Tour du Mont Blanc refuges – the good, the bad and the ugly

by Mags Nixon

Do yourself a favour and book your Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation EARLY! To bag the best Tour du Mont Blanc refuges, you should ideally you be booking your accommodation as early as January or February to ensure you have your pick of the best TMB refuges. 

Of course, each group trekking the TMB will have different budgets, standards and expectations. There are a huge number of Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation providers on the trail that will meet your individual needs, whether you’re trekking on a shoestring (where camping is going to be your only option) or booking ensuite rooms for added comfort.

Take your time planning your self guided Tour du Mont Blanc route. It’s tricky as it’s hard to know the difficulty of each stage and therefore how long it will take (especially if you’re hiking with children). This ultimately affects which TMB refuge you can realistically get to each day. Read our full Self Guided Tour du Mont Blanc Guide here.

Because each Tour du Mont Blanc refuge needs to be booked individually – if you leave booking your refuges too late, you’re left with a challenging (and stressful) task of having to re-route your planned itinerary accordingly.  This is why planning early is crucial – doubly so when planning to trek the Tour du Mont Blanc with kids.


Planning your TMB route early means having a CHOICE of refuges and is truly the key to making the planning of your Tour du Mont Blanc trek enjoyable and easy rather than frustrating and stressful. 


If you’re doing the Tour du Mont Blanc on a budget and merely looking to get your head down for the night, then camping or hostel type refuges with cavernous dorms will suit you fine. Camping is generally allowed close to each refuge but not on the trail. If you don’t want to lug huge amounts of food along with you, it’s possible to eat at the refuges.

If, like me, you’re trekking with kids or with an older generation family member then the standard of Tour du Mont Blanc refuges take more importance and could make or break you (or one of your group) after a 7-10 hour day hiking at high altitude. Do your homework and plan according to what your needs are.

The Tour du Mont Blanc refuges and hotels are listed in order of hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc counter clockwise starting from Chamonix.

At the end of the post there is a handy list of which refuges have private rooms, dorms only or both. This is useful if you  wish to only stay in private rooms during your Tour du Mont Blanc trek. 



Types of Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation
Our biggest tip on booking refuges on the Tour du Mont Blanc
What are the best TMB refuges?

Refuge Nant Borrant – France
Refuge de la Balme – France
Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme – France
Refuge de la Nova – France
Chambres des Soleil – France

Refuge Les Mottets – France
Refugio Elisabetta – Italy
Cabane Combal – Italy
Refugio Bertone – Italy
Refugio Bonatti – Italy
Chalet Val Ferret, Val Ferret – Italy
Refugio Elena, Grand Col Ferret – Italy
Alpage de la Peule, near La Fouly – Switzerland
Hotel Belvedere, Champex-Lac – Switzerland
La Grande Ourse, Trient – Switzerland
Auberge Mont Blanc, Trient – Switzerland
Refuge le Peuty, Trient – Switzerland
Refuge du Col de Balme – France
Auberge la Boerne – France
Refuge du Lac Blanc – France
TMB Accommodation – Private Rooms, Dorms Only or both?

tour du mont blanc refuges

Refugio Elisabetta, the first refuge over the Italian border (counter-clockwise) is perched in a magnificent setting. The downside is this huge refuge houses nearly 80 trekkers and can be chaos in peak periods.


Types of Tour du Mont Blanc Accommodation

The Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation on this famous trail varies enormously from super sweet chocolate box wooden chalets, mammoth sized basic remote refuges to comfy B&B’s. 

For some of the 10 nights on the trail, you’ll be able to choose from cosy hotels and B&Bs in quaint villages and towns on the valley floor. Other sections of the trail require you to sleep at high altitude in mountain refuges. These can be varied in size and comfort, but in my opinion are far more exciting!

TMB refuges offer a half board option, meaning you get dinner and breakfast included, although you can book just a bed. Most trekkers take the half board option as the weight of carrying food supplies along on the trek is unpractical. In some refuges half board is mandatory.

Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation costs can really mount up for a family to hike the TMB with typical refuge tariffs between 50-60 euros per night, going up to easily 80-85 Swiss francs (around the same in euros) in Switzerland. If you’re on a budget, plan to spend less time in Switzerland, meaning walking further each day, or even cutting a stage out by taking the bus.


Which are the best Tour du Mont Blanc refuges on the trail?

