Tour du Mont Blanc Shortcuts: Tips for a Quicker Trek

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Discover the time-saving and energy-efficient tour du mont blanc shortcuts, including gondolas and bus services, that can help you conquer the challenging terrain of the iconic hiking trail.

Not every hiker needs a shortcut, but let’s face it…hiking 3,000 ft downhill at the end of a long day isn’t awesome for everyone.

Morgan’s Video of The first TMB shortcut (Bellevue)

Trust me, having an out with gondolas or buses and other options make a huge difference in your hiking experience. ➡️ Plus it’s not always an option to do the trail as intended due to lack of beds at refuges.

TL;DR: Most Important Tour du Mont Blanc Shortcuts

  1. Chamonix > Les Houches: Take the bus or taxi to the base of the cable car.
  2. Les Houches > Bellevue: Cable car
  3. Tresse/La Chapelle > Les Contamines: Bus
  4. Les Contamines > Notre Dame de la Gorge: Free shuttle bus
  5. Les Chapieux > La Ville des Glaciers > Les Mottets refuge: Shuttle Bus
  6. Les Chapieux > Bourg St Maurice: Shuttle bus
  7. Les Chapieux > Various towns: Taxi Besson
  8. La Visaille > Courmayeur: Bus
  9. La Maison Veille > Courmayeur: Chair lift & Dolonne cable car
  10. Courmayeur > Chamonix: Bus or Cable Car
  11. Courmayeur > Bivio Rifugio Bonatti: Bus
  12. Ferret > La Fouly: Bus
  13. La Fouly > Champex-Lac: Bus
  14. Champex-Lac > Orsières > Col de la Forclaz: Bus (change in Martigny)
  15. Col de la Forclaz > La Peuty or Trient: Post Bus
  16. Col de la Forclaz down to Trient. Hitchhiking
  17. Le Tour > Charamillon: Chair lift
  18. Argentiere > Chamonix: Bus
  19. La Flégère > Le Praz (the village just 5 minutes from Chamonix): Cable car
  20. Brévent > Chamonix valley: Cable car

Much of this shortcut information has been learned from the fabulous facebook group “Tour du Mont Blanc”. Click here to join.

TMB Shortcut Summary

we got this view on the Bellevue lift variant – which is a gondola shortcut—-

The gondolas and public transportation on the TMB can help you shorten stages, combine stages, save time, save your knees, and access accommodation options off the main trail.

You’ll learn about the public transportation options available in Chamonix and on each stage of the hike.

Additionally, we’ll discuss private transfers and taxis as alternative transportation options.

  • Most Tour du Mont Blanc transportation options are only available during peak periods in July and August.
  • Below are the timetables for Summer 2023.
  • I will update the timetables for the 2024 summer season as soon as they become available, usually in mid-June.
  • Use the 2023 timetables as a reference for the frequency of transportation in 2024, as they are typically very similar.
  • Be aware of public transport and exit points along the trail in case of sickness, mild injury, or bad weather.
  • Having an exit strategy can provide peace of mind and help ensure your safety during your TMB hike.

By utilizing public transit, you can save time and energy and enjoy a more comfortable experience.

Help Booking

tour du mont blanc shortcuts

I’ve done both DIY planning and using a service for self-guided treks. Both have their pros and cons. I want to share my favorite companies if you’d rather pay someone to book your accommodations and provide detailed GPS routes, deal with the huts and make it simple.

Final Verdict: Ways to Book a Hut to Hut Hiking Trip

Best to Hike Your Own Pace but Forgo Logistical Challenge
Self-Guided Tour Planning Service

Self-Guided Tour Planning Service

  • [Self-Guided] - You're on your own once you start
  • Must book in Oct to Jan of year prior to hike
  • Fully done for you route
  • Service finds and books your huts
  • Maps provided on app
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: The logistics of the TMB and other hut to hut hikes can be very daunting, especially if you don't speak Italian and French. 

Note: Lesser known trails are often easier to book.  

