A Six-Day Walk Through the Alps, Inspired by Simone de Beauvoir

A lovely article on Simone de Beauvoir’s passion for hiking in the Alps.  I’ve hiked the GR5 and the areas referred to in the article.  “…. as Beauvoir put it, to think of nothing but “flowers and beasts and stony tracks and wide horizons, the pleasurable sensation of possessing legs and lungs and a stomach.”  Enjoy!
Simone de Beauvoir started hiking in 1931, when she was in her early 20s and assigned to Marseille to teach secondary school.  The feminist philosopher pursued hiking as intellectual enlightenment. In Provence, 77 years later, one writer retraces her steps.
Here’s the link to the entire article:
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Wines of the Savoie Region of France ~ 2017 Tour exclusive


Bonjour!  This lovely alpine region produces many varietals most of us have never heard of nor experienced.  It’s a great adventure!  Some of my favorites are the Apremont (white) and Mondeuse (red).  We will have plenty of chances to experience these wonderful varietals on our 2017 tour.  My dear friend and third level sommelier, Stefano Corgnati, will be coming up from Torino to guide us through a magical day of visiting castles and a winery in the Aosta Valley during  our Magical Corners of the Mont Blanc Massif Tour 2017.  This is a great experience.  Educational and a lot of fun!  

Savoy wine

wine tasting 5

Savoy or, in French, Savoie is a wine region situated in the Savoy region in eastern France, and is sometimes referred to as the country of the Allobroges.

The Savoy landscape is distinctly alpine. Between lakes and mountains, the Savoy vineyards hang from slopes or clutch at hillsides in little islands that produce their special growth.

With grape varieties JacquèreRoussanneAltesse (also known as Roussette) and Gringet for white wines, and Mondeuse for the reds, Savoie is characterised by a number of varieties which are very rare elsewhere.

The Savoyard appellations (labels) are distributed through four departmentsHaute-SavoieAinIsère and SavoieCrépy near Lake Geneva and Seyssel in the Ain are easy to locate. But wines labelled Roussette de Savoie and Vin de Savoie can come from anywhere in the wine growing area, unless the label display the name of a village in addition to the appellation. There are 4 Roussette villages: FrangyMonthouxMarestel and Monterminod. And there are no fewer than 17 “Vin de Savoie” villages, the most well known being ApremontChigninChautagne and Arbin.

AOC wines

wine tour 3

A Chignin Bergeron wine.

  • Chignin Bergeron – Chignin-Bergeron cru of the Vin de Savoie appellation in the Savoie region of eastern France. The name is taken from the village of Chignin. Bergeron is the local name of the Roussanne grape variety, from which Chignin-Bergeron wines are made. To be called “Chignin-Bergeron,” the grapes must come from vineyards in the FrancinMontmelian and Chignin communes.
  • Chignin – Chignin is another cru of the Vin de Savoie appellation also named after the village of Chignin. These white wines are made from Jacquere grapes and are dry and light. They are less well known than the other Roussanne white wines, sold as Chignin-Bergeron.
  • Roussette de Savoie Monterminod – One of the four named crus of the Roussette de Savoie appellation, Monterminod is located above the village of Saint-Alban-Leysse in Savoie. The name “Monterminod” is permitted as part of the appellation title. Monterminod and the other three Roussette de Savoie crus are each distinct in character. Monterminod is the most southerly, with Frangy 30 miles (48 km) north. Monthoux and Marestel are roughly halfway in between. The sunny exposure of the steep, rapidly drained south-facing slope give Monterminod an advantage in the cool, alpine climate. Their elevation makes them less susceptible to low-lying frosts and they are sheltered from extreme weather by the surrounding peaks rising to more than 4000 ft (1220m). The wines of Monterminod and the other three crus are subject to stringent production conditions, including lower maximum yield and higher minimum alcohol levels than basic Roussette de Savoie wines.

