Escape for the weekend with Marine and Thibault. Two parisian graphic artists and lovers of both photography and treks through wide-open spaces. A train ride from Paris to Bourg-Saint-Maurice delivers endless hiking opportunities in the heart of the gorgeous Tarentaise Valley.
"Last summer, we left Paris by train to go hiking for three days in the Beaufortain and Tarentais massifs. We found magical treks in Val-d'Isère, Les Arcs, and the Vallée des Glaciers."
DAY 1 - Val d'Isère
We load the 12 p.m. train to Val D'Isère. We used Rossignol's On Piste app to map out a lovely, moderate loop that follows Trail n°2. Still, you need to expect a pretty big first half to the day, with a fair bit of bushwacking. The route passes by the little Arsellaz farm and refuge, before linking back up to Lac de Ouillette. The terrain is varied, passing through rocky sections before finishing in gorgeous pine forests as they link back into the terasses of Val-d'Isère.
DAY 2 - Le Mont Pourri
We wake up a bit sore in Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Yesterday's heat really beat us up. Avoid our mistake if you can: make sure to stretch and drink lots of water (you can never drink too much)! We pick up from yesterday, and continue in the direction of Mont Pourri. It's the second highest peak in Valoise National Park.
We start the hike at the base of Les Arcs, at 6,560 feet, passing by many lakes that have sadly dried up this year, but nonetheless offer spectacular views of glaciers above. We finish at the Refuge de Mont Pourri, and it's comfortably cool out compared to yesterday. We celebrate with a local delicassy: blueberry pie, accompanied by hot chocolate!
DAY 3 - Le Col de la Seigne
Last day of our escapade in the Alps, and we aim to finish at the iconic col of the Tour du Mont Blanc, also known as the Col de la Seigne. The hike starts at the end of the Vallée des Glaciers, at the Refuge des Mottes, which you can get to by shuttle bus from Bourg-Saint-Maurice. The tone is set as soon as we step into the valley, the flora has already burst into fall colors and the Aiguille des Glaciers is wearing a fine coat of snow. It's magnificent!
We meet people of all different nationalities along the road: French, German, Italian, American, all loaded like mules to undertake the legendary hike, even though it's only 2,000 feet to gain the col. By the time we reach it, we've passed into Italy, and we're struck with incomparable views of Mont Blanc.
We left our luggage, or rather our backpacks, in Bourg-Saint-Maurice. The town is a perfect base camp for anyone using public transportation and there's no need for a car.
You can easily access the most magnificent spots by riding the funiculars that take you to 5,250 feet, or the many bus lines that link Bour-Saint-Maurice to the neighboring resorts (Val-d’Isère, La Rosière, and the col du Petit-Saint-Bernard, or even the Vallée des Glaciers). It's a perfect point to start all three of the hikes we did on our trip.
To get here by train from Lyon is super easy, it only takes 3.5 hours with a quick transfer in Chambéry.
- Men's Active Rain Jacket$160.00
- Unisex bag Escaper tour 25L$150.00
- Men's Active tee$70.00
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