The French La Plagne will be a well-known destination for winter sports for many, but the region also has a lot to offer the adventurous traveler in summer. The beautiful mountain landscapes and small villages make the region a feast for the eyes with endless possibilities for adventure.
La Plagne is ideal for wonderful hiking trips, mountain bike adventures, and many other outdoor activities. In addition, you can also make great hut tours here where you go from mountain hut to mountain hut, and there is much more possible. How about survival in the French Alps, for example?
Surviving in the nature of La Plagne
You can’t get much more idyllic than the French Alps rugged mountain nature. Nice villages, delicious food and above all beautiful nature with high mountain ridges and pleasant Alpine meadows. There is therefore no better way to become one with this nature than to stay in the middle of it.
In France, survival in nature has become all the rage lately, largely fueled by national TV programs that can best be compared to Expedition Robinson, says Anne Tellier of the local tourist office. Looking for your own place to sleep, collecting food, purifying water and making a fire, these are all activities that you can learn and apply directly to such a survival course.
Guillaume Brun is a French ex-serviceman. The French army is divided into several types, and he has been active in the mountain branch of the army during his service. If there is anyone who knows how to survive in the mountains, it is Guillaume. With his company GB Montagne, he offers many different types of courses in which you can learn the ins and outs of survival in the mountains. From day programs and short courses to multi-day trips in which you really learn every trick, Guillaume is open to everything.
Mountain Camp in the Alps
As we will discover in the coming night, a very good introduction to this mountain adventure is the so-called Mountain Camp that Guillaume offers. You will spend two days on the mountains with your backpack. We are picked up in the town of Aime, from where we first go a little further into the mountains. At a vast Alpine meadow and a somewhat deserted-looking farm – the many cheerful mud-bathing pigs betray that there must be some activity – we park the car and get ready for the survival night. Water, cooking utensils and a good knife are all standard equipment.
Once we left, we quickly deviated from the path. The Mountain Camp doesn’t take place near regular hiking trails, so you won’t be likely to run into passers-by. Depending on the experience of the group, Guillaume will let you do a brisk walk first, or a somewhat milder one, making it an accessible activity for young children. Our time is limited, so we don’t go for the long climb where you learn to navigate and recognize dangers in the mountains in the meantime, but after a few lessons about edible and beneficial plants we go straight to the place where we will set up camp .
Sleeping: completely under sail
Here Guillaume teaches us everything about how to build a great tent from a simple tarp, the knots you need to use for it, and anyway how to find a good spot for your overnight stay. We actually manage, with some improvisation, to build two original tents for the night in no time! Maybe not quite up to Guillaume’s official standards, but adequate for the night.
Because it is already starting to fall quickly, we also have to look for wood and we learn everything about making a really good fire and the preparations you have to make for it. Later in the evening you will be really grateful for a large amount of split sticks that you have already prepared in full daylight, so that you do not have to mess with your knife in the dark.
Once satisfied with a good meal at the campfire, it is inevitable to actually try out the sleeping pleasure of the tent. The lesson that can be drawn from this is that you should pay even more attention to stones that accidentally lie under your mat, but also that it is really nice to stay in such a makeshift tent! Pitch dark, except for the bright moonlight, dead quiet and surprisingly ‘comfortable’, it really is a wonderfully beautiful place to wake up, especially if it is a deer grazing peacefully through the meadow, or the faint first rays of the sun warm day promise!
Far too soon it’s time to break up camp, although the view from a hot shower is also quite tempting! The Mountain Camp turned out to be a really perfect way to become one with the beautiful nature of La Plagne, and also extremely cozy and educational!
Looking for a little more comfort?
To fully experience la Plagne, the Mountain Camp is a great option, but of course there are many more options. You will find slightly more comfort than in your self-built tent in one of the many mountain huts in the area. These are perfect for trekking and offer the comfort of some toilet facilities and a healthy hot meal in the evening!
We walked from refuge du Laisonnay to the mountain hut of Glière, a nice walk through the beautiful valley of Champagny-le-Haut. The starting point is just past the town of Champagny-en-Vanoise, one of the lovely villages scattered around La Plagne. These villages are the perfect base if you mainly want to make day trips. During the walk to the mountain hut through the valley you will spot countless cute marmots in addition to great views and an endless flower splendor. Plus, it’s also great to watch the sun slowly set behind the immense mountain walls in the evening after your meal in the mountain hut (or watch it rise early in the morning, for the early risers). Ready for the next day, to move on to the next mountain hut, or the next cute village in La Plagne!
Practical tips for your trip to La Plagne
It is important to bring a number of things with you for both the mountain huts and the Mountain Camp. Of course you have to be prepared for different weather conditions, so both rain gear and sunscreen are important, as well as good warm clothes, as the temperature in the mountains drops considerably at night, even in summer.
In addition, you need your own sleeping bag in a mountain hut, and sometimes there is no pillow. You also need this for the Mountain Camp, and another mat to lie on (otherwise the surface is really too hard). A rescue blanket can also offer a solution as the first layer under your mat, against cold and moisture from below.
If you find survival a little too much of a good thing, or it is difficult to go out with so much stuff, you can also choose to do one-day trips where you also learn a lot from Guillaume about life in the mountains, from navigating to purifying water, and from searching for edible plants to recognizing dangerous situations. It’s all possible.