée - Refuge Roc de la Peche

Today’s trek climbs steeply to Col d’Aussois from where a short walk takes you to Pointe de l’Observatoire at over 3000m in altitude for great views. A long descent brings you down to the beautiful Chavière Valley and the Refuge Roc de la Peche. (+690m, -1120m, 5hrs 30)

Day 6: Refuge Roc de la Peche - Pralognan la Vanoise

The day starts by climbing away from the Chaviere Valley. After a pleasant traverse into the Cirque des Nants you’ll then climb to the Refuge de la Valette situated by the impressive cliffs of the same name where you can get refreshment.Great views. Afterwards you have a succession of climbs and descents often looking directly down on Pralognan. There are a number of waterfalls coming down from the plateau along this section. After a final climb to the dramatic Col du Grand Marchet you have a steep descent back down Pralognan. (+990m, -1260m, 6hrs 30)

Day 7: Departure

Departure after breakfast

 

 

map location of vanoise national park in French Alps

Grande Casse on independent trekking tour of Vanoise in France

Alpine ibex on tour of Vanoise on self guided walking tour

orchid wildlife in alpine meadows on trekking holiday

lac blanc in Vanoise on self guided walking holiday in France

French Alps heading towards Pralognan

 

Bed

Accommodation & Meals


In Pralognan la Vanoise you'll be staying in a comfortable 2 star hotel or equivalent. Whilst on trek you'll be staying overnight in high mountain refuges or huts. They provide basic accommodation, sleeping in dormitory style rooms. The rooms vary in size from just a few people up to 50. Blankets are provided (so you don't need to bring sleeping bags). Meals are taken in a large dining room where a great atmosphere prevails as walkers and mountaineers share their stories and experiences. An example of one of the mountain huts is listed below. More information on mountain huts can be found on our dedicated page.

Name Type Details Rating  
Refuge du Col de la Vanoise Mountain refuge Typical mountain hut with dormitory style sleeping arrangements    
Hotel Epicea, Pralognan Hotel Small friendly hotel in a typical alpine chalet in a quiet sector of the pretty mountain resort of Pralognan-la-Vanoise 3 stars hotel epicea trekking tour of Vanoise walking French Alps
Travel Options

Travel Options


By Air

There are scheduled flights to Geneva, Turin, Lyon, Chambery and Grenoble. Lyon, Geneva and Turin have the most regular services. The airlines Easy jet, Flybe and British Airways have scheduled flights from the UK - Luton, Birmingham, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Heathrow - to Lyon St Exupery airport.

All have rail links with Modane and Moutiers via Chambery. There are bus services running from Moutiers to Pralognan la Vanoise. You will need to take a taxi from Modane to near the refuge Orgere if you wish to start the tour in the south.

Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets.

By Train

Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu direct and changing at Lille or Paris. Local services then run to Modane or Moutiers via Chambery. Please use Rail Europe's train finder in our travel store to organise your train journey. There are bus services running from Moutiers to Pralognan la Vanoise. You will need to take a taxi from Modane to near the refuge Orgere if you wish to start the tour in the south.

Self Drive

Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries & DFDS seaways. Crossings are also provided by train with Eurotunnel.

Once in France, the journey from Calais to the Vanoise area takes about 9 hours (excluding long breaks).

Tolls amount to about 45 euros each way. Free parking is available in Pralognan and near the refuge Orgere above Modane.

More information can be provided at the time of booking and we would be happy to help you make your travel arrangements.

 

 

Photos

Photos


View of Grande Casse from petit Mont Blanc Vanoise National Park alps France guided walking holidayPoint echelle and lac blanc Vanoise National Park alps France guided walking holidayCol du Souffre Vanoise National Park alps France guided walking holidayTour of Vallaisonnay Vanoise National Park alpsVanoise National Park alpsVanoise National Park AlpsCol de la Grassaz Vanoise National Park Alps
Vanoise National Park Alps
Vanoise National Park Alps

For more photos of our walking holiday in Vanoise, French Alps, please visit our slide-show,