FRENCH ALPS – WHY GO?
Snow covered peaks and lush green valleys make the French Alps great walking and climbing country in summer, and brilliant for ski-and-snow holidays in winter. Top resorts include chic Megève, where a horse and buggy will clip-clop you around the old town.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Ski-bunnies and snow fans have over 200 ski resorts to choose from here. Val d’Isere attracts all the celebrities and nearby Chamonix has the world’s highest cable car and is close to Mont Blanc – Western Europe’s highest peak.
City-slickers can get their fix at Grenoble – the largest city in the French Alps and home to a buzzing student population, as well as a fortified 16th Century Bastille that has fantastic views from its lofty position above the town.
Get your camera ready to get some great snaps in picturesque Annecy. Alongside its glittering lakes and vibrant gardens, Annecy’s lantern lit lanes lead to numerous churches and bridges. Look out for the old prison Palais d l’Isle on an island in the canal and check out the old castle Chateau d’Annecy.
Home to three national parks and four regional parks, the Alpine valleys become a riot of greenery in the summer and hiking, rafting, mountain biking, and canoeing are popular pursuits. Adrenalin junkies can even try their hand at paragliding or skydiving over the fertile valleys.
Have your water bottle handy to fill up with free Evian water at Evian-les-Bains’ La Source Chachet – the pagoda covered pump is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to fill up. Pamper yourself at a spa, enjoying a hydro-massage using the famous local waters, or take a ferry across to nearby Switzerland.
MAKE A DATE
International Snow Sculpture. Practise your snow sculpting in time for this cool competition in Valloire.
La Gorzderette. Head to Champagny-en-Vanoise for an offbeat festival of hay sledding, ice tower climbing, archery and other quirky competitions.
Grenoble Jazz Festival. Jazz-heads should make their way to Grenoble for this popular two-week annual music fest.
World Cup Ski tour. Catch them staging races between Val d'Isere and Tignes.
FRENCH ALPS ROMANCE
Don your skis and have a mountaintop champagne picnic in the snow.
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