Walk from the peaceful hamlet of Novel to the flower-filled Alpine town of La Chapelle d'Abondance.
Start your day with a transfer from your hotel to the picturesque hamlet of Novel. Follow the GR5 trail as it ascends through the little village past the church and information board about the local area. Start with a short ascent on tarmac road before veering off onto a stoney path through forests and past wooden chalets and shrines. Continue to ascend through forest and open fields and soon a view of Lake Geneva will open up and accommpany you all the way to your first mountain pass, Le Col de Bise (1915m). Say goodbye to the Lake and begin a steep descent to the Chalets de Bise where you will find a restaurant, a farm selling cheese and jams, a toilet and a fountain where you can replensih your water. The sound of Alpine cow bells with be with you almost constantly as you walk through peaceful dairy farms and open fields. The next major ascent begins immediately after les Chalets de Bise and you climb steeply to Pas de Bosse (1816m). Enjoy views of the distant Dents Blanches mountains before beginning your descent through fields and forest. The last 30 mins of your walk is on a quiet tarmac road, passing many benches and picnic areas before arriving in colourful La Chapelle d'Abondance.
The restaurant at the Chalets de Bise offer some great food options including the 'assiette de randonneur' (walker's plate) made up of cheese from the nearby farm, meats and bread- delicious! However, keep in mind that immediately after the Chalets de Bise you will be ascending steeply for 300m, which can be hard going with a belly full of food!
Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains - always be prepared and carry appropriate clothing; warm as well as waterproof layers, hat and gloves etc. Please see your information pack for a detailed packing list.
The descent after Col de Bise is steep and can be slippy. Make sure you have walking boots with good grip and a pair of walking poles. Take your time and take plenty of breaks if feeling tired.
Today you will be walking past a few different areas where cows graze. Although generally very docile and used to walkers, keep your distance and never turn your back on a cow that is behaving strangely or aggressive. Be particularly vigilant around cows with calves.
Good waterproof boots are a must and walking poles are highly recommended. Make sure to bring plenty of water and a snack or packed lunch.
This walk is quite exposed so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen on hot days.
Food available at Montreux and Chalets de Bise. Plenty of water refill points throughout the day.
Points of Interest
1) Novel - A pretty hamlet that dates back 700 years. The entire village was destroyed in a fire in 1924 and rebuilt. The village remained quite islolated until 1930 when the road from St. Gingolph was built. The church is particularly charming.
2) Hotel Le Grammot - during WW2, the hotel (now a bar/resturant in Novel) was the scene of an assault by the resistance who were attempting to seize the weapons of Italian customs officers staying in the hotel. Two of the resistance fighters lost their lives. Reprisals were only avoided by the intervention of the Duchess of Vendôme.
3) Le parc a daims -Upon entering La Chapelle d'Abondance, you will pass the parc a daims, or deer park. Given as a gift to the mayor of the town in the 1970's, the deer have lived here ever since. You are likely to spot them as you walk past.
This tour is available on the following itineraries:
Today you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to Novel where you will start today's walk.
If you can't walk today due to illness, injury or weather, you can travel with your bags to La Chapelle d'Abondance. Please let the taxi company and Macs Adventure know with as much notice as possible if this is the case.