It’s important to know which are the best Tour du Mont Blanc refuges before you plan your trek and book your TMB accommodation.

On the Italian side – the Bonatti Refugio and Refuge Elena huts have been completely re-renovated and have been labelled ‘palaces’ on the tour. They are close together though on the trail so you wouldn’t really stay at both. If you have a choice, Bonatti is hands down my favourite.

On the French side, Nant Borrant (just before crossing the Col du Bonhomme), Auberge de la Boerne (Tré-le-Champ), Lac Blanc and Les Mottets are all excellent. The Lac Blanc refuge has now re-opened after being closed for a couple of years, so this is fantastic news for TMB hikers – the spot is magical.


Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation

3 tier sleeping platforms in one of the dorms at Refuge Elisabetta



Our biggest Tour du Mont Blanc refuge tip

If I were to give you one tip on booking any Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation, it would be to book LES CHAPIEUX first. Les Chapieux is a tiny hamlet and is the second night’s accommodation if you are hiking the traditional counter-clockwise direction starting from Les Houches. Les Chapieux only has three accommodation options – Refuge de la Nova, Les Chambres du Soleil or camping.

If you do not book early enough at Les Chapieux you will fail to secure this night’s accommodation on the trail. Yes you heard right. There is no other option apart from completely leaving the trail and catching a 30 minute taxi ride (45-60 euros one way) from Les Chapieux to the town of Bourg St Maurice. The next day you’ll need to catch a taxi all the way back to Chapieux to resume the trail. This will cost you a lot, be more inconvenient (especially after a long and arduous day’s trek) and be much less special than staying in Les Chapieux.

If you can’t get into Les Chapieux, the next step is to immediately check the availability of Refuge des Mottets. A charmingly recently restored dairy farm, Refuge des Mottets has good accommodation, serves excellent food and is right at the base of the next col, Col de la Seigne which will take you over into Italy.

Refuge des Mottets is an hour’s extra hike from the hamlet of Les Chapieux but if you’re exhausted already, you can easily catch a shuttle bus (which takes 30 mins) from the information hut at Les Chapieux straight to the Refuge des Mottets’s parking. Here is the 2019 shuttle timetable. I will update this with the 2020 timetable as soon as it is released, towards the end of the winter.


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It’s mandatory to take a sleeping bag liner with you to stay in the TMB refuges

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I know all of this because I FAILED TO BOOK CHAPIEUX FIRST. My misconception was to book Elisabetta over everything else and didn’t have time to book the rest of our accommodation until after I got back from our May (yes! May!) trip to the Highlands of Scotland. Of course, Chapieux was completely and utterly booked up by my wretched, miserable attempts at a late May booking for mid- July. I then set about having to research from pure necessity the available options. I held off booking one of the many hotels in Bourg St Maurice and phoned two weeks ahead of our trip to ask about cancellations at Refuge de La Nova and Chambres des Soleil . I was lucky – the universe provided and a private 3 bed room at Refuge de la Nova fell into our profoundly grateful laps. 

If needs be, you can book a taxi from Taxis BURGOT – Tel: +33 (0) 6 86 24 23 83 to reach Les Mottets refuge from Les Chapieux or to get a ride into Bourg Saint-Maurice after the last shuttle buses have left.


Tour du Mont Blanc Refuges


Below we give you the lowdown, counter clockwise, of the Tour du Mont Blanc refuges. They are not ranked in any order of preference but rather the order they are on the trail starting anti-clockwise, assuming you are starting your Tour du Mont Blanc in Chamonix.


Refuge Nant Borrant – France

Charming /  Friendly  /   Cosy  /   Excellent Food

nant Borrant tmb accommodation

Nant Borrant, 1 hr trek from the French village of Les Contamine is a wonderfully cosy refuge – one of our favourites and highly recommended.


Nant Borrant refuge is the perfect place to bed down for the night on your first night if you’ve started traditionally in Les Houches & gone counter clockwise (or 3rd night on our 6 day half circuit itinerary).

It’s the first refuge on the trail after Les Contamines. Yes, you heard right – we didn’t stop in the town of Les Contamines, the traditional stopover on the first night.

Because we had taken the transport options of the Bellevue Cable Car (saving us 2 hours in Les Houches) and the shuttle bus along the Les Contamines valley floor (saving us 1 hour) we chose to push on up to the first refuge on the trail to cut an hour off our second, and arguably the most challenging day, the following day.

