Tour du Mont Blanc, a multi-day trek hike across France, Italy, and Switzerland, has established itself as one of Europe’s most popular long-distance walks. With over 150 kilometers, or 100 miles, and over 10,000 meters of elevation climb, the TMB is a great way for avid hikers to challenge themselves.
Mont Blanc is truly a sight to behold. With vast greenery, towering mountains, and massive glaciers, there is everything to love about this journey. This summer, our family enjoyed a 3-day trek hike that covered almost half of the TMB loop trail. On this map, we highlighted and labelled 1, 2, and 3 for three sections that we trekked on the TMB trail.
The preparation for this journey was no simple task. We spent many weeks planning out the hike with our parents, when and where to stop and stay for the night and all the necessary equipment to bring on the trip. Clothing, food, sleeping bag liners, a map and water were the items that were most needed on this trip. Throughout the trip, navigation was quite simple. As we walked, there were signs pointing us in the direction that we were supposed to go. The sign also had a TMB symbol on it, implying that we were still on the right trail. Another fascinating thing about the signs is that the distance to your next destination wasn’t measured in miles, but in time. For example, if we were going downhill to a destination, it would take around 30 minutes. When we got to the bottom, we looked at the sign pointing back to where we came from, and despite it being the same exact distance, the time was measured differently at around one hour.
On the first day of the TMB hike, we set off from Les Houches, a village in the French Alps. The trail winds its way through lush green meadows and dense forests, revealing stunning views of snow-capped peaks in the distance. As the day progresses, the trail gradually ascends, leading trekkers to the Col de Voza, a mountain pass. We then stopped at a refuge named Nant-Borrant later that day. The hospitable staff welcomed us with open arms and great service. The room that we slept in was also quite comfortable. However, it was required that we either bring a liner, a thin sleeping bag, or buy/rent one at the refuge. For dinner, they provided an exceptional soup with bread, potatoes, and sausages. Additionally, the refuge had an amazing front area where you could sit and relax for the evening. The stunning view of the towering mountain sides simply just takes your breath away.
The morning of the second day brought us to a dim light blue shine through the windows, prompting us to wake up early and get ready for the day. The morning breakfast was plentiful with juices and bread to our disposal. After packing our things and ready to go, we began our journey to les Chaupiex, the southernmost tip of our journey. The trail goes through alpine pastures and meandering streams, allowing us to soak in the natural beauty of the region. We reached the refuge, Les Chambres du Soleil. This refuge was much nicer than the one we stayed on the day before. This refuge provided each family group with their own 4 bedroom unit. The showers were also very nice and were a great way to rinse off the sweat after a long day. Additionally, the food was exceptional, with a great pea salad following a delectable lamb chop for the main course.
During our final day on the TMB, we took a bus for one or two miles to our next hiking starting point. This hike took us through the dramatic landscapes and the Col de la Seigne, a mountain pass that marks the border between Italy and France. Standing at this vantage point, we were treated to a breathtaking panorama of snow-capped peaks and majestic glaciers. The day concluded in the Italian village of Courmayeur, where we unwound in a cozy hotel room and relished the flavors of Italian cuisine. The restaurant that we ate at had some of the best pizza and pasta that we have ever tasted.. It was truly a unique experience and taste that you won’t find anywhere else.
Our hike finally concluded in Chamonix, a vibrant alpine town renowned for its mountaineering history, after a short bus ride from Courmayeur. Here, hikers can reflect on their remarkable journey, celebrating their accomplishments and reminiscing about the awe-inspiring beauty that the TMB trail has bestowed upon them.
If you have time, you may also enjoy continuing down the TMB for a couple of more days with more remarkable experiences. However, this 3-day trek hike is still a nice way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. We believe that this trip has definitely brought us closer together as a family. Every night, we spent time together to eat dinner, watch the sunset, and play some games. Despite it only lasting three days, the way it brought us closer together is immeasurable.
Picture of the authors Daniel and Richard. They are students attending local schools in South Bay.