A satisfying stage – from the gentle amble by the stream at the start to the climb up to the Plan des Dames and the Col du Bonhomme. There are some steep climbs but you are rewarded with excellent views, and though the route was crowded at the start when the day trippers turned off for the Lacs Jovet, we had the mountainside more or less to ourselves until we reached the col du Bonhomme.
We’d recommend the refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme – good hearty food, friendly and helpful staff and small bedrooms.
The Col des Fours variant of the route is definitely worth the effort, especially if there is plenty of good snow around – enquire at the refuge as to the state of the route. The view of Mont Blanc from here is spectacular. If you do descend to Les Chapieux don’t underestimate the distance – it can take longer than you think.