Nant Borrant Refuge is a small, wonderfully friendly refuge serving delicious food. With three small dormitories of 6 and two large dormitories of 12, the vibe here is intimate and welcoming. We would highly recommend a stay here. Read other trekker’s opinion of Nant Borrant here on Trip Advisor.

The feeble and tepid showers are the only negative to this wonderful refuge but don’t let this put you off – the hospitality, comfy beds and mouthwatering food far outweighs our shower gripes!

If you choose a different Tour du Mont Blanc itinerary and hit Refuge Nant Borrant at lunchtime take advantage of their fabulous lunchtime menu!

2020 tariff:  half board €45,  dorm only €20

Tel: 00 33 (0) 4 50 47 03 57



Refuge de la Balme (1706m)

Unfriendly /   Average Food   / Good bivvy site

tmb huts

At the base of Col du Bonhomme, a stay at La Balme refuge means you’ll have fresh legs to attack the Col at first light although we’ve heard reports of unfriendly staff & average food (but a good bivvy site outside with toilet facilities)

The second refuge on Stage 2 of the Tour du Mont Blanc is well positioned at the base of Col du Bonhomme (2329m).

We didn’t stay here but enquired to have a look at the rooms to which unfriendly staff told us it was not possible. Other trekkers we met on the trail confirmed that staff were belligerent and food was average. Not the best refuge to stay on the trail…….

Others highly recommended the bivvy site here, which does have outdoors toilet facilities.

Read other trekker’s opinion of La Balme refuge here on Trip Advisor


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Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m)

Stunning location  /   Basic    /   Terrible Food

refuge elisabetta italy

Expect a no frills service at this rough & ready refuge, however in bad weather this refuge would certainly seem like heaven! There are more comfortable places to stay, although the view here are unrivalled.


Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme is a rough and ready high altitude refuge in an unforgivingly exposed location on top of the Col du Croix du Bonhomme at 2483m.

It fitted perfectly into my planned TMB itinerary with manageable chunks per day for the kids. I was just about to book when a friend advised me against it. She’d heard it described as a hovel by an ‘unnamed’ guide who regularly treks the Tour du Mont Blanc with clients. I (painfully) went back to the drawing board, scrubbing out this stop and had to pore long and hard to try to re-arrange the itinerary into doable sections.

I’m glad I did, for as welcome as this refuge would be in raging wind, rain and fog, it’s pretty basic. Perfect for the budget conscious and ‘adequate’ for families but marching on a bit, you’d find better accommodation with tastier food.

We stopped here for lunch. Don’t. We regretted not ordering the pique-nique lunch from the wonderful Refuge Nant Borrant.


HOWEVER .…… for those looking to shorten stages on the TMB, perhaps you’re hiking with younger kids or just want to take it a lot easier and enjoy the stunning scenery instead of the pressure of walking 7-9 hours a day, then Refuge de la Bonhomme is perfectly placed.

The accommodation has been recently renovated so there’s no problem there, and the location is heart stopping beautiful – so just know the food is terrible – take A LOT of snacks (easy to do picking up in Les Contamines the day before) and you might not get a shower. Knowing these two negatives in advance, just purely see this stop as the high mountain adventure that it is, and know that the accommodation will get better and better.


Our shortened half tour TMB itinerary adds another day into the schedule (below) to make the stages shorter for those hiking with kids or who want to take it slower. This itinerary would actually include a stop here.


Day 1: Chamonix – Les Contamines or Nant Borrant.

Day 2: Les Contamines or Nant Borrant to Refuge de la Bonhomme.

Day 3: Refuge de la Bonhomme to Les Chapieux or Refuge des Mottets.

Day 4: Les Chapieux/Refuge des Mottets to Elisabetta or Caban Combale.

Day 5: Elisabetta or Caban Combale to Courmayeur


Read other trekker’s opinion of  Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme here on Trip Advisor.



Les Chapieux (1554m)

Les Chapieux is a tiny hamlet in the valley of Vallée des Glaciers. You’ll stay here in your second night if you’re hiking the traditional counter-clockwise route from the starting point of Les Houches. There are two accommodation options here:


Refuge de la Nova

Friendly  /  Excellent Food   /  Comfy Beds  /  En-suite Rooms or Dorms

Refuge de la Nova TMB

Refuge La Nova is more like a friendly hotel than a refuge. On the valley floor at the hamlet of Les Chapieux, it offers both dorm beds & private rooms. Highly recommended.


