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Tour du Mont Blanc public transport

cable cars tour du mont blanc

Slash your TMB trail time by taking public transport along your Tour du Mont Blanc.

ALL TIMETABLES BELOW HAVE NOW BEEN UPDATED FOR THE 2024 SUMMER SEASON

The Tour du Mont Blanc trekking route packs a punch with it’s 170 kilometres over demanding terrain. Days are long on the trail and with the serious elevation gain (& loss) it’s possible that you might need a helping hand along the way.

If you’re behind schedule, hit bad weather or say trekking with kids, there are a number of transport options on most of the Tour du Mont Blanc stages. These mainly consist of public buses that run along the valley floors or cable cars and chair lifts that can whip you up and down mountains in a jiffy.

We would highly recommend the following Tour du Mont Blanc public transport to cut trail times, especially if you’re hiking with kids or if the weather becomes untenable. Many of the shuttle buses merely run along mundane sections of valley floors so you’re not actually missing much by taking them. 

On average expect to be on the TMB trail between 7-9 hours per day. When I hiked with my 10 year old, it took us that with all the transport options! Without taking all the TMB transport options, I know we definitely could not having hiked the TMB with our kids. It would have been way too much. 

Check out the public transport below and build them into your planning so you know where to save tired legs or as plan B in bad weather. Figuring out what your speed will be during your planning isn’t easy so give yourself extra time, each day.

Much of the Tour du Mont Blanc transport options are only available during peak periods, July & August. Below are all the Summer 203 timetables – I am changing them over to the 2024 timetables as soon as they become available which will be in the new few weeks until mid June. You can use the 2023 timetables below to get an idea of frequency for 2024 – the timetables are always very similar. Be aware of public transport & exit points along the trail in case of sickness, mild injury or bad weather – it’s always good to have an exit strategy to fall back on.

Les Houches cable car
The Bellevue cable car can whisk you to the top of the Bellevue Plateau in under 5 minutes, shaving off a whopping 2 hours of up from the TMB start point.

Stage 1

1. Les Houches – Bellevue Cable Car 

OPEN JUNE 8th – SEPTEMBER 15th 2024

Right at the beginning of the Tour du Mont Blanc on Stage 1 (Les Houches – Les Contamines) you can cut 2 hrs off the trail time by catching the Bellevue cable car instead of hiking up from the valley floor.

The 2024 cable car tariff is €18.00 one way for an adult and €15.30 for children up to 14 years old/over 65s. Annoyingly they don’t have a family one way ticket but if you are a family of 5-7 you will only pay for 2 adults & 2 children (the 3rd, 4th or 5th child is free). It takes merely 5 minutes to get to the top of the Bellevue Plateau (1800m) and it runs frequently (approximately every 20-30 minutes). 

Many hikers take this short cut so don’t worry there are still plenty of TMB signposts once you get out of the cable car. You will then only have to walk only 15-20 minutes to pick up the ‘proper’ TMB track. The cable car starts running at 8am until July 5th then from 7.30am from the 6th July until it closes on 15th September.

Bellevue cable car 2024 departure times

2. Tresse/La Chapelle – Les Contamines – bus

29 June – 1 September 2024

This bus is handy to take if you are trekking the stage 1 traditional route and popping out onto the main road (Tresse/La Chapelle))

OR

If you have taken stage 1 variant route via the Col du Tricot from La Frasse d’en Haut (34 on the map if you want to skip the last section on variant stage 1 which is basically just the descent into Les Contamines.

les contamines bus tmb
STAGE 1
CATCHING THE BUS FROM LA CHAPELLE TO COURMAYEUR

If you come out onto the road at Tresse Le Quy, TURN LEFT and walk up to the next bus stop at La Chapelle to catch the bus. The bus stop on your right only gets picked up very infrequently.

When you’ve descended into the Montjoie valley the TMB track will eventually hit the main road into Les Contamines. It’s here (or nearly here) that you can catch the public bus into Les Contamines. 

Don’t make the mistake we’ve made before of coming straight off the track out into the village of Tresse and waiting at the bus stop literally opposite (Tresse Le Quy). The TMB trail actually crosses the main road here and continues on the opposite side of the valley up into the town of Les Contamines. It’s another 1 hour hiking.

We intended to cut this 1 hour from our trail time and waited at the Tresse bus stop for what seemed like forever. We’d planned to take the bus as I’d actually added a further hour onto our first day schedule by planning to hike from Les Contamines onto the first refuge Nant Borant. A clever tactic to reduce the second days hike (which is notoriously hard over the Col du Bonhomme) by an hour the following day.

It backfired. The bus never arrived and so we reluctantly carried on, traipsing along the trail and wearily hit Les Contamines dog tired with a worn out 10 year old and my weary 65 year old mother. It turned out that the tourist office had put up a timetable at the Tresse bus stop with the incorrect highlighted times. In fact we should have walked up the road to the next bus stop, La Chapelle to catch the bus. The bus takes a circular route round to La Chapelle and only comes down to Tresse a couple of times a day.

2024 map of the free Les Contamines shuttle bus

Check the 2024 bus timetable below if you are thinking of catching the bus for this section, take a photo of it and just make sure you don’t wait at Tresse unnecessarily.

If you are hiking the variant stage 1 route via the Col du Tricot you can also pick up the bus at no 34 on the map above (top middle) La Frasse d’en Haut which saves around 20 minutes of descent down into Les Contamines.

La Chapelle – Les Contamines (Chef Lieu) – ND de la Gorge Bus Summer 2024 timetable

2024 summer timetable for the free Les Contamines shuttle bus

Stage 2

Mont Blanc Hike
A French painter capturing the beautiful Notre Dame de la Gorge church on the TMB trail from Les Contamines

Les Contamines – Notre Dame de la GorgeFree shuttle bus

29 June – 1 September 2024

There’s a free shuttle bus (navette) from Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge – the furthest point up the valley where the road stops and the trail continues. Catch the navette from outside the tourist office in Les Contamines. Notre Dame de la Gorge is the last stop on the route so it’s easy to see where to get off and the driver is very friendly, so if in doubt just ask. Catching the navette cuts 5km off the trail and will save you an easy hour.

This free shuttle bus is the same one that comes up the valley from Tresse Le Quy and La Chapelle (see above) so if you’re pushing on through to Refuge Nant Borrant on your first day, or if you’re heading to the campsite at Notre Dame de la Gorge, you can stay on the bus all the way. Otherwise stop overnight in Les Contamines and catch the bus from the tourist office in the morning.

This service operates from the 29 June and runs until September 1st and runs roughly every 30-40 mins. The first bus to Notre Dame de la gorge leaves outside the tourist office (Chef Lieu) at 07.53 this year. Not particularly early unfortunately. This gets you in at Notre Dame de la Gorge at 08.06

Les Contamines (Chef Lieu) – ND de la Gorge Bus Summer 2024 timetable

This is the same timetable as above as the bus that picks up from La Chapelle continues into the centre of Les Contamines and out the other side on towards Parking Notre-Dame de la Gorge. This means that if you are not aiming to stay in the town of Les Contamines overnight and you have no need to get supplies from the three small supermarkets on the main road then you could stay on the bus and continue all the way to Notre-Dame de la Gorge. This is perfect for instance if you are staying at Refuge Nant Borrant – the first refuge on the trail after Les Contamines (2 hours walking from Les Contamines centre or 1 hour walking if you are going to take the free shuttle bus to Notre-Dame de la Gorge).

Screenshot

Stage 3

tour du mont blanc bus from Les Chapieux
Between June 15th – September 15th 2024 there are regular navettes (shuttle buses) from Les Chapieux to La Ville des Glaciers and further onto the Les Mottets refuge parking. This cuts an hour and a half off the Tour du Mont Blanc trail on stage 3. These buses also descend down to Bourg St Maurice at the end of the day for those who weren’t lucky enough to secure accommodation in the Les Chapieux bottleneck.