Other grapes and wines

  • Altesse – Second fermentation of a dry white Jacquère with an Altesse (Roussette)-based liqueur.
  • Pinot gris – Grape variety for white wine, muted of the Pinot noir. The skin of this grape has a color that can vary from almost black to white and from pale blue to pink. The color of the wine can also have a hint of pink.
  • Mondeuse – Mondeuse is a red wine with bluish tones.
  • Mondeuse d’Arbin – Mondeuse d’Arbin is also a red wine from Mondeuse with intense red deep color.
  • Pinot noir – Pinot is a wine with a high alcohol content (12 to 13°) and a scarlet raisin color.

wine tour 2

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Magical Corners of the Mont Blanc Massif July 4-14, 2017

Join us for this unforgettable tour as we explore the “Grande Dame of the Alps”.            Tour bases out of Chamonix, France and Courmayeur, Italy.  

Hilloah with Mont Blanc

$3,495 includes view private rooms & baths (double occupancy) ~ all ground transportation ~ buffet breakfast & full dinner ~ guiding ~ Aosta Valley wine & castle tour ~peace of mind~

At over 15,000′ Le Mont Blanc, Il Monte Bianco massif towers over Europe. Sitting near the adjoining borders bonatti with mtof France, Italy & Switzerland, the massif unites 3 cultures in it’s majestic splendor. This is a place dreams are made of! This magical 11 day tour is split between France and Italy with the two distinctive aspects of Mont Blanc displaying distinctively. Part 1 bases in spectacular Chamonix, France which is a convenient hop from Geneva International Airport. Part 2 bases in a rustic town just outside of Courmayeur, Italy, the Italian cousin of Chamonix. Visit all the places not visited on the Tour du Mont Blanc! Explore, wander, sip and enjoy!

Enjoy the comfort of our view hotels in Chamonix, France & a small village outside of Courmayeur, Italy 

Private double occupancy rooms with baths & view balconies 

Exquisite meals, wines & cheese of the Savoie region

Intermediate-advanced level hiking with daily choices to suit your needs

Ride the telepherique up and over the Mont Blanc Massif

Join expert sommelier, Stefano Corgnati for a day of castles and wine tasting in the Aosta Valley 

Walk on a glacier with ice blue pools

Soak in the mineral pools

Hike from all sides of the highest mountain in Europe

Optional Pre-Tour in the Chamonix Valley & Martigny, Switzerland 

July 2-4, 2017

Val Veny stream


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A Day in the Alps

I’m often asked what is a typical day on tour in the Alps like?  First every day is unique, however there’s three elements that bind our days:  hiking, eating and sleeping great ledges.  Here’s a few insights as to what these can look like.


The trails in the Alps are often very old trails used by sheep herders or walkways from village to village. They are commonly well marked and show the amount of time to get to the next village or trail juncture.  They become rougher the further and higher one explores.  Hiking poles are a great idea and commonly used especially for multi day hikes. Trails are seldom crowded and the folks you meet are fellow hikers thus like “family”! I enjoy guessing what nationality people are and greeting them accordingly!


Hikers love to eat and drink!  Why not when you’re shedding unwanted pounds daily!  The European Alps offer some of the best cuisine in the world, not to mention amazing cheese, wine, beer, breads……. Most of our meals are where we stay and some are offered family style (my favorite) which gives us more opportunity to meet fellow travelers and hear their stories plus practice our  French, Italian or other wonderful languages.  Watch out if the World Cup Soccer games are on as you might the winners dancing on your table!  Meals are delicious, prepared with pride and shared with grace.  They are never rushed and offer a wonderful social interaction where new friends are made.

