SARL Peak Transfer
44a Chemin du Lai
Chamonix Mt Blanc
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More experienced hikers, trail runners and mountain lovers will have heard of the big European tours such as the Tour du Mont Blanc and Haute Route in the Mont Blanc region of the Alps. However, there is a unique beautiful and more modest tour in the same region that we feel you should know about and that’s the Tour des Fiz.
The Tour des Fiz is based in the wonderful Sixt-Passy Nature Reserve where the Giffre Valley and Mont Blanc regions meet with the Fiz mountain range at its centre. The nature reserve hosts the renowned GR 5 and GR 96 trails and is only accessible via Passy or Sixt Fer à Cheval at opposite ends of the reserves so you can really escape the modern world in terms of vehicles… and usually phone signal too!
As you would expect with a protected nature reserve you are guaranteed to come across interesting wildlife, beautiful flora, spectacular landscapes and varying terrain throughout. With Mont Blanc in the backdrop and the prominent Fiz standing tall you can’t help but notice the fabulous rock and the force of nature. The Tour des Fiz is a geological goldmine with its unique rock formations, désert plateau and epic waterfalls. The landscape gives you clues and tales of time in the geological history of its mountains and is a suntrap in summer months. The opportunity to observe animals in the wild including indigenous species such as Chamois, Ibex and Marmots is not one to miss.
One of the unique points that draw people into the Sixt-Passy Nature Reserve and Tour des Fiz is the versatility to adapt your route to your fellow travelers, time available and specific landmarks you would like to see. A multitude of routes and with no less than 9 mountain refuges to choose from within 4 hours walk from each other (often much less) means that even families with very young children can escape to explore nature relatively easily.
In fact that’s a particular aspect the Tour de Fiz and Passy tourism specialise in. You will not come across more family friendly refuges that welcome children in their shelters as those on this tour. Many have dedicated junior spaces with facilities to entertain younger children such as arts and crafts, books and games. If your children love to learn about nature and the outdoor environment then there is no better place for them to be. Children are generally provided with an alpine guide book that explains the science behind local geological features and about the wildlife they might spot on their walk each day. Refuge owners will be delighted to educate them about the local area and refuge history too.
So whether you are a gentle rambler, speedy trail runner or just wanting to experience nature and history with the whole family there is an adventure to suit you. Even the ‘Gourmet Hiker’ is catered for with each and every hut serving its own authentic flair on already firm regional favourites using local produce. Explore new tastes where at each hut there will be a new menu waiting for you.
There are some popular daily itineraries if you search online but the Tour des Fiz is very flexible in allowing you to choose which routes you would like to take. There are an abundance of landmarks that come recommended including natural heritage sites, historical mountain refuges and stunning waterfalls dotted along route. Here are a list of our favourites!
The unique terrain of the Désert de Platé should not be missed. Conserved and branded as a national heritage site it is stooped in history and boasts the largest ‘lapies’ (nature’s very own cobbled rock pavement) in Europe covering most of the plateau and the reason it’s known as the “desert”. If the charming mountain refuge here only accessible by foot serving delicious food (their homemade apricot pie is a must-try) is not enough to draw you in then perhaps the best panoramic view of Mont Blanc possible will.
The Fer à Cheval is the largest mountain cirque in the Alps surrounded by towering walls of rocks on all sides it provides a big slice of humble pie by making you feel rather small in the natural world. Not only this but the more than 30 waterfalls created by the glacial snow melt falling over the cliffs and down the rock face from more than 2,000 metres high makes for a rather impressive site. The local hiking trails pass the numerous waterfalls both here and dotted all over the nature reserves.
Located in the heart of the Sixt-Passy nature reserve and at the foot of the Fiz mountain range you will find the crystal clear waters of Lac d’Anterne. It’s a great place to soak up the sun, relax and paddle, particularly if you are hiking with children. The lake is a feasible distance (albeit with a steep climb) from both Refuge d’Anterne Alfred Wills and Refuge de Moëde Anterne.
For ‘Foodies’ that like to earn their delicious food making it a rather guilt free affair look no further! With each refuge taking particular pride in their gourmet offerings you can combine spectacular scenery with mouthwatering cuisine. Discover new dishes and a unique menu at each hut to your hearts content. For more information and recommendation on refuge menus click here.
The refuges are usually open from mid June to mid September offering just lunch or half and full board options.
If you would for information about the Tour des Fiz take a look at the Passy Tourist Office site here. Including;