Les Chapieux to Village des Glacier or Les Mottets refuge – shuttle bus

Les Chapieux shuttle bus


2024 – this service will run from 15th June until 15th September! The tariff remains the same as 2023 – €4 for adults / free for under 12s or over 65 and €6 down to Bourg St Maurice. The good news is that this year they’ve put on more buses going down to Bourg St Maurice at the end of the day!

There are mini bus shuttles (navettes)from Les Chapieux to La Ville des Glaciers and further to the Les Mottets refuge parking. The navettes leave regularly from Les Chapieux and I would highly recommend saving your legs by catching it. It costs €4.00 per person whilst children 12 and under are free. Below is the 2024 timetable.

2024 timetable for the Les Chapieux navette

Where to buy your ticket?

Buy your ticket from the information centre, a small wooden shack near the shop in Les Chapieux (there’s not much there so don’t worry you can’t miss it!) It’s also here where the shuttle bus depart. For this summer I have heard that there is a machine now where you can buy your ticket also.

Tip: If you’re staying the night in Les Chapieux, buy your ticket as soon as you arrive for your bus the following morning. Yes you’ll be tired and a cold beer at the bar at Refuge de la Nova will be calling your name. However the information centre is only 100m from Refuge de la Nova and does close around 6pm. If you miss it, you’ll have to buy your ticket in the morning and chances are the first bus (peak season 2024 – 7.20am) will be full. The next bus in peak summer is only ten minutes later at 7.30 but the next is at 8am so if you want to get an early start perhaps if you’re going all the way through to Refuge Maison Vielle or even Courmayeur you need to get on this first bus. Take note that early and late trekkers between 15th – 23rd June and 1st – 15th September the first bus is 7.30 then it’s another hour to the second bus at 8.30. This means you definitely want to be on that first bus if you have a long day on your itinerary ie: you’re not staying at Rifugio Elisabetta or Cabane Combal and you’re going all the way to Maison Vielle or Courmayeur.

On my first ever TMB with my 10 year old daughter and 65 year old Mother, we missed buying our tickets the night before and it was quite busy when we turned up first thing at 8am when the hut opened so we didn’t manage to get onto the first bus. We bought tickets for the 9am departure to Village des Glaciers, so we were happy enough and it didn’t hold us up really on our schedule, but I would recommend hot footing it to the information shack as soon as you arrive the afternoon before to bag tickets for the 07.20 or 07.30 shuttle the following morning.

If you’re pressing onto Les Mottets for the night and you’re exhausted by the time you hit Les Chapieux, the last bus to Les Mottets parking leaves at 16.15 arriving at 16.40 (peak season). If you arrive after this the last bus that goes to Ville des Glacier (which is three quarters of the way to Refuge Mottets) leaves at 17.30 (peak season) so catch this and then just walk the rest of the way up the road. You can’t miss the refuge – you’ll see it down in the valley and there’s a clear path down to it.

Do I buy a ticket to Ville des Glaciers or Les Mottets Parking?

Unless you’re staying at Refuge des Mottets, catch the bus to Ville des Glaciers. This is over half way. The bus will stop in the large car park there. Ville des Glaciers is a small hamlet with a cheese farm. I recommend a 10 minute stop at the cheese farm before pressing on! Note: there is no accommodation in Ville des Glaciers.

From Ville des Glaciers you will cross the river and the TMB track winds gradually up and past Refuge des Mottets which is down in the valley. At this point you’ll be starting the ascent of the Col de la Seigne.

If you catch the bus all the way to the Les Mottets parking, you’ll have to walk down a steep hill from the parking to the actual refuge (in the base of the valley) and then up again from the refuge on the path on the opposite side of the valley to pick up the TMB trail.

The bus to Bourg St Maurice

There’s also a shuttle bus that runs from Les Chapieux to Bourg St Maurice (€6.00) at 17.20, 17.50 and 18.20h every day. This is brilliant news as its always only been one bus descending at the end of the day until this year.

This means if you’ve booked your Tour du Mont Blanc late and you haven’t managed to get any accommodation in Les Chapieux, as long as you make one of these buses, you can find some accommodation in Bourg St Maurice and then head back to Chapieux on the 06.45 or 8.30 shuttle in the morning (peak season) or 6.55 shoulder season to pick up the trail. (I talk more about this in my Tour du Mont Blanc Refuges post).  

Note that if you miss this one of the buses going down to Bourg St Maurice then you’ll have to pay for an expensive taxi to come up for you (60 euros Taxi Arthur – email: aarthur.transport@gmail.com)

Another option, if you haven’t managed to secure accommodation in Les Chapieux is to book the next refuge, Les Mottets, as the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux drops you at their parking spot (so it’s just a 10 minute downhill stumble to the refuge). Make sure you’re on the last shuttle bus from Les Chapieux or face the 1 hour walk (or book a taxi!). Note: Refuge Mottets is very popular. Don’t expect to book a bed if you are late in your planning however they regularly have cancellations so it’s worth checking here online for their availability.

Taxi – Les Chapieux

In June and September it’s possible to get a taxi from Les Chapieux to Bourg St Maurice (20 minutes down into the valley by car). You need to pre-book. Places are limited. Pay the driver.

Taxi options are:

Taxi Besson 00 33 (0) 4 50 93 62 07 http://www.taxi-montblanc.com
Taxi Gé : 06 13 63 39 42

Taxi Aarthur – David WhatsApp +33614182611
Les Chapieux – Bourg St Maurice 
1-4 pax 65€
5-8 pax 75€
Bourg – Ville des Glaciers
1-4 pax 80€
5-8 pax 90€
https://www.taxibourgsaintmaurice.com
email: aarthur.transport@gmail.com

Expect to pay 65 euros from Chapieux to Bourg St Maurice and 80 euros from Bourg to Ville des Glaciers the following morning – this is recommended as this is where the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux drops off. It saves around 1.5 hours of walking.

Stage 4

If you want to fast track stage 4, it’s just an hour’s amble from Rifugio Elisabetta to the start of the 4 x 4 track to La Visaille. A further 50 minutes you’ll be able to catch the regular bus route from La Visaille to Courmayeur. This is a great exit strategy if one of your group is feeling unwell, has a mild injury, is exhausted or if it’s really bad weather.

La Visaille to Courmayeur – bus

If you want to fast track stage 4, there’s a regular bus service from La Visaille to Courmayeur. La Visaille is a small hamlet in the Val Veny. It’s approximately a 50 minute walk from Cabane du Combal. It then takes 23 minutes to get into the centre of Courmayeur.

If you were leaving Rifugio Elisabetta, it’s an easy stroll along the straight Roman road (40-50 mins) until you hit a bridge at Lac Combal (you won’t see the Lac, it’s slightly higher on the opposite side, but you will see the lovely A frame Cabane du Combal refuge across the way). From the bridge it’s a half an hour walk down the road, then picking up a track for 10 minutes to arrive in the village of La Visaille.

From La Visaille a bus goes directly to Courmayeur. This is a good option if your legs can’t handle the TMB trail along the Col Chécrouit ridge all the way to Courmayeur and believe me it’s actually shockingly demanding. There are no cols to climb on stage 4 but the trail is undulating and seemingly never-ending. That said, it’s a stunningly beautiful section of the trail.

The 2024 timetable for the Courmayeur – La Visaille (Val Veny) bus service has finally been released. The La Visaille bus to Courmayeur is now free! Yay!

La Visaille – Courmayeur bus timetable 7 – 28th June

La Visaille – Courmayeur bus timetable 29 June – 1 September

La Visaille – Courmayeur bus timetable 2 – 29 September

La Visaille – Courmayeur bus timetable – Summer 2024

See for yourself what you would miss by taking this section by reading our Day 6 Elisabetta to Courmayeur post here.

