The Alps from one side to the other to meet people and mountains... The Grande Traversée des Alpes (GTA) between Lake Geneva and the Mediterranean is a long-distance journey. The opportunity to take a long break and put daily life aside.
This itinerary runs along the Swiss and Italian borders while crossing five departments and some of the most famous massifs of the Alps.
4th section: from Larche to Menton - Ubaye, Mercantour, Vallée des Merveilles
The fourth section of this route starting from Lake Geneva to Menton. Undoubtedly the section with an itinerary whose diversity of landscapes, flora, heritage and architecture is most marked in the French Alps. From the high summits of the Ubaye, passing by lakes and wide open spaces of the Mercantour and the Vallée des Merveilles, diving towards the Mediterranean by a multitude of valleys, passes and ancient mountain villages. Do not be deceived the terrain and deep valleys make it a physically challenging section. A dazzling experience with a sea view to finish.
From 545 €Contact us
Departure from the 20th of June to 20th of September 2020
Without luggage transport
545€ per person in classique accomodation (at least 2 people)
Single : +180€
680€ per person in comfort accomodation (double rooms except day 4)
With luggage transport (except on day 4)
690€ per person in classique accomodation
815€ per person in comfort accomodation (double rooms except on day 4)
For more informations and bookings, please call or email us.
The price does not include:
The price is all inclusive from departure to end point.
Meet at 9:00am in front of Auberge du Lauzanier in Larche or at 8:00am at Montdauphin-Guillestre train station.
LARCHE - LAUZANIER VALLEY - PAS DE LA CAVALE
Depart for the Lauzanier Valley at the gates of the Mercantour National Park. Climb via a pleasant path to reach the Lauzanier Lake before a final slightly steeper climb up to the pass. A magnificent view from Col de la Cavale of the Tinée and the surrounding massifs. Descend into the high valleys of the Alpes Maritimes passing by the Col des Fourches and the magnificent promontory of Mont des Fourches. Reaching the Bonnette Restefond road (the highest road in Europe) encountering poignant vestiges of the Maginot line. Night in Bousseyas, the first hamlet of this high valley of Tinée.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +1100m -1100m
ISOLA 2000 - COL DE LA MERCIÈRE - LE BORÉON
After an early transfer to Isola 2000 ski resort, climb to the Col de la Mercière (2342m). Descend, then cross through the old village of Mollière and up to Col De Salèze. Depending on the conditions and the level of the group, detour to Lake Negere. Descend into Vésubie to the village of Boréon. Night in a gite.
6 hour walk / Elevation: +850m -850m
BOREON - PAS DES LARDES - MADONE DE FENESTRE - LACS DE PRALS - LA GODOLASQUE
From Boreon, climb the valley up to Trecolpas lake and Pas des Lardes (2448 m) dominated by the Gelas, highest summit of Mercantour. Going down to the hopice of the Madone de Fenestre. Going up the small valley of Poncet to get to la Baisse and the 5 lakes of Prals before going up to Baisse des Prals. Beautiful descent to the bottom of Godolasque Valley, to relais des Merveilles.
7.5 hour walk / Elevation: +1450 m - 1450 m
VALLEE DE LA GODOLASQUE - REFUGE DE NICE - BAISSE DE VALMASQUE - VALLEE DES MERVEILLES
Going up Godolasque valley up to lake Fous and refuge de Nice on top of it. From refuge de Nice going up tp Baisse Basto to get to the famous Vallée des Merveilles and its rock engraving next to the trail. A multitude of lakes will enchant you in the middle of this mineral landscape. Going down to refuge des Merveilles to spend the night.
6.5 hour walk / Elevation: + 1350 m
REFUGE DES MERVEILLES - PAS DU DIABLE - COL DU RAUX - L'AUTHION - CAMP D'ARGENT
Via a multitude of lakes you leave Vallée des Merveilles via Pas du Diable. Change of scenery, crossing several mountain passes at medium altitude through sheep pastures. At the Col du Raux, heading back to the small plateau of Authion dominated by a remarkable redoubt, high place of confrontation during the Second World War. From Authion, it is from here on a clear day the first sighting of the Mediterranean. Descend to the small ski resort of Camp d'Argent.
5.5 hour walk / Elevation: + 650 m
LE CAMP D'ARGENT - MONT VENTABREN - MANGIABO - SOSPEL
A magnificent day on a ridge awaits. Leaving these landscapes rich in military vestiges of the Second World War to reach Sospel by the Mount Ventabren and Mangiabo ridges. With a continuing view of the mouth of the Var and the outskirts of Nice.
Charming descent to the village of Sospel on the Bévéra river for the night.
7 hour walk / Elevation: +1050m -1050m
SOSPEL - COL DU RAZET - VIEUX CATSELLAR - MENTON
Last day of the GTA, not there yet... but can you smell the sea?!
Beautiful climb to the Col de Razel (1032m) on an old paved path in the middle of ruined shepherd huts. Passing flocks of sheep and goats from Rove testifying to the arrival in Provence. The vegetation becomes much more leafy and fragrant. Chestnut trees, maples and rosemary line this beautiful day. Enjoy the last mountain pass, Col du Berceau (1050m) to picnic overlooking the bay and harbour of Menton... and 1050m of descent to the waters edge!
