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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance

Independent Walking Holidays
  • Alpine Adventure: Briancon to Nice

  • (Part 3 & 4 of a trek from Lake Geneva to Nice along the length of the French Alps)

Dates for 2023
  • Everyday (subject to availability) from 15 June to 30 September
Price (with luggage transport)
Price (without luggage transport)
  • Full trek from Briancon to Nice:
  • From £1270/€1410 per person
  • strenuous walking holiday in vercors

  • 13 nights, 13 days self-guided mountain walking moving between gites, auberges, hotels and refuges
  • 3rd & 4th legs of a trek along the full length of the French Alps from Lake Geneva to Nice
  • Discovering the beautiful Queyras Regional Park
  • Exploring the pretty and quiet Ubaye Valley
  • Breath-taking scenery of Mercantour National Park
  • Beautiful perched villages of Provence
Accommodation and Meals
  • You’ll be staying in private rooms for 2 in gites, simple hotels and mountain refuges, with the exception of 2 nights in a dormitory. Shared bathrooms with the exception of 3 nights. You’ll be served wholesome local cuisine. All evening meals are included in your holiday price with the exception of the first night.
What's included
  • 12 night’s half board accommodation in gites (except 2 nights), simple hotels and refuges with private rooms (except for two nights in dormitory);
  • 2 transfers during the walk to access accommodation;
  • detailed walking notes and walking maps,
  • transport of luggage between accommodation if chosen (except for one night where you'll need to carry overnight gear).
What's not included
  • Travel to Briancon at start of walking holiday and from Nice at end of holiday; drinks with evening meals, lunches, 2 evening meals, accommodation in Nice, travel insurance, anything else not listed above

Alpine Adventure - Briancon to Nice

This is the final stage of a mythical walk which follows the GR 5 long-distance trail from the shores of Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean coast at Nice, following the entire length of the French Alps. We have split the walk into several self-guided walking holidays, although it would be possible to combine them. Our holidays include luggage transfers (if you wish) so that you can enjoy the amazing scenery with only a light day pack.

From Briancon you’ll first traverse the beautiful Queyras regional park with its wonderful wild alpine flowers and great panoramic views, before moving onto the secret Alps of the Ubaye Valley. From there its onto the majestic and wild Mercantour National Park, with great wildlife before discovering the wonderful perched villages of the Provence in the Maritime Alps. You can do this 12-day section in one go or choose to split it into two parts with a 7-day walking holiday from Briancon to Roya and a 5-day walking break from Roya to Nice. The second of these two sections is easier than the first.

The traverse of the French Alps is a truly unforgettable experience as you head south passing by the majestic summits of the Mont Blanc range before passing through the Vanoise and Mercantour National Parks. Your wonderful trail passes through a variety of landscapes, wildlife habitats and historic sites including the green alpine pastures of the Savoy, rocky deserts in the Queyras, beautiful perched villages of the Roya, snowy peaks of the Mont Blanc and ibex in the Mercantour.

Walking Profile

12 days self-guided walking between accommodation. Walking per day amounts to an average of 5 - 8hrs walking and 1000m of ascent and descent. Maximum altitude gain: 1200m. The walk follows the GR5 for the most part. The walks take place on paths, although they are mountainous and rocky in nature. The 12-day walking holiday is a strenuous undertaking due to the sustained nature of the walking. There are also a couple of long days. You should have a reasonable level of fitness and be experienced in walking on mountainous terrain with a good head for heights.

map location alpine trek briancon to nice GR 5

Day 1: Arrival

Arrive at Briancon. Night in hotel

Day 2: Briancon - Arvieux (1750m)

From the centre of Briancon you'll follow the beautiful Ayes Valley with its numerous traditional chalets originally built for use for summer pasture. After the first main col you'll enter the wonderful Queyras Regional Park, home to numerous wildflife and affording expansive views. A lovely descent into the dramatic Arvieux Valley + 1380m ; - 1000 m; 7hr 30

Day 3: Arvieux (1750m) - Ceillac (1640m)

Today, the main route takes you past a beautiful lake with a Canadian flavour and a small mountain hamlet. Descent into the Guil valley to reach Fort Queyras, a real bastion of the king's army under Louis XIV. Before arriving in the valley, keep an eye out for the endemic flower: the Astragale Queue de Renard (Fox's tail)! Then climb through larch forest, pretty flower filled clearings and the sound of cow bells will take you to the high pastures of Pres fromage (cheese field!). Pass by the bright white gypsum ravines at “Ruine Blanche” before climbing towards Col Fromage (2301m) passing striking limestone peaks on the way. After the col you'll get great panoramic views towards the mighty peaks of Font Sancte (over 3300m) and the beautiful valley below where the village of Ceillac nestles. It is possible to take a dramatic traverse over the Crete de Chambrettes for stunning views.
Differences in altitude: + 1 305 m, - 1 335 m. Walking time: 7 h 30

Day 4: Ceillac (1640m) - Maljasset (1900m)

From Ceillac you'll discover the amazing waterfall, Cascade de la Pisse and then higher up two beautiful lakes - Lac Miroir set in pasture with its green waters reflecting the surrounding limestone rock walls, and Lac Ste Anne with its deep turquoise waters set in a cirque at the base of Fonte Sancte (3385 m). A small climb brings you to Col Girardin (2699m) with wonderful views back towards the Queyras and ahead into the Ubaye Valley. A pretty descent brings you to the hamlet of Maljasset. Small transfer from Maljasset to Fouillouse. + 1100m ; - 835 m; 6hr 45

Day 5: Fouillouse (1900m) - Larche (1660m)

