Trek the Alps along ancient trade routes from the mountains down to the Mediterranean Sea—a unique classic
The historic Grand Randonnée 5, or GR5, has been used by soldiers and traders for thousands of years. MTS is one of the few adventure travel companies to guide you along this ancient route, and our expert guides cast an entirely new perspective on the Alps! Beginning in the storied alpine heights of the Mont Blanc Massif, you’ll wind through remote valleys, cross sun-dappled meadows thick with wildflowers, and explore three pristine renown national parks of the French Alps. While these are strenuous hikes, there’s also plenty of respite and reward! Comfortable hotels throughout the trip are welcome after a long day of hiking—not to mention a celebratory bathe in the azure waters of the Mediterranean at the end of this epic trek!
11 days strenuous hiking over varied terrain (max. elev. 9,566')
- Trek the famous GR5, a comprehensive journey through snow-capped Alps culminating at the azure Mediterranean
- Be impressed by the variety of scenery as it dramatically changes daily from rocky limestone, to waterfalls, to Provencal to coastal
- An epic and challenging trek through three secluded pristine national parks that rewards you with a true accomplishment
Duration: 14 days Start Location: Geneva End Location: MentonDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : The Mont Blanc Foothills
Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland. Transfer to Combloux, a charming alpine village. Stroll town before our welcome dinner.
Day 2 : Beaufortin
Warm-up hike over the grassy slopes of Le Mont de Vorès, taking in views of the Mont Blanc range.
Day 3 : Pierra Menta
We’ll hike the ridge of Le Mont des Acrays toward the base of the Pierra Menta, then we’ll descend into the Tarentaise Valley.
Day 4 : Vanoise National Park
A day in Vanoise National Park, passing its pinnacles, sinkholes, and jagged peaks and crimson-veined blocks of marble.
Day 5 : La Vanoise Range
Hike the rolling hills of le Ritord, home to Beaufort cheese. Possible ibex viewings on the way down to le Plan d’Amont.
Day 6 : La Vallée Etroite
Continue past streams and alpine meadows to the Vallée Etroite. Short transfer to Montgenevre.
Day 7 : Queyras National Park
Today we’ll hike into Queyras National Park, where we’ll see diverse wildflowers, stunning rock formations and quaint hamlets.
Day 8 : Queyras – Saint Paul
We’ll hike in both France and Italy, climbing to Col Blanchet, circling Tête des Toillies, and descending into Barcelonnette
Day 9 : Rest Day
A day to relax and enjoy a picturesque ride to the charming village of St-Martin de Vésubie.
Day 10 : Mercantour National Park
Today we’ll hike forested Mercantour National Park, with possible viewings of ermine, ibex, eagles and chamois.
Day 11 : Mercantour National Park
We’ll traverse the scenic southern end of Mercantour, passing old World War I remnants.
Day 12 : Down to Sospel
We’ll continue along the GR5 to Sospel, passing remnants of the Great War and enjoying the fragrance of the Mediterranean!
Day 13 : Down to the Mediterranean
After hiking to the Grand Mont, we’ll descend to Castellar, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Day 14 : Departure
After one last delicious French breakfast, transfer to Nice for your homeward bound flights.
DATES: Best time to go: June Departures: Jun 22, 2015 - Jul 5, 2015
Hotel Prince de Galles
Located immediately outside Monaco, the Best Western Prince de Galles is a hotel rich in history.
Since 1865, this former barracks for the carabiniere of the princes of Monaco has welcomed lovers of the French Riviera. Located a mere stone's throw from the Palais Carnolès, the former summer residence of Prince Antonio I of Monaco, this charming hotel is managed by the Laurenti family, who provides their guests with the warmest of welcomes. Here, service goes hand in hand with availability, quality and the highest of standards.
Hotel les Mottets
Hotel le Grand Becle Grand Bec, France
Mountain resort for skiing, rambling and Alpine sports, open in the winter and the summer.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Laurent Langoisseur hails from Normandy, France, having grown up in Argentan (a small village that became famous in August 1944, “tournai sur dives”). At the age of 12, Laurent read La Grande Crevasse by Roger Frison-Roche, and became fascinated by the guiding and climbing descriptions of the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area. At 16, Laurent visited the area and was hooked. At 19, Laurent joined the French alpine troops, and after a year of service, moved to Chamonix. In 1991, he obtained his European Mountain Leader certification, and in 1995 he was awarded the coveted patch of the Compagnie des Guides. An avid sports enthusiast and inexhaustible hiker, Laurent has hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc close to 100 times. He is also an accomplished mountaineer, having summited Mont Blanc three times, as well as several other mountains over 13,000-feet. When he is not hiking and climbing, Laurent can be found running long distances for fun. Laurent recently completed a 48-mile race in 6 hours; and has also finished 48 miles in 9 hours with 10,000’ of ascent/descent. Laurent has been guiding for MTS since 1995, and is a senior guide on our Tour du Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc Express, Mont Blanc to Matterhorn (Haute Route), GR5, Gran Paradiso, and French Riviera trips, as well as any other trip we can get him on! His knowledge of the culture, history, plants, birds, and the name of every single peak and glacier along the trail is a wonderful complement to his guiding skills. When he isn’t guiding for us, he teaches First Aid and Mountain Rescue to mountain and hiking guides; and during the winter, he’s a ski patrol monitor in the mountains above Chamonix.
Stéphane is a true man of the mountains, with a Savoyard father and Swiss mother. He grew up in Chamonix, then left the valley to follow his first love, architecture. But the call of the wild proved too strong: numerous travels in North Africa, Siberia, and the Himalaya opened a new door to him—the profession of hiking guide. Nowadays Stéphane lives in a chalet in Chamonix from where he escapes frequently to travel the mountain areas of the world. “Steph” has now been a member of the Compagnie des Guides for many years, with over 100 trips to the Alps under his belt.
A native of Chamonix, Florence is a descendant from two of the area’s oldest families. After growing up in the Chamonix Valley, “Flo” spent several years in the south of France, and then traveled abroad to South America and Asia. She returned to her ancestral home, where the mountains now form an integral part of her life. She has led nearly 50 trips to the Alps, not counting how many times she has done this trip for her own fun! In addition to being an accomplished hiking guide, Flo is a skier and climber. As a member of the Compagnie des Guides, she follows in the footsteps of her forefathers.
Beatrice is a native of Chamonix, France, and has been guiding professionally in the Alps since 1989. She comes from a family of mountain climbers. Her grandfather was also a professional mountain guide. Aside from being an expert hiking guide, Beatrice is also an avid climber and accomplished skier, and is a ski instructor during the winter months. She loves the mountains, and will share her enthusiasm and her great experience with you during your trip.
Native from Chamonix, Fabienne comes from a family of mountaineers and farmers. Her grandfather was a recognized mountain guide. A former cross-country ski champion, she raced in several Europa Cups, and has been coaching the Chamonix cross-country Ski Club for the last 20 years. Very involved in the city life, she has a passion for the history of the valley and the surrounding mountains. A guide since 1993, she is also keen in botany and proud to share her love and knowledge of the Mont-Blanc massif.