Tour Du Mont Blanc ~ Day 3

Tour Du Mont Blanc ~ Day 3

This is part 3 of my series on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Keep reading to find out how to plan for this amazing hike!

Myself and three girlfriends of mine from the USA were going on an organized trip with Adventures for Solo Travelers based out of Atlanta. I’ve been on several trips with them: I’ve been to Machu Picchu, hiking in Nepal, and now hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). Check out my blog and video about Day 1 and Day 2.

We’re doing the three-day Tour du Mont Blanc with Alpine Treks a company based in Champex.

The final day took us from Switzerland to Italy.

If you’re looking for a different kind of Italy, away from the tourist cities of Venice, Florence and Rome, you might want to give Courmayeur a try. In the heart of the Alps, just across the border of Switzerland, Courmayeur is a charming town of 3,000 people and is known for it’s incredible snow skiing. I lovespending time in Northern Italy with it’s cool alpine weather coupled with all the sass and delicious food & wine you would expect in Italy. You’ll only need a couple days in Courmayeur, and the best time to visit is June-September for hiking, and January-March for Skiing. Looking for a great hotel?  Try the Hotel Croux or Hotel Courmayeur. Both are charming hotels! Something to note:  Courmayeur is not fancy like Vail or Aspen; instead, you get an old worldc casual feel in the hotels and throughout the city.

Tour Du Mont Blanc ~ DAY 2

Tour Du Mont Blanc ~ DAY 2

 

This is part 2 of my series on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Keep reading to find out how to plan for this amazing hike!

Myself and three girlfriends of mine from the USA were going on an organized trip with Adventures for Solo Travelers based out of Atlanta. I’ve been on several trips with them: I’ve been to Machu Picchu, hiking in Nepal, and now hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). Check out my blog and video about Day 1! Day 2 started out rainy, but luckily it didn’t last long and it turned out to be a beautiful day. We started in Martigny and were headed to Lake Champex. The hike started with an hour and half of straight up!

We’re doing the three-day Tour du Mont Blanc with Alpine Treks a company based in Champex. We had three guides with us so the 24 of us were divided into three groups:

  1. A fast group that basically jogged the entire way!
  2.  The middle group which I would have been
  3. The slower group (the fun group!)

I wanted to take lots of photos and do my vlogging so I chose to hang back with the best people in the slow group. We always had the best guide and we took the most time for lunch.

I was very tired after a full day of hiking yesterday. My thighs, calves, and even my toes were sore because we spent most of the day yesterday going down. After about an hour of hiking, we stopped for a break at this beautiful meadow. It was a great opportunity for a snack, to reapply sunscreen, and rest our feet before we headed back up the mountain. After another 45 minutes of hiking, it was time for our next stop at a little hut where there were bathrooms, fresh alpine water, and a great spot for us to have lunch.

 

Lunch and after

Each day the food’s been a little bit different. Today, we have some chicken, delicious breads, five different cheeses, two different kinds of tomatoes, and the best part, avocados! The second half of our hike most of this way is down and it says that we have two hours and 40 minutes of walking Champex du Lac.

 

Something interesting about hiking in the Alps

They don’t measure distance by kilometres or by miles on the trail. They actually calculate the distance by the amount of hours it is that you’re going to be walking! For example, one section might say that it is two hours and 40 minutes away.

Our amazing guide, Nick, from Alpine Treks, taught us so much on the trail. He even showed us how to trail run! The secret to it is small quick steps. The second half of the hike had a lot more people on the trail. There were both day hikers and hikers with largepacks (probably camping or staying in some of the refuges along the way.)

One of the Highlights of the Trip

I was blown away by the variety of terrain. It seemed to change every 15 minutes or so! There were waterfalls and creeks, meadows, and or course mountains and trees.

When we finally made it to Champex du Lac, it was time to celebrate with a glass of wine and a gorgeous view. We stayed at Hotel Splendide right on the lake! We went out to watch some football, had dinner reservations and got a great night’s rest for our final day of hiking.

