Explore the French Alps

Self-guided walking holiday in France

From € 472.- / 7 days
Price per person based on 2 people sharing

  • +
  • Self-Guided
  • Trail
snowy peaks of the French Alps refuge in the French Alps enjoying the view on a walk in the French Alps
​A fantastic self-guided refuge to refuge walking holiday in the French Alps.
This is a beautiful refuge to refuge alpine walking route in the Southern French Alps. During this trip you will pass through many different types of landscapes. You will go through valleys with a high mountain ambiance with steep valley sides and dramatic scenery as well as gentler, more open valleys.

You are sure to see a wide range of wildlife too – chamois, ibex, roe deer, and lots of marmots. Wolves are also making a comeback to the area. There are a variety of wild flowers, depending on which season you come in you might see wild daffodils, gentians, wild orange lilies and orchids (there are 60 different species in the area!)

During this guided route the majority of the walking is normal mountain walking, with nothing too technical.

Accommodation in the French Alps​

You’ll stay in a range of high mountain refuges and gites with dormitory style accommodation shared with others. All the refuges have showers but some are payable as an extra. Please note that anything you take into the high mountains (including any rubbish), you must also take out again.

mountain hut in the French Alps
refuge in the Alps
gite in the Alps in France

Daily Breakfast and six picnic lunches are included in this holiday.

​​Walking in the French Alps

Your hosts will make all accommodation reservations for you. They’ll also give you all the walking maps and route cards you need. You’ll be hiking well-marked and easy to follow routes. As a safety precaution your hosts contact the refuges each night to make sure you have arrived safely. Where possible they also shuttle your baggage between refuges so you only have to carry your day backpack. The longest you will be without a baggage transfer is one night.
walker on the trail in the French Alps
group of hikers walking towards a mountain hut high in the French Alps

The days are long so you’ll need a relatively good level of walking fitness. But you can walk at an easy pace and take as many stops as you like for photos, wildlife spotting and enjoying the views. There are only a few steeper sections so the whole route is very doable. You cross one high mountain pass of 2607 metres which takes you from the Valgaudemar valley into the Champoleon valley. This is done over two days staying in the refuge Vallonpierre at 2271 metres but you will climb approximately 1150m in one day.

The classic route is five days / 6 nights long. But if you’re planning a week’s holiday, and would like to include a rest day or take in one of the many variations, that’s certainly possible. Simply let your hosts know when you make your enquiry and they’ll accommodate you.

​French Alps walking holiday itinerary

alpine meadows in the Alps
view on the French Alps

Day 1 – Arrival at Le Gite D’etape les Paris. You’ll receive all maps and vouchers for the trip and your hosts will explain the route to you.

Day 2 – St Jaques to La Chappelle. A beautiful hike through the ‘Himalayan’ Valgaudemar valley. You’ll get the high mountain feel with 3000m peaks all around you. A really good warm-up hike; long and gentle with little climbing. Walking Time: 6.5 hours Ascent: 250m Descent: 100m

Day 3 – La Chapelle to Vallonpierre: the first big climb of the trip. You’ll walk in classic alpine scenery: glaciers, snow-capped mountains, alpine meadows and mountain streams. The Vallonpierre refuge sits on a high plateau with a little lake at the foot of the Sirac summit. Walking time: 7.5 hours Ascent: 1150m Descent: none

Day 4 – Vallonpierre to Champoleon. You’ll cross the col de Vallonpierre, which will take you over into the Champoleon Valley. A fairly steep descent on the other makes this probably the most technical and wildest part of the route. Lots of wildlife. Walking Time: 7.5 hours Ascent: 554m Descent: 1534m

Day 5 – Champoleon – Chaillol. Beautiful woods and alpine meadows and great views as walk from one valley to the next. Hours Walking: 7 hours Ascent: 927m Descent: 784m

Day 6 – Chaillol – St Jacques: final day. You’ll make your way back around to where you started. This last day you’ll come across some very different landscapes with unusual rock formations, open views and the river Drac in the valley. Walking Time: 7.5 hours Ascent: 927m Descent: 890m

Day 7 – Return Home.

Dates and Availability

wide view over the French Alps
walker on the trail in the Alps

This holiday is available between June and September and can start on any date, subject to accommodation availability.

It is possible to extend your stay with additional walking or activity days. Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form below, for more information about this holiday.

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    Map of France showing the location of the Explore the French Alps Self-guided walking holiday

    Holiday Type:

    Walking Holiday

    Board Basis:

    Half Board


    From € 472.- / 7 days
    Price per person based on 2 people sharing


    • Luggage transport
    • + Multiple accommodations

    What's included:

    • 6 Nights accommodation
    • 7x Breakfast
    • 6 Picnic lunches
    • 5 Self-guided walking days
    • Baggage transfers (except for one night)
    • Route cards and IGN 1:25,000 walking maps of classic Tour de Vieux chaillol route

    NOT included:

    All other costs, including travel costs to the starting-point of this holiday.

    Walking Grade:

    low and high mountains
    • Low to high mountains
    • Moderate walking
    alpine mountains
    • Alpine conditions
    • Challenging walking

    Best time to go:

    June – September

    Contact Details:

    Explore the French Alps, a Self-guided walking holiday in France by Undiscovered Alps

    Contact: Sally & Bernard
    Telephone: +44 (0)345 009 8501

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    Languages spoken:

    English, French

    Getting there:

    • Grenoble Airport (116 km)
    • Lyon Airport (163 km)
    • Marseille Airport (206 km)
    • Gap Train Station (30 km)

    Location map


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