La Maison Veille – Courmayeur – chair lift  & Dolonne cable car

Courmayeur cable car cologne

OPEN FROM 29 June – 1 Sept 2024

Dolonne gondola 9:30-17:50

Maison Vieille chair lift 9:30-17:20

After hiking along the Mont Saxe traditional TMB route, you’ll finally reach Rifugio Maison Vielle on your descent into Courmayeur. The Maison Vielle chairlift descends down from immediately outside the refuge to the mid station of Plan Chécrouit (1702m), from where you can catch the Dolonne telecabine down to the village of Dolonne (1221m). From Dolonne a regular bus service takes you into the Italian town of Courmayeur.

It costs in 2024 €16 for an adult (and €9.50 for a child under 12 or over 65s) for both the chairlift and the telecabine down to Dolonne. For a one way on the Maison Vielle chairlift it will cost €6 for an adult / €3.50 for under 12 or over 65. For a one way on the Dolonne cable car it is €10.50 for an adult and €6.50 for under 12s or over 65.

Screenshot

Click here to see the live website with the above timetable.

Courmayeur is a good place to have a day’s rest if you are continuing on full circuit of the TMB trail or if you’re only planning to hike half the trail from Chamonix to Courmayeur, we’d recommend returning to Chamonix for a few rest days before leaving the Alps.

Catching the bus back from Courmayeur to Chamonix

If you’re only trekking half the Tour du Mont Blanc, then it’s here you can catch a bus through the Mont Blanc tunnel back to Chamonix.

There are a few bus companies that provide this service. It takes 45 minutes to arrive in Chamonix.

SAVDA buses depart at 9h, 11h, 12h, 14h, 16h & 18h. One way costs €15.

Flixbus offers super cheap deals at around €5 each. Download their apps below to check out their timetables.

Stage 5

Courmayeur – Bivio Rifugio Bonatti – bus

Bus No 5  from Place Le Monte Bianco runs along the valley floor of Val Ferret and can drop you at stop “Bivio Refugio Bonatti’ or all the way along to the end of Val Ferret before you start the climb to the Grand Col Ferret.

The Bonatti stop is located slap bang at the bottom of the vertical trail that leads straight up to Refugio Bonatti. The hike will take roughly an hour. The bus is now free from this summer – yay!

The peak summer time timetable from 13 July to 1 September is below. But you can find all the links for this bus service on the links below.

2024 peak season bus timetable for Val Ferret, Courmayeur. Links below to all the timetables.

If you want to take the bus to the end of the line to start climbing the Grand Col Ferret the last stop is called Arnouva or Arp Nouvaz Cap.

Taking the bus along this section is a good back up plan in very bad weather.

You can see the 2024 timetables below for the Val Ferret free bus service:-

up until 28 June for the Val Ferret line bus here

from 29 June – 12 July 2024

from 13 July – 1 September 2024

from 2 September – 29 September 2024

Stage 6

Ferret – La Fouly – bus

Taking the bus from Ferret to La Fouly

After hiking over the Grand Col Ferret, you might want to catch the bus on the very last section from Ferret to La Fouly which will save you 45 minutes on the trail. The same bus goes onto Champex-Lac seven times a day so if you’re looking to skip stage 7 this is the bus you’ll need to take.

You’ll see the bus stop at Ferret immediately on your left as you reach the first buildings of Ferret. The timetable on the bus stop is impossibly hard to fathom. Plan ahead by visiting www.cff.ch and choosing FERRET and LA FOULY VS and check the timetable for your dates. Make a note of the timetable. It’s possible to book your ticket online or if you’re unsure which bus you want to catch, you can just pay on the bus. They now accept euros so its not necessary to have Swiss francs on you.

Stage 7

La Fouly – Champex-Lac – bus

A lot of TMB hikers skip Stage 7 entirely as a way to save time on the trail. It’s argued to be the most unremarkable section of the trail, the route passing through gentle meadows and through charming Swiss villages.

If you plan to take the bus from La Fouly (or Ferret) to Champex-Lac, you will need to change buses in Orsières, the largest town in the area. You’ll first catch a bus from Ferret or La Fouly to Orsières, and then a second bus from Orsières to Champex-Lac (very easy to change from bus 1 to bus 2). 

You find all the details of the schedule on www.cff.ch, where you can put your starting point (Ferret or La Fouly) and your arrival point (Champex-Lac), the date and the time you want. It will give you the price and you can book online if you wish, or pay cash to the driver. You can pay for the bus either in euros or Swiss francs

It cost us for a single ticket from Ferret to Champex-Lac CHF12 (or €12) for an adult and CHF6 (€6) for a child. 

Stage 8

There are no public transport options to cut down stage 8 of the TMB, however you can miss it out altogether by taking a bus from Champex-Lac to Orsières, then catch a train from Orsières to Col de la Forclaz (you will need to change in Martigny. It takes around 2.5 hours.

You can check the timetable (horaires) and the price at www.sbb.ch

Stage 9 Col de la Forclaz – Trés-le-Champ

swiss tmb bus

Post bus – Col de la Forclaz – La Peuty or Trient

From the Col de la Forclaz it’s possible to catch the post bus down the steep hairpin road to La Peuty or Trient, shaving an hour off your day.

The bus goes approximately four times a day with two early pick ups at 06.33h and 8.28h, a lunch pick up at 12.28h, and an evening pick up at 19.28h. Make sure you double check the timetable at www.carpostal.ch/valais or email valais@carpostal.ch as times may have changed since this post was written.

Expect to pay around CHF2.20 for a single ticket. It takes around 4 minutes to get down to La Peuty or Trient. Note Trient is slightly off the TMB trail so only go here if you’re planning to stay there overnight. If you’ve stayed the night in Col de la Forclaz, get off at La Peuty to remain on the direct trail.

If you’re pushing on through to La Peuty or Trient to stay the night instead of staying at Col de la Forclaz, it’s probably not possible to catch last post bus at around 19.28h otherwise you’ll probably miss your refuge dinner which will probably be around 19.00-20.00.

Hitching from the Col de la Forclaz

It’s also possible to hitch from the Col de la Forclaz down to Trient. The road is very busy as it’s the main road into Switzerland from the French border. Trient is only 10 minutes in the car via the road, whilst the TMB hiking route takes you directly down through the forest, taking around an hour.

Le Tour – Charamillon chair lift

Once you reach the Refuge du Col du Balme on Stage 9, you can either continue on the TMB trail which will climb the Col du Posettes and descend down to Tré-le-Champ, or you can catch the Charamillon chair lift and the Le Tour cable car down to the village of Le Tour at the end of the Chamonix Valley. This is a highly recommended in bad weather as the Posettes ridge is highly prone to lightning. It’s also a recommended quick option if you are aiming to stay in Argentière or Chamonix instead of at Refuge La Boerne, which is an excellent refuge, however often full. Those wanting a private room should head to accommodation options in Argentière. Read about Argentière’s accommodation options in my accommodation guide.

The 2024 tariff for Col de la Balme – Charamillon chair lift costs €11 per adult and €9.40 per child one way on just the chair lift which takes you half way down the mountain – you’d then need to walk down the home piste to Le Tour. Or you can pay more to take both the chair and the bubble down to the valley floor. It’s pretty expensive! If you want to save money there is a good track underneath the ski lifts where you can walk down to the village.

If you want to stay in Argentière or Chamonix for the night and pick up the trail again at the beginning of stage 10 in the morning, you can catch the train to Montroc (the stop after Argentière). With your free carte d’hôte card from your Chamonix hotel, the train is free! Plus it’s a lovely way to travel along the Chamonix Valley as the train has large sloping windows to enable you to see the beautiful peaks. After getting off at Montroc train station you simply walk to the end of the platform and turn right and veer right again. This takes you to the back of the train station into a small car park. Here you will find an unmarked trail that leads to the village of Tré-le-Champ. It takes around 15-20 minutes to walk up. You can then walk straight through Tré-le-Champ to the start of the trail which is only 2-3 minute walk up from the hamlet on the main Col du Montets road. The trail starts from the main car park on the left.

