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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance


   
Guided walking holiday in French Alps
  • Alpine Discovery: Vanoise National Park

Dates
  • From July to mid September
Price
  • Please contact us for a quote. Price depends on number in your group
Grade grade moderate challenging +

grade explained

Profile
  • 8 days: 6 days centre-based, guided walking holiday Altitude maximum 2800m, average 1500m - 2600m. Average: length 5-7 hrs, altitude gain 800m.
Highlights
  • 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 walking experience without ever becoming too challenging.
Accommodation and Meals
  • You’ll be staying in two small, high quality guest houses in Pralognan and/or Champagny in the western Vanoise. They are traditional alpine style guest houses providing a very comfortable stay with a warm welcome and serving great local specialities.
What's included
  1. Airport and station transfers from Lyon to the Vanoise, transport to and from the start of each walk, 7 nights' accommodation. Full Board, including drinks with evening meals most nights (with the exception of lunches on day of arrival and departure.) 6 guided walks.
What's not included
  1. Travel to Lyon, France (consult our travel shop), lunches on the day of arrival and departure,  transfers other than those from Lyon, cable car on day 2, drinks to accompany meals in some guest houses, travel insurance
 

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Walks

Vanoise National Park

This tailor-made guided walking holiday in the beautiful Vanoise National Park of the French Alps is a real alpine week with a series of moderate and slightly more challenging walks allowing 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 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 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. A variety of guided walks will allow us to flirt with some outstanding mountain scenery, including the sheer Aguille de Vanoise, the Grande Casse, and Mont Pourri. The highest point of this part of the Alps is the resplendent Grande Casse which sits at the head of the valley from Pralognan, which is surrounded by immense rock walls which glow pink in the evening sun. Further along the mountain side sits Champagny, which like Pralognan is a traditional alpine village, unspoilt by modern development.

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.

grande casse mountain walking in vanoise French Alps tour from champagny in vanoise national park guided walking holiday in alps France

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

 

Walking profile

Our walks on this tailor-made guided walking holiday will be one day circuits, exploring different parts of the Vanoise National Park. 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.

The overall walking holiday grade is moderate/challenging. The average height gain is about 800m and you’ll be walking 5-7 hours a day. The days are designed to alternate between easier and more testing walks. A couple of the walks are more challenging in terms of length and height gain. The paths are generally good although they are mountainous in nature and often exposed. You should have a good level of fitness. In late August you are unlikely to encounter much snow

Day 1: Arrival,

Welcome, pick-up from Lyon and drive to Vanoise

Day 2: Tour of the Aiguille de la Vanoise

This is an ideal warm-up to the week and a great introduction to the Vanoise region. You’ll catch the cable car up to the Mont Bocher (2023m) before 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 tongue of ice lapping at the crystal lake at its base. Our return walk passes beneath gleaming limestone cliffs decorated with amazing waterfalls. 6hrs, +600m

Day 3: Petit Mont Blanc (2677m)

This walk leaves Pralognan on the opposite side of the valley to day 2 and rises through rich alpine meadows before climbing onto the Petit Mont Blanc where the views of the surrounding alpine peaks of the Vanoise are outstanding. The peak is a real geological lesson with curious sink-holes giving the impression of a lunar landscape, whilst our return path flirts with deep ravines sculpted in the gypsum rocks. 6hrs, +930m

Day 4: Lac Blanc

Our walk starts from the pretty hamlet Les Prioux and follows a large and impressive valley through alpine meadows as the path snakes gently up to the Peclet Polset mountain refuge. On the left-hand side is the beautiful outline of the mountain Point de l'Echelle. Just beyond lies the Lac Blanc, where we'll have lunch, a hauntingly beautiful lake with Cyan blue waters. Anyone feeling more energetic can climb the extra 380m to the Col du Souffre, a desert landscape of gypsum, to get a closer look at the Glacier du Gebroulez. 6hrs, +750m

Day 5: Mont Jovet

Despite its modest height, Mont Jovet allows you to have a remarkable panoramic view across a sea of alpine peaks including Mont Blanc. A pleasant walk through alpine meadows and pasture to the summit at 2558m. 5hrs, +730m

Day 6: Chalets des Nants & Refuge de la Valette (2629m)

Our objective for the day will depend on how the group is faring. There are a number of possible walking routes in this part of the French Alps. The refuge de la Valette lies opposite the Petit Mont Blanc and allows us to walk underneath the ice plateau of the Vanoise Glacier. It climbs to the refuge Valette where there are exceptional views across craggy peaks to the Grande Casse. 6hrs, +870m

Day 7: Tour of the Aguille Noire

A great circuit to finish the week, trekking through the Northern part of the Vanoise National Park. From the village of Champagny le Haut (1670m) we continue along the valley in the shadow of the austere north face of the Grande Casse before climbing to the Col de la Grassaz (2637m) with its beautiful flowered meadows forming a bright and rich contrast to the fabulous views of wild and rugged valleys beyond. We’ll descend for a short distance under the watchful eye of  the impressive Mont Pourri before climbing again past the Lac du Grattaleu in a remote mountain cirque, to the Col du Palet (2652m). 7hrs +1150m

Day 8:  Departure

Drive from the Vanoise back to Lyon and transfer home


 

Location Vanoise French Alps guided walks

Vanoise National Park guided walking France

Vanoise National Park Guided walks France

Alpine bouquetin or ibex Vanoise National Park France guided walking holiday

Lac Blanc near refuge Peclet Polset Vanoise National Park Alps France guided walking holiday

Ascent Petit Mont Blanc Vanoise National Park Alps France guided walking holiday

guided walking petit mont Blanc in Vanoise France

marmot in french alps vanoise walks

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Bed

Accommodation & Meals


On this tailor-made guided walking holiday, you’ll be staying in a small high quality hotel in Pralognan in the western Vanoise in the French Alps. They are traditional alpine style hostelries providing a warm welcome and serving great local specialities. They will either be small independent hotels or chambres d'hôtes ideally placed for our weeks walking.

Name Type Details Rating  
Hotel Epicea Lodge Hotel Small hotel built from stone and wood providing chalet style accommodation in a quiet location on the outskirts of Pralognan. Swimming pool. 3 stars  
Hotel Glieres Hotel Chalet style accommodation in a small hotel close to the small village of Champagny. Jean-François and Béatrice will be happy to serve you local delicacies whilst you soak up the sun gazing at the alpine peaks on their south facing terrace. 2 stars Accommodation
Hotel Edelweiss Hotel Authentic Savoyard welcome in this family run hotel with lots of character in the heart of the pretty village of Pralognan en Vanoise. 2 stars Accommodation
Travel Options

Travel Options


Flight Options

Transfers between Lyon Airport or train station and the Vanoise in the Savoie are included in the price of your guided alpine walking holiday. The airlines Easy jet, BMI and British Airways have scheduled flights from the UK to these airports.

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

Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. In addition, please contact us before booking to ensure that your chosen flight time is practical for the holiday. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.

By Train

Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu changing at Lille. Please use Rail Europe's train finder in our travel store to organise your train journey.

Please contact us before booking to check for practical times.

Self Drive

Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries, Eurotunnel and DFDS Seaways.

Once in France, the journey from Calais to Lyon takes about 7 hours (excluding long breaks). Tolls amount to about 40 euros each way.  Transfers from the Lyon area to the Vanoise are included in the price of your walking holiday. Please contact us if you would like some more information about options for parking.

 

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 guided walking holiday in Vanoise, French Alps, please visit our slide-show, or our picture gallery of our 2009 holiday