Walking in the French Alps

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£1,229
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Moderate
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Trip code: 
TDW
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
7–26
Min age:
16

Moderate and challenging walking in one of the most beautiful areas in the Southern Alps

Dramatic landscapes, towering pine forests and rugged mountain peaks make the Queyras Regional Park one of the most beautiful areas in the Southern Alps. We base ourselves in the small village of Saint Véran, one of the highest inhabited villages in Europe, dotted with wooden and stone chalets, water fountains and chapels, all framed with beautiful bright flowers tended to by the proud villagers. From here we enjoy five walks throughout the week, offered in two different grades, moderate and challenging, with one leader escorting each grade. Perfect if you are looking for a bit of a challenge, simply wish to admire the surroundings at a steady pace or if you wish to holiday with someone but you want different challenges from your walks.

Highlights

  • Moderate and challenging walks each day
  • Centre based in the beautiful village of Saint Veran
  • Varied trails in Queyras Regional Park

Key information

  • 7 nights 2-star family-run Hotel le Grand Tetras,
    all rooms en suite
  • 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
  • Altitude maximum 3175m, average 2534m
  • Level 3 and 5 walks offered each day, 1 leader per grade
  • Countries visited: France, Italy

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 4 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Airport transfers (for those on the group flights)
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we stay at a locally run hotel of good locations that employs local staff. When meals are provided, local ingredients are used wherever possible otherwise, there are plenty of opportunities to try a range of local delicacies at local restaurants and cafes recommended by our local guides. 

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Turin airport; transfer to Sain Véran.

    Fly to Turin airport; transfer to Sain Véran. In the evening the leaders will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead and give advice on the local area.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Level 3 - A wonderful loop walk on the south face of Saint Véran.

    Today we enjoy a loop walk on the south faces of Saint Veran. We discover the valley of the Aigues Blanche river stream. We start walking from the hotel and follow on and off tracks along an old irrigation canal designed to water the numerous fields around. This is a perfect way to see the place from different angles. This walk is close to Saint Véran and we take tracks where we see hardly anyone. We come back to Saint Véran through a different track, where we can stop for a drink on the high part of the village and strech our legs.

    Ascent: 480 m Descent: 480 m Distance: 9 km

    Level 5 - Loop walk through Chateau Renard peak (2989 m).

    We also start the walk from our hotel and climb up to the ridge of Chateau renard, from here we can see Longet valley as we look at the on the other side. The end point of the walk is the Chateau Renard peak (2989 m) where a star observatory centre is established and from where scientists can benefit from the clarity of the alpine sky. From here we walk back to Saint Véran.

    Ascent: 910 m Descent: 910 m Distance: 11 km

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Level 3 - Walk through delightful variety of landscapes of the Aigue Blanche valley and the alpine village of Molines.

    Today we take another walk with some sections of track offering delightful views of the Aigue Blanche valley, the superb village of Molines, with its typical alpine architecture. We descend to Moline ski resort first through the lovely larch trees forest and continue the walk along the river Blanche, before climbing to Sommet Buchet, a relatively low altitude mountain but with a fantastic panoramic view. After this climb, we walk down to Molines to catch the bus back to Saint Véran.

    Ascent: 631 m Descent: 910 m Distance: 11 km

    Level 5 - Beautiful walk with views of the Aigue Blanche valley; to the Col des Pres Fromages.

    We descend to the Pont du Moulin before climbing up to the Puy barns, an old farmer's house. From here we carry on walking north and off track following nice meadow and animal tracks. The balcony walk offers some fine views of Saint Veran and Molines all the way to the Col des Pres Fromages. It is also a great place to observe chamoix, a species of goat-antelope native to mountains in Europe. Heading back to Saint Véran we take the track in the forest of La Chalp and Molines.

    Ascent: 1150 m Descent: 1150 m Distance: 16 km

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Level 3 - After a short transfer explore the north end of Queyras. Trek on GR58 to the village of Ville Vielle.

    After a short transfer by public transport to Aiguilles we explore the north end of Queyras and some unspoiled parts of the regional park. Today is an easier day than the day before. We visit first the lovely village of Aiguilles before taking a balcony walk to the old Sheppard house of Borels. Then we follow the GR 58 track (tour of Queyras track) down to the village of Ville Vielle.

    Ascent: 450 m Descent: 511 m Distance: 7 km

    Level 5 - Walk to the Croix la Creche ridge then down to Ville Vielle on GR58.

    After a short transfer by public transport to Ville Vielle we also explore the north end of Queyras and some unspoiled parts of the regional park. Then we climb relatively steeply to the Croix la Creche ridge and admire the 360 ° views from there. From here we leave the track and walk down to the valley of Peas through the meadows, before finding the easy and comfortable GR58 track down to Ville Vielle. From Ville Vielle we take the shuttle back up to Saint Véran.

    Ascent: 1200 m Descent: 1200 m Distance: 12 km

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Free day. Optional activities include rafting, mountain biking and self-guided walking.

    Today is a free day to relax or enjoy some optional activities. There are many options available, including self-guided walks, white water rafting, mountain biking or road cycling with some famous climbs of the tour de France like Col Agnel or Col Izoard.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Level 3 - Travel by bus to Chapelle Clausis; climb Caramantran peak (3025m).

