Last minute at almost 3,000 metres

Last minute trek at almost 3,000 metres

Go for a wellness cure with this wonderful two-day hike proposed by Sophie: the magnificent view from the top of the Grand Area is a perfect retreat!

When passing through the Serre Chevalier valley, if the weather is clear, you absolutely must climb the Grand Area to take in this exceptional panorama of the surrounding Alpine massifs. An accessible experience to do alone or with your partner or family.

Some information about this trek in the mercantour:

  • Duration of a trek


    2 days

  • Distance of a trek


    10 kilometres

  • Elevation of a trek


    650 m D+
    High point: Grand Area Belvedere (2,869 m)

  • Difficulty for beginner



  • Autonomy of a trek



  • Best time to travel

    Best time of year for this trek

    From May to October

Sophie's itinerary on the taillefer tour

(Trek done in july 2021)

1. Ascent from the Bergerie car park
2. Winding up to the Petit Area ridge
3. Grand Area Belvedere
4. Return with eyes full of stars
5. Descent to the Buffere pass
6. Trail and return to the car park

Ascent to grand area

My old car had a bit of trouble climbing the 15 kilometres separating us from Serre Chevalier... which allowed me to observe very quietly but enthusiastically the ever more beautiful view as I went back and forth on the winding road. It's late when we park at the Bergerie de Saint Joseph car park in the direction of the Col du Granon but the long days of early July allow us to consider pitching our tent at the highest point of the loop.
The path is well signposted and climbs gently up to the Petit Area pass which gives us a glimpse of the 360 view that awaits us a few hundred metres higher.

Hiking in Petit Area: Last minute at almost 3,000 metres

The incredible view from the belvedere

The sun gradually declines, the view is more and more magical and makes us forget that we will soon have to pitch our tent somewhere in this very "stony" landscape. We climb to the Grand Area viewpoint at 2,869 metres, the highest point of this hike.

Ecrins, Vanoise, Mont Blanc, the Italian Alps, our eyes don't know where to look anymore, the panorama is so wide. It is not surprising that history made the Grand Area a strategic military location during the First World War.
We leave a note in the hiker's notebook left under the Belvedere cross and go in search of the site for our bivouac.

Last minute at almost 3,000 metres

A "rocky" but restful night

The sun is setting fast, at 3,000 metres the temperatures are dropping with it and although we would like to stay and daydream, it is time to pitch our tent. We are far from the flat meadow with its fresh grass.
We clear a small light slope of stones as best we can and settle down, thinking that this would be the best test for our floor mats and that the acupressure of the stones on our backs would do us a lot of good. Let's just say that given the time of day we had to reassure ourselves as best we could.
One Forclaz chicken curry later, a few pictures of the illuminated valley and we dive into our sleeping bags to avoid getting too cold. Contrary to all expectations, it was one of the best nights spent in bivouac, the calm of the place, the magic of the landscape must have made us forget the discomfort of the ground.

Last minute at almost 3,000 metres
Last minute at almost 3,000 metres

On the way back, our eyes full of stars

The sun warms us up, the view of the rising morning is as beautiful as the one of the day before. We know that today is our last day in the Alps and we want to enjoy it. Each in silence, enjoying the moment, we eat our breakfast and put away our equipment at a snail's pace. We have never been so slow and silent on the way back to the car, the magic of the trek has worked:joy, nostalgia and a deep desire to return as soon as possible are the feelings that run through us.

Adaptations on the Taillefer tour in the Ecrins

As a bonus...

Mercantour trekking backpack

Fauna and flora spotted

Fauna: marmots, birds of prey
Flora: some rock flowers

My sustainable development tip

The microfibre flannel is my ally on the treks. For years I have been committed to a zero waste approach and it is inconceivable for me to take wipes on my journey - even if, let's face it, they are still very practical. Depending on the time of year, trekking can be a logistical headache for women, but with a little common sense, nothing is insurmountable:
The small microfibre glove with a little Aleppo soap makes it possible to quickly wash and it dries very quickly! So why take on more and carry your waste with you?