6 hour walk / Elevation: +950m
You will get your belongings near Menton train station
Average elevation per day: 900 m.
Maximum elevation: 1450 m.
Maximum altitude of passage: 2800 m.
Altitude of accommodations: around 1800 m on average
Walking time: 5 to 7.30 hours per day
Type of hike: mountain route with no technical difficulty and accessible to children from 12 years.
Type of terrain: easy paths of medium mountain. The trails are well marked, you will often be above the stage of vegetation, so just a few passages in the forest.
In the Mercantour, some pass passes will take place in scree.
You only carry your belongings of the day except for the night of the day 4 (refuge des Merveilles), your bags will be directly transported to the Silver Camp. It will be necessary to take with you your belongings for the night.
Travel made in collaboration with our local partners, willing to concoct an authentic stay.
Before departure, we give you a travel file with:
- IGN map with route layout.
- 1 road-book with all the necessary information for the hike.
- 1 card holder.
- The list of accommodations.
In France, the "Grande Randonnée" trails are marked in red and white (in both directions).
It is better to master the IGN map reading at 1/25000 and 1/50000.
Without luggage transport: your luggages are carried by you exclusively.
With luggage transport: your luggage is daily transported to your accommodation by a vehicle except on day 4.
CLASSIC 7 days / 6 nights:
6 nights in mountain refuge or comfortable gîte in dormitory of 4 to 8 people.
These are newly renovated accommodations with hot showers every night.
The food is neat there, most of the time your dishes will be prepared with products of the country.
Possibility of room for two people depending on availability when booking (double room in gite: sheets and towels not provided, sanitary to share).
Possibility of double room for nights 1, 2, 3, 5, 6.
Breakfast and dinner are provided in each accommodation.
Possibility to book 6 picnics (day 1 prepared by yourself): 70 € for the week to book at registration.
They can also be booked the day before, on site at the accommodation.
To be able to easily walk 15km (on flat trails) in 3 hours maximum.
If this is not the case, at least 3 weeks before departure, 2 to 3 times a week, we advise you to undertake some prior fitness training: 4 to 5 km of jogging or 3 to 4 hours hiking or cycling. Your physical preparation will enable you enjoy your trek to the maximum.
From mid-june to mid-septembre
You will leave your bags at the hostel Lauzanier Larche (when you get out of the village direction Italy), it is the departure of the hike.
For those who wish, we can pick you up at 8 am sharp at the Guillestre - Montdauphin train station. You need to book the shuttle, please contact us (20€ per person, 1h transfer).
Possibility to arrive the day before:
- At the hostel Lauzanier in Larche (starting point for the next day). Reservation required at 04 92 84 35 93 (half board from 55 € per person).
- At the hotel Lacour at Montdauphin - Guillestre train station. Reservation required at 04 92 45 03 08 (room from 40 € per night).
We will pick you up in the morning at 8am (free shuttle).
The simplest access for this circuit is by train as it is a linear hike (that's not a loop).
IF YOU COME BY TRAIN:
Your stop is Montdauphin - Guillestre station (line Paris - Valence - Briançon). You can arrive by night train or arrive more comfortably the day before by a day train and sleep at Hotel Lacour (room from 40 € per night).
Please consult the SNCF for the exact timetable at 08.92.35.35.35.
or on the Internet https://www.oui.sncf/
In order to plan your trip, we advise you to look at different sites: Via Michelin or Mappy.
You can also arrive by car directly to Larche, from Gap, Ubaye valley take direction Barcelonnette and then Larche pass (Italian border). The village of Larche is located 5 km before the pass. The Lauzanier Inn is located at the exit of Larche. Free parking near the hostel or near the tourist office.
End of the hike on Saturday around 4:30pm, your bags will be in a hotel near Menton train station.
Return by train:
At the Menton train station, you can reach Nice (Nice => Menton: 40 minutes) and the trains or planes that take you back to the big destinations (arrival at Nice station between 4 and 6 pm).
Night train: Nice - Paris; TGV ; Shuttle to Nice airport - Côte d'Azur in front of Nice Ville train station on the right along the avenue in front of the train station.
You can spend the night in a hotel near the train station in Nice or Menton (from 40 € per night).
Or return to the Montdauphin - Guillestre train station if you are coming by car, but it will take you 7 hours minimum to come back by train.
Lauzanier Inn in Larche: 0033 (0) 4 92 84 35 93
Hotel Lacour at Montdauphin - Guillestre train station: 0033 (0) 4 92 45 03 08
If you are late, contact the agency at: +33 (0) 4 50 79 09 16 or +33 (0) 6 42 49 76 07
Bring a comfortable backpack of 30 to 40 litres for your personal belongings for the day (warm clothes, waterproofs, water, plate and cutlery for your picnic, sunscreen and your identity papers) and please keep a little room to carry a picnic and snacks.
Your baggage will be transported daily between accommodation by our logistics vehicle (except day 4). You are allowed 1 soft, sports type bag with all your possessions inside, no heavier than 12kg. Your bag has to be carried everyday by the the driver to refuges, which access is not always easy! Luggage which is too big and too heavy won't be accepted by the drivers!
If you wish to prolong your holiday, we can safely hold another bag for you which you may leave with us at the departure point and it will be deposited at the end point with your other baggage.