Thanks so much for watching day two of the Tour du Mont Blanc! Make sure to check out my blog and video about day one if you missed it. I’ll see you on the next adventure!

 

Hiking Tour du Mont Blanc – Day 1

Hiking Tour du Mont Blanc – Day 1

The Tour de Month Blanc is one of the world’s most famous hikes as it circles one of Europe’s highest peaks and weaves through three different countries. Come with me as we start day 1 of this 3 day hiking journey.

This is a 3 part series as I hiked 3 days my adventure in France in the stunning mountain town of Chamonix.  I’ve heard about this iconic ski resort for decades, but never had the chance to visit. This week, I share my tips for visiting Chamonix and hiking the Tour Du Mont Blanc.

 

About Chamonix, France

Chamonix, actually named Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, is located 99km from Geneva in the heart of the Alps bordering Switzerland, Italy and France. At an elevation of 3396′ which seems low until you look up and see the tallest peak in Europe, Mont Blanc. This town is famous for winter skiing as well as summer hiking and rock climbing; everyone in town seems active, fit and ready to take on the world. The food is incredibly delicious with a hint of Swiss fondue influencing the delicious French cuisine.

 

How to Get There

The best way to get to Chamonix is by private car from Geneva. It’s fast, convenient and you can travel when you want.  However, if you are price conscious, you can also check out the FlixBus which offers limited travel times between Geneva and Chamonix.  Note:  Geneva is NOT the cheapest airport to fly into, you may want to consider Milan which has a bus that takes around 4hr to Chamonix.

 

Where to Stay in Chamonix

There are lots of great hotels in Chamonix, and I’d recommend staying in the heart of the city as close to the walking zone as possible.  You are expending so much energy during the day on the mountain, that you don’t want to walk too far at night to have dinner.  We stayed at the 4 star Hotel Morgane and it was fantastic.  Ample sized rooms, great breakfast, and very friendly staff.

 

What to Eat

Ok, this is France, on the border of Switzerland and Italy.  Honestly, you cannot go wrong!  My favorite meal was at Josephine.  We started with shared salads which gigantic and so yummy, and then we moved on to Fondue and whole branzino (Mediterranean Sea Bass).  Make sure to sit outside, but UNDER the awnings; weather in the mountains is so unpredictable, and you don’t want to get drenched by a summer squall.   We also enjoyed the high end restaurant Atmosphere, and make sure to book ahead and ask for a table on the river.

 

Where to Shop

Every shop is geared towards outdoor activities.  From Helly Hansen to North Face and Patagonia, you can find everything you need.  Although you can buy all the name brands, make sure to check out these independent sport shops.

Best Spa in Chamonix

A must do while in Chamonix is the QC Terme Spa.  What an incredible spa and an incredible value; the daily entrance fee was only 48euros, and it included outdoor and indoor pools, cold plunges and foot soaks along with a salt room, waterbed room, infrared sauna bed room and a crazy face exercise relaxing room.  Again, QC Terme Spa is a must when traveling to Chamonix.

 

The Tour Du Mont Blanc – Day 1

We were going on an organized trip with Adventures for Solo Travelers based out of Atlanta. There were 24 of us who signed up for the tour but we were divided into three groups: There was a fast group, a medium group, and a slow group. I joined the slow group so that I would have time to film and take pictures. The tour company we went with was called Alpine Tracks, and my guide was Mark. He’s one of the owners of Alpine Tracks and has been guiding for 15 years! I was in very good hands.

We started our three day tour in Le Tour which is a ski resort, and headed out on our hike from France to Switzerland. We ended up in the small town of Triente and then got a transfer over to Martinique. That’s day 1 of our three day trek. Make sure to stay tuned for days 2 and 3!

Paragliding in Chamonix

Paragliding in Chamonix

Paragliding has been on my bucket list for some time, but I never wanted to rush it. Last month, the location, conditions, and price all worked perfectly! Keep reading to hear about my experience with Fly Chamonix.

