5 and GR52 Access Points.
* = Logical, recommended break points for multi-year trips; the
others can serve in emergencies. Some intermediate points with bus
service have not been listed.
Thonon-les-Bains, Evian-les-Bains, St-Gingolph by train, bus, and lake steamer from Paris, Geneva and other Swiss points. Airport in Geneva. See detailed discussion of starting points by clicking on "10. Starting Points"... in the list on the left of the page.
Samoëns : 4-5 days'
walk from Lake Geneva, buses connect to Cluse RR Station on the
*Chamonix Valley : 6-8 days'
walk from Lake Geneva; cog rail trains run to St. Gervais-les-Bains with a change to a regular train for Annecy, with connections
to Paris, or towards Geneva. One night train direct between St. Gervais and Paris.
*Landry (or Aime or Bourg St-Maurice, all on the Isère
River): 3-5 days' walk from the Chamonix Valley; trains go directly
to Paris via Albertville.
Tigne or Val d'Isère:
2 days' walk from Landry or Aime. Buses run to, respectively, Aime
or Bourg St.-Maurice.
4-6 days' walk from the Isère River; only 4 hours from Paris
on the main Paris-Rome train route.
Bardonnechia, Italy (off route):
2 days walk after ModaneCan be reached by taxi from Nevache
(a bit expensive) or from the GR5 at the Refuge de la Vallée
Etroite by continuing northeast down the valley, or from GR5B branching
northeast at the Col de l'Échelle, and walking down the highway.
Bardonnechia is the train stop in Italy after the tunnel from Modane
in France, about 4 1/2 hours from Paris.
*Briançon: 3-4 days from Modane. The train route
goes via Valance on the Rhone River south of Lyons, and takes 8
or 9 hours. There is one overnight train with sleeping "couchettes"
(bunks). An alternative is to take the three hour bus trip to Grenoble,
and continue to Paris from there in about 3 hours. The bus schedule
can be found at: http://www.vfd.fr/HorairesLignesRegulieres/Ligne35.htm
Chateau Queyras: 2 days from Briançon. Bus connects
with Montdauphin-Guillestre railroad station on the Briançon
- Valance line, which is 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours from Paris.
Ceillac: 3 days from Briançon. Bus connects with
Montdauphin-Guillestre railroad station on the Briançon -
Valance train line, which is 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours from Paris.
Larche: 5 days from Briançon. It is probably necessary during the hiking season to take a cab or find a ride between Larche and Barcelonette.(27 kilometers). Bus service from Barcelonette to Gap
on the Briançon - Valance train line. The train takes 6 1/2
to 7 1/2 hours to reach Paris. There are also daily busses from Gap to Nice, Marseilles, Grenoble, and Briançon.
Another easier option is to fly into Nice or take the train there. From the airport or the train station a morning bus and and afternoon bus, costing €1 runt to St. Etienne-de Tinée. From there a taxi ride can take you to Larche or even further north, perhaps costing around €100.
*St. Etienne-de-Tinée or Auron: On the GR5, 2 days from
Larche, Twice a day buses
run from these towns to and from Nice in 2-3 hours. Price is 1 Euro. Connections
in Nice by train or air.
*Isola 2000: (on the Balcons du Mercantour special alternative route or 3 to 4 days from Larche) Buses run to and from Nice during July and August at a price of only 1 Euro..
Saint-Dalmas-Valdeblore: A 3 days' walk from St. Etienne-de-Tinée.
Bus to Nice. Price 1 Euro.
Nice Route (GR5):
Levens or Aspremont: 5
days away from St. Etienne-de-Tinée. Local bus service takes
you to Nice in less than an hour. You can walk there in half of a day.
Nice: Train connections to Paris (under 6 hours), to the rest of France and to Italy. International Airport with connections to many European cities and New York. Several bus lines connect the airport with the train station and the bus station.
Menton Route (GR52):
St.-Dalmas-de-Tende (off route): A
walk of less than 10 kilometers from the Refuge des Merveilles—but a decent of some 1,400 meters (4,600 feet), this town lies on the Tendé-Sospel-Nice
train line. It is an escape route for those not willing to make
the day-long, 2,000 meter (7,000 foot) descent towards the Mediterranean. Train service to Nice. Coming from Nice, allow 4 hours for the climb.
Sospel: Only the physically injured should bail out here,
as in clear weather the next day's descent into Menton on the GR52 is without question
one of the very best hiking views in the Alps. On the train line
from Tendé to Nice, and access to Menton by bus. There is also bus service to Menton.
Menton: Train service to France and to Italy. About a 45 minute train ride to the Nice Station, from which there are buses that go to the Nice Airport. There is also bus to the Nice bus station for 1 Euro, with bus connections to the Nice airport. It will be slow going in July and August given the crowds on the road..