  • Ease of route
  • No finding or dealing with huts
  • Tapping into expertise
  • No waiting for slow hikers
  • No feeling rushed if you're slower
  • Less control of dates
  • No guide on the trail
  • Unknown - you didn't "plan"
Best for Beginners & Social People
Guided Group Tour : 4 Days

Guided Group Tour : 4 Days

  • small groups (<10 typically)
  • local Chamonix guides
  • all transfers/breakfast/dinner/accommodations included
  • airport transfer included
  • stay in the insanely beautiful Rifugio Bonatti and other huts at high elevation
Click Here to Read More

What we liked:  Designed for busy people that want to experience the highlights of the Tour du Mont Blanc without having to take 2 weeks of their precious vacation time.  Everything is done-for-you and you can show up and relax in the most stunning mountains. 

Note: The standard price includes shared rooms in the huts.

  • All transfers included
  • Best price for a guided trip
  • Local Chamonix Guides
  • At the mercy of group pace
  • Not the full circuit
Best on a Budget
DIY: Book Your Own Huts

DIY: Book Your Own Huts

  • Cheapest Option
  • Most Freedom
  • Take side excursions as you like
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: The challenge of it.  It's so fun to route plan, find trails and the huts you want.  Often it's not the expense saved, but the learning of the trail while planning that is satisfying. 

Note: Be prepared to spend some time with spreadsheets and wait weeks for replies from hut owners. 

BONUS:  Click on the link to watch my 10 part video series on HOW to book a hut to hut trip.  It's a Dolomites hut trip but it's basically the same process for TMB. 

  • Cheapest option
  • Most freedom
  • Learn the Trail by planning
  • Time suck
  • You must be organized
  • Map skills are essential
Most Freedom


  • campgrounds can be crowded
  • reservations often needed in advance
  • Wild camping is prohibited or limited by elevation
Click Here to Read More

Not really my favorite thing for hut to hut trails in Europe. The huts are quite often the best part of the hiking trip and the rules are so complicated about wild camping.

  • Price is good
  • Quiet
  • More Flexibilty
  • Wild camping is tricky
  • Rules change
  • harder and heavier pack

Are the TMB Trek Shortcuts Worth it?

Not everyone needs TMB shortcuts. But they are good for 👎🏻

  • 🥾 Hikers with some knee issues
  • ⊲ Groups with varying abilities
  • 🌏 Fastpackers Doing the TMB in a few days
  • 💗 Hikers that enjoy the journey more than the destination

Below is my list of the shortcuts that will help you conquer the TMB. Let’s get to it.

Why Use Public Transit on the TMB?

we aimed for the gondolas!

If you’re planning on hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), you’ll find ample public transportation options along the way. Here are some of the most common reasons you’ll want to take advantage of public transit on the TMB:

  • Shorten Stages: If you’re worried about the physical demands of a specific stage or simply want to reduce mileage, public transportation can help. You can grab a cable car to cut out a steep ascent or descent, take the train to skip a specific section, or hop on a bus to shorten the length of a stage.
  • Combine Stages: If you’re short on time but still want to experience the entire trail, public transportation allows you to combine multiple stages into a single day. This can help you see more of the TMB in less time.
  • Save Time: Sometimes, you just need to save time. Whether you’re running behind schedule or your feet are screaming, public transit can help you get to your destination sooner. You can utilize a bus or cable car to save some time and get to your next stop faster.
  • Access Accommodation off the Route: Accommodation on the TMB can be competitive, and it’s not always easy to find a bed in your first choice accommodation. Public transit can help you access additional options, allowing you to find a place to stay even if your first choice is fully booked.

For example, if you’re struggling to find accommodation in Les Chapieux, you can always use the public bus to find additional options.

Public Transit in Chamonix

As a TMB hiker, you will most likely arrive in Chamonix and spend a night or two there before beginning your trek in nearby Les Houches. Luckily, Chamonix has excellent public transit, and best of all, it will most likely be completely free as long as you are staying in registered accommodation.

