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Shelter at the summit for athletic holiday-makers

Shelter at the summit for athletic holiday-makers

There are three hundred and fifty mountain huts across the French territory, each with its own special character in keeping with the requirements of the mountain sports enthusiasts that make up their clientele.

The Grand-Saint-Bernard Hospice at an altitude of 2 473 metres

All paths that criss-cross between Switzerland and Italy ultimately lead to the Grand-Saint-Bernard. With its 120 beds, the hut, which is run by the Saint-Bernard religious order, is open all year round. The historic building dating from 1049 and its adjacent church blend in with the splendour of the environing mountains and the experience is well worth the effort required to hike up the 500m positive vertical difference to the hospice.

Mountain huts with a prestigious past 

  • The Grands Mulets hut (departure point for the Mont-Blanc climb)
  • The Temple-Écrins hut (built in 1948 on the south face of the Écrins mountain range)
  • The Envers des Aiguilles hut (built in 1940 beneath the summits of the Aiguilles de Chamonix)
  • The La Pilatte hut (open since 1950 in the Oisan mountain range)

How were the first mountain huts built?

The desire to spend a night in warmth and comfort in the very heart of the Mont-Blanc range dates back to the 18th century, with the high mountain guides being the principal instigators. In 1700, the first mountain refuges were just caves or rudimentary huts. In 1779, the first hospice was built on the initiative of Charles Blair. The mountain hut enables the sojourning mountaineer to rest, to have a proper meal and to get a decent night’s sleep, sheltered from the elements. The structural elements of the hut were first made lower down in the valley and then transported by donkeys and men to be assembled on-site.