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Hiking the GR5

From $5,995

  • 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

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!

Day 1: The Mont Blanc Foothills

Arrive at the airport in Geneva, Switzerland. You will be picked up promptly at 2:00 p.m. for a group transfer by private van to the small town of Combloux, a simple but charming alpine village.  After arriving at the hotel, we’ll have a chance to stroll around the village, or else just drink in the exquisite mountain scenery while we recover from our flights. Later, we’ll meet our guides and the rest of the group for a welcome dinner and an orientation.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Le Coin Savoyard

Day 2: Beaufortin

Today is a warm-up hike to get us ready for the long and invigorating days ahead. We’ll begin with an ascent over the grassy slopes of Le Mont de Vorès (6,781'). From the wide open summit we’ll make a long traverse in the shadow of the Aiguille Croche (8,257') to reach the Col du Joly (6,525'). From here the views of the entire Mont Blanc Range are spectacular, and include the summit of the Mont Blanc massif itself (15,771'). In the afternoon we’ll hike down to the picturesque mountain town of Hauteluce (3,610'). Overnight in Arêches. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 2,770' ascent/2,950' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel les Ancolies

Day 3: Pierra Menta

From our trailhead, which overlooks the bright blue lake of Roselend, our path winds along the ridge of Le Mont des Acrays (7,130') toward the base of the “Giant’s Tooth” peak of the Pierra Menta (8,902'). At the Col du Couvercle (7,680') we’ll enjoy panoramic views of the southern edge of the Mont Blanc range and the summits of the Vanoise. Later we’ll descend into the Tarentaise Valley, where the Isère River flows. The many stunning peaks of this area were host to the alpine events of the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.  (6½-7 hours hiking, 2,100' ascent/2,300' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel de la Vanoise

Day 4: Vanoise National Park

We’ll spend the day in Vanoise National Park, France’s first, which was created in 1963 after an early mobilization of the country’s environmental movement. The park is home to ibexes and marmots as well as an abundance of brightly colored wildflowers. Pinnacles, sink-holes, and jagged peaks dot the landscape, and the area is famed for crimson-veined blocks of marble and the many fossils preserved in the limestone. We’ll make a long ascent from the Rosuel Door (5,050') to the Col de Plan Sèry (8,530'), where the meadows are carpeted with edelweiss. At the foot of the Bellecôte summit (11,388'), we’ll hike down to the valley of Champagny (5,120') and our lodging in the village of Pralognan.  (8 hours hiking, 3,615' ascent/3,550' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel le Grand Bec

Day 5: La Vanoise Range

We start hiking over smooth, rolling hills until we reach the alpine farming area at le Ritord, where local farmers make the famous Beaufort cheese. Stepping off of the main trail we’ll head to the Col d’Aussois, the highest we’ll cross on this trip at 9,566 feet in elevation. The pass is wedged between the ridge of la Pointe de l’Echelle (11,227') and the southern tips of the Dômes de la Vanoise and the Dent Parrachée (12,129'). After crossing the col, we’ll begin our descent through fields frequented by grazing ibex to the lake of le Plan d’Amont (6,610'). (8½ hours hiking,3,800' ascent/3,000' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel les Mottets

Day 6: La Vallée Etroite

Across from the Maurienne Valley we’ll follow the Grande Randonnée 5 (or GR5) trail into the Vallée Etroite, where the slopes are covered with forests of larch pines. Starting at the small ski resort of Val Fréjus (5,350') we’ll begin a pleasant ascent toward the open col of Vallée Etroite (7,985'), until we reach the foot of Mount Thabor. The area still retains a strong Italian heritage, as this region has changed hands many times over the years.  From our vantage point in this narrow valley we’ll have excellent views of the summits of the Vanoise region. Our descent takes us along wild streams and through alpine meadows to the huts of the Vallée Etroite (5,790'). From here we continue our hike down to our van, then take a short transfer to Montgenevre where we'll spend the night. (5½ hours hiking, 1,850'ascent/2,270'descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel le Chalet Blanc

Day 7: Queyras National Park

Today we’ll hike into Queyras National Park, an area with a huge diversity of flora and an abundance of unique rock formations. Our hike begins in the hamlet of Chalets des Ayes (5,626'), and then continues up a forested stream. We’ll reach a summer farming region just beneath the Col des Ayes (8,126'). In the afternoon, we'll make our way up to the Hamlet of Clapey and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley below, and then down to the village of Brunissard (5,741'). We'll end the day with a transfer to  Saint-Veran, one of the highest villages in Europe (6,677'). Legend has it that the village is named after a 6th-century saint who drove a dragon away from the region. (6½ hours hiking, 3,050' ascent/2,940' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Les Chalets du Villard