Getting Around Chamonix

  • Chamonix has excellent public transit that is free with a Carte d’hôte provided by your accommodation.
  • The Carte d’hôte provides free access to public transit in the Chamonix valley, including buses and trains.
  • The public bus system is convenient and stretches from Le Tour to Les Houches, with rides costing €3 each without the Carte d’hôte.
  • The Mont Blanc Express train is a fun and convenient way to get around, and it is also free with the Carte d’hôte.
  • Be sure to ask your accommodation provider for the Carte d’hôte when you arrive in Chamonix.

By TMB Stage

1. Les Houches to Les Contamines

The Col du Tricot variant is the shiz. You get to cross over the Nepalese style bridge and eat lunch at Refuge Miage. You’ll want to take the Bellevue lift.

Stage OneLes Houches to Les Contamines
ShortcutTake the Bellevue Cable Car to the top of the Col de Voza to save a few hours of steep uphill climbing.
Cost€17.50 per adult
Operating SeasonJune 6th to September 10th
Operating HoursJune 6th to July 9th: 8am – 5:30pm
July 10th to August 27th: 7:30am – 6pm
August 28th to September 10th: 8am – 5:30pm
Distance Saved5 km
Elevation Saved675 meters
Additional OptionUse the Les Contamines bus to save some walking, especially if heading to one of the refuges beyond the village.

The Montjoie Valley’s free public bus system is a great resource for hikers on the Tour du Mont Blanc. The Les Contamines bus is particularly helpful for two purposes: reaching refuges past Les Contamines like Refuge Nant Borrant or Refuge de la Balme, and taking the shuttle to Notre Dame de la Gorge to shorten Stage 2 before continuing to Les Chapieux.

However, hikers should note that waiting at the Tresse bus stop may not be the best option, as it does not see frequent service. Instead, they should continue to the La Chapelle bus stop, which has a higher frequency of service and is a better choice for those looking to shorten the end of Stage 1.

2. Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Start of stage 2: It’s flat and boring so you can skip the first 4 km along the stream.

The Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge shuttle: catch it at the tourist office or any other bus stop in town for free, ride it to the parking area near the church, cutting out approximately 4 km of walking.

BusLes Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge
NoteThis is the same bus that takes hikers from Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge.
Operating SeasonTypically early-July through early-September
Distance SavedFrom La Chapelle to the centre of Les Contamines: ~2.7 km
From the centre of Les Contamines to Notre Dame de la Gorge: ~4 km

3. Stage Three – Les Chapieux to Rifugio Combal

This is one of the best places to use public transportation. We were lucky enough to be able to get a room in Bonhomme and use the Col des Fours variant and skip all that.

Stage three of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers a few transportation options that can be useful for hikers. The first is a navette or shuttle bus that runs from Les Chapieux to Les Mottets, stopping at Ville des Glaciers as well. This is a popular way to avoid approximately 5 km of road walking out of Les Chapieux.

Additionally, there is a twice-a-day bus that connects Les Chapieux to the nearby town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice. This can be helpful for TMB hikers who were unable to secure overnight accommodation in Les Chapieux. By taking the bus in the evening and staying in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, hikers can easily return to pick up the trail in the morning.

Click here for Les Chapieux information.

Stage 3 Option 1: Skip the Boring Road

The Les Chapieux to Les Mottets Navette is one of the most popular public transit options and shortcuts on the Tour du Mont Blanc, used by many hikers.

Stage Three of the TMB starts with a lengthy walk along the road from Les Chapieux to La Ville des Glaciers, a small hamlet near the base of the Col de la Seigne. After crossing a river, the trail continues on a rough track to the start of the climb to the col, near the Refuge des Mottets.

NavetteLes Chapieux to Les Mottets
Departure PointTourist office in Les Chapieux
First BusAround 7:30am
Operating HoursSeveral buses throughout the morning, running well into the evening
Operating SeasonJune 19th to September 8th, 2023
Distance SavedFrom Les Chapieux to La Ville des Glaciers: ~4.5 km
From Les Chapieux to Refuge des Mottets: ~6 km

If you’re staying at Refuge des Mottets instead of Les Chapieux, taking the navette can be a convenient way to cut out the final segment of your walk. Just make sure to catch the last shuttle at 5:35pm.