Stage 10 – Tré-le-Champ to La Flégère

There are no short cuts on stage 10 of the TMB. It is possible to take the La Flégère cable car down to Les Praz, the village just 5 minutes on the bus from Chamonix (or a 30 minute walk along the river) if you wanted to stay overnight in Chamonix rather than staying in Refuge Flégère. There is some accommodation in Les Praz if you wanted to be straight back on the cable car first thing in the morning to pick up the trail. Have a look at my recommended Les Praz hotels in my accommodation guide.

The 2024 tariff one way down from La Flégère is €18.00 per adult, €15.30 per child/senior (see 2024 tariff table far below). Below you can see the timetable for 2024. Click here to see the timetable on the official website.

La Flégère cable car 2024 opening times

Stage 11 – La Flégère – Les Houches

brevent
Looking down from the top of Brévent down to Plan Praz, the mid station. On the left you can clearly see the TMB route from La Flégère

Brévent cable car

15th June – 15 September 2024

Stage 11 is a stunning section of the Tour du Mont Blanc trail with incredible views of Mont Blanc. If you have hiked the stunning Balcon Sud section from La Flégère, once you get to the Brévent ski area, you can opt to take the cable car from Plan Praz (the Brévent mid station at an elevation of 2000m) to the top of the Brévent summit (2525m). Taking the cable car means you will cut out actually climbing the Col du Brévent so you’ll slash your trail time by approximately 2 hours of the traditional TMB (or an hour if you plan to hike the Charles Bozen piste – the wide 4 x 4 stony track up). Personally whilst the piste is an easier route, it is devoid of the charm of the high route traditional TMB route so I would either trek the col or take the cable car.

The 2024 summer rate for the Brévent summit cable car from the mid station (Plan Praz) is €16.50 one way for an adult and €11.00 for a child/over 65. It’s then a 4-5 hour descent from the summit down to Les Houches. The timetable and rates are below or click here for the online official website.

Brévent, Flégère and Le Tour cable car prices for 2024
2024 Brévent cable car opening dates and times

Le Parc Merlot navette

There is a regular navette (bus) service from the Merlot animal park to Les Houches from Monday to Friday. If you happen to be trekking stage 11 on either of these days, you ‘might’ be able to catch the navette service after the extremely long descent from Brévent. Your knees will have taken a beating with the 9km descent. I say ‘might’ because before you could pay €2 to use this service however now the service is free for people wishing to visit the Parc.

The bus runs from Les Houches train station up to the Merlot park (car park P1) and back departing every 30 – 40 minutes from from 9:30  to 17:00 pm. The return runs every 30 min to 45 minutes from 9:55 to 6 pm (arrival at les Houches train station). The buses run in conjunction with the trains arriving and departing from Les Houches train station. For 2024 info check the up to date information on the Parc Merlot’s website.

82 Comments

  • Shouee
    June 24, 2021 at 3:28 am

    Mags,

    The bus/shuttle information you listed here is exactly what I am looking for. Many of my friends signed up a Mont Blanc tour for August 2022, I want to join them but I am a slow hiker, my comfort zone is 8 miles with 1500 feet gain/loss. I am thinking if I can take buses here and there, perhaps I can do it? I am 67, I hike about once or twice a week within my comfort zone. Based on the info I provided above, do you think I can do it? Any advice? Thank you.

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      July 4, 2021 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Shouee, thanks for getting in touch. I think you could do it but you would have to train to try to get your 1500 ft (approx 500m) gain/loss increased. Yes the public transport links would help but there are still some sections where there is no transport available and it’s over 1300m+ gain and 900m+ descent (example stage 2 over the Col du Bonhomme & Col du Croix du Bonhomme). It may be that you could cut some of these sections out entirely. Are your friends taking a guided tour? If so, then the tour operator can give you lifts over certain sections if they do luggage transfers which they almost certainly will. If your friends are planning to trek independently then you would need to plan carefully. However as it’s next year you have a lot of time to train if you want to set yourself the challenge. Have you seen our training video by Neil Martin-McClean? It’s on the website under the planning section – getting fit. It is an excellent video on simple exercises you can do to prepare yourself, as well as putting in the time walking longer hike times and training on hills. I am positive you can do it Shouee with some planning and commitment to training. Mags

      Reply
      • Toos
        August 21, 2021 at 6:53 am

        Hello, to break up the 1300 ascent to Croix the Bonhomme we stayed the night in Rfuge La Balme, so it too took us 2 days to do this stage.

        Reply
        • tourdumontblanchike
          August 21, 2021 at 7:07 am

          Good plan – it’s a long stage! I’d be interested to hear your experience of staying at Refuge La Balme?

          Reply
          • Emily
            July 14, 2022 at 4:01 pm

            Bonjour! We are a family of 4 with kids ages 12 & 15 currently hiking the trail. We camped by La Balme a few nights ago and joined at the refuge for dinner. It was delicious with huge portions, the staff were friendly. And we completely forgot to give notice that our daughter is vegetarian when we made a reservation earlier in the day and they still accommodated us. We had a great experience there.

          • tourdumontblanchike
            July 17, 2022 at 6:24 am

            Hi Emily thanks so much for the feedback on Refuge Le Balme. I’ve stayed there myself only two weeks ago and I too had a fantastic experience. I’ve now changed the info on the website to reflect this. It’s so brilliant when the owner or staff changes for the better! Happy days! I hope you & your family are enjoying the tour. I’d love to hear more about your trek. Best. Mags

  • david
    July 4, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    the public transport detail here is incredibly helpful. im doing a self planned trip and can do the hikes but plan on using transport as much as i can to save my knees and to make the trip more enjoyable. thank you!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      July 7, 2021 at 5:11 am

      Hi David, I’m so pleased my transport post has helped you. We found it invaluable in hiking the trail. Have a great tour!

      Reply
  • Brendan
    August 7, 2021 at 1:04 am

    Hi, this is brilliant information! However, you refer to the Mont de la Saxe area as being in Stage 4. I think you mean the Col Checrouit area in stage 4….. the Mont de la Saxe area is in stage 5 after Courmayeur. Again, many thanks for the excellent info!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      August 21, 2021 at 7:11 am

      Brendan – well spotted! You are absolutely correct! Thanks for the heads up 🙂

      Reply
  • SWEE KENG Aw
    August 18, 2021 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for sharing, it’s been super helpful so I can look forward to plan my hike and also save my knees whenever possible.

    Reply
  • Stacey
    August 22, 2021 at 4:05 am

    Thank you for this incredibly useful information! From Champex-Lac we are looking to take Fenetre d’ Arpette (in good weather) to the Trient area. We are staying near Le Châtelard Frontiere for the night and trying to find the most efficient way to make that transfer after we arrive in Trient. Right now I’m seeing taking the 213 bus to Martigny and the train from there to Le Châtelard Frontiere. We’d be so thankful for any insight or other ideas you may have, thanks again! What an amazing resource your blog is!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      August 25, 2021 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Stacey it’s seems crazy to get the bus back to Martigny to then take the train to the border as you go back on yourself but public transport is hard in this section. When are you hiking? There is a post bus that goes from Col de la Forclaz down to the border but this seems to only be from 17 July – 15 August so only in the peak month. If you are hiking next summer within these dates then this is the way to go. It’s frustrating because the drive is only 15 minutes or so to Chatelard. The other option is to hitch – there is a lot of traffic going down from the col. Or the third option is to hire a taxi to come and take you from Chamonix. It may well be cheaper than the bus/train tickets depending on how many people are in your group? I have advised this to another group hiking that wanted to skip stage 9 and arrive in Tré-le-Champ. Try CVT (Chamonix Valley Transfers)

      Reply
  • Jin
    September 5, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks for your wonderful and informative blogs. It seems most public transport ends in early September. Anyway or could I get a taxi. Thanks very much!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      October 27, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Hi Jin. Yes most public transport that aren’t on the main bus routes ie the shuttle buses, cable cars etc all close generally at the end of August. Taxis are still available but it’s wise to pre-book if possible as there are not so many taxis here ie: there isn’t a taxi rank or taxis that you can hail. Have a great hike. Mags

      Reply
  • James
    October 24, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    Hi.
    Love your site !!!