Day 8: Queyras – Saint Paul

Our hike begins at the Chapelle de Clausis (7,677') and continues on to the hut at La Blanche (8,198') and a quiet mountain lake. The short climb to Col Blanchet (9,504') allows us to set foot into Italian territory as we make our way around the Tête des Toillies (10,416'). We return to France via the wide and scenic Col Longet (8,704'). The descent from here is long and gentle, passing through alpine meadows, oases of wildflowers, and gorgeous river valleys. Transfer to the lovely town of Barcelonnette. Dinner tonight is on your own. (8½ hours hiking, 2,491' ascent/3,680' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Azteca

Day 9: Rest Day

After a restful morning, we leave the hotel at 10:00 a.m., and transfer for a 3-hour drive to Saint-Martin de Vésubie. On our way, we’ll enjoy the view from the Col de la Bonette, the highest driving pass in Europe. We’ll stop for lunch in the town of Saint Etienne de Tinée, and arrive in the afternoon for free time to explore the charming village of Saint-Martin de Vésubie.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel la Chataigneraie

Day 10: Mercantour National Park

Today we head into the heavily wooded area known as Mercantour National Park, a region with a diverse ecosystem and many geologic interests. The park is home to ermine, ibex, and eagles. And though it is rare to see any of the wolves that returned here in the 1990's in search of new territories, we’ll certainly catch a glimpse of the many chamois goats that leap precariously from one rock ledge to the next. Starting from the stone barns at Vacherie du Boréon (5,413'), in the welcoming shade of a larch forest, we'll head towards Trecolpas Lake and then continue to the  Pas de Ladres (8,031')—our pass for today. Our descent will take us to the Madone de Fenestre (6,260'), nestled at the end of the valley. (6 hours hiking, 2,624' ascent/1,771' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel la Chataigneraie

Day 11: Mercantour National Park

From the remote valley of Gordolasque, we leave the Pas de l’Arpette (8,238') on our left to head south to the Cime du Diable (8,809'), via the Pas du Trem (8,156'). It is the southern most summit of the park, and we’ll be able to see it well from our vantage point. The trail then follows the winding ridge line between the Roya and Vésubie Valleys, eventually emerging at La Pointe des Trois Commune (6,824'), which offers panoramic views of the Southern Alps. The last stretch leads us to Baisse de Tueis (6,197'). As we hike, we expect to pass by numerous remnants from World War I.  (8 1/2 hours hiking, 3,900' ascent/3,300' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel l’Estive

Day 12: Down to Sospel

Coming back to where we stopped yesterday, we follow the GR5 down to Sospel (1,148'), passing more remnants of the Great War en route. Along the ridge between the Roya and Bavera Valleys, we have the chance to pass through different stages of vegetation and enjoy the fragrance of the Mediterranean as we reach Sospel (1,148'), a charming medieval town with a baroque cathedral and a newly restored town square. Dinner tonight is on your own. (7 hours hiking, 660' ascent/4,900' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel des Etrangers

Day 13: Down to the Mediterranean

Our final hiking day begins with a hike to the Grand Mont (4,524'), to enjoy one last panoramic view of the mountains. Then it’s down to the Mediterranean village of Castellar (1,280'), perched on the side of a steep slope overlooking the sea. We’ll hike to our last night’s hotel in Menton, where we can end our trek by dipping our toes in the azure waters. Of all the Côte d'Azur resorts, Menton is the warmest and most Italian, only a few miles from the border. (6 1/2 hours , 2,624' ascent/4,600' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Prince de Galles

Day 14: Departure

Transfer to the Nice airport for departure on homeward-bound flights, arriving at the airport by 9:30 a.m. International flights should not be scheduled to depart before noon.

  • Breakfast

Jun 19, 2016 - Jul 02, 2016

pricing

2016 Prices
$5,995 (6-14 members)
$600 single supplement

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Hotel Azteca — Barcelonnette

Hotel Le Coin Savoyard — Combloux (Haute Savoie)

Hotel Les Chalets du Villard — Saint-Véran

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 de la Vanoise — Pesey Nancroix

Hotel des Etrangers — Sospel

Hotel la Chataigneraie

Hotel le Chalet Blanc — Montgenèvre

Hotel le Grand Bec — le Grand Bec, France

Mountain resort for skiing, rambling and Alpine sports, open in the winter and the summer.

Hotel les Ancolies


Hotel les Mottets


Hotel l’Estive

  • 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

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!

