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Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Arve Valley

Les Contamines

Megève Evasion Mont Blanc


Day 3: A long and wild day which leads to one of the most peaceful little settlements in the French Alps.

Also in Savoie, France

Hiking Difficult

19 km
1.4 km
975 m
6-7 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
2.5 km
Tour du Mont Blanc: Les Contamines to Les Chapieux Map

From Les Contamines village centre, head due south to the tiny chapel at Notre Dame de la Gorge, where the tarmac road ends. You can either walk to this point (which takes around half an hour) or take a shuttle bus. From the chapel, continue south on a rough jeep track that climbs - quite steeply in places - for an hour to the Nant Borant Refuge. Keep going on the jeep track, which continues to climb steeply for 10 minutes then traverses through beautiful meadows for half hour before climbing again (for 20 minutes) to the La Balme Refuge (1706 metres). This is the last refuge for some time so take a break and get some energy back into your legs. Post drink, continue climbing up towards the Col du Bonhomme (2329 metres), which takes 1.5 hours to reach. There is a very small wooden shelter on the col and this may come in handy to shelter you from the rain or sun, depending on the weather. A rising traverse then leads south from the Col du Bonhomme to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2479 metres) over the course of 45 minutes. From the second col, descend for 10 minutes to reach the Refuge named after it. The owners here are, even by the standards of refuge guardians, an eccentric bunch, but they offer a warm welcome and a good selection of cakes and hot food. From the Refuge, descend for 1.5 hours on a clear path down to Les Chapeiux (1549 metres). The village, if such a small place can even be described as a village, is blissfully quiet.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

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Guidebooks in this area