IMG_2008Perhaps my favorite part after a long day of adventuring is coming into our beautiful mountain hotels.  These pensions, Gite d’etapes, Refugios as they may be referred to are often private, family run affairs offering that wonderful pride of ownership.  If they are not private then they are part of a Club Alpine Francais, Italiano or Swiss.  The guardianship is something kept over many years so we see the same friendly faces every time we visit and it feels like coming home.  these forms of lodging may go from very rustic to very comfortable with private rooms and bathrooms.  Only in the mountains the bathrooms with be down the hall.  Most of our meals are enjoyed in the same hut we lodge in..  I call it civilized “camping”.  There’s nothing better like a cold beer, hot shower, five course meal and comfy bed in my own little room at the end of the day!

lis martigan


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SWITZERLAND: Land of the Giants


Friday January 8, 2016

EntreAmigos in San Pancho, Nayarit

SWITZERLAND:  Land of the Giants  –  A photography journey by Hilloah Rohr, European Alps Cultural & Hiking Guide  

  Take a virtual tour through the beautiful Berner Oberland, ride the cog train inside of the famous Eiger and land at the top of the world, visit Bond World and the Piz Gloria, gaze at the streaming waterfalls of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, hike in the face of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, see cheesemaking and dance with the elves!  Named a UNESCO world heritage site, this is one for your bucket list.  

Come enjoy these magical giants on Friday January 8 at EntreAmigos from 5:30-7:00pm.  Introduction by EntreAmigos scholarship fund students.  The show  is free with a  suggested donation of 100 pesos to go to the scholarship fund.

  For more information please visit:  http://hilloah.com/alps-hiking-tours-3/tour-of-the-jungfrau-switzerland/ or call 541 815 0073


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Getting off the tourist path!

Val Veny streamGetting off the tourist path…..tired of vacationing at all the popular tourist spots?  My experience is that most tourists flock to the same places.  There’s so much more out there! Deepen your experience, adventure where others don’t, travel in small groups, mix with the culture!  Be adventurous!


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Eat & hike your heart out!

IMG_0294 IMG_0323





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Hiking European Style!

The European Alps offer the hiker a respite where they can enjoy a meal, their local beers & wines, wonderful coffee or tea. Enjoy a lively conversation, practice a new language, make new friends. Rest well in the mountain hotels and continue exploring!IMG_2008 2008 Switzerland

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SWITZERLAND: Land of the Giants photo journey 7-8 pm Wed. Sept. 30 in Bend, Oregon

Join us for a magical photo-journey hour exploring Switzerland: Land of the Giants! 


Wednesday September 30 from 7-8pm @ The Wine Shop & Beer Tasting Bar                                             55 NW Minnesota, Bend, Oregon

come early and enjoy a glass of Beer or Wine!

  ~ A Photo-journey of the Berner Oberland featuring the Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau ~
Presented by Hilloah Rohr, European Cultural & Hiking Guide and Photographer.  
Free to the public!  21 and over 
For more information:  www.hilloah.com or email hilloah@hilloah.com
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Tour Switzerland: Land of the Giants ~ August 2016

Switzerland: Land of the Giants


Tour Dates: August 15 -25. 2016
11 day tour
Price: $3,495*

Switzerland at it’s best!  Spend your days wandering in the gaze of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch (the ogre, young girl and the monk).  Pretty impressive company!

Based at a cozy view Hotel in Lauterbrunnen, we take full advantage of the Swiss cog trains and gondolas to explore new vistas daily.  Some nights are spent up high in comfortable mountain lodging.  Always enjoy your private room at the end of the day (double occupancy, single available at an increased fee).

Speaking of high, we visit the top of the world!  Only the Swiss would think to dig out a cog train line that carves up inside the Eiger, ending at 13,000’ on the Jungfrau.  Once on top, we walk on the glacier and discover the ice carved caves and artwork at the Jungfraujoch.

There’s never a dull moment as we visit the roar of Trummelbach Falls, cheese making in the mountains (with wine of course), Piz Gloria the rotating restaurant on the top of the Schilthorn where we visit James Bond World, hike the UNESCO Eiger Trail next to the north face of the Eiger, explore the amazing waterfalls of the Lauterbrunnen valley.  That’s just for starters.


The Details:

  • mostly hotel based hiking with some point A to B hiking
  • suitable for intermediate level and above hikers
  • all lodging included
  • all land transportation included
  • breakfast & dinners
  • access from Bern, Zurich or Geneva airports
  • tour starts and ends in Lauterbrunnen
  • tour restricted to an 8 person maximum
  • Price is $3,495 for 5-8 people


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