French Alps

by Christine Cantera  

The French Alps are home to snowy mountain peaks, crystal-clear lakes and lush green valleys and are most known for their outdoor activities like skiing, paragliding, mountaineering and rafting. It is here that you will find chalets dotting the mountainside village and scenery that will take your breath away. You’ll almost feel like journeying to the top of a peak to yodle or singing your favorite Sound of Music tune as you enjoy the natural beauty in this region of France.

Perhaps most well-known in the French Alps are the famous resort towns that attract visitors from around the world each year. Here are some of the most popular:

Annecy: Sitting on the edge of one of the Alps’ largest lakes in Annecy. The capital of the Haute-Savoie region in France, the city has been nicknamed the “Venice of Savoie” for its many small canals that dissect the city. The city is built around a medieval town center, specifically a 14th-century chateau, and the lake is clean, huge and a beautiful azure blue. The city is also the paragliding capital of the Alps and on any given fair weather day, you can watch parachuters floating high above the lake. Read more about paragliding in Annecy.

Chamonix: Pronounced Sham-o-knee. (Don’t pronounce the X!). Probably the most famous city in the French Alps, there is a lot to do and see in this mountain oasis. Here you can ski at one of the many areas, visit the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), which is one of the biggest glaciers in continental Europe, or hike one of the many mountain trails. Sitting at the base of Western Europe’s highest mountain (Mont Blanc), you can take one of the highest cable cars in the world to the top of Aiguille du Midi. This terrifying ride has the greatest vertical range in the world and will take you up to 3,810 m. Bring warm clothes!

St. Gervais: A popular ski destination not far from Chamonix, this town is home to natural hot springs, spas, and stunning scenery.

Grenoble: Home to the 1968 winter Olympics, Grenoble is one of the more major metropolitan areas in the French Alps. It has a large population of scientists, researchers and students, and a lot to offer guests in addition to the hiking, skiing and climbing found throughout the region.

Want to know more about planning a trip to the French Alps? Check out these handy links:

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