    Do you happen to know if they would allow me to take my dog on the Prarion Gondola?
    Thanks

    James

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      October 27, 2021 at 9:03 am

      Hi James, I believe dogs are allowed on the Prarion gondola but need to be on a leash once up there. Thanks. Mags

      Reply
  • Tammy
    October 31, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Your info has been very helpful. Thank you for going to the effort. We attempted the TMB about 20 years ago but were way too ambitious with our daily mileage and my knee gave out. We are reattempting next September at a much slower pace. I did not intend on using any alternative transportation but if things went bad again, it would be a great option. However, it doesn’t look like anything is still open the second and third week of September? Has it turned to winter by then? Is that the reason? Thank you.

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      November 5, 2021 at 9:02 am

      Hi Tammy good to hear from you and sorry to hear about your knee on your first trek. No September is a wonderful month – Winter does not arrive until December, however most of the alternative transport is only offered in the peak tourist weeks on the trail which ends at the end of August. I hiked the trail solo in September of this year and none of the transport was available apart from the regular bus service from Ferret or La Fouly to Champex Lac. I am sure with hiking the trail at a much slower pace that you will be fine with no back up transport. September is a glorious time to hike! Just to let you know I will shortly be releasing my TMB refuges e-book – this will give extra info on all the refuges. Let me know if you are happy for me to add you to my mailing list for when it releases! Best wishes. Mags

      Reply
      • Tammy Kimbrough
        December 7, 2021 at 8:15 pm

        Great. Thank you for your reply. I have everything settled except my last day and I just cannot get my head around it. Can you please help? We are staying in Tre-Le-Champ on September 19. I believe all lifts etc.. will be closed. My plan was to hike from Tre-Le-Champ to Lac Blanc to Flegere to Planpraz and get a car or bus to Chamonix. However, I was told there are no roads or wheeled transport from either Brevent or Planpraz and we would need to hike the whole way from either, which may be too much. We must end up in Chamonix in order to fly out from Geneva the next day but we do not want to entirely miss the Grand Balcon. What are our options? I have heard the hike from Planpraz to Chamonix is grueling. In order to take a car or bus, must we go to Argentiere from Flegere? If we could take a cable car or lift to Brevent or Planpraz at the beginning of our hike, on September 8, where should we go in order to not feel like we completely miss this last leg and at least see a portion of the Grand Balcon? Or, will all lifts be closed at that time too? Sorry so long winded but this last day is stumping me. Thank you!!! Your blogs have been very helpful!

        Reply
        • tourdumontblanchike
          April 9, 2022 at 8:12 am

          Hi Tammy September is a tricky time when it comes to the cable cars or chair lifts as they will all be closing. Some stay open longer than others but its at the discretion of the Compagnie du Mont Blanc, the company that operates the lifts so it cannot be planned ahead normally. But you should be able to see the closing dates once the summer is in full swing so you should be able to plan this nearer to the time. You are correct there are no roads from any of the mountains in Chamonix – you have to walk up and down if the cable cars or chair lifts aren’t working. The easiest way to walk down is down from La Flégère as the route is wide. This would mean you can hike up from Tre-le-Champ, see Lac Blanc and then descend to La Flégère – you will still see epic views of Mont Blanc if the weather is playing ball. If you want to hike a bit further then continue along to Plan Praz – it is very steep to descend from here but not unachievable. You would not want to continue down to Les Houches along the normal trail from Le Brévent if you are coming from Tre-le-Champ in one day as it is too far. If you are able to take a cable car on Sept 8 – get the bus to Les Praz and take the La Flégère cable car up and walk along the Grand Balcon to Plan Praz. Hope this helps.

          Reply
      • Ann Ogg
        September 9, 2022 at 1:09 am

        Hi! My sis(68) and I (62) are planning our trip to tmb next July. Thanks so much for the info and would love more info on refuges and how to book them. Thanks so much! Ann

        Reply
        • tourdumontblanchike
          September 10, 2022 at 9:44 am

          Hi Ann. I’ve written a TMB refuges ebook which discusses in one of its chapters how to book the refuges and lots of in-depth info on what to expect, hut etiquette, hut food/dinners/vegetarians & vegans plus an in-depth in over 23 refuges/accommodation options along the trail. It’s $9.99 to buy the 84 page guide. Here’s the link https://tourdumontblanchike.com/tmb-refuges-ebook/

          Reply
  • STACY
    March 8, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    Hmmm. I thought I left a reply yesterday, but I don’t see it so apologies if this is a repeat question. First, thank you so much for all of this fantastic information! It is so very helpful and well organized. My question is regarding the sections in Switzerland. Can you recommend a particular hike or 2.5 day -3day hike? After my trip in 2020 was cancelled, I am finally going to the Mont Blanc area solo in July of 2022! I am arriving early from Paris and have 3 days until my scheduled hikes in the Chamonix and Courmayour areas begin. I will be using public transportation. I was hoping to do some hikes in all three countries and was wondering if you have suggestions for the “best of” the TMB and, particularly, hikes and stays in Switzerland? I reviewed your information and it looks like it is most concentrated in the Chamonix, Les Houches, Courmayour areas rather than the Switzerland areas. Also, I am hoping to find lodging for the two nights prior to my scheduled hikes somewhere cool and interesting with great hikes – maybe in Switzerland if it is worth it. Do you have any recs? Finally, there are two or three “free days” to explore on your own during my scheduled hike time from Chamonix and Courmayour. Any thoughts on best, most stunning day hikes accessible by public transport?

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      April 9, 2022 at 7:47 am

      Hi Stacy I don’t know many other trails in Switzerland to be honest. I just haven’t spent so much time there apart from the TMB trail. The landscape is more gentle in Switzerland and I prefer the rugged, wild mountains on the French/Italian sides.What is spectacular though is the alternative stage 8 and 9 route on the TMB which takes you over the Col du Fenêtre and past the Trient Glacier. I have heard that a stay in the Trient Glacier hut is awesome but have never done it so you might want to research that. I love the Albert 1er hut hike from Le Tour which goes right up to the Le Tour glacier. Also the day hike from the mid station of the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix over to the Montenvers is one of my favourite walks in Chamonix – the viewpoint Le Signal is incredible. You can then either walk down to the valley floor or take the Montenvers train down. An unforgettable stay is at the Montenvers Hotel Refuge – it’s not a refuge at all but a beautiful old hotel that housed the first travellers to the Mer de Glace glacier who used mules to travel up from the valley floor – it is wonderfully historic and very comfortable. Highly recommended!

      Reply
  • Rui Severino
    March 27, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Hello, thanks for such a valuable info, very much appreciated.
    Looking at doing a partial TMB this year and due to time restrictions this info is just great.
    Still looking at best options as for easier route, best views and how to make best use of our limited time.
    As we can only do 4 stages and looking for easier routes, what would be your best advice southern or northern part?
    Also we will be camping and then spending one day in Charmonix.
    Cutting some time of our legs with those tips will surelly help making our experience much more fun.