  • Purchase your tickets the evening before to avoid sellouts.
  • Head to the tourist office building in Les Chapieux to purchase your tickets.
  • Either the Les Mottets or Ville des Glaciers stop will work.
  • It’s easier to get off at Ville des Glaciers unless you’re staying at Refuge des Mottets.
  • Cross the river from Ville des Glaciers and pick up a rocky track to the base of the climb to the Col de la Seigne.
  • Riding to Refuge des Mottets is also fine, as you’ll simply walk downhill for a few minutes to the refuge where you can pick up the main TMB.

Stage 3 Option 2: Les Chapieux – Bourg Saint Maurice Bus

Good for people locked out of Les Chapieux accomodations. There’s a twice-daily bus connecting Les Chapieux with the town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice. 

BusLes Chapieux to Bourg Saint Maurice
DescriptionA twice-daily bus connecting Les Chapieux with the town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
UseHelpful for those who were unable to secure accommodation in Les Chapieux.
Evening BusLeaves at 6:15pm from Les Chapieux to Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
Morning BusDeparts at 6:55am from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Les Chapieux.
Additional OptionIf you miss the bus or don’t want to wait, you can book a taxi through the tourist office in Les Chapieux or Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
Operating SeasonJune 26th to September 8th, 2023.
Distance SavedN/A

Stage 3 Option 3: Taxi

If you miss the twice-daily Les Chapieux to Bourg Saint Maurice bus or don’t want to wait, you can book a taxi through or the tourist office in Les Chapieux or Bourg-Saint-Maurice.

This can be a useful option for hikers who were unable to secure accommodation in Les Chapieux and need to reach Bourg-Saint-Maurice for the night. The cost of the taxi may vary depending on the distance and other factors.

In June and September, you can pre-book a taxi from Les Chapieux to Bourg St Maurice, which takes about 20 minutes by car. However, places are limited, so be sure to book in advance and expect to pay the driver.

Here are some taxi options:

  • Taxi Besson: 00 33 (0) 4 50 93 62 07,
  • Taxi Gé: 06 13 63 39 42
  • Taxi Aarthur:

The cost is around 60 euros from Chapieux to Bourg St Maurice and 75 euros from Bourg to Ville des Glaciers the following morning. Taking the taxi from Bourg to Ville des Glaciers is recommended, as this is where the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux drops off. It saves about 1.5 hours of walking.

4. Rifugio Combal to Courmayeur

Stage four of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers several useful public transit and shortcut options. One option is to descend into the Val Veny just beyond Lac Combal and use the La Visaille bus stop to reach Courmayeur or one of the campgrounds in the valley. Bus schedule here.

Gondola option is to avoid the steep and challenging final descent into Courmayeur by taking advantage of the cable cars in the last section of the stage. Bus info here.

Stage 4 Option 1: Bus

Try not to skip this section if possible. (It’s gorgeous)

BusVal Veny to Courmayeur
Transit CompanyArriva
Ticket PurchaseWe recommend downloading the Arriva My Pay App and purchasing your ticket ahead of time, if possible. If paying cash to the driver, there is a €4 surcharge on top of the fare.
Operating SeasonMid-June through August
Distance SavedApproximately 13km with 500 meters of elevation gain and 1300 meters of elevation loss.

Stage 4 Option 2: Dolonne Gondola

Take your time at Maison Vielle and get a little drunk watching cows. It’s a vibey place and then take the gondola down and go take an afternoon nap in your luxury Courmayeur hotel.

Gondola info here.

