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Long distance hiking trail recommended route

Novel to La Chapelle d'Abondance

Long distance hiking trail · Rhône-Alpes
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Only 21 days to reach the Mediterranean!
    / Only 21 days to reach the Mediterranean!
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
  • / Views to Lake Geneva start to open up on your left
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
  • / On the ascent to Col de Bise
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
  • / Col de Bise
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
  • / Steep descent to Chalets de Bise
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
  • / Tarmac country road into La Chapelle
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
  • / Turn left here and head across the grass
    Photo: Sarah Stone, Macs Adventure
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Walk from the peaceful hamlet of Novel to the flower-filled Alpine town of La Chapelle d'Abondance. 
Distance 15.7 km
6:30 h
1,300 m
1,200 m
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. 

Author’s recommendation

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!
Profile picture of Sarah Stone
Sarah Stone
Update: August 21, 2018
Highest point
1,915 m
Lowest point
944 m
Best time of year

Safety information

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. 

Tips and hints

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:





Car park at Novel (955 m)
46.369407, 6.789008
46°22'09.9"N 6°47'20.4"E
32T 329942 5137468


Tourist information Centre, La Chapelle d'Abondance

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km - START POINT: Car park in Novel. Facing the ‘Le Grammont’ bar/restaurant, BEAR LEFT and follow the narrow road as it ascends.

0.01km - TURN RIGHT taking the stone steps toward the church, following the red and white markers (typical of GR trails in France). After the church, cross the road and continue STRAIGHT AHEAD on Avenue Dédé Bouvet. Ascend.

0.02km - Pass the church on your right. Just after the church. TURN LEFT following the sign for GR5: Col de Bise and follow the quiet tarmac road.

0.50km - Leave the tarmac road and BEAR RIGHT onto stony path as it ascends through woods, following the waymarking. Continue following the initially very steep path as it intersects with the road.

0.80km – Continue STRAIGHT AHEAD passing a small shrine, small church building and a statue of a mountain goat on your right. Ignore small path on right.

1.40km – Arrive at the tarmac road, signposted ‘Le Delay’ (1100m). Continue STRAIGHT AHEAD onto it, passing by houses and following the signage.

1.60km- BEAR RIGHT, leaving the tarmac road and join the stony path flanked by trees.

1.80km - Come to the tarmac road again and BEAR RIGHT onto ‘Impasse de Delay’ and ascend. The tarmac soon becomes a grassy stony path.

2.10km – come to a fork in the path and a sign displaying the altitude (1170m). TURN LEFT following signs for Col de Bise. Soon after you will come to a sign displaying the walking time to Nice (the final destination of the complete GR5) and the time to Novel which makes for a great photo!

2.40km – Come to a tarmac path and a sign for ‘La Planche’ (1210m). TURN LEFT following sign for Col de Bise, follow the tarmac path for a couple of meters downhill before you BEAR RIGHT onto a steep stony path through the forest.

2.70km – Arrive at ‘La Planche a Brousoz’. TURN LEFT following the signs on a stony path into the forest once again.

3.00km – Come to some more signage after the walking through the open field. (alt. 1200m). TURN RIGHT onto the gravel path.

3.20km – Come to a large rock with painted way markers, note the yellow way marker instructs to turn left. Leave the gravel path and TURN LEFT onto grass to join the path a few meters on the other side of the grass. TURN LEFT again to join the path. Be careful as this turn is easy to miss as it’s natural to want to continue on  the gravel path. See picture at back of route notes.

3.60km – Come to signage for Montagne des Nez (1250m). TURN LEFT onto the grassy path, following signs.

4.00km – Arrive at sign for Alt. 1330m. Ignore path on left and continue STRAIGHT AHEAD. Be sure to look behind you for views of Lake Geneva which are now opening up. Follow this path for 1.3km as it ascends constantly through forest and open ground. The path becomes narrow at parts.

5.30km – Continue to follow signs for Col de Bise (1hr 20), you can now see Lake Geneva on your left.

5.90km – Arrive at ‘Chalets de Neuteu’ (1700m). TURN RIGHT and go through the gate leading to the chalets. There is a water fountain to your right again if you need to refill.

6.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT AHEAD on path following faint markers on the ground and ignoring the paths that take you around the chalets (unless of course you wish to explore!) Come to a t-junction in the narrow stone path. TURN RIGHT and follow the path as it ascends.

6.80km – Arrive at the ‘Montagne de Neuteu’ (1854m) BEAR LEFT onto small stone path and ognore the path going straight ahead.

7. 00km – Arrive at ‘Montagne de Neuteu Sud’ (1834m). For some reason our destination of Col de Bise is not listed here, but continue STRAIGHT AHEAD on the rocky path as it ascends.