I’d wrongly assumed that Refuge de la Nova was going to be a hole. Why? No idea!

After my internet research revealed (to my horror) that there were only two accommodation providers (+ camping) in the tiny hamlet of Les Chapieux (I thought it was a town) I’d decided to book Les Chambres du Soleil. Being described as a wonderful B&B with the luxury of private rooms with en-suite facilities and a masseur available, I knew my Mother would love it!

In turns out both were fully booked and after a stressful few weeks I thankfully managed to secure a private room at Refuge de La Nova on a cancellation. I needn’t have worried – Refuge de la Nova was marvellous & a lovely place too stay.

More of a hotel than a refuge, we were welcomed with friendly smiles and open arms after an extremely long day climbing two cols. We fell into our 3 bed room (without ensuite) letting our packs fall to the ground and headed for the bar! The food was delicious, the beds were comfy and the showers – perfectly hot!

Refuge de la Nova is large so has a variety of rooms available from dorms to private rooms. 

Read other trekker’s opinion of Refuge de la Nova here on Trip Advisor.

Expect: super friendly vibe, good food, excellent hot showers (best we had)


Les Chambres du Soleil

Friendly  |   Ensuite private rooms   |   Masseur available  |    

Les Chapieux accommodation

Les Chambres Soleil comes highly recommended. This small Airbnb has gorgeous rooms, all ensuite and you can even book a masseur to ease your aching limbs!

Les Chambres du Soleil is a B&B in Les Chapieux. Book extremely early to snag one of their 5 private rooms (3 doubles & 2 triples, all with en-suite). Half board prices are from €69 per person based on a triple room.

Céline & Pierre have rave reviews from guests (see their trip advisor) and also have a cottage available which sleeps up to 7 and costs from €540 in peak season.

A masseur can be booked to come in and revive your exhausted body from 40 € for 30 mins/60 € 1 hr. Pre-book your massage at +33 (0) 675197421 or by mail

Read other trekker’s opinion of Les Chambres du Soleil here on Trip Advisor.

Tel: 00 33 479 313 022 in season (mid-May – Oct)

Email: (out of season)


Refuge des Mottets

Newly converted dairy farm  |  90 dorm beds & private rooms | excellent review | easy access |  good alternative to Les Chapieux

refuge tour du mont blancWe didn’t stay at the Les Mottets refuge. In fact, we didn’t even walk past it. The above photo is the nearest we came to Les Mottets (we caught the shuttle bus from Chapieux to Village des Glaciers so approached from this direction & headed uphill at this point).

I’ve heard nothing but fabulous reports about Les Mottets from all the trekkers we met on the trail and from TMB guides. It’s a new refuge with 90 dorm beds. It’s perfect if you’ve left Chapieux too late to book and a much better option than heading down to Bourg for the night in a taxi. If you’re too tired to walk the extra hour on the trail to Les Mottets, there’s a shuttle bus from Les Chapieux which can drop you on the road above it, with a 5 minute walk down the hill. I’ve heard that in peak season, the overflow accommodation is in a converted barn where beds are tightly packed, so book early to get the best beds. 

The shuttle buses run from Les Chapieux to Les Mottets from around the 6th July through to the end of August only, running run every 30 minutes to an hour. It costs €3.50 per person, children 12 and under are free. The last bus to Les Mottets parking seems to be around 16.00, however the last bus of the day is at 17.30 to Village des Glacier which is about a 20 minute walk to Les Mottets refuge.

You can see the 2019 timetable here for both the shuttle bus to Les Mottets and Village to Glacier and to Bourg St Maurice up to 25 August 2019 and from 26-31 August 2019 below:

Read other trekker’s opinion of Les Mottets here on Trip Advisor.




Italian Refugios

After crossing the French-Italian border at 2510m on the lofty Col de Seigne on day 3 of the Tour du Mont Blanc itinerary, you have a choice of two two refuges to head for – Refugio Elisabetta or Caban Combal.

Refugio Elisabetta is a cavernous, basic refuge with dreary food perched in an magnificent setting at the base of the Glacier d’Estellette and Glacier de la Lée Blanche overlooking the lower Lée Blanche valley.