Cable CarsMaison Vieille Chair Lift and Dolonne Cable Car
DescriptionA combination of the Maison Vieille chair lift and Dolonne cable car that delivers hikers quickly and easily into the small village of Dolonne, adjacent to Courmayeur.
Maison Vieille Chair LiftLocated opposite the refuge of the same name.
Mid-StationPlan Chécrouit
Dolonne Cable CarTakes hikers the rest of the way to the bottom.
Cost€15 for one-way on both Maison Vieille and Dolonne cable cars. Rates can be viewed on their website.
Operating SeasonJuly 1st to September 3rd.
Distance SavedApproximately 5.5 km with 800 meters of descent.

Courmayeur Bus : There’s a Tunnel Between Les Houches & Courmayeur

Courmayeur offers excellent local transportation through the Courmayeur circular bus route (blue route) operated by Arriva, which, combined with the Orange Line described above and Green Line on the next stage, makes moving around the area simple and enjoyable.

If you need to connect back to Chamonix, frequent bus service is available through the Mont Blanc tunnel. Several companies provide this service, so it’s best to shop around or inquire at the tourist office in Courmayeur.

If you’re only trekking half of the Tour du Mont Blanc, you can catch a bus through the Mont Blanc tunnel back to Chamonix from here.

Several bus companies offer this service, with a travel time of about 45 minutes to Chamonix. SAVDA buses depart at 9h, 11h, 12h, 14h, 16h & 18h, with a one-way cost of €15.

Click here for Courmayeur to Chamonix Bus Schedule.

Flixbus also offers affordable options, with deals as low as €5. Download their app to check their timetables.

5. Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti

Is this the prettiest part of the hike? Maybe. So don’t skip it!

This is for people who cannot get a room at Rifugio Bonatti or Elena (or the hotels in Lavachey). Basically you’ll do the hike to Bonatti, walk down to the valley and take bus back to Courmayeur for the night. Take bus back and start where you left off.

BusVal Ferret/Green Route
DescriptionConnects central Courmayeur with several stops in the Italian Val Ferret, which sits directly below the main TMB route. The final stop, Arp Nouvaz, is a short walk from the main TMB near Chalet Val Ferret. Or Bivio Rifugio Bonatti.
Accommodation OptionsUtilize the bus to reach additional accommodation if Rifugio Bonatti is full. Hike from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti and take one of the link trails down to the valley. Catch the bus back to Courmayeur to spend the night.
CampingCamping is not permitted near Rifugio Bonatti or at any other point on this stage. Descend to the valley where there are a few campgrounds available. Use the bus to get between the link trails and the campgrounds, if needed.
Transit CompanyOperated by Arriva. A €4 surcharge applies if you don’t use their app to purchase your ticket in advance.
Operating SeasonTypically early July through August.
Distance SavedApproximately 17km if riding from Courmayeur to the Arp Nouvaz stop.

Bus No 5  from Place Le Monte Bianco runs along the valley floor of Val Ferret and can drop you at stop “Bivio Refugio Bonatti’. 

6. Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly

Not much to skip here. Here’s the Swiss bus info.

BusFerret – La Fouly
DescriptionPossible to cut out ~45 minutes of hiking at the end of the stage by catching the bus from Ferret to La Fouly. Same bus allows you to connect to Champex, skipping all of Stage Seven.
Operating SeasonTypically early July through August.
Distance SavedApproximately 3km.

7. La Fouly to Champex

This is the section to skip if you’re on a timeline.

Stage 7Skipping the Stage
DescriptionMany TMB hikers skip Stage 7 to save time on the trail, as it’s considered the most unremarkable section passing through gentle meadows and Swiss villages.
Bus TransferIf taking the bus from La Fouly or Ferret to Champex-Lac, you’ll need to change buses in Orsières. Catch a bus from Ferret or La Fouly to Orsières, and then a second bus from Orsières to Champex-Lac.
Schedule DetailsFind the schedule details on, inputting your starting point, arrival point, date, and time. The price is provided, and you can book online or pay cash to the driver. Payment can be made in euros or Swiss francs.
CostA single ticket from Ferret to Champex-Lac costs CHF12 (or €12) for an adult and CHF6 (or €6) for a child.

Travel Details? How to Get to the TMB?