    In the morning we take a shuttle bus to the Eastern side of Queyras, to Chapelle Clausis (2399 m). We explore the old copper mines of the valley before climbing to Caramantran peak (3025 m) an impressive summit on the Italian border with views of Monte Viso (3841 m) in Italy.

    Ascent: 720 m Descent: 720 m Distance: 9 km

    Level 5 - Loop walk around the Tete des Toillies summit (3175 m) with 3 cols (Col de la Blanche, Col Longet and Col de la Noire).

    Today we take a shuttle bus to the Eastern side of Queyras, to Chapelle Clausis (2399 m). We enjoy a fantastic loop walk around the Tete des Toillies summit (3175 m) with 3 cols (Col de la Blanche, Col Longet and Col de la Noire). It is a fabulous challenging walk, with half of it in Italy.

    Ascent: 1150 m Descent: 1150 m Distance: 13 km

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Level 3 - A day trekking the ridges of Saint Véran on the south side of the Queyras, walking the Curley ridge.

    For the last day, we explore the ridges of Saint Véran, the south side of Queyras. Never exposed, they offer an amazing vista of the Ubaye valley, the last mountains before the Mercantour national park. We walk the Curley ridge (very wide and comfortable) with fabulous views of Saint Véran and walk down through the meadows.

    Ascent: 650 m Descent: 650 m Distance: 8 km

    Level 5 - Saint Véran ridges – pointe des Marcelettes (2900m).

    On our last walking day we follow the track on the Jacquette and Blavette ridge on the south side of the Queyras where we enjoy fantastic views of the Ubaye valley. 

    Ascent: 1100 m Descent: 1100 m Distance: 14 km

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Saint Véran; fly to London.

    Following breakfast we say our goodbyes.  Those on the group flights will transfer to Turin; fly to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 4 dinners are included.

Breakfasts are all simple continental breakfasts including ham, cheese, yoghurts, cereals, bread, pastries, fruits, juice, tea and coffee. Evening meals are home cooked and hearty and consist of 3 courses, usually starting with soup followed by a meat or vegetarian dish such as pasta or stews, and a dessert. House wine is available for around €10 for a litre, and beer can be purchased – this is often local and on tap. Lunch can be purchased at shops in Saint Véran or the hotel can prepare picnics or sandwiches.

Vegetarians can be catered for but options are limited.  Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Weather

Is this trip for you?

Level 3 - Moderate
Most people who enjoy a weekend in the hills or mountains at home are capable of undertaking a trek at this level: you need to be in good health and reasonably fit, and you will almost certainly be taking regular exercise. A trek could be level 3 either as a fairly easy medium-duration walk, or as a harder, shorter walk. Some walking at higher altitude and the occasional longer or more difficult day may be involved, but generally conditions underfoot will be fair. A walking day usually is between 5 to 7 hours long and no experience is necessary.

Level 5 - Challenging
For walks at this level, fitness is most important and you may have to improve yours before departure. Most level 5 treks are equivalent to extended walking in mountainous terrain at home, but usually at significantly higher altitudes; climate and remoteness can also play a part. Walking days are usually between 6 to 8 hours although there may be some longer days for pass crossing or similar. Previous trekking experience is desirable but not essential if you are confident of your physical condition. Usually, some scrambling is involved.

The times mentioned include lunch break and photo stops.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotel le Grand Tetras 2*

This small, friendly 2 star hotel is our base for the week. With wonderful panoramic views of the Queyras from the restaurant and the terrace, a cosy lounge with a fireplace, a small library/book room and a sauna, it is the perfect place to relax after the walks. All the rooms are en suite and have a balcony or terrace. Wi-Fi available at reception.

Single accommodation (double for single use) available on request.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed July 2019
    Michael Curtis

    Excellent walking holiday.

    The holiday was based in a village high up in the alps, at about 2000 metres. There were two guides, one leading a moderate-grade walk and one leading a challenging-grade walk and each day clients were able to choose which one to join. Some stayed with the same group all week, others switched between groups. The weather was very good except for one day, and we were able to see snowy mountain peaks many miles away. There were patches of snow at higher altitudes on one of the challenging walks. We saw marmots on some of the days. Most walks started from the hotel, but on two days local buses were used to get to the walk start point. There was plenty to do in the village, with restaurants, shops, cafes and a couple of small museums. St Veran is a small ski-ing village in the winter and there were a few closed-down ski-lifts, but nothing to spoil the views.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think this was reaching the pic de Caramantran at 3025 metres in the moderate-grade group (bear in mind that the walk started at 2340m that day). There were excellent views of mont Viso in Italy, which still had some snow on it. You could walk over the border into Italy for a few minutes. It was windy there. Everyone shook hands on reaching this point.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I walked with both group leaders on different days. Both were very competent and spoke English very well. Both had a good knowledge of the history of the local area and knew the routes well. Yves led the challenging walks and Isabelle led the moderate walks. Both guides ate with the group in the evenings. On the free day, they gave us an informal tour of the village, explaining its history. On the challenging walk on the last day, there were some difficult stretches near the top and Yves made sure everyone was safe. The leaders provided marked-up contour maps of the walking areas, something I have not experienced before on this type of holiday. This helped clients to make up their minds which grade of walk to go on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's a good idea to have walking poles if you are going to do the challenging-grade walks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is a long bus journey of over 3 hours between Turin airport and St. Veran. The scenery is nice and there is a stop about half-way. The walking footpaths were un-crowded. We only came across a few locals and no other large groups.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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