If you’re after comfort & are happy to forfeit the unrivalled views, head a further easy 50 minutes down to the cute A framed Caban Combal for private rooms with ensuite and a more Italian flair.


Refugio Elisabetta (2195m)

High mountain hut | magnificent views | chaos in peak season | average food | cold showers

tour du mont blanc refuges

Refuge Elisabetta commands unrivalled views at the base of two glaciers. Expect a busy, basic LARGE hostel type refuge. Don’t book a dorm unless you’re happy to share with a serious amount of people!!


Another rough and ready refuge, similar to Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme, this Refugio Elisabetta is manned by young (and fairly unorganised) staff. Refugio Elisabetta can house up to 80 trekkers in peak season but beware it’s chaos. We know because we stayed here!

However, this refuge’s location is everything you’d want it to be and more. Nestled at the base of two glaciers Glacier d’Estellette and Glacier de la Lée Blanche, it’s breathtaking scenery blows your mind.

Choose from cheaper dark and cavernous dorms or small private rooms with excellent views. Note: Attic dorms harbour a single sleeping platform under the eaves whilst downstairs dorms boast three tiered sleeping platforms!

Hot water shower tokens available for €2 don’t deliver. Save your coins and shower at the next stop. Free wi-fi is impossible to get onto.

The unorganization of dinner and the basic food let this refuge down. If I was trekking the TMB again I would continue on and book into the excellent facilities at Caban Combal (below)

Read other trekker’s opinion of Refugio Elisabetta here on Trip Advisor.

Tel: 00 39 (0) 1 65 84 40 80




Cabane du Combal – Italy

En-suite facilities | small dorms | easy to access | good food | picture postcard setting

refuge du tour du mont blanc

Lac Combal is a much smaller refuge, 45 minutes down an easy straight roman road from Refuge Elisabetta. With it’s ensuite rooms & smaller more Italian vibe, it’s a better stay if you can’t face the crowds of Elisabetta.


You’re in Italy now having crossed the border at 2510m on the lofty Col de Seigne. For your third night’s stay on our itinerary we would recommend the delightful Lac Combal, a further 50 minute easy hike from Refuge Elisabetta (where we stayed). This A frame friendly refuge is run by Italians (hooray!) and has 23 dorm places. Even though we had hiked 7 hours covering the 15km from Chapieux to Refugio Elisabetta, we would gladly have hiked on the easy Roman road and stayed in Cabane du Combal, 3 and a half kilometres further down the road. We stopped here for a reviving cappuccino and bought excellent ham and cheese sandwiches to stash in our packs for lunch later in the day.

Cabane Combal is run by Italians – hooray! (compared to Elisabetta which is manned by youngsters mainly Spanish) and every room is en-suite. Trust me, this is going to make a huge difference after you’ve been hiking three long long days! Each room is small housing up to 4 beds in each which makes it totally doable for a family to have a private room. There’s even a double downstairs. Cabane Combal books up quick so make sure you book early to secure this one.

Read other trekker’s opinion of Cabane du Combal here on Trip Advisor.

Tel: 00 39 (0) 16 51 75 64 21



Refugio Bertone

High mountain hut | magnificent views | excellent food | very friendly | close to Courmayeur 

Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation

Refuge Bertone is the first refuge on the trail out of Courmayeur heading to Switzerland (TMB counter clockwise). It’s met after a gruelling ascent of nearly 1000m from Courmayeur so very much a welcome sight when it finally comes into view. The staff here are wonderfully friendly and the food is excellent, although with  lunch only starting at 12.30pm, so if you’ve made an early start from Courmayeur, you’ll be far too early. Enjoy a rest stop here though and enjoy the surroundings. 

Refuge Bertone would be a fabulous overnight stay, however it’s too early on the trail for many trekkers. Consider a stay here if you’re all about the high mountain huts and not fussed about the towns on the trail or if you’re doing the second half of the TMB from Courmayeur to Chamonix and want to head out on the trail the day you hit Courmayeur. If you decide to stay at Refuge Bertone, a good next night accommodation would be Refuge Elena. Refuge Bertone have some lovely little converted outbuildings so as to stay in one of these as a first choice.

We stayed the night in Courmayeur but with in hindsight would love to have weaved this wonderful refuge into our TMB itinerary. 