7.20km – Ignore the path on your right, switching back at a sharp right angle. Continue STRAIGHT AHEAD and over the hill, you will see the sign post for ‘Col de Bise’ (1915m). Congratulations, you have reached the highest point of your walk today! When you are ready to continue, say goodbye to Lake Geneva and start the steep descent to ‘Chalets de Bise’, following the signs. Walking poles are useful for this descent as it is steep and can be slippy in some places.

9.00km – Come to a sign for ‘La Salle’ (1535m), the worst of the descent is over! Continue STRAIGHT AHEAD.

9.90km – Come to Chalets de Bise. If you want to visit the restaurant, then BEAR RIGHT here and walk through the car park. If you want to continue, BEAR LEFT and cross the bridge to continue on the path. There is a farm on your right selling cheese and there is a fountain for refill on your left.

10.00 km- After the buvette (only opened on weekends), come to signage and a fork in the path. BEAR RIGHT through a small wooden gate and ascend. Follow the sign for La Chapelle d’Abondance (2 hr 55mins) Continue on the path as it zigzags up the hill side

11.00 km- The path becomes indistinct here, with many loose rocks and boulders strewn over it. Keep an eye out for the red and white markers and follow the cairns.

11.70km – Arrive at Pas de la Bosse (1816m) and take in the views of ‘Les Dents Blanches’ in the distance. BEAR RIGHT on the narrow rocky/grassy path as it descends gently. Follow the sign for ‘Chalets de Chevennes (1 hr 15mins)’. It’s all downhill from here!

12.40km – Come to an old sign for ‘Chalet Cote’ (1765m), the remains of which can be seen on your right. TURN LEFT following the path as it descends.

12.90km – Arrive at ‘Chalets de la Cheneau’(1590m), follow signs for La Chapelle d’Abondance (1 hr 10mins), continuing STRAIGHT AHEAD on the path as it veers left of the hut, it soon becomes a dirt track.

13.20km- Come to a fork in the track. Ignore the smaller path veering left and continue STRAIGHT AHEAD descending. After about 10m, you will arrive at a boulder which has three faint way markers on it. Leave the main path and join a very faint grassy/stony path left of the boulder, which runs parallel to the main dirt track for some time.

13.70km – Arrive at another fork in the path. BEAR RIGHT continuing downhill on the stony narrow path. Come to an electric fence with a wire gate, go through this and BEAR RIGHT again continuing the descent as the path zigzags through the forest.

14.40km – Ignore the sharp left turn to your left, the tree has a red and white cross on it which means do not go this way. Continue STRAIGHT AHEAD descending on the stony path.

14.80km – Come to the ‘Chalets de Chevenne’. TURN LEFT following the signs for La Chapelle d’Abondance. Cross a dry river bed then TURN RIGHT following the signs and descending on a wide rocky path.

15.00km – Arrive at a car park which has a covered picnic space to your left and a bench on your right. Ignore the red and white marker and arrow pointing right which is on the bridge. Do not cross the bridge, instead TURN LEFT following the quiet tarmac road as it descends to La Chapelle. The road is generally quiet but please be aware of traffic. Follow the road all the way down ignoring any side paths or roads.

15.50km – Arrive into the town of La Chapelle d’Abondance, passing the Hotel Vieux Moulin on your left and following the tarmac road STRAIGHT AHEAD, ignoring any side roads or paths. Shortly after, you will pass a sport shop on your left, handy for any items you may need to pick up!

15.70km – Come to a road, the Mairie (town hall is on your right). Cross the road carefully using the pedestrian crossing and you will arrive at the Office de Tourisme.

FINISH: Office de Tourisme.


all notes on protected areas

Getting there

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.


46.369407, 6.789008
46°22'09.9"N 6°47'20.4"E
32T 329942 5137468
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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. 

Basic Equipment for Long-Distance Hikes

  • Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
  • Layered, moisture wicking clothing
  • Hiking socks  
  • Rucksack (with rain cover)
  • Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking poles
  • Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Blister kit
  • Bivy / survival bag  
  • Survival blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Pocket knife
  • Whistle
  • Cell phone
  • Cash
  • Navigation equipment / map and compass
  • Emergency contact details
  • ID

Camping Equipment

  • Tent (3- or 4-season)
  • Stove (including fuel and utensils)
  • Sleeping mat. Sleeping bag with suitable temperature rating.
  • Food
  • Toiletries and medication
  • Toilet paper

Things to Bring if Staying in a Mountain Hut

  • Toiletries and medication
  • Quick-drying towel  
  • Ear plugs
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Sleepwear
  • Alpine club membership card if applicable / ID
  • Coronavirus mask and hand sanitizer
  • The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
  • For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
  • Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.

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15.7 km
6:30 h
1,300 m
1,200 m
Linear route


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