Hiking Europe’s Roof: Le Tour du Mont Blanc (France, Italy, and Switzerland)

Bonjour! Buongiorno!

Hiking in the Alps of Europe was a sensational experience beyond my wildest expectations. Encircling the Mont Blanc massif on the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Italy, and Switzerland came with obstacles of course, but I was rewarded many times over with postcard views and a vibrant cultural experience.

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is long-distance circular hiking trail in the Alps of Europe. The footpath, encircling the scenic Mont Blanc massif, covers a distance of 165 kilometers (approximately 103 miles) and snakes through three countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland. Circumnavigating Western Europe’s highest peak—Mont Blanc—the hiker treks some 32,000 feet (10 km) uphill and downhill. I allotted six days for my TMB hike.

Here are some select photographs from the TMB hiking circuit.

Au revoir! Ciao!

Day 1
Les Houches to Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (18.9 miles)

Day 2
Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme to random camp outside Courmayeur, Italy (18.0 miles)

Day 3
Random camp outside Courmayeur, Italy to random camp outside of La Fouly (14.3 miles)

Day 4
Random camp outside of La Fouly to Cow Gate near Champex, Switzerland (20.9 miles)

Day 5
Cow Gate near Champex, Switzerland to Trailhead/Route des Montets, France (15.6 miles)

Day 6
Trailhead/Route des Montets, France to Les Houches, France (15.3 miles)

Mont Blanc yet gleams on high:—the power is there,

The still and solemn power of many sights,

And many sounds, and much of life and death. 

In the calm darkness of the moonless nights,

In the lone glare of day, the snows descend 

Upon that Mountain; none beholds them there, 

Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun, 

Or the star-beams dart through them. Winds contend 

Silently there, and heap the snow with breath

Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home 

The voiceless lightning in these solitudes 

Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods 

Over the snow. 

—Percy Bysshe Shelley

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