The Tour of the Vanoise route, and part of GR5, is portrayed above, with the route we took being the small loop at the bottom, annotated with our days 1 to 7.
So longer routes are available. They are detailed in Kev Reynolds’ Cicerone Guide to the area.
Here’s Sue’s diary record for Stage 1:
Sunday 26 August 2007
Off to a gentle start - a leisurely breakfast at 8.30. We arrange to meet at 9.30, which all comply with on a warm morning with a blue sky. We admire the proprietor's flowers - Martin attempts to lock the car, parked opposite the hotel, to no avail. The attempt continues for over half an hour, with the manual coming out - but it's in French. Eventually we seek the assistance of the hotel owner, who stands several metres from the car, a Renault Megane, and manages to lock it. He is proclaimed an expert, and finally we set off at 10.10.
The industrial part of Modane is soon left behind and we walk through quiet streets, where the only noise is from racquets on a tennis ball from a court by the road.
Slowly, we begin to climb, first through streets, then onto a track, and finally on steep paths through woods. It is very warm, despite the shade of the trees. There are nearly 900 metres to climb but the steep path affords good progress. At about midday we stop on the path to brew and snack - glimpses of Modane below.
First brew above Modane
It's so hot that Richard removes his t-shirt and treats us to his 'brown loaf' stomach. (We were spared a photo today – Ed)
A lovely open meadow is soon reached and I share some tiny, ripe, alpine strawberries, picked on the trail. We see the first people since the village on the meadow. More woodland follows - with lovely warm pine smells and singing birds.
Cabin below Refuge d'Orgère
The refuge is soon in sight - at the road head. We enjoy Salade de Montaguerde in the sun, then settle into Dortoir 3.
Lunch at Refuge d'Orgère
The afternoon's activity is the 'Sentier Natur' - mostly in shade, which consists of information boards describing birds/animals/geology, and guessing games - 'Who am I?'
Sue with Crocus on the Nature Trail
Willowherbs, and Refuge d'Orgère in the distance
A Nature Trail waterfall
We climb towards the pass up the valley, then descend near sheep pens where two fearless marmots are munching the grass.
Sue stalks a marmot
Dinner at 7 pm - soup, pork chops with boulangère potatoes, lettuce and cheese, then egg custard. The red wine flows at dinner and accompanies our game of Uno - Martin (as usual) wipes the floor with Richard and me.
Our game is accompanied by harmonica tunes from a 'fondue party' to celebrate a birthday - the musician is good and even indulges us with a baroque classic. Finally head for bed ~10 pm, with a nice, nearly full, moon.
[Stats: Start 10.10. Brew stop at 1700 metres 12.10 to 40. Finish at hut 1.20 (2.5 hours walk, 5.5 km, 880 metres ascent - Stage 1). Plus nature trail 4km + 185m ascent in 2.25 hours.]
(Anquet: 6 km, 1186 m ascent, + Nature Trail 4 km, 250 m ascent)