Hiking: Col de Balme, France

My last day in Chamonix, I had plans to hike Lac Cornu, but decided, last minute, that a change of scenery would be necessary. I took the train to Vallorcine, boarded a lift

Then hiked up to the Swiss border, accompanied by wildflowers and the cowbell chimes.

All the hiking options from the lift station

The trail started off flat

According to the sign above, had I sticked to the trail, I should be able to finish this hike in 1 hour 15 minutes. But that wouldn’t be fun, would it?

Barely five minutes into the hike, I heard the cow bells and veered off the course.

Just like that, I stepped into Switzerland 🙂

The End!


After visiting the cows close up, which I’m not sure was a good idea now that I think about it – they stunk big time – I went back to the trail and began the uphill climb.

This is the most beautiful section of the hike, painted with wild flowers

Accompanied by the sound of running water and insects in the Alpine meadows.

If you listen carefully, you can still hear the cow bells through the wind.

After about 45 minutes, I came to Refuge du Col de Balme

and the official border of Switzerland.

Trient is a municipality in the district of Martigny in the Valais Canton, Switzerland.

Note the pointers in red and white

vs. the green ones in France.

I had lunch near the Refuge then ventured a little further till I encountered the névé on trail.

There the wild flowers were even more impressive!

More flowers on my way down

And a tarn

Dotted with cotton grass

With a reflection of the mountain peaks.

One more look at the Glacier du Tour.

I got back in town just in time for my reservation at the ever-so-popular Mumma.

Helmed by chef David Lillieroth from Stockholm, Mumma serves pan-Asian fusion cuisine.

Here I ordered the crunchy fried aubergine with steamed broccolini, sweet chili miso sauce, nori, and pickled fennel; Szechuan & soy glazed iberico pork ribs with esquites, pickled chili, coriander and scallion. Despite the hype and the price tag, the flavours were good. Again I was happy to see more food varieties in this Alpine town.

After dinner I decided to skip the climbing competition

And got back to my room for some peaceful time with the mountains.

This concludes my hiking journey in the French alps this time around.

Coming up next: Annecy, France


The usual Col de Balme hike does not start from Vallorcine, but from the village of Le tour and it will take more than 1 hour 15 minutes. However, due to work on the Tour/Charamillon side at the moment, the Balme area can only be discovered from the village of Vallorcine.

24 thoughts on “Hiking: Col de Balme, France

  1. It must’ve been so cool to literally cross one country to another, from France to Switzerland (and back) within a hike! I enjoy open borders like this, especially in Europe: that pan-Asian meal looks divine, and I’m glad you had a wonderful time hiking in the Alps! Can’t wait to see what you get up to in Annecy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was going to relate the first photo with the approach to Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado, but the rest of the photos promptly blew that away. No wonder the one group of cows wasn’t eating – I’d also be distracted by the surrounding vistas!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s