Martigny – Vallorcine – Argentière – Chamonix – Martigny
au départ de la gare CFF Martigny
This route from Martigny follows in the footsteps of stage #17 (Berne-Finhaut) of the 2016 Tour de France. It leads to Chamonix, a famous and historic alpine town at the foot of Mont Blanc, which at 4,807 m is the highest mountain in Europe.
As you leave from the south of Martigny, by the large roundabout, the ascent begins on the road to Forclaz, built in 1957 and completely renovated in spring 2016. You quickly reach the top of the vineyards, with a magnificent view of the Rhone Valley and the Valais Alps. The vineyards have been on the hillside since the 14th century and extend over 120 hectares. Local grape varieties include Cornalin, Diolinoir, Merlot and Syrah for the reds and for the whites, Marsanne, Humagne Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Petite Arvine, a grape variety that is 100% Valais.
On a fairly wide and very winding road, you continue to the Col de la Forclaz at 1,527 m altitude. During your climb you’ll see the Drapeau Suisse, a very pleasant restaurant with local and seasonal cuisine. When you arrive at the Col de la Forclaz, after a climb rising 1,100 m in altitude, a stop on the sunny panoramic terrace is welcome.
Below the col you can see the village of Trient, which gave its name to the glacier located in the valley to the left of the col. For lovers of hiking, the Tour du Mont Blanc, which takes 5 to 6 days with accommodation in cabins, goes through the Col de la Forclaz.
In the rugged mountains, you can visit mysterious gorges and waterfalls cascading into the coolness of the rock. The area is popular with climbers and has several fairly steep climbs. After the village of Trient and the long straight path, on your right, perched on a hillside, you will see the village of Finhaut, a tourist mecca of the late 19th century.
There are two options for the way back:
The really sporty take the road.
Or you can go back by train, on the Mont Blanc Express, which runs every hour. In an hour and 45 minutes you travel over 45 km to reach Martigny, crossing the very deep valley of Trient. The cog railway then descends slowly into Martigny, offering a beautiful view of Lake Rosel, an ideal spot for windsurfing.