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With 300 hours of sunshine a year, the southern Alps is an area where heat, sunscreen and picnics never get old – even in the snow. Nestled between the main French Alpine massif and the Mediterranean, the resorts here are a real source of vitamin D. Add to this that Val d’Allos is nicknamed ‘Espace Lumière’ (Place of Light), that certain peaks in Valberg and Isola 2000 plunge into the sea, and that Serre Chevalier Vallée-Briançon is home to an infinite number of deckchairs and outdoor tables on its slopes – and you could say the southern French Alps are better than the Bahamas.
Anxious to preserve the purity of their natural landscape, resorts in the southern Alps are now expanding their eco initiatives. In 2018, Serre Chevalier Vallée–Briançon became the first resort in the area to carry Green Globe certification (the first world certification dedicated to sustainable tourism). Also this year, Les Orres committed to the installation of solar panels and the removal of 35 electricity pylons, in a bid to become self-sufficient in energy. Finally, Valberg received its first ‘flocon vert’ for its admