Guided walking vacations in the French Alps

“Guided walking vacation in the Haute Savoie region of France, staying at same family-owned chalet throughout. Five full days of walking through mountainous magnificence.”

Highlights

Haut Giffre valley | Views of Mont Blanc Massif | Bout du Monde Valley | Angolon ridge | Hot tub | Fully catered | Lake swimming | Alpine wildlife | Guide

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
01 Jul 2017
615
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 01 Jul 2017 departure
15 Jul 2017
615
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Jul 2017 departure
19 Aug 2017
615
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Aug 2017 departure
Our top tip:
Bring binoculars with wildlife such as chamois, marmots and ibex, as well as the bevy of birdlife to be spotted.
Trip type:
Guided, small group vacation.
Activity level:
Moderate. 5-7 hours/day, with 2 hours of ascent to max. 900 m.
Accomm:
Family-run guesthouse with pool.
Included:
Accommodation, guide, transport, meals (except two lunches, 1 evening meal).
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome, but you may be asked to share room with same sex traveler.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Guided walking vacations in the French Alps

Environment

Our booking process is paperless and our brochures are printed on 100% recycled FSC approved material, using renewable energy and vegetable oil based inks. Our printer, Severnprint Ltd, is one of the first British printers to achieve FSC certification and ISO14001 accreditation.

We make conscious efforts to minimise waste when shopping by trying to choose products with less packaging. We recycle everything that can be recycled and encourage our guests to do the same, and compost everything that can be composted.

We purchase local produce where possible and we corroborate this with our local suppliers, as well as making an effort to source meat products that have not been inhumanely treated. We adapt our menus during the year to favour produce that is in season. We use environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

Our vacations have a very strong focus on nature and the environment and we spend a lot of time in local nature reserve. Guests are made aware of the unique flora and fauna and we talk specifically about endangered species and reintroduction efforts. We focus our guests attention on local efforts to preserve flora and fauna and we like to think vacations significantly contribute to raising awareness of the mountain environment.

We advise our guests about local regulations and protected areas at each destination. We use telescopes to observe the wildlife, stick to marked paths in areas where wildlife is more sensitive and minimise operations during the main reproductive times, meaning minimal disturbances.

We do everything we can to reduce carbon emissions from transport by encouraging guests to travel by train. We minimise our pick-ups by grouping people together. We also make a concerted effort to reduce transport during activity days by offering as many local walks as possible and with at least one 'transport-free day'.

Community

These vacations have a strong focus on the local culture. We discuss how people lived in the past, how the Alpine valleys got depopulated and we try to encourage discussion about and understanding of the local history.

Our guests are given the opportunity to visit the most well preserved villages and hamlets in the area and a strong focus is put on the now almost extinct culture of transhumance in western Europe (a semi-nomadic lifestyle where people migrate seasonally between villages at the valley floors in winter and high-mountain pastures in summer). We visit local farms and transhumance hamlets and maintain personal relationships with the families still living in this way.

Since the start of 2011 in the French Alps, we have taken part in the Leonardo Da Vinci programme which is a European initiative aimed at placing students from all over Europe in relevant work experience outside of their own countries. This programme has allowed the students the chance to experience working in a hotel, to meet our guests and to see what its like living in such a beautiful, natural environment. Often, its the first time that the students have been to mountainous regions and that coupled with all of the fantastic outdoor activities that Samoens has to offer, provides the students with a fantastic opportunity and one that will support their future careers.

Our guides are permanent residents of the local community. Where possible we employ local staff and make use of local services. We encourage our guests to visit the local markets and make use of local activity providers while on our vacations. A large proportion of the income derived from our vacations goes directly into the local community and we try to ensure that this is directed to small, local businesses.

Reviews of Guided walking vacations in the French Alps

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 28 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The walking was amazing. Every day was so different and we saw the most
amazing views.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you love walking in stunning alpine scenery, traveling with like minded
people and returning to a lively chalet with a great 3 course meal exchange
night -this is a perfect vacation.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Obviously tourism supports local communities but I am not sure hiking
in pristine alpine settings helps reduce environmental impacts or supports
conservation,

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


In one word 'excellent'.

Reviewed on 26 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The fabulous scenery and super guide made this a truly memorable vacation. We were treated like royalty by the vacation company and would recommend this vacation to anyone.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


On my day off from walking I tried paragliding and white water rafting....Just do it !

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, by undertaking the extra activities I helped support local business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Thank you for finding me this vacation - it was all wonderful !