Tel: 00 39 (0) 347 032 5785




Refugio Bonatti

High mountain hut | incredible views | excellent food | family run | newly refurbished | top refuge on TMB 

tour du mont blanc refuges

This is hands down my favourite Tour du Mont Blanc refuge! It’s one of the proper high mountain huts on the trail and gives you that real feeling of being away from it all and in a very special place. Perched at 2,025m overlooking Val Ferret, it has spectacular views of the Mont Blanc massif. Don’t miss staying at the Bonatti!

This TMB refuge is large, rather like Refuge Elisabetta but is run to perfection. Forget the chaos of Elisabetta, the Bonatti hut is a private family run business and everything about it is well thought out and thorough.

The refuge has been entirely renovated so this Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation is impressive. There are 85 dormitory places over 4 or 5 dorms (costing €55 half board per person, children do not get discount) and also a whole floor of private rooms also.  We stayed in a 14 bed dormitory that had single rows of beds with drawers, hooks and shelves. We did not see any triple bunk bed scenarios here.

Dinner was delicious starting with a salad, soup, a main course, cheese and dessert! We would highly recommend the pique-nique packed lunch (order the night before) for €12. It was the best we had on the trail (a cheese & ham sandwich, a delicious patonne (traditional Italian cake), nectarine and large slab of beautiful ‘Bonatti’ dark chocolate).

As you can see, I could wax lyrical about the Bonatti refuge, do yourself a favour and put this one on your Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation list.

Tel: 00 39 (0) 335 684 8578




Chalet Val Ferret

Valley based | good food | easy access 

This chalet accommodation is nestled right at the end of the Val Veni and at the foot of the Grand Col Ferret. The TMB trail passes right past it so it’s a good option for an overnight stay if the Bonatti hut is full or if you’ve interspersed your refuges and walking schedule out longer or shorter. 

We stayed here for a refreshment before commencing the Grand Col Ferret and the staff were very friendly and the refreshments excellent. However, I have no information on whether the accommodation etc is excellent. If you’ve stayed here on your TMB experience, please let us know in the comments.



Refuge Elena (2,062m)

High mountain hut  |  easy access  |   incredible views 

Refuge Elena is an easy accessible high mountain refuge with spectacular glacier views, which makes it chocker with day tourists as well as TMB trekkers.  A car park at the end of the Val Veni makes this an easy day hike so expect the refuge, with it’s impressive views of the Glacier de Pré de Bar to be rammed. The trail from the valley floor  takes around an hour to climb, and it’s a good place to stop for refreshment before tackling the remaining steeper section of the Grand Col Ferret over into Switzerland.

Refuge Elena is completely new, having been destroyed by an avalanche in the 1950s, so the standard of accommodation is high. We didn’t stay overnight here, so we can’t vouch on the food, but the coffee was very good!

My advice would be if you’re trying to plan your route and are deciding on Elena or Bonatti, I would choose Bonatti every time.



Swiss Refuges

Expect the Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation prices to rocket when you cross into Switzerland. If you need to be budget conscious, stride on through Switzerland as quickly as your legs will take you!

There are less refuges on the trail and more of the accommodation is in hotels in villages such as Ferret, La Fouly, Champex-Lac and Trient. Expect to pay between 85-110CHF per person for half board in hotels en-route or slightly less (65-75CHF) in one of the few refuges along the way.

Overall I have to say, I was disappointed in the Swiss TMB accommodation. As ever, we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.


Alpage de la Peule (2,071m)

Authentic dairy farm stay | good views | dorm accommodation | 4am milking cows may disturb 

This summer dairy farm is the first refuge after crossing into Switzerland and descending the Grand Col Ferret (if you’re trekking counter clockwise). It’s the only refuge on the Swiss side before reaching the village of Ferret or the town of La Fouly. If you’re seeking a TMB experience that’s close to nature and are not fussed about villages and towns, then this is your place. It’s one of only two Tour du Mont Blanc accommodation on the Swiss TMB side that is a ‘refuge’ rather than a hotel and is a bit cheaper than staying in Ferret, La Fouly or Champex-Lac.

This TMB accommodation is fairly basic – 30 beds triple stacked in one large dormitory. Currently the yurts serve as boot rooms. The Alpage is a working dairy farm so whilst this is rather charming, remember this is an authentic dairy farm, so expect to be woken up at 4am whilst the cows are being milked.

Half board is 69CHF a night for an adult and 49CHF for children.

