Visiting the Saussurea Alpine Garden on Tour du Mont Blanc

Saussurea Alpine Garden Entrance

In Courmayeur (Italy) – day 5 of your Tour du Mont Blanc – your legs will get a bit of a break: it’s a rest day, but don’t worry, this day is anything but boring! The Skyway Monte Bianco and it’s mid-way alpine garden will definitely keep you entertained. This super-technological cable car rotates while reaching up to 3466 meters. At the top of Punta Helbronner you’ll have mesmerizing views of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. But that’s not the reason why I’ll come and join you on your rest day. It’s the small alpine garden at mid station that excites me the most.

Saussurea Alpine Garden
Saussurea Alpine Garden Photo credit: Simone Van Velzen

The story behind each alpine plant

Together we’ll explore the Saussurea Alpine Garden where we’ll discover the secret world of alpine plants. We’ll see many flowers that you can find during your trek around the Mont Blanc, like alpine clovers (Trifolium alpinum), globe flowers (Trollius europaeus) and black vanilla orchids (Nigritella nigra). Naming all these flowers while trekking through the Alps is of course very satisfying, but it’s the story behind each plant that makes it so special! Some plants steal nutrients from neighbouring plants with their roots, some flowers have unbelievably intimate relationships with specific insects, while other plants get help from fungi to extract nutrients from the ground. It’s such stories that make the world of alpine flora such an interesting one.

Looking forward to meeting you!

When we wander through the alpine garden, these are the stories I’ll be sharing with you. Of course, I’d also be delighted to answer any questions you might have about the flowers you’ve seen along the way. And as much as I love wild flowers, I love animals too. So please feel free to ask me any questions you have about wildlife in the Alps. See you in Courmayeur!

Saussurea Alpine Garden
Alpine Garden at the mid-way station on the Skyway Monte Bianco.
Photo credit: Simone Van Velzen

Some info on the garden

 The Saussurea Alpine Garden is situated at mid station of the Skyway Monte Bianco in Courmayeur. The garden covers an area of approximately 7000 square meters and is divided into 2 areas; the rock garden, where the flora is sectioned according to geographical origin, and an area with natural high mountain environments, like you would see while hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc. It’s in this garden where I’ll come and meet you on your rest day and share with you the extraordinary stories of the flora of the Alps.

Simone van Velzen

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