Have a great time spotting the wild flowers in the French Alps

All new for the year 2013, On Foot Holidays, the walking specialist, is offering their customers on its French Alps and Chamonix trip an outstanding new addition: the opportunity to seek an ‘Alpine Flora Day’ searching for beautiful and unusual wild flowers.

Locating their focus on the Contamines-Montjoie and Chamonix valleys, the days of Alpine Flora will be ready (to add on to the walking day) throughout much of the late spring and summer, with the optimal period being between late June and July.

They will include walks led by the Route Advisor of On Foot, Lizzy Ashley-Cooper: mini-expeditions in the meadows, forests, bogs, banks, scree slopes, and streams hunting for the most interesting and rarest flora. Around 140 colourful flowers await, including many types of orchid, rhododendron, snowbells, narcissus, geraniums, lilies, and alpine roses.

On Foot’s toughest summer walk, ‘Chamonix and the French Alps’ presents a different, less well-known side of the ever-popular skiing area around Mont Blanc.  Taking in glaciers, gorges, torrents and the Bionnassay summer suspension bridge, the route starts in cowbell-tinkling meadows and Belle Epoque towns, before climbing up to join the Tour de Mont Blanc on the Roman legions’ original route, and then a final (optional) day climbing up to 3,840m via cable-car, and walking along the incredibly scenic Grand Balcon Nord, before a cog-railway return.

The route’s small hotels, chalets and chambres d’hôte have been chosen for their excellent Savoyard cuisine and fine wines, and are intended to provide the reward of comfort and near-gluttony at the end of demanding days on your feet.  The final two nights’ accommodation are at Chamonix’s Hotel l’Aiguille du Midi, which boasts a welcome pool.

‘Chamonix and the French Alps’ costs from £985 pp (two sharing), including six nights’ full-board accommodation (picnics and dinners), a night’s B&B, luggage transfers between hotels and all route information.  The Alpine Flora Day walks costs an additional £50 pp (two sharing), or £34 pp for a half-day, and can be fitted in at any time subject to weather and Lizzy’s availability.  Flights and transfers are extra.  Call On Foot Holidays on 01722 322652 (www.onfootholidays.co.uk).

On Foot Holidays also features various other French routes, plus trips to Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and the UK.  It is a member of AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators). Call On Foot Holidays on 01722 322652 (www.onfootholidays.co.uk).