Family run gite and auberge situated in the village of Larche, the highest village in the area.
ALPINE ADVENTURE: BRIANCON TO ROYA
7 days walking/8 nights
Part 3 of a superb trek from Lake Geneva to Nice along the length of the French Alps
3rd leg 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
Visit the historic town of Briancon
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive at Briancon. Night in hotel
Day 2: Briancon (1200m) - 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 (Col des Ayes at 2477m) you'll enter the wonderful Queyras Regional Park, home to numerous wildlife and affording expansive views. A lovely descent into the dramatic Arvieux Valley. We have provided you with the chance to do an additional climb via the dramatic and more remote Col du Cros.
Overnight: Arvieux, + 1380m ; - 1000 m; 7hr 30
Day 3: Arvieux (1685m) - Ville Vieille (1380m)
From Arvieux climb out of the valley to reach the beautiful Lac Roue with wonderful views towards Pic de Rochebrune and then onto the preserved mountain hamlet of Souliers with its large chalets adorned with flowers. Traverse the mountain side to reach Meyries with great views across the Guil Valley towards the summits of the Queyras. Descend to the village of Ville Vieille.
Overnight: Ville Vieille, Walk: +780m, -1085m, 6 hours
Day 4: Ville Vieille (1380m) - Ceillac (1640m)
A 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.
Overnight: Ceillac, Walk: + 1055m ; - 800 m; 6hr
Day 5: 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. You have the option of a further 300m climb which provides you with stunning views. A pretty descent brings you to the hamlet of Maljasset. Small transfer from Maljasset to Fouillouse.
Overnight: Maljasset, Walk: + 1100m ; - 835 m; 6hr 45
Day 6: 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). There is another optional climb to the nearby summit of Tete de Viraysse for more outstanding views. Then start your descent to the village of Larche. You are now walking for the next couple of days in the Mercantour National Park.
Overnight: Larch, Walk: + 840m ; - 1050 m; 6hr 15
Day 7: Larche (1660m) - Bousieyas (1883m)
A beautiful hiking 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 Bousieyas in 45 minutes and your accommodation.
Overnight: Bousieyas, Walk: +1200m ; - 980 m; 7hr 15
Day 8: Bousieyas (1883m) - St Etienne de Tinee (1160m)
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.
Overnight: St Etienne de Tinee, Walk: +690m ; - 1400 m; 5hr 30
Day 9: Departure
Your walking holiday finishes after breakfast
If you wish to book part 4 of the GR5 trail at the same time, then please see our combined holiday page alpine adventure parts 3 & 4
If booking part 4 separately you can choose between the usual part 4 GR5 trail to Nice or a longer trail via the GR52 and the heart of the Mercantour National Park, finishing in Menton
At a glance
17 June - 23 September
From 1 255€ per person (based on 2 sharing)
8 nights / 7 days walking
Time: 5hr 30 -7hr 30 per day
Ascent: 700-1380m per day
Gites, hotels and huts (private rooms)
Half-board except 1 evening meals
Other walking holidays along the GR5 in French Alps
Other long distance treks in the mountains
GR 5 Trek
This is the 3rd 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. You can combine this trek with the 6-day walking break from Roya to Nice.
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.
8 night/9 days: 7 days independent walking moving between accommodation
Everyday (subject to availability) from 17 June to 23 September
(Only afternoon buses to leave from St Etienne to Nice on Mondays during school time and on Sundays and bank holidays). Other days there is a morning service. This may impact on the day you wish to start.
Walking Profile & Grade
7 days self-guided walking between accommodation. Walking per day amounts to an average of 5hrs 30 - 7hrs 30 walking and 1000m of ascent and descent. Maximum altitude gain: 1380m. The walk follows the GR5 for the most part. The walks take place on paths, although they are mountainous and rocky in nature. You should have a good level of fitness and be experienced in walking on mountainous terrain with a good head for heights.
This walking holiday is graded strenuous. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
You’ll be staying in private rooms for 2 in gites, simple hotels and mountain refuges,except 2 nights in a dormitory. Mainly shared bathrooms. You’ll be served wholesome local cuisine. All evening meals are included in your holiday price except 2 nights.
Where is this trek?
