History of the Tour du Mont Blanc

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The Tour du Mont Blanc is not only one of the most popular hiking tours in Europe, it is also one of the most historic. It meanders for 170 km (approx. 110 miles) through France, Italy and Switzerland offering spectacular views along the way.

History of the Tour du Mont Blanc

The mists of time shroud the date when it was first used to move from one population center in the mountains to another, but hikers today will no doubt be retracing the steps of the Roman legions and later the Celts who had trade routes through the mountains.

While the Tour du Mont Blanc didn’t have a name as it does now, it has been a favorite route for shepherds moving their flocks from one alpine valley to another for many hundreds of years.

The first known attempt at a trek resembling the Tour du Mont Blanc was undertaken in 1767 by Swiss physicist Horace Benedict de Saussure.

His exact route cannot be determined but it was at the very least similar to the hike that is so popular today. He was looking for a route to reach the summit of Mont Blanc.

It took him 20 years, but he ascended to the summit in 1787 and was able to determine through measurements that Mont Blanc was the tallest peak in Europe.

While the trek didn’t immediately become a popular pastime, it grew in popularity over the years and in the mid-19th-century mountaineering was something that intrepid travelers wanted to experience.

Tour du Mont Blanc today

Today there are many ways to enjoy the amazing alpine scenery. The Mont Blanc Massif includes 11 peaks of more than 3600m with Mont Blanc itself over 4800m. Whether you want to take three days or two weeks, the Tour du Mont Blanc offers something for every level of trekker.

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