Walk to the Col du Vallonnet at 2524m, dominated by the summit of Brec de Chambeyron (3389m). A beautiful and wild valley leads you on to Col de Mallemort (2558m) where you start your descent to the village of Larche. You are now walking for the next couple of days in the Mercantour National Park. + 840m ; - 1050 m; 6hr 15

Day 6: Larche (1660m) - Bousieyas (1883m)

A beautiful trail in the small valley of Ubayette to reach lake Lauzanier at 2285m before a steep climb to the mountain pass called Pas de la Cavale Beau at 2675m. A small descent through alpine meadows and pastures before a small climb to Col des Fourches (2262m). Afterwards, descend to Boussieyas in 45 minutes and your accommodation. +1200m ; - 980 m; 7hr 15

Day 7: Bousieyas (1883m) - St Etienne de Tinee (1490m)

Your walking trail crosses the alpine pastures of Col de la Colombiere with the possibility of going to the summit of Tete de Vinaigre (2394m) for great views. Then descend to the village of St Dalmas le Selvage before climbing to the next mountain pass called Col d'Anelle. You'll then descend to reach the village of St Etienne de Tinee. +690m ; - 1400 m; 5hr 30

Day 8: Roya (1490m) - Roure (1883m) ou St Saveur de Tinee

A nice ridge crossing to the Col de Moulines. The Longon refuge is still under re-construction. Depending on your booking dates and the availability of the accommodation providers, there are several possible finishes: Arrival at Roubion (1350 m) or descent to Roure and then transfer by taxi to St Sauveur de Tinée. Differences in altitude: + 1,353 m, - 1,460 m, Walking time: 7.5 to 8.5 hours

Day 9: Roubion (1883m) - Saint Dalmas Valdeblore (1050m)

You leave directly from your arrival point of the day before: Roubion or St Sauveur de Tinée. An easier day of transition around the perched villages of the Nice highlands such as Rougios or La Bolline and Rimplas, La Roche and Saint Dalmas, a picturesque village.
Differences in altitude: + 1,050 m to 1,350 m, - 265 m to 1,350 m Walking time: 4 h 20 to 6 h 30

Day 10: Saint Dalmas Valdeblore (1050m) - Granges de la Brasque (1680m)

You'll need to start early on this long day. A beautiful climb brings you to Col de Caire Cros. Then a traverse will bring you to the summit of Mont Tournairet at 2086m for wonderful views. A short descent to Granges de la Brasque and your accommodation in a wooden chalet with shared toilet facilities. Differences in altitude: +800 m , - 400 m Walking time: 4 h 00

Day 11: Granges de la Brasque (1680m) - Utelle

Today it's a day with a small amount of climbing, but where you'll go over 6 passes! The trail runs along the ridge line overlooking the Vésubie valley for most of the way. Possible ascent of the Brec d'Utelle (1 604 m).
Differences in altitude between La Brasque and Utelle: + 308 m, - 1,195 m Walking time: 5 h 00

Day 12: Utelle (850m) - Levens (550m)

Very nice crossing of the massif above the Vésubie valley. The variant of the GR towards the ridge (orientation table) and the Toasquet valley is worth the diversions. Then a beautiful balcony over the Vésubie that you cross at Pont du Cros. Then a short climb to Levens, the end point of the day. Leave the GR to discover this beautiful perched village. Overnight at the communal gîte, single night formula. Inn in the village or grocery shop for your meals.
Differences in altitude: + 400 m, - 1000 m, + 400 m Walking time: 5h30

Day 13: Levens (550m) - Nice (0m)

A forest trail brings you to a magnificent view point over the Maritime Alps at the summit of Mont Cima (878m). You'll then descend to the historic village of Aspremont with its alleyways forming concentric circles around its centre, before a small climb brings you to Mont Chauve. Here a longer variation is possible. A last descent brings you to Gairaud and the end of the official GR 5 trail and the end of your Alpine Adventure. A short bus ride will take you to Nice and the Mediterranean Sea for a well-earned rest.

Holiday ends after walk on day 13 or book extra night's accommodation in Nice. Walk: +550m ; -1000 m; 5hr 45


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Accommodation & Meals

You’ll be staying in private rooms for 2 in gites, simple hotels and mountain refuges, with the exception of 2 nights in a dormitory. Shared bathrooms with the exception of 3 nights. You’ll be served wholesome local cuisine. All evening meals are included in your holiday price with the exception of the first night.
Name Type Details Rating  
Gite Auberge de Lauzanier gite

Family run gite and auberge situated in the village of Larche

Refuge de Longon refuge Refuge built in 1962 following an avalanche. It is also a Vacherie for the herd and is run by the farmers. Night in dormitory    
Travel Options

Travel Options

Make your own way to Briancon at the start of the holiday.

By Train

Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu via Lille or direct. From Lyon you'll need to take a local train services to Briancon station, changing at Grenoble. Some trains go direct to Briancon from Grenoble, whilst others require a further change. The section between Grenoble and Briancon takes a minimum of 3hrs. You can also take trains from Lyon to Valence and change at Valence going via Gap. There are also overnight TGV trains to Briancon from Austerlitz station in Paris, If flying to Marseille there are TER trains from Marseille to Briancon. Also TGV trains from Paris to Oulx in Italy and shuttle bus to Briancon.

At end of holiday shuttle bus to Nice. TGV trains from Nice to Lyon and Paris.


By Air and rail

Regular direct flights to Lyon St Exupery with Easyjet, British Airways and Flybe and then trains as above. Also possible to fly to Marseille and take TER trains from Marseille.

Please contact us for assistance in organising your travel arrangements






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