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: The Mont Blanc Foothills

Arrive at the airport in Geneva, Switzerland. You will be picked up promptly at 2:00 p.m. for a group transfer by private van to the small town of Combloux, a simple but charming alpine village.  After arriving at the hotel, we’ll have a chance to stroll around the village, or else just drink in the exquisite mountain scenery while we recover from our flights. Later, we’ll meet our guides and the rest of the group for a welcome dinner and an orientation.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Le Coin Savoyard

Day 2: Beaufortin

Today is a warm-up hike to get us ready for the long and invigorating days ahead. We’ll begin with an ascent over the grassy slopes of Le Mont de Vorès (6,781'). From the wide open summit we’ll make a long traverse in the shadow of the Aiguille Croche (8,257') to reach the Col du Joly (6,525'). From here the views of the entire Mont Blanc Range are spectacular, and include the summit of the Mont Blanc massif itself (15,771'). In the afternoon we’ll hike down to the picturesque mountain town of Hauteluce (3,610'). Overnight in Arêches. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 2,770' ascent/2,950' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel les Ancolies

Day 3: Pierra Menta

From our trailhead, which overlooks the bright blue lake of Roselend, our path winds along the ridge of Le Mont des Acrays (7,130') toward the base of the “Giant’s Tooth” peak of the Pierra Menta (8,902'). At the Col du Couvercle (7,680') we’ll enjoy panoramic views of the southern edge of the Mont Blanc range and the summits of the Vanoise. Later we’ll descend into the Tarentaise Valley, where the Isère River flows. The many stunning peaks of this area were host to the alpine events of the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.  (6½-7 hours hiking, 2,100' ascent/2,300' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel de la Vanoise

Day 4: Vanoise National Park

We’ll spend the day in Vanoise National Park, France’s first, which was created in 1963 after an early mobilization of the country’s environmental movement. The park is home to ibexes and marmots as well as an abundance of brightly colored wildflowers. Pinnacles, sink-holes, and jagged peaks dot the landscape, and the area is famed for crimson-veined blocks of marble and the many fossils preserved in the limestone. We’ll make a long ascent from the Rosuel Door (5,050') to the Col de Plan Sèry (8,530'), where the meadows are carpeted with edelweiss. At the foot of the Bellecôte summit (11,388'), we’ll hike down to the valley of Champagny (5,120') and our lodging in the village of Pralognan.  (8 hours hiking, 3,615' ascent/3,550' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel le Grand Bec

Day 5: La Vanoise Range

We start hiking over smooth, rolling hills until we reach the alpine farming area at le Ritord, where local farmers make the famous Beaufort cheese. Stepping off of the main trail we’ll head to the Col d’Aussois, the highest we’ll cross on this trip at 9,566 feet in elevation. The pass is wedged between the ridge of la Pointe de l’Echelle (11,227') and the southern tips of the Dômes de la Vanoise and the Dent Parrachée (12,129'). After crossing the col, we’ll begin our descent through fields frequented by grazing ibex to the lake of le Plan d’Amont (6,610'). (8½ hours hiking,3,800' ascent/3,000' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel les Mottets

Day 6: La Vallée Etroite

Across from the Maurienne Valley we’ll follow the Grande Randonnée 5 (or GR5) trail into the Vallée Etroite, where the slopes are covered with forests of larch pines. Starting at the small ski resort of Val Fréjus (5,350') we’ll begin a pleasant ascent toward the open col of Vallée Etroite (7,985'), until we reach the foot of Mount Thabor. The area still retains a strong Italian heritage, as this region has changed hands many times over the years.  From our vantage point in this narrow valley we’ll have excellent views of the summits of the Vanoise region. Our descent takes us along wild streams and through alpine meadows to the huts of the Vallée Etroite (5,790'). From here we continue our hike down to our van, then take a short transfer to Montgenevre where we'll spend the night. (5½ hours hiking, 1,850'ascent/2,270'descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel le Chalet Blanc

Day 7: Queyras National Park

Today we’ll hike into Queyras National Park, an area with a huge diversity of flora and an abundance of unique rock formations. Our hike begins in the hamlet of Chalets des Ayes (5,626'), and then continues up a forested stream. We’ll reach a summer farming region just beneath the Col des Ayes (8,126'). In the afternoon, we'll make our way up to the Hamlet of Clapey and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley below, and then down to the village of Brunissard (5,741'). We'll end the day with a transfer to  Saint-Veran, one of the highest villages in Europe (6,677'). Legend has it that the village is named after a 6th-century saint who drove a dragon away from the region. (6½ hours hiking, 3,050' ascent/2,940' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Les Chalets du Villard