The closest airport to the TMB is Geneva. Tip: Zurich is famous for losing luggage. I wouldn’t bring my expensive trekking poles on the plane because they get trashed or confiscated. Watch video here.

Just go to Decathlon or another store in Chamonix and get a cheap pair and leave it for the next trekker.

✈️ Need cheap flight tickets for your trip? Consider choosing WayAway for these aims. WayAway is a flight aggregator that provides travelers with the best rates on airline tickets. Use the form below and buy cheap flights!

8. Champex to Col de la Forclaz

Not really helpful for most people. This is for people that can’t get a bed at Hotel Col de la Forclaz as well as all accommodation in Trient and Le Peuty are fully booked.

Public TransitStage Eight
DescriptionPossible to use public transit to skip this stage entirely, but most commonly used to find additional accommodations if fully booked.
Bus TransferTake the bus from Col de la Forclaz into Martigny for additional accommodations, and then back in the morning to pick up the trail. The bus also heads in the opposite direction, often taking hikers down the last segment of trail between Col de la Forclaz and Trient/Le Peuty. From there, it continues on to Le Châtelard where you can catch the train to Vallorcine and then onwards to Chamonix.
Operating SeasonTypically early July through August.
Distance SavedHighly varied.

9. Col de la Forclaz to Trés-le-Champ

A few options here:

Public TransitCol de la Forclaz – La Peuty/Trient
DescriptionCatch the post bus from Col de la Forclaz to La Peuty or Trient, saving an hour on the trail.
Bus ScheduleApproximately 4 times a day: 06.33h, 8.28h, 12.28h, and 19.28h. Double-check the timetable at or email [email protected] as times may change.
CostAround CHF2.20 for a single ticket.
Travel TimeAbout 4 minutes to get down to La Peuty or Trient. Note that Trient is slightly off the TMB trail, so only go here if you plan to stay overnight.
HitchhikingIt’s also possible to hitch a ride from Col de la Forclaz to Trient, which takes about 10 minutes by car.
Charamillon Chair LiftFrom Refuge du Col du Balme on Stage 9, catch the Charamillon chair lift and Le Tour cable car down to the village of Le Tour if you want to stay in Argentière or Chamonix instead of at Refuge La Boerne. The chair lift costs €14 per adult and €10.50 per child one way, or €35.00 per adult and €28.00 per child/senior for both the chair and bubble. Alternatively, walk down the track underneath the ski lifts to save money.
Train to MontrocTo stay in Argentière or Chamonix for the night and pick up the trail again at the beginning of Stage 10, catch the train to Montroc (the stop after Argentière) with your free carte d’hôte card from your Chamonix hotel. Walk to the end of the platform, turn right and veer right again to find an unmarked trail that leads to the village of Tré-le-Champ. It takes around 15-20 minutes to walk up.

10. Tré-le-Champ to Refuge de la Flégère

Stage 10 of the TMB does not offer any shortcuts.

The gondola from Refuge la Flégère to Les Praz is a convenient option for hikers who want to cut out the final day of the TMB or avoid the long climb out of Les Houches by hiking in reverse. It’s also a good choice if you want to stay in Les Praz for more accommodation and services at this stage, and take the gondola back up the next morning to continue your trek.

The gondola departs directly next to Refuge la Flégère and ends in the village of Les Praz, from where you can take a bus or taxi back to Chamonix. The cost is €17.50 one way per adult, and the operating season is from June 10th to September 17th. Note that this option does not save any distance on the trail.

11. La Flégère – Les Houches

The final stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers breathtaking views of Mont Blanc, but the long descent in Les Houches can be tough on your knees. If you need a break, you can take the cable car down to Chamonix instead.

To do so, head to Le Brévent, which is approximately 7.5 km into the final stage. From there, you’re just steps away from the Le Brévent cable car that can take you down to Chamonix. First, you’ll ride the Brévent cable car to the mid-station at Planpraz. Then, take the Planpraz cable car the rest of the way down into Chamonix. From there, it’s just a short walk into town to celebrate your accomplishment!