If you book the Alpage de la Peule, it would be work well distance wise to book the only other refuge on the Swiss TMB trail, the Relais d’Arpette, which is 45 mins further from Champex. The Relais d’Arpette is on the alternative TMB trail if you’re heading up to the highest point on the TMB (2,665m) which can only be done in good weather, however the Relais d’Arpette is only a short distance on the alternative route, so it’s no bother to walk back to the traditional route if required.

Tel. (During the off season): 0041 (0)79 290 34 93

Tel. (During the summer season): 0041 (0)27 783 10 41 




Hotel Belvedere – Champex-Lac

Fabulous food |  incredibly comfy beds |  charming rooms with en-suites  |  excellent reduction for kids under 12

Everything about Hotel Belvedere is charming. Situated just near to the beautiful lake in Champex-Lac, Irene, the owner goes above and beyond to make your stay the best. We were served a delicious 3 course dinner, which incredibly was steak! The bedrooms are charming with aged wood, thick velvet curtains, beds out of this world comfortable and hot, powerful showers in the en-suite. Breakfast was incredible with cured hams, cheeses, croissants and Irene’s homemade jam!

The only thing that let Hotel Belvedere down sadly was Irene’s other half, who was rude and impolite on more than one occasion with us. Irene’s lively personality outshone his and we were made to feel very welcome, but just be warned!

We paid 110CHF per adult and 30CHF per child sharing a 3 ensuite bed room (with a mattress on the floor for our 4th)

Tel: 00 41 (0) 27 783 1114



La Grande Ourse – Trient

Large uninspiring hotel  |    Decent food   |      Clean rooms

tour du mont blanc accommodation trient

We stayed here at Hotel Grande Ourse for our final leg back into Chamonix. It’s expensive at 85CHF for a bed in a 4 bed room without ensuite (we paid 340CHF for the room minus 15% off for kids under 12!). That’s an expensive room! That was half board though so our dinner (average) and breakfast (basic) was included.

The shared bathroom was similar to what you’d find in a campsite. There was only one toilet one each floor for each sex. The waitresses were Spanish and spoke no French or English!

However, the rooms were extremely clean, and we had a good night’s sleep! Plus the communication was excellent during emails to book.

Tel: 00 41 (0) 27 722 17 54



Auberge Mont Blanc – Trient

Average Food   |    Lack of toilet facilities    

trient accommodation

We didn’t stay in Auberge Mont Blanc but it was slap bang next to Le Grand Ourse hotel we stayed in. I wondered if it might have been a better option for us,  so researched it on our return. Reviews online deem it expensive, with average food & only one toilet for an entire floor of around 40 guests. To be honest, it sounds a lot like Le Grand Ourse. Let us know if you’ve stayed here!

Tel: 00 41 (0) 27 767 15 05



Refuge du Peuty – Trient

Basic dorm accommodation |  cheaper than hotels | good location on TMB trail | camping available

We passed this tiny refuge at the base of the uphill trail from Le Peuty in Switzerland back over the Col de la Balme into France. It’s perfectly positioned on the trail and a cheaper option than either the hotels on the Col de la Forclaz or Trient. I’ve seen some good reviews online.

Refuge du Peuty has  22 dorm places in one large basic dorm.  They allow camping on the green opposite for around 20CHF per person. Meals are taken in their resident yurt!

I’d love to hear first hand from anyone that has stayed here. 

Half board (breakfast & dinner 3 course) 65CHF/ 60€.            Night only: 35CHF/ 30€
Breakfast & night: 45CHF/ 40€                                                        Lunch pack 10CHF/ 9€

They accept €, CHF and credit card payment.

Tel: 00 41 (0) 27 722 09 38



Refuge du Col de Balme

Good food  |    Small basic accommodation   |    Stunning location

tmb refuges

Refuge du Col de Balme is the first refuge as you cross back into France on the TMB counter clockwise. After an hour or so of an uphill slog from the Swiss village of Trient or Le Peuty, it’s a welcome sight as you round the corner and see it’s glorious red shutters high above you in the distance on the Col de Balme, marking the border between Switzerland and France. 

It’s a small refuge with dormitory accommodation for only 26 people. We didn’t stay here and in fact we’d heard in passing that the lady runs it isn’t the friendliest, but we stopped here for lunch on our last day back in Chamonix and all the staff were friendly and the food delicious! Try the tartiflette (a local dish of potatoes, bacon and reblochon cheese) – a bargain at only €10.