Reviewed on 29 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The views on the last two days over Mont Blanc and its surroundings

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for all kinds of weather ...

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Food and drink sourced locally, though I suspect the hot tub on the balcony was perhaps not particularly environmentally-friendly!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Most enjoyable: good and plentiful food, friendly and helpful staff, a very good and considerate guide...

Reviewed on 04 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Many! The variety of walks we were introduced to, the splendour of the landscape, the fabulous food and attention to detail by the vacation company - La Grande Ourse Staff.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Ensure you are fit enough for each level of walk. My 'Two Peak' Group managed all the walks but the pace was slow, and 'stop-and-start'. However, a key theme of the vacation was to appreciate the flora and fauna which was a really fresh and new perspective for me. It helped me 'slow down' and marvel at the detailed wonder of nature.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. We visited local restaurants on our 'free day' took part in local outdoor activities, shopped locally. Our walks were sensitive to the environment - we even picked up a little litter with our wonderful walking guide Bruno! Recycling in the chalet kitchen could improve

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Absolutely fabulous. A really unique combination of healthy outdoor walking activity emersed in glorious nature and really high-level restaurant standard food and all-round excellent customer care. I am already strongly recommending it to family and friends. Thank you for giving me this option. I had not discovered it myself.

Reviewed on 27 Jul 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


One hiking trail, La bourgeoise, made me extremely happy. It was exactly what I had in mind and what I needed in this trip.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be in good shape; the ascent in some of the trails may be demanding. Do take a waterproof jacket.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


To some extent only. No visible efforts towards those goals were apparent to me. for example, the facility had no recycling policy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I am very pleased. Overall very good.

Reviewed on 17 Aug 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The trails we hiked. I come from a pretty spectacular part of the world (the Canadian Rockies) but the scenery in and around Sameon was outstanding. Anyone who likes to walk and enjoy nature will not be disappointed!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Can't think of anything except to make sure you are able to walk
and do at lesat 800 meters elevation.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - definately

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Exceptional - Sam and Steve did a great job in every aspect of the trip - from initial contact to our departure.

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


My first proper vacation without family in years. It was fantastic to be able to disappear into the mountains and away from the world. (It's been quite hard coming home to all the usual pressures from everyday life.) Time to think without it being intense; good company, good food, and excellent accommodation. Walks that were tailored to our levels of fitness (a very select group of 2!) and interest. I can't remember what I was worrying about beforehand now and wouldn't hesitate to go again - soon.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with an open mind, and don't be afraid to ask questions (however many you have) before you go.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


In as much as it could I guess. Followed familiar environmentally concerned principles throughout. Could do more to support local business through introductions to local producers maybe for bringing goodies home (cheese, wine etc)?

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent - it ticked all the boxes I knew I had and more. Can't wait to go again.

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The highlights were probably spending 20 minutes or so watching 4 young marmots playing in the late afternoon sunshine on the Pas de Sales and the crystal clear views of Mont Blanc. However, the welcome and hospitality of everyone, the enthusiasm and expertise of Bruno the guide on the walks, the fabulous food and accommodation, the beautiful scenery ... everything was memorable.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take binoculars, the wildlife is fascinating. You have to have a reasonable level of fitness, the Alp slopes are steep!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Overall there was a feeling of great respect for the area and minimising tourist impact, on every walk Bruno picked up litter dropped by other visitors. Guests are encouraged to recycle, minimise use of water and to support local businesses.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fabulous - physically challenging but mentally rejuvenating.

Reviewed on 19 Jun 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Everything - the guide wassuoer. The chalet owners treated me like a family member. Their house was warm and friendly. Felt the price was wonderful.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Best trip ever.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Was MORE then I expected.

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Its impossible to specify any part of the trip as being the most memorable because every aspect of the vacation was really quite perfect ... The incredible scenery and awesome walks, combined with the great guiding, lovely chalet accommodation and superb meals, made for a truly perfect experience. Samoen is a pretty village set in such a spectacular area.... just perfect for this sort of vacation!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go for it! Do it!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Hard to say but the vacation would generally have benefited the local tourist industry The operator buys its food etc locally and as a participant I frequented the local market, restaurants and shops. As regards minimizing impact on the environment: The operator demonstrated a commitment to energy saving and general awareness of tourist issues as regards the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


As regards the star ratings, I can't say I have been reborn but the trip certainly ranks amongst the best trips I've had in terms of scenery, guiding, organisation, attention to detail etc.

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