The spiritual home of winter sports, the French Alps form one of the most stunning mountain ranges in Europe.
The snowy peaks and ice-capped spires of this region are famous for their downhill thrills and fresh powder, but there are also some fascinating towns to explore, including Annecy, which sits in a spectacular spot surrounded by sawtooth mountains and a sparkling lake, and elegant Grenoble, the undisputed capital of the Alps. Other notable towns in the French Alps include Chamonix, Chambéry, Évian-les-Bains and Albertville.
The French Alps are the portions of the Alps mountain range that stand within France, located in the Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions. While some of the ranges of the French Alps are entirely in France, other are shared with Switzerland and Italy.
At 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), Mont Blanc, on the French-Italian border, is the highest mountain in the Alps, and the highest Western European mountain.
- Activities :
There are a whole range of winter and summer activities available in the French Alps. In winter, these include the obvious skiing and snowboarding as well as alternatives such as snowshoeing, sledging, glacier walking and ice diving. Summer activities include bungee jumping, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing.
View of the Belledonne mountain range (pictures above and below). The Belledonne range is approximately 60 km (37 miles) long and 10 km (6.2 miles) wide. The highest point is the Grand Pic de Belledonne, 2,977 m (9,767 ft).
- Ski areas :
The largest connected ski areas are :
1) Les Trois Vallées (Courchevel, Méribel, La Tania, Brides-les-Bains, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, Les Menuires, Val Thorens and Orelle) : 338 slopes, 600 km of slopes.
2) Portes du Soleil (Avoriaz, Châtel, Morzine, Les Gets, Saint-Jean d’Aulps, La Chapelle d’Abondance, Abondance, Montriond, Swiss resorts) : 288 slopes, 650 km of slopes not entirely connected.
3) Paradiski (La Plagne, Peisey-Vallandry, Les Arcs), Champagny-en-Vanoise : 239 slopes, 420 km of slopes.
4) Via Lattea (Montgenèvre, Italian resorts) : 214 slopes, 400 km of slopes.
5) Évasion Mont-Blanc (Combloux, Megève, Saint-Gervais, Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce, Les Contamines Monjoie) : 183 slopes, 420 km of slopes not entirely connected.
6) Espace Killy (Tignes, Val-d’Isère) : 137 slopes, 300 km of slopes.
7) Grand Massif (Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoëns, Sixt) : 134 slopes, 265 km of slopes.
8) Les Aravis (La Clusaz, Manigod, Croix Fry, Merdassier, Le Grand-Bornand) : 133 slopes, 220 km of slopes not entirely connected.
9) Les Grandes Rousses (L’Alpe d’Huez, Vaujany, Auris-en-Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Villard-Reculas) : 117 slopes, 236 km of slopes.
10) Serre Chevalier : 111 slopes, 250 km of slopes.
11) La Forêt Blanche (Risoul, Vars) : 104 slopes, 180 km of slopes.
12) Les Sybelles (Le Corbier, La Toussuire, Les Bottières, Saint-Jean-d’Arves, Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves, Saint-Colomban-des-Villards) : 96 slopes, 310 km of slopes.
13) Valloire and Valmeinier : 83 slopes, 150 km of slopes.
14) Grand Domaine (Valmorel, Saint-François-Longchamp) : 82 slopes, 150 km of slopes.
15) Espace San Bernardo (La Rosière, La Thuile – Italy) : 73 slopes, 150 km of slopes.
16) Les Deux Alpes and La Grave : 69 slopes, 220 km of slopes.
The other large ski areas are :
17) Le Val d’Arly (Praz-sur-Arly, Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, Flumet) : 150 km of slopes.
18) L’Espace Cristal (Les Saisies, Crest-Volland) : 80 km of slopes.
19) L’Espace Diamant is a combination of Espace Val d’Arly and Espace Cristal with 185 km of slopes.
20) Villard-de-Lans et Corrençon-en-Vercors : 125 km of slopes.
21) Valberg – Beuil les Launes : 90 km of slopes.
22) Espace Lumière (Pra-Loup, Val d’Allos) : 170 km of slopes.
23 )Superdévoluy – La Joue du Loup : 100 km of slopes.