Mont Blanc Tour Introduction
The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world’s most famous hiking trails circling the Mt Blanc massif (mountain range) and of course Europe’s highest peak!
Walking the route usually takes around 10 to 12 days and is 170 km or 110 miles long. An annual race sees athletes complete the whole route in 22 hours! The highest point of the trail is at around 2600m and the total ascent is almost 9000m, that’s higher than Mount Everest!
There is a variety of accommodation enroute including mountain refuges, hotels in the villages and towns and of course camping. This is a budget guide so the focus will be more on sleeping under canvas.
Map of the Tour du Mont Blanc
Ant’s Diary of the Tour du Mont Blanc – Summer 2020
Before the Hike, the French Jura and Chamonix ‘Base Camp’
I arrived in the resort town of Chamonix by train, well four trains to be precise, from the French Jura. I spent around 10 days in the Daubs and Jura mountains hiking a section of the GR5. The GR5 runs from from The Netherlands to the Mediterranean with the most popular stretch going from Lake Geneva to Nice. The GR5 and MTB actually share the same route for a small stretch.
The Juru was basically a warm up for me although I had just cycled the length of Portugal. There were very few hikers aside from families out on day walks, but the scenery was nice and I was glad to have checked out this little known part of the GR5.
When I arrived in Chamonix I headed straight for the campsite called Les Arallas which comes highly recommended. It is around €12 per night for one person and any sized tent! There is wifi, exceptionally clean bathrooms and a nice place to sit and eat or write blog posts, as I am doing now.
A good number of other tenters are here to do the TMB as well and I’ve been getting some great advice from other hikers, some of which had just finished.
Chamonix is not actually on the TMB but the nearby town of Les Houches is where many start their Tour du Mont Blanc. I came to Chamonix to hang out for a few days and wait for a great weather window. I also needed to replace some of my gear too and ‘Cham’ is loaded with outdoor sports stores.
I’ll miss this campsite when I leave but very excited about the challenge ahead!