If you’ve stayed in the Refuge du Col de Balme on your TMB adventure, please leave us some feedback in the comments below.

Tel: 00 33 (0) 4 50 54 02 33

Tel: +33 (0)6 07 06 16 30 (mobile)


La Boerne – Tré-le-Champ

Charming  |   One of Best Refuges on TMB  |   Good food


photo pending


The next refuge trekking the TMB counter clockwise (a further 2 hrs or quicker if taking the shortcut of the Autanne chairlift and/or Charmillon gondola) is Refuge de la Boerne which comes highly recommended.

We didn’t stay there but we’ve passed by this gorgeous little refuge many times, as we live close by. I’ve heard nothing but good things and when I tried to make a reservation, they were fully booked, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Refuge de la Boerne has dorms of 2/3/6/9 beds.

Tel: 00 33 (0) 4 50 54 05 14


Lac Blanc refuge – Chamonix

Jaw dropping views  |    dorms only   |   no children under 8   

We are super happy to report the legendary Lac Blanc refuge at La Flégère in Chamonix has now re-opened with new owners  (since June 15th 2019).  This is fabulous news as this is one of the best Tour du Mont Blanc refuges boasting incredible views. The refuge doesn’t have internet so you need to book with Marion over the phone 00 33 (0)

View from Lac Blanc refuge

Half board costs for adults €55 (includes dinner, bed and breakfast) & children (ages 8 – 12) €45. No children under 8 are permitted. Note: you’ll need €5 to use the shower!

We haven’t been up to the Lac Blanc refuge since it’s re-opened but are planning a visit in September so we’ll keep you posted. If any of you have visited this summer, please do leave some feedback in our comments below.

Tel: 00 33 (0) 7 67 56 74 14



TMB Accommodation – Private Rooms, Dorms Only or both?

The below guide will help you decide which accommodation to book, particularly if you are looking to only book private rooms during your Tour du Mont Blanc trek. The list is in order of TMB accommodation clockwise

Refuge Lac Blanc – no private rooms, dorms only
Refuge La Boerne – dorms of 2/3/6/9
Trient – Hotel de l’Ourse – has private rooms
Champex Lac – Hotel de la Belvedere – has private rooms
Fouley – Maja Joie/Hotel Edelweiss/Auberge des Glaciers – both have private rooms
Gite de la Lechere – dorms of 3,8,10,14 – no private rooms
Alpage de la Peule – dorm only
Refugio Elena – private rooms and dorms
Chalet Val Ferret dorms only
Refugio Bonatti – private rooms and dorms
Refugio Bertone – private rooms and dorms
Courmayeur – many hotels
Refugio Maison Vielle – dorms only
Caban du Combal – private rooms
Refugio Elisabetta – private rooms and dorms
Refuge des Mottets – private rooms and dorms
Les Chapieux – Auberge de la Nova, Chambres du Soleil – private rooms and dorms
Refuge de la Croix de Bonhomme – private rooms and dorms
Refuge de la Balme – private rooms and dorms
Refuge de Nant Borrant – no private rooms but do have one small dorm of 4


Related TMB content

Read day 1 (stage 10) Tré-le-Champ to La Flégère

Read day 2 (stage 11)  La Flégère to Les Houches

Read day 3 (stage 1) Les Houches to Les Contamines (& onto Nant Borrant refuge)

Read day 4 (stage 2) Nant Borrant Refuge to Les Chapieux

Read day 5 (stage 3) Les Chapieux to Refugio Elisabetta

Read day 6 (stage 4)  Rifugio Elisabetta to Courmayeur

Read day 7 (stage 5) Courmayeur – Refugio Bonatti

Read day 8 (stage 6)  Refugio Bonatti – Ferret or La Fouly

Tour du Mont Blanc Tips

Tour du Mont Blanc Packing List

Ultimate guide to your self guided Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Refuges – the good, the bad & the ugly

Tour du Mont Blanc Difficulty? Transport options on the TMB

6 day Half Circuit Tour du Mont Blanc Itinerary

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poppy holmes 16th June 2020 - 7:32 am

Planning tour for next year, great info on refuges, thanks

Mags Nixon 23rd June 2020 - 4:27 pm

Hi Poppy. Thanks! I couldn’t find much on the refuges when I was researching the tour, so thought I’d write my own post! I’ll keep adding to it as we try out new ones 🙂


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