Here you can climb to the summit of a mountain or dip your toes in a crystal clear lake: in the shadow of Mont Blanc in the Alps, the pure air will soon have you feeling refreshed and relaxed. In winter, ski resorts tempt you onto the slopes then afterwards recharge your batteries at invigorating mountain spas and magnificent restaurants and places to stay. In the summer the fresh air and natural beauty of the Alps are an invitation to disconnect from the pressures of daily life. Hike across the peaks and through fragrant meadows, enjoy an exhilarating white water rafting ride, or discover the artisans and their traditional crafts – there’s so much to do…
Must-sees in the Alps
Whenever you visit the Alps, you’re guaranteed breath-taking views in the French mountains. Pre-ski season watch as the first snowflakes fall on the slopes, it’s quite magical. Then when the snow settles, take your pick from downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and Nordic Skiing to conquer the Alps.
Non-skiers and families are also perfectly catered for in the Alps with cosy mountain spas, snowshoeing and sunny terraces, ideal for those who want an active break or simply to relax.
Where to ski in winter
With 112 resorts, Savoie and Haute-Savoie offer mountain holidays for everyone. The 3 Vallées make up one of the largest ski areas in the world. Sophisticated Courchevel combines skiing with a spot of superb shopping. In Méribel you’ll experience an authentic Savoyard atmosphere in traditional chalets. Reach for the sky at Val-Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe at 2300 metres high (2,515 yards). For lofty mountain sports, Tignes will float your boat: the 2 Alpes, Val d'Isère and Alpe d'Huez are among a handful of resorts where you can ski in the summer. Avoriaz is a fully pedestrianised resort (except for sleds!) and hosts a unique series of contemporary art exhibitions and music festivals each year. And from Saint-Gervais or Chamonix, discover the famous Mer de Glace, the largest glacier in France, on the slopes of Mont Blanc, one of the most legendary peaks in the world.
How to spend summer in the Alps
Summer in the mountains is the perfect place for wandering. Thousands of kilometres of marked trails are perfect for hiking, mountain biking and cycling. The forests make for an idyllic playground with many tree climbing courses. And, there are white water experiences galore, from a canoe, kayak or raft. But if you feel like something a little less strenuous, take a tour of the Alps or the grand lakes such as the unforgettable Lake Annecy or Lake Bourget…
From sport to relaxation in the heart of the Alps
Whether you seek a totally relaxing holiday, a high adrenalin sports break or something in between, the Alps will suit your needs. When the weather is good, hop aboard a sailing boat on Lake Annecy and follow the historic route Napoleon took on his return to France from exile in 1815. Maybe you you’d like to try paragliding, hiking and sleeping overnight in a mountain refuge, or discover the arts and crafts of the mountain artisans. Winter brings many types of snow sports including the unusual, like diving under the ice, flying down a zip-line or a bracing horse ride over powdery snow. Whenever you visit, take time to be pampered at one of the many luxury spas. From salt walls to ice caves, beauty products created from mountain specialities like donkey milk and bee pollen, the Alps are the perfect place to recharge your batteries.
Gastronomy at the summit
A little indulgence is a good thing, especially in the mountains where fine dining excels. No less than 40 starred restaurants feature in the Michelin Guide, an unusually high number in one area. Wild herbs, alpine products like Reblochon cheese or Sisteron lamb feature on the menus of the grand restaurants of Mont Blanc which compete with each other to be the most innovative and delicious. There are also the tasty food trucks and cheese bars for less formal dining. Families will love the hearty dishes of the Alps - from cold meats to the famous raclette, tartiflette and fondue dishes. In Meribel you can even enjoy dinner under the stars in a gondola. But whatever you do, make sure you leave room for ‘les bugnes’, the moreish, iconic donuts of the Duchy of Savoy!