When to Travel
Our self-guided walking tour along the 3rd part of the GR5 trail is available from mid June to mid September. The trek goes over high passes above 2500m and so, depending on the spring weather conditions, there is a risk that several snow fields remain on the higher slopes. The risk of encountering winter snow reduces as you progress into July. The weather is fairly similar in July and August. For the most part it is stable and dry with the risk of afternoon storms, so setting off early is advisable. The busiest period in terms of fellow walkers is from mid July to mid August. Early in the season is best for the wonderful alpine flowers and meadows. Early September also has good weather, although there is a small risk of encountering some cold conditions at night and even some early fresh snow.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
The vast majority of this walking holiday follows the GR5 (Grande Randonnee) long-distance trail which is well way-marked with red and white markings. There are also several signposts along the trail. The walking follows clear paths for its entire duration. Some small sections follow local or unmarked trails, to access accommodation for example, but these are easy to follow. Our walking notes are detailed (more information here) and include intermediate distances for sections of the trail. They also include information about the sites which can be explored along the route. We supply one walking guide per person on this holiday. As well as the detailed walking notes we supply walking maps. You'll be provided with a large-scale map usually of 1:50,000 for the whole trail and more detailed 1:25,000 maps within your guidebook.
On this walking holiday you can choose to have your main luggage transferred between accommodations so you only have to carry a day rucksack with a picnic lunch (supplied by the guest houses and included in the holiday price), water, and spare clothes, waterproofs, camera, etc. On this holiday several local taxi companies are responsible for transporting your main luggage. The contact details for the taxis are included in your walking notes. Please limit the weight of your bags where possible to 15kg.
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, going via Grenoble or Valence. 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 take bus 740 to Nice - Vauban. Buses everyday from St Etienne de Tinee at 8.15 and 16.15, except Mondays, Sundays & bank holidays, when only the afternoon buses run. (Correct at time of writing)
By Air and rail
Regular direct flights between Lyon St Exupery, Marseille and Nice and the UK and then trains or buses as above.
Please contact us for assistance in organising your travel arrangements
Further Information & Advice
For useful advice about independent walking trips and preparing for your self-guided holiday please take a look at the articles in our top-tips section. Learn more about how to prepare your walking trip or what to carry on your rucksack. Once you have booked this independent walking or trekking holiday, further information about
8 nights / 7 days walking
WITH luggage transfers
- Prices per person based on 2 sharing a room
- Price of luggage transfers reduces with number of party. Please contact us for a quote.
What's included in the price
- 8 night’s half board accommodation in gites, simple hotels, and refuges with private rooms (except 2 evening meals);
- 1 transfer during the walk to access accommodation;
- detailed walking notes and walking maps
- transport of luggage between accommodation if chosen
What's not included in the price
- Travel to Briancon at the start of the walking holiday and from St Etienne de Tinee at the end of holiday;
- drinks with evening meals, lunches, and 2 evening meals in Briancon and St Etienne de Tinee
- travel insurance,
- anything else not listed above
- A deposit payment of 30% or at least £250 or 250€ per person must be made to confirm your booking. The balance of payments is due 8 weeks before the holiday date. If the holiday date is less that 8 weeks away at the time of booking, then the full price should be paid.
On this self-guided trekking holiday in the Alps you’ll be staying in private rooms for 2 in gites, simple hotels, and mountain refuges. A mixture of private and shared bathrooms. You’ll be served wholesome local cuisine. All evening meals are included in your holiday price except the first night in Briancon and in St Etienne de Tinee.
We can include one or more nights in Nice after your travel by bus from St Etienne de Tinee. We can book a hotel or guest house to suit your requirements.
We can also book an additional night in Briancon at the start if required to explore the town and the military complex designed by Vauban.
After traveling to Nice you can easily combine this holiday with our Alps to Med Trail from Tende to Menton in the Maritime Alps, or with our centre-based Marvels of Mercantour holiday in the Mercantour National Park.
Changing or Tailor-made holidays
Parts 3 and 4 of this alpine trekking holiday can be booked together. In addition, there are two versions of part 4, one going from St Etienne de Tinee to Nice, as per this holiday and the other following a longer and more difficult trail from St Etienne de Tinee to Menton along the GR52. Although we do not have a separate webpage for combining part 3 and the alternative part 4 to Menton, it would be possible to book this combined alternative. We can also combine the earlier sections of the GR5 trek with this part.
Please consult us for a price on any of the above options.
Tailor Made Trips
If you want to learn more about the region's culture through tailor-made activities and visits, check out this trip that includes a few days in the Alps. Contact us to add them to your hike.
Experience the winter traditions of France and Italy as you witness stunning scenery from Annecy to Briançon,Saint-Véran, Turin and Chamonix
A journey starting in Paris to Lyon, Annecy, Avignon, Cannes and Monaco, filled with culture, nature's beauty, and a dash of pure indulgence!