 

HOW TO GET TO CHAMONIX

The best way to get to Chamonix is by private car from Geneva. I like it because it’s fast, convenient and you can travel when you want.  However, if you are price conscious, you can also check out the FlixBus which offers limited travel times between Geneva and Chamonix. Another way to save money would be to fly into Milan instead of Geneva. From Milan, you can take a bus that takes around 4 hours to get to Chamonix. Geneva is a smaller airport and so it tends to be more expensive to fly into.

 

 

WHERE TO STAY

There are lots of great hotels in Chamonix, and I’d recommend staying in the heart of thecity as close to the walking zone as possible.  You are expending so much energy during the day on the mountain, that you don’t want to walk too far at night to have dinner.  We stayed at the 4 star Hotel Morgane and it was fantastic.  Ample sized rooms, great breakfast, and very friendly staff.

 

WHAT TO WEAR

  • Long pants
  • Close-toed shoes
  • Wind-breaker (I used this Patagonia Rain Jacket)
  • Sunglasses (Check out my favorites from Ray Ban)
  • GoPro (or you can use theirs and pay a little extra)
  • Bonine for motion sickness

 

 

MY REVIEW OF FLY CHAMONIX

Our guides from Fly Chamonix met us at Le Brevent Gondola meeting point. They were right on time and getting us excited for the adventure ahead. When we got to the top of the windsock, the guides started putting our gear on us including harnesses and helmets, and setting up the parachutes. The take-off was such a rush: the idea is you run as fast as you can while the parachute is filling with air. Pretty soon, you’re floating in the sky! I loved how my guide gave me the opportunity to “drive.” For more adventurous people, you have the chance to do acrobatics and have a big adrenaline rush!

All of my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience with Fly Chamonix. A highlight was flying in front of the breath-taking backdrop of Mont Blanc. A bonus with going with Fly Chamonix is how they set you up with an ongoing video of the flight for  a reasonable fee. I love my GoPro footage!

Thanks Fly Chamonix for the best day  ever!

Montreux Jazz Fest

Montreux Jazz Fest

Are you planning a trip to Montreux, Switzerland? Maybe you are heading to the Montreux Jazz Fest like my girlfriends and I did. Keep reading to hear all about our travels!

 

Getting to Montreux, Switzerland

The girls and I met up in Geneva for three days before we headed on our hiking trip on the Tour de Mont Blanc.  We happened to be in town during the Montreux Jazz Festival. It seemed like it was meant to be! So we hopped on a train and headed to Montreux. We switched trains in Lausanne and then we decided to take the train passed Montreux to Chateau Chillon and then walk the 30 minutes back along the lake to the festival.

 

 

Chateau Chillon is worth the Trip

One of the most iconic things to do when you’re visiting Montreux is to walk along Lake Geneva and visit the 

ChateauChillon. What is it exactly? A gorgeous medieval chateau that was controlled by the Savoy family. We found it to be very well maintained and inside found lots of great information about living in the medieval times. The Savoy family only spent about one month a year here back in the 1400s. They would come with 300 horses, all their wares, and they would make furniture as soon as they arrived. I found it crazy to think that the family owned this beautiful chateau on Lake Geneva but only stayed a month out of the year!

 

Onto the Jazz Festival

After the chateau, we took a beautiful walk right along Lake Geneva back to Montreux. The Montreux Jazz Festival is a music festival in Switzerland about an hour and a half by train from Geneva. It was founded in 1967, lasted three days and was based in the Montreux casino. It was exclusively jazz at that time with Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Soft Machine Weather Report, and Ella Fitzgerald as some of the headlining artists. Nowadays, the festival lasts two weeks and happens every July. I suggest to visit all the shops along Lake Geneva where you can buy hats, shirts, and all the eclectic bohemian stuff that you would find at any festival. After that, you can head to the supermarket for some wine and snacks and sit at one of the picnic tables before you go see the music. That’s what we did.

 

 

We decided not to spend the155 Swiss francs to go see Slash and the other headliners. Instead, we went to the park to hear the wonderful artists that were playing there. All in all, it was a fabulous festival with the best views. I hope you enjoyed this blog. Make sure to stay tuned next week because I’m going to be paragliding in France!

 

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