One day, as we were spending a few days in the Italian Alps, Monsieur Chéri had a brilliant idea. “Why don’t we go for a walk? I know a beautiful one at the border between France and Italy. The view from the top of the Chaberton is breathtaking and there are military fortifications dating back from the war time”.
Not really understanding what I was getting myself into, I agreed to go.
The Chaberton is easily recognizable to its flat peak (see below), and as you drive closer to it (coming from the Italian side) you actually see the fortifications.
We started hiking quite early in the day, with our picnic and some water in our bagpacks, after parking in Clavière. The trail is quite steep from the beginning, as you make your way through the trees. Then, it becomes easier although I must admit that I understood right away that this would definitely not be a walk in the park … I am ashamed to say that I was completely unprepared physically, while Monsieur Chéri was happily galloping around. He is just the archetype of a nature lover. I was struggling but nonetheless happy to see him in his element.
Then, you cross a dry river and from there it’s a lot of rocks. Good hiking shoes (as well as good knees) are an absolute must. I had to stop a lot, wishing I had been more assiduous with my cardio training and every time I turned around, I got to admire the view. Quite spectacular!
I admit, I thought about quitting several times. But Monsieur Chéri, knowing his audience, promised me a raclette if I made it to the top. For those of you not familiar with this wonderful dish, it’s mountain cheese melted on warm potatoes and ham. Yes, I am a living French cliché! He totally got me with cheese.
After four hours of efforts and a last portion that was very steep, the reward was there. A wonderful 360° view on France and Italy and an impressible military fort. What comes to mind when standing at the top of the Chaberton is “how did they manage to get all of those heavy stones up there?”. Very impressive indeed.
Going back down is of course beautiful, although hard on the knees.
A wonderful view and a pleasant, although demanding, hike. If you are not in great shape, maybe not the smartest idea but for the record, old people and young children were walking near us and managed just fine.
Duration: About eight hours total from Clavière
Bring water (a lot of it)
Bring hot clothing because even in the middle of the summer, it gets cold at the top.
Good hiking shoes are mandatory
Bring a picnic
After the effort, comes the reward…