How to spend a night in one of France’s exclusive, hidden Alpine refuges

So first off, here’s what not to do on your first trip to a French Alpine refuge.

Do not go to Decathlon, buy a pair of spanking new hiking boots, and set off on the ‘Tour de Mont Blanc’. As iconic for walkers as the ‘Tour de France’ for cyclists, this legendary route encircles Mont Blanc, passing through France, Italy and Switzerland.

Because within 30 minutes of leaving Chamonix, you will feel your first blister. By the end of day one, my heels resembled raw bacon. Only 11 more days to go.

Despite the foolish debut, this trip sealed my love of mountain refuges. Walking through Alpine forests and meadows, hearing

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