My trekking anecdote

We had to go hiking on another slope, on a much longer route. We changed our itinerary at the last minute, seeing that there was not enough time to fully enjoy the original itinerary. And the experience was magical! Having your life on your back gives you a huge feeling of freedom, offering you the possibility to let yourself be carried by your intuitions, this is a value of the trek that I love!

The good tips for this trek

Sometimes the ground forces us to think about setting up our tent... here it was the case! We took 5 minutes longer than usual to visualise the positions of the stones and place the floor of our tent where we would be least bothered. We took an extra 3 minutes to organise ourselves and try to push as many pebbles as possible from the surface. I think this time saved our night and spared our floor mats!

My favourite

The view, the view, the view... just great! The view is incredible and the advantage is that it can be easily accessed by the family: enough to make the little ones want to go hiking.

My mountain essential

The little repair kit for the mattress... even if I didn't use it, I admit that I thought about it all along the hike because of the ground that was going to support my evening bed.

Taillefer trek testimonial

Trek undertaken and narrated by sophie

Product owner in data, looking for an escape whenever i have free time

One more thing:
"One of the most beautiful "panoramic hotels" I have experienced, at the cost of some minor aches and pains"

More tips and testimonials

trek itinerary in the Alps

Trek departing from Chambéry with a reduced carbon footprint!

Sophie set herself a challenge: to go trekking with a group of people she hardly knew while minimizing her carbon footprint. A challenge that was certainly accepted with this itinerary setting out from Chambéry, offering both magnificent views and burgeoning friendship!

The most beautiful treks in Europe

The most beautiful treks in Europe

Want to explore Europe and its mountains with your family or friends? Here are our top 6 favourite trekking routes!

Inspiration: 5 trekking ideas in Canada

Inspiration: 5 trekking ideas in Canada

Prepare your trip by discovering our 5 suggestions for treks in Canada. Get on board now!

Inspiration: 5 ideas for trekking in Bolivia

Inspiration: 5 ideas for trekking in Bolivia

This is an unmissable destination for hikers around the world. To help you get ready for your trip, discover our 5 top ideas for trekking in Bolivia.

5 trekking routes for exploring Albania

5 trekking routes for exploring Albania

The ideal playing field for trekkers, Albania is a land of contrasts, where the sea and the mountains constantly clash. Thanks to its wide open unspoiled spaces and very rich historical and cultural heritage, this little-known country will not fail to amaze you.

Adaptations on the Taillefer tour in the Ecrins

3 days on the Taillefer tour in the Ecrins

Trekking also means knowing how to adapt to the chance misfortunes! Here is a good example with Sophie's (mis)adventures in the Taillefer Massif.

Inspiration: 5 ideas for trekking in Bulgaria

Inspiration: 5 ideas for trekking in Bulgaria

During your travels, you'll discover a land with millenia-old history, and with unrivalled natural and architectural heritage. You'll escape the crowds as you take the pathways of Pirin, Rila or Vitocha National Parks.

Our trekking ideas in Spain

Our trekking ideas in Spain

From Santiago de Compostela to the beaches of the Costa Brava, from the volcanoes of the Canary Islands to the mountains of Aragon, explore Spain thanks to 5 unforgettable trekking ideas.

trekking route in the vanoise

At the heart of the Vanoise mountain range, trekking around the glaciers

This year, what if were to choose France as the place to make the most of the end of the season? A week of trekking, all alone in the world, in the heart of the Vanoise national park. It's unspoilt, it's natural, it's magnificent. In short, it's the perfect spot!

Trekking in Italy

Trekking in Italy

Do you dream of touring Italy on foot? Check out our selection of the best hiking or trekking destinations in Italy!

Top 5 hiking routes in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Top 5 walking travel routes in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Discover our best walking travel routes in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Discoveries, thrills and great encounters guaranteed!

The clothes to wear for trekking The 4-layer system explained by mountain advanced specialists.

Choosing the right clothes for trekking, using the 4-layer technique

When it comes to staying dry and at the right temperature when trekking, there's no use in just multiplying the number of layers: You just need to find the right combination of clothes! The 4-layer rule is a heat management and humidity regulation technique.

rain trek wet dry

Rain protection when trekking

Setting off when it's raining or threatening to rain just means you have to be well equipped! It is often said there is no bad weather, only bad equipment.