Day 8: Queyras – Saint Paul

Our hike begins at the Chapelle de Clausis (7,677') and continues on to the hut at La Blanche (8,198') and a quiet mountain lake. The short climb to Col Blanchet (9,504') allows us to set foot into Italian territory as we make our way around the Tête des Toillies (10,416'). We return to France via the wide and scenic Col Longet (8,704'). The descent from here is long and gentle, passing through alpine meadows, oases of wildflowers, and gorgeous river valleys. Transfer to the lovely town of Barcelonnette. Dinner tonight is on your own. (8½ hours hiking, 2,491' ascent/3,680' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Azteca

Day 9: Rest Day

After a restful morning, we leave the hotel at 10:00 a.m., and transfer for a 3-hour drive to Saint-Martin de Vésubie. On our way, we’ll enjoy the view from the Col de la Bonette, the highest driving pass in Europe. We’ll stop for lunch in the town of Saint Etienne de Tinée, and arrive in the afternoon for free time to explore the charming village of Saint-Martin de Vésubie.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel la Chataigneraie

Day 10: Mercantour National Park

Today we head into the heavily wooded area known as Mercantour National Park, a region with a diverse ecosystem and many geologic interests. The park is home to ermine, ibex, and eagles. And though it is rare to see any of the wolves that returned here in the 1990's in search of new territories, we’ll certainly catch a glimpse of the many chamois goats that leap precariously from one rock ledge to the next. Starting from the stone barns at Vacherie du Boréon (5,413'), in the welcoming shade of a larch forest, we'll head towards Trecolpas Lake and then continue to the  Pas de Ladres (8,031')—our pass for today. Our descent will take us to the Madone de Fenestre (6,260'), nestled at the end of the valley. (6 hours hiking, 2,624' ascent/1,771' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel la Chataigneraie

Day 11: Mercantour National Park

From the remote valley of Gordolasque, we leave the Pas de l’Arpette (8,238') on our left to head south to the Cime du Diable (8,809'), via the Pas du Trem (8,156'). It is the southern most summit of the park, and we’ll be able to see it well from our vantage point. The trail then follows the winding ridge line between the Roya and Vésubie Valleys, eventually emerging at La Pointe des Trois Commune (6,824'), which offers panoramic views of the Southern Alps. The last stretch leads us to Baisse de Tueis (6,197'). As we hike, we expect to pass by numerous remnants from World War I.  (8 1/2 hours hiking, 3,900' ascent/3,300' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel l’Estive

Day 12: Down to Sospel

Coming back to where we stopped yesterday, we follow the GR5 down to Sospel (1,148'), passing more remnants of the Great War en route. Along the ridge between the Roya and Bavera Valleys, we have the chance to pass through different stages of vegetation and enjoy the fragrance of the Mediterranean as we reach Sospel (1,148'), a charming medieval town with a baroque cathedral and a newly restored town square. Dinner tonight is on your own. (7 hours hiking, 660' ascent/4,900' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel des Etrangers

Day 13: Down to the Mediterranean

Our final hiking day begins with a hike to the Grand Mont (4,524'), to enjoy one last panoramic view of the mountains. Then it’s down to the Mediterranean village of Castellar (1,280'), perched on the side of a steep slope overlooking the sea. We’ll hike to our last night’s hotel in Menton, where we can end our trek by dipping our toes in the azure waters. Of all the Côte d'Azur resorts, Menton is the warmest and most Italian, only a few miles from the border. (6 1/2 hours , 2,624' ascent/4,600' descent)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Prince de Galles

Day 14: Departure

Transfer to the Nice airport for departure on homeward-bound flights, arriving at the airport by 9:30 a.m. International flights should not be scheduled to depart before noon.

  • Breakfast

Hotel Azteca — Barcelonnette

Hotel Le Coin Savoyard — Combloux (Haute Savoie)

Hotel Les Chalets du Villard — Saint-Véran

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 de la Vanoise — Pesey Nancroix

Hotel des Etrangers — Sospel

Hotel la Chataigneraie

Hotel le Chalet Blanc — Montgenèvre

Hotel le Grand Bec — le Grand Bec, France

Mountain resort for skiing, rambling and Alpine sports, open in the winter and the summer.

Hotel les Ancolies


Hotel les Mottets


Hotel l’Estive

Dates and Pricing

Jun 19, 2016 - Jul 02, 2016

pricing

2016 Prices
$5,995 (6-14 members)
$600 single supplement

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