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      April 9, 2022 at 7:40 am

      Hi Rui in my opinion the 4 stages from Chamonix to Courmayeur are the most spectacular. Be sure to hike the stage 1 variant if it’s good weather – it’s far more interesting that the traditional stage 1. You can then get the bus back to Chamonix from Courmayeur through the Mont Blanc Tunnel

      Reply
  • Sue
    April 23, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    Hello, thanks for all theses useful information about transport,
    This article actually let me run all around of tmb by taking all different kind of transportaion.
    im actuallly planning to go hiking this july-august. Since all timetables are about 2021, i wonder if there will be also same transportation schedule in this year, 2022!
    Im looking forward your relpy, thanks!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      April 28, 2022 at 10:23 am

      Hi Sue yes the transport will be the same this year but they haven’t yet updated their timetables from winter to summer. Normally this happens soon around the beginning of May so I will be updating our website soon with the 2022 timetables as soon as they are released. I’m so glad this article has helped you plan your TMB. Happy hiking! Mags

      Reply
  • Avraham
    April 28, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Hello Mags
    Thanks for the great information.
    We are planing to follow your way this year on July 2022.
    Do you know if the time table of the shuttles and buses will be the same this year?
    Thank you very much.
    Avraham

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      May 6, 2022 at 7:33 am

      Hi Avraham the timetables will change slightly I’m sure. They have not yet been released but I’m keeping my eye out and will upload them on the website soon. Happy hiking! Mags

      Reply
  • Jan Clark Harrison
    June 6, 2022 at 2:13 am

    Hello. THANK YOU so much. This is so helpful. However, I too am stumped on my last day. I am spending the night at Refuge de la Flegere and need to find transport to Chamonix on the next day, July 8, 2022. I am 64 and hiking solo and the downhill that day will be too hard on my knees. From Refuge de la Flegere can I hike a bit to a cable car or chairlift going down? If so, which one? Thank you so much for your help. Jan

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      June 6, 2022 at 7:01 am

      Hi Jan, the La Flégère cable car is right next to Refuge de la Flégère so you can just take this down after breakfast. It goes down to the village of Les Praz. From here you can either walk along the river to Chamonix (30 minute walk – turn right out of the cable car station and continue along the main road until you reach a bridge. Just before the bridge on the left is a trail that follows the river to Chamonix). Or you can simply take the No 1 or No2 bus from the bus stop outside the cable car station back to Chamonix (4-5 mins). Have a great hike! I’ll be on the trail then too 🙂

      Reply
  • Tuki
    June 19, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    Hi, This is super helpful information. My husband and I are planning on the TMB. we were hoping to take shuttle from Refuge de la croix du bonhomme to refuge Mottets. is that possible? if yes, which shuttle should we be taking? or should we take the shuttle from Refuge de la croix du bonhomme to Notra Dame de la Gorge and walk to Mottets? if yes, what is the hike distance, do you know? thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      June 22, 2022 at 4:35 am

      Hi Tuki there isn’t a shuttle from Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme – it’s a high mountain refuge and there are no roads from it. There is a free shuttle bus from the town of Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge and a paying shuttle between Les Chapieux and Ville des Glaciers then onto Parking Mottets. The shuttles only run in peak times so July and August. For hike times refer to one of the guide books or maps. I recommend this map which has a brilliantly laid out table which gives hiking times very accurately depending on whether you are a walker/trekker/fast packer/trail runner https://geni.us/5sjkl

      Reply
  • Mark
    July 31, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    We have just got back from 9 days on the TMB
    Your information was so helpful.
    If I may add a few points
    The circular bus in Courmayer goes up to Villair which cuts out a 100 meter elevation on what is a very steep climb up To Refuge Bertoni. It leaves at 08.15.
    The bus to Champex from Ferret and La Fouly was direct- so no need to change in Orsierres. There are three stops in Champex so look ahead where you are staying. We stayed at the amazing Hotel Alpina which was a short walk from the Le Signal stop.
    The timetable for the postal bus down to Le Peuty from Col de Forclaz has changed. The first bus is at 06.33 which we took . Made the huge climb up to the border much easier walking in the cool of early morning.
    The Charamillon cable car is closed for reconstruction till December I believe
    Once again thanks for all the information provided!

    Reply
  • Joe
    September 2, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Hi thank you so much for this post, it is super helpful and so is the rest of the site!
    my wife and I are doing a portion of the TMB and we are ending in champex-lac and looking to bus back to chamonix. what are the best options for that? we are looking to do so either on sept 8 or 9th.
    Thanks so much

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      September 11, 2022 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Joe there is no direct link. You will need to go to Martigny and take the train.

      Reply
  • Fiona
    September 19, 2022 at 10:00 pm

    Hi, thank you for sharing such a wonderful website! This might be a silly request as it appears to be late in the season, I was hoping to do a last minute TMB for 7-8 days, is this still possible to do? (Starting 23/24 Sept) I have been struggling today to connect all the dots with completing the best parts of the TMB and public transport that’s operating in late September. Is it also possible to arrange baggage transfers daily which would allow me to just enjoy the amazing scenery. If you have any advice, I’d really appreciate it!
    Thank you in advance

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      September 20, 2022 at 5:43 am

      Hi the trail is still open so it’s just a case of piecing together which refuges are still open and as you say working out which public transport is still running. Bellevue cable car is still running and normal public buses but the navettes (shuttle buses) will have closed. Contact Taxi Besson direct to see if they will still offer a luggage transfer for you. I doubt they will still be operating but worth contacting them. Let me know how you get on. Good luck. It’s a great time to still do the trail if you can work it all out.

      Reply
  • Barb
    October 13, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    My partner and I are planning to hike the west half, Chamonix to Courmayeur with some rest days added to not feel rushed and enjoy the mountains!. Looking at Leaving Chamonix Friday, September 8 , 2023 and arriving Courmayeur Thursday, September 14, with extra day/night in the beginning in Chamonix and extra day/night in Courmayeur at the end. Is this too late in the season to utilize cable cars, shuttle transports, gondolas? We will use luggage transport. This website is so informative! Thank you so much for all the information and guidance!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      November 27, 2022 at 11:30 am

      Hi Barb sorry for my late reply! September is a great time to hike the trail but yes unfortunately a lot of the public transport will be closed. The Bellevue cable car in Les Houches will still be operating but the Maison Vielle chairlift and Dolonne cable car in Courmayeur would be closed. The shuttle buses at Les Contamines and Les Chapieux would not be operating either. La Flegere and Le Brevent cable cars in Chamonix should still be operating. The bus on stage 7 in Switzerland should still be running. This post has all the 2022 timetables for each public transport option so check these to find the closing dates which will give you a good indication for 2023. Unfortunately they do not release their timetables much ahead of time so only expect to see the 2023 in late June!!

      Reply
  • Kevin
    November 2, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you so much for your magnificent website. I am in the early stages of planning a 5-6 day trek next September. This itinerary would not allow us to complete the circuit, so I am trying to find sources that might help me understand my public transportation options back to Chamonix if we were to stop at various points along the tour. I am aware of the bus from Courmayeur back to Chamonix, but is it easy to get back if we hike further? Many thanks, again!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      November 27, 2022 at 11:21 am

      Hi Kevin yes the bus is easy to catch back to Chamonix from Courmayeur. It gets a bit trickier the further around you walk. You could complete stage 5 and then get the bus back to Courmayeur from the end of Val Ferret although this service will stop at some point in September. From Champex-Lac it’s possible to get the bus to Martigny and then the train back to Chamonix from Martigny. From Trient you can order a taxi back to Chamonix. If you stay at Refuge de la Peuty they are excellent at arranging transport back to either the border or Vallorcine (where you can catch the train) or the whole way back to Chamonix).

      Reply
  • Diana
    November 9, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    Hello! I am planning to hike the TMB the first week of June. Are any of the transport options open at that time? Do you think the weather will be a huge factor? I appreciate all the information and congrats to you for doing the hike with your mom and daughter!
    Diana

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      November 27, 2022 at 11:17 am

      Hi Diana, the trail doesn’t officially open until the 14th June (although as this is France you are still able to trek it if you wish before the 14th as long as you know and understand the risks) as there can still be a lot of snow on the trail (the ski season only ends in May!). Can you put your trip off for a couple more weeks? Even in June there is a high chance you will have to take hiking crampons and possibly an ice axe to be safe on certain sections. Last year however there was little snow late in the ski season along with a warm spring so there was no snow really left on the trail by the time it opened with seasonal weather being around 6 weeks ahead of normal. Of course we don’t know whether this will happen again next summer so you would need to be prepared for any conditions.

