The French Alps region is of course one of the most popular regions in the world for wintersports, with its endless opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and so on. And the mountains are just as popular in summer, attracting visitors with activities such as hiking, climbing, paragliding, and mountain biking, as well as swimming and sailing on the lakes. Much of the area is made up of national parks and protected areas for the conservation of these magnificent panoramas, which evolve throughout the seasons, and the multitude of flora and fauna which live there.
In the northern French Alps you’ll find Avoriaz, the capital of snowboarding, and if you’re with beginners, Morzine is a good choice of resort. Heading south, there’s lots going on in Chamonix, the very first French ski resort, which is also the point of access for Mont Blanc, for those intrepid enough to attempt the climb. Tignes and Val d’Isere have the advantage of altitude, meaning better snow for longer in the season. Les Arcs is easily accessed by train via Bourg Saint Maurice. Les Trois Vallées and Alpe d’Huez respectively offer skiers huge areas of interconnecting pistes.
If you’re visiting Grenoble, the “capital of the Alps”, take a look at the remains of the crumbling Roman city walls, or enjoy the view from the Bastille Fort on the top of the hill. For an entirely contemporary experience, check out Magasin: the centre for contemporary art. This converted warehouse on reclaimed industrial wasteland is a hub of cutting-edge artistic creation.
If it’s traditional charm you’re looking for, you will find it in Annecy, nestled beside its own lake, with the Chateau d’Annecy Museum looking over higgledy-piggledy roofs. The turreted old prison, or Palais de l’Ile sits on a little island in the canal.
And you'll want to taste the delicious Alpine specialities such as raclette, tartiflette and of course, a warming vin chaud. Just what you need after a hard day on the slopes…
Station to station