If you’ve got one European long-distance hike on your bucket list, it’s probably the Tour du Mont Blanc. It was on mine, too.
Views over sparkling glaciers, Alpine prairies and lots (and lots!) of cheese await anyone who embarks on this border-crossing trek. Circling the largest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, the trail covers 170km (105 miles), climbs more than 10,000m (32,800ft) in cumulative altitude, and weaves through three Alpine countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. Typically, the route begins and ends in Les Houches, France, and follows a counterclockwise loop around the mountain range.
Every dream feels far away – until we start to break down what we need to do to achieve it. Here’s what it takes to hike or run the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Don’t laugh at the folks who’ve sawed off the handle of their toothbrush to save on weight. Many of the climbs along the Tour du Mont Blanc are arduous, and every gram really does count.
My first question as I prepared my bag was, Where would I sleep? Opting for camping would make the trek feel really wild, let me spend more time in nature and give a bit more flexibility about where and when I’d arrive each night. On the flip side, this would mean my home would be on my back (like a turtle), and heavy enough to reduce my walking speed significantly.
The other option was to sleep in refuges, or mountain huts. Refuges can range from rows of bunk beds to rooms that are almost luxurious – yet what they all offer in common is a dry place, sheltered from the elements. Plus (with rare exceptions), the dinners are delicious. Staying in refuges means no need to pack any camping or cooking gear, freeing up a lot of room in your backpack.
Each refuge has its own culture and way of working, says Céline Mila, the gardienne (caretaker) of Refuge des Prés in the Contamines Valley. “Usually that means taking off your shoes before entering, and taking your trash away with you. The best way to get oriented at the refuge is by coming to see us when you arrive – it’s our job to share the mountain culture with you.”
For my 2023 Tour du Mont Blanc, I decided to stay in refuges the whole way.
To beat the crowds, I decided to run the tour in mid-June. Even at the onset of summer, there was still quite a bit of snow above 1800m (5900ft), and many hikers brought along small snow chains to keep from slipping. I loved the extra challenge of the snow and the cooler daytime temperatures. July and August are the busiest months for the route, when the trail can sometimes feel like a highway. By September, things slow down again – but the huts also start to close up for the winter. While weather in the mountains can vary each year, usually July and August have the highest number of stable,
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According to online travel agency Trip.com, China is broadening its unilateral visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from six nations—France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia—in an effort to bolster the recovery of the East Asian giant’s tourism sector industry. For now, the program is being implemented on a trial basis, with plans to keep it in effect from December 1, 2023, to November 30, 2024.
In August 1944, the coastal Breton city of Saint-Malo was nearly wiped off the map. The opening scene of the Netflix limited series All the Light We Cannot See conjures the ferocity of the battle: an American squadron traverses the English Channel in darkness, dodges anti-aircraft fire, then releases its bombs on the Nazi-occupied French port.
Since its inception, Alpine’s vision has been and continues to be, to ensure students gain the specific skills, professional attitude, updated knowledge and practical experiences in the hospitality industry that employers want and need, now and in the future.
The Six Senses hotel is located high above the town of Crans-Montana, at the foot of the slopes, overlooking the majestic valley. The experience that AW2 wanted to develop was that of a journey from the bowels of the mountain to the treetops of the conifers, guided by the light.
The Swiss have been mastering the mountains for centuries, with cable-cars, tunnels and high-elevation railways giving easy access to peaks and historic towns. Skiing here is simply part of life, and it’s world-class. Granted, the Swiss experience can be pricey, but it can be great value, spanning everything from the tasty rösti potato bake in a mountain restaurant to the friendly, efficient service in spotless family-run hotels — not to mention a transport network that run like clockwork.
The ultimate tropical getaway, the Caribbean conjures images of palm-fringed beaches, rum-fueled dancing and lush jungle excursions. Pick any of the 700-odd islands that form an arc between Florida and Venezuela and you’ll get all these things and more.
December is upon us and for folks in Miami— or in the art world— that means: Art Basel Miami Beach. From December 6 to 10 (by-invitation private viewings are on December 6 and 7), the Miami Beach Convention Center will be home to 277 galleries; 25 of which will be participating for the first time, with two-thirds hailing from North and Latin America. In mediums ranging from paintings and sculptures to photography and digital art, some of the resounding themes this year include works that speak to nature, as well as cultural and spiritual geographies.
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