      Reply
  • Jay
    December 15, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    Bonjour!

    Thank you very much making/maintaining this wonderful site!
    It’s truly helpful to prepare TMB trekking.
    My wife and I plan to do it late June to early July in 2023.
    Our Stage 11 plan is: Start Refuge Lac Blanc – Hike to Le Brevent – (any maybe check Refuge Bellachat) – Go back to Le Brevent then ride Lift to Chamonix

    My questions are;
    1. Can I purchase lift ticket from Le Brevent directly? A hiker’s blog says she had to buy it at Plan Praz. Is it true?
    2. Is it really tough to Hike to Le Brevent from Plan Praz? Some say it’s dangerous?
    3. Do you think it’s worth going down to Refuge Bellachat then back to Le Brevent?

    Thank you very much again!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      December 26, 2022 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Jay. Plan Praz is just the mid station of Brevent so you can just buy it when you arrive after you have trekked from Lac Blanc.
      No it’s not that tough to walk from Plan Praz to the summit of Brevent. It will take around 2 hours. There are some metal ladders to negotiate but it’s all straight forward. I can’t see that it’s dangerous. I’m not sure I would descend as far as Bellachat if I wasn’t continuing down to Les Houches. Its quite a bit of a climb back up to Brevent. The ridge however is lovely to walk along – especially to get a photo on. Or you could walk down to the lake and then back up – it’s clear where this is from the top. However I don’t think you will feel like doing this and climbing back up if you have just walked from Lac Blanc. Why don’t you continue and stay at Bellachat and then descend to Les Houches the following day?

      Reply
      • Jay
        December 27, 2022 at 8:21 pm

        Hello!
        Thanks for answering to my questions.
        It’s great to hear that hiking to Le Brevent is not that tough. Hopefully there’s not much snow in early July around the area.
        Due to my limited vacation time, Refuge Lac Blanc would be the last stay before go back to Chamonix.
        Yeah, I heard about the good view from the ridge trail to Refuge Ballachat, but I may have to skip it. Let’s see how it goes.

        Thanks again for your detail inputs!
        Happy New Year!!!

        Reply
  • Katie
    January 19, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Mags,
    Your blog is fantastic. Thank you so much for all the advice! I am planning to hike from Courmayeur to Chamonix in early July. I wanted to get your thoughts on combining stage 8 and stage 9, going from Champex to Auberge La Boerne in one day. Do you think this would be too difficult to do? What route/ shortcuts would you recommend?

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      February 8, 2023 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Katie. It would be too much to walk the Bovine traditional stage 8 and then all of stage 9 in one day. A better option would be to stay at Relais D’Arpmtte 45 minutes up from Champex Lac and do the variant stage 8 which you can combine with variant stage 9 and then stay at Refuge Col de Balme. The next perfect stop would be Refuge Lac Blanc if you can get in. Combining variant stage 8 and 9 is not for the faint hearted – it’s a very long day but with absolutely stunning scenery. You would not want to do this in bad weather though. Set off early!

      Reply
  • LJ
    February 10, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    This is a wonderful site! So helpful!

    I am looking for information about taking the bus from Courmayeur to La Fouly.
    Is there a bus that takes this route? I cannot find information anywhere!

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      March 3, 2023 at 10:35 pm

      Hello. No its such a long route around the mountains I don’t think the bus goes there. You could take the no 5 bus along Val Ferret to the last stop and climb the Grand Col Ferret and descend from there. It’s probably quicker than taking a bus! This would mean you would miss stage 5 but hike stage 6. You can also take a bus from Ferret (the first hamlet after the proper road starts on the Swiss side) down to La Fouly. You can read about both of these buses on my public transport/short cuts post here https://tourdumontblanchike.com/tour-du-mont-blanc-public-transport/ It would probably take you 4 – 5.5 hours hiking not including the time on the buses.

      Reply
  • zoe pride
    June 15, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Hello ! What a great post !
    I’m looking to get to refuge Nant Borrant to rifugio Elisabetta in 1 day. Any tips on how to cut down hiking time with the transport?

    Thank you !

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      June 19, 2023 at 9:09 am

      Hi Zoe. You would need to take the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux to Ville des Glaciers OR if the weather is good you can do the Col des Fours from the top of the Croix du Col du Bonhomme to Ville des Glaciers. The shuttle bus is the only short cut however the Col des Fours is shorter. My advice is to set off very early (take breakfast with you).

      Reply
  • Mihai Stefan
    July 3, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    Hi! Wonderful site and post! Extremely helpful! Is there any news on the shuttle from Les Chapieux to Bourg Saint Maurice, I can’t seem to find any timetable online. We are a bit worried as we couldn’t find accommodation in Les Chapieux or Mottets despite booking in November.

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      July 4, 2023 at 6:11 am

      Hi Mihai yes the bus leaves Les Chapieux at 18.15 every day to return to Bourg St Maurice. You can see it on red on the timetable here https://en.lesarcs.com/hiking/les-chapieux It costs 6 euros per person. It returns the following morning a6 6.55am.

      Alternatively you can order a taxi https://www.taxibourgsaintmaurice.com They’re good and cost is approx 60 euros from Chapieux to Bourg and 75 euros from Bourg to Ville des Glaciers the following morning (so you don’t need to stop at Les Chapieux and then wait for the shuttle bus to continue on to Ville des Glaciers). This saves you 1.5 hour of walking (Les Chapieux to Ville des Glaciers)

      Best

      Mags

      Reply
      • Mihai Stefan
        July 6, 2023 at 8:37 pm

        Many thanks for the reply, I must have looked at that timetable at least ten times without seeing it 🙂

        Reply
      • Hemant
        August 28, 2023 at 6:47 am

        Thanks a lot ! We are going from 6-16th Sept. WIll let you know how it goes.

        Best,

        Hemant

        Reply
  • Anthony
    July 5, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for keeping this information up to date!

    Reply
  • Tommy
    July 6, 2023 at 5:28 am

    Hi! If I am hiking from Courmayeur to Bonatti and then want to take the bus to Grand Jorasses for camping for the night. How would I do that?

    Then the next day would the bus drop me back to Bonatti so I can continue to La Fouly from there?

    Also, how can I buy the tickets? I saw something that said I could purchase them in advance, but activate when I am boarding the bus – is that accurate for this situation?

    Thank you so much for the detailed and organized information you’ve laid out!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      July 8, 2023 at 5:57 am

      Hi Tommy. It’s super easy to get the bus and from this year its absolutely FREE! So don’t worry about the ticket thing now. When you get to Bonatti there is a signposted trail heading downwards. It takes around 1 hour to get down to the main road at the bottom of the valley (Valley Ferret – the Italians call it Val Ferret). As soon as you hit the road there is a bus stop there (Bonatti bus stop) so you can pick up any bus coming from your right going to your left! You will not need to pay now. You need to ask the driver where to get off for Camping Jorasses as its not that clear however the campsite is on your right hand side so look out for it (as well as asking the driver). Yes the next day you just take the bus back to the Bonatti stop and climb back up. However if I were you and the day before I had reached Bonatti relatively early I would continue along the balcony trail and descend down to Chalet Hotel Val Ferret (a further 2 hours) then get the bus back from here – its the end of the valley. Then the next day you can simply take the bus back to the end of the valley instead of having to climb back up the mountain to get to Bonatti to then walk along the balcon and descend again. I think its easier this way just to have a slightly longer day the day before. Hope this makes sense? Best Mags

      Reply
  • Alan
    July 6, 2023 at 9:53 pm

    I’m departing tomorrow from Florida to Geneva, to walk the TMB with a friend who in Germany now. This trip was all planned and scheduled three years ago…..but then Covid arrived! So the second time should be the charm.
    We’ve talked about using buses on some of the routes (I’m 67 and he is 64) to minimize some of the more strenuous parts…and maximize the enjoyment. I’ll let you know in a month how it all turned out !