Note that the final descent to Les Houches is approximately 9.5 km from Le Brévent. The cable car can be a convenient option if your legs are tired or if you want to save time.

Brevent Cable Car

Public TransitBrévent Cable Car
DescriptionTake the cable car from Plan Praz (the Brévent mid station at an elevation of 2000m) to the top of the Brévent summit (2525m) to cut out the Col du Brévent climb and save approximately 2 hours of trail time (or 1 hour if hiking the Charles Bozen piste).
Cost€16.00 one way for an adult and €10.50 for a child/over 65 in the 2023 summer season.
Operating SeasonTypically June to September.
Distance SavedApproximately 2 hours of traditional TMB trail time. Note that the Charles Bozen piste is a wider, easier route but lacks the charm of the high route traditional TMB route.
Trail DescentAfter reaching the Brévent summit, it’s a 4-5 hour descent down to Les Houches.
Distance saved: 9.7km & 1500 meters of descent

Le Parc Merlot Navette

Public TransitLe Parc Merlot Navette
DescriptionRegular navette (bus) service from Merlot animal park to Les Houches on weekdays.
ScheduleDeparts every 30-40 minutes from Les Houches train station to Merlot park (car park P1) from 9:30am to 5:00pm. Returns every 30-45 minutes from Merlot park to Les Houches train station from 9:55am to 6:00pm. Buses run in conjunction with trains arriving and departing from Les Houches train station.
CostFree for people wishing to visit the Parc.
AvailabilityWeekdays only.
Stage 11If trekking on a weekday, you ‘might’ be able to catch the navette service after the long descent from Brévent.
2024 InfoCheck the Parc Merlot’s website for up-to-date information.

Wrap Up: TMB Shortcuts

The Tour du Mont Blanc offers numerous gondolas and buses that can help hikers save time and energy, especially during the long and challenging stages. Some of the most important gondolas and shortcuts include the Bellevue cable car to get to the Col du Tricot variant, La Flégère cable car, which can take hikers down to Les Praz and back up to continue the trek, and the Brévent cable car, which can cut out the Col du Brévent climb and save approximately 2 hours of trail time.

Another notable shortcut is the Le Parc Merlot navette, a regular bus service that runs from Merlot animal park to Les Houches on weekdays, which can save hikers from the long descent after the Brévent stage.

These gondolas and shortcuts can be a great option for hikers who want to customize their itinerary or need a break from the challenging terrain or harsh weather.

Need Help Planning Your TMB?

The fact I’ve had to write an article about this makes it a hard thing to do. It’s not a walk in the park to plan a TMB trek. I’ve done both my own DIY planning and paying a service to do it.

It’s up to you.

I want to share my favorite company if you’d rather pay someone to book your accommodations and provide details GPS plans.

Tour du Mont Blanc Hike
TMB Hut to Hut Hiking

Tour du Mont Blanc Hike

Tour du Mont Blanc is a challenging circuit that spans across three countries, Switzerland, Italy, and France. It is approximately 105 miles long and can take up to 11 days to complete.

Overall Best Self Guided Planning Service: Alpenventures Unguided

This firm is great for finding secluded variants (like the one by the La Gorge gondola), private rooms, and providing maps. They have multiple ways to hike the TMB from a short 4 day to 11 days and everything in between. You can also arrange higher levels of "comfort", i.e. private rooms.

  • Glacier Filled Raw Beauty
  • Fun People
  • Wildflowers and Wildlife
  • Food is Local and Delicious
  • Most Famous Trek in Europe
  • Variable Hospitality
  • Serious Elevation Gain 
  • Complicated and Tedious Bookings
  • Not for Total Beginners

More Resources

Discover gear that elevates your outdoor adventures. As a physical therapist, I’ve curated product comparisons to enhance safety and enjoyment, perfect for beginners or those with weary knees.

Physical Therapist Curated Gear Guides for Hikers & Skiers

If you’re an avid hiker, you know that shortcuts can be awesome. I hope this list of the Tour du Mont Blanc shortcuts helps you enjoy the journey.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.