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      July 8, 2023 at 5:49 am

      Hi Alan. Have a fabulous trek! Definitely use the shuttle buses and cable cars as much as possible – it will allow you to enjoy the trail even more! Let me know how you get on. Best. Mags

      Reply
  • Hemant
    July 7, 2023 at 9:47 am

    Incredibly useful information. Thanks for making effort to put this together. We have booked 10 days of TMB trekking, but one of the people is injured, so can not hike. He can drive. Can he rent a car and drive around TMB using the same route? We have already booked refuges so use that. Here is route Chamonix – Argentière – Trient – -Champex – La Fouly – Val Ferret- Courmayeur – Les Chapieux – Les Contamines – Les Houches – Chamonix. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      July 8, 2023 at 5:48 am

      Hi Hemant. Sorry to hear one of your party is injured. Yes he can certainly drive around the route which is in most sections easy however in certain sections it will take them longer as they will have drive around the mountains. From Chamonix to Argentiere to Trient is very easy. To Champex-Lac is a bit further but only an hour, same with La Fouly. The biggest distance is getting from La Fouly over to Val Ferret which would take a couple of hours and then from Courmayeur to Les Chapieux is another couple of hours and again from Les Chapieux to Les Contamines but all fine with a car! If you look at google maps you will see the route. It sounds like you are not staying in any high mountain huts? Are you staying in Bonatti in Val Ferret? If so there is no road access so this could be a problem. If you are staying at Chalet Hotel Val Ferret or Hotel Lavachey these are on the main road in the valley of Val Ferret so both have road access. Hope this helps. Have a great trek! Mags

      Reply
      • Hemant
        July 11, 2023 at 11:19 am

        Truly appreciate your detailed note. Many thanks. We are staying in Hotel La Vallée Blanche in La Paludn ( and not in Val Ferret). and Hotel Maison St Jean in Courmayeur.

        These are our Hotels.

        Hotel La Vallée Blanche in Chamonix
        Hôtel Le Dahu in Argentière
        Auberge du Mont Blanc in Trient, 
        Hotel Mont Lac in Champex
        Auberge des Glaciers in La Fouly
        Hotel La Vallée Blanche in La Paludn
        Hotel Maison St Jean in Courmayeur
        Chambres du Soleil in Les Chapieux
        Hotel Le Christiania in Les Contamines – Montjoie
        Hotel Les Campanules in Les Houches
        Hotel La Vallée Blanche 

        Reply
        • tourdumontblanchike
          August 9, 2023 at 8:40 am

          Hi Hemant. If your itinerary is chronological then you have made a mistake with La Paludn – it is on the far side of Courmayeur. There is no reason actually to stay in La Paludn unless you want to go up on the cable car to see Monte Bianco – it is not on the TMB route. You are missing traditionally Refuge Bonatti as the route (clockwise) would be La Fouly then Refuge Bonatti then Courmayeur. If Bonatti is full, you can either stay at Hotel Lavachey in the valley or take the bus along Val Ferret to Courmayeur. If you are hiking this section it would be two full stages from La Fouly to Courmayeur (via Bonatti) however La Paludn you would need to take a bus to from Courmayeur. I don’t normally advise on itineraries on comments but needed to point this out to you. If you would like further help on your itinerary I offer 1 hour zoom consultations. Best wishes. Mags

          Reply
  • Manish Doshi
    August 22, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you. We just came back from TMB. This was very useful.

    Reply
  • Wendy
    December 9, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    where is the bus stop in Les Chapieux which is going to Bourg Saint Maurice?
    thanks

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      December 27, 2023 at 9:58 am

      Hi Wendy. The bus goes from outside the tourist information wooden hut in Les Chapieux. It’s a very small hamlet – you can’t miss it. Note that there is only one bus down to Bourg St Maurice at the end of the day around 6pm. They will release the 2024 timetable around the beginning of June. In 2023 it cost 6 euros per person. Do note that the bus is only a small mini bus so will only seat around 12-14 people so get there early or try to pre-book. Failing that you can get a taxi down to Bourg but these are expensive at around 60 euros and need to be pre-booked ideally. There is no phone signal in Les Chapieux however if you are stuck, the staff at Refuge de la Nova are extremely friendly and will happily call for a taxi for you (especially if you have a drink in the bar whilst you wait). Best wishes. Mags

      Reply
  • Wendy
    January 15, 2024 at 1:53 am

    Thank you very much
    I would like to know where to pre-book the bus ticket from Les Chapieux to Bourg Saint Maurice?

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      February 12, 2024 at 11:51 am

      Hi Wendy
      I’m not sure if you can pre-book the bus ticket from Les Chapieux to Bourg St Maurice. You can contact the Les Chapieux tourist information to ask. They will open on 15th June 2024 – + 33 (0)9 88 77 38 97

      Reply
  • Sally
    March 10, 2024 at 6:43 pm

    Hi, I’m still in two minds about the trip I’m planning next year. Do the whole trip going from one accommodation to the next, or centre myself in Charmonix and maybe another town and travel by public transport to each section to complete that day, returning to Charmonix at night. Is this even possible?

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      March 21, 2024 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Sally it’s possible to do some of the stages basing yourself in some of the towns but impossible to do the whole tour like this. From Chamonix you could do stage 1 and get public transport back however this is quite long winded – a taxi (expensive) would be quicker or else you could do a stage 1 loop back to Chamonix. You can easily do stages 10 and 11 from Chamonix. You can catch the train to Trient and do stage 9 back to Chamonix. Trickier parts are stages 2 and 3 – these you wouldn’t be able to do day trips to. From Courmayeur you can do stage 4 and 5 easily as day trips. Hope this helps. Best wishes. Mags

      Reply
  • Barbara Perlowski
    May 9, 2024 at 12:50 pm

    Will public transportation still be generally available thru early September? We finish on 11 September 2024. Thanks!

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      May 22, 2024 at 8:47 am

      Hi Barbara it depends which transport. The Italian buses all finish their service at the end of August as does the Maison Vielle chairlift/Dolonne cable car. The Les Contamines free shuttle bus to Notre Dame de la Gorge also finishes at the end of August. The Les Chapieux shuttle bus stops in early September – date yet to be released for 2024. The Chamonix cable cars stay open the longest and generally close around the 15-17th September so you will be able to use these for your descents on stages 10 and 11 if required. The best thing to do is to check this post before you leave and it will have all the updated 2024 timetables on. Have a fabulous trek!

      Reply
  • Kalyan Muthukumar
    May 19, 2024 at 11:37 pm

    Hi,

    We are planning to do an anti-clockwise TMB tour for 10 days starting on September 10th at Chamonix. We have booked the hotels for all the 10 nights. At this point, we plan to do hiking for all the 10 days. In case we get tired or run into bad weather in the middle of our TMB tour, can we get public transportation or taxis to go from one point to another in the last minute?

    Here are the places where we plan to stay:
    Chamonix
    Les Houches
    Les Contamines-Montjoie
    Bourg-Saint-Maurice
    Courmayeur
    Orsieres (2 nights)
    Martigny
    Argentiere
    Chamonix

    Thanks,
    Kalyan Muthukumar

    Reply
    • tourdumontblanchike
      May 22, 2024 at 8:50 am

      Hi Kalyan yes it’s possible to get public transport or taxis between all the towns however in some cases this can be over 2 hours long and would be rather expensive. The longest section would be between Les Contamines and Bourg St Maurice which takes around 2.5-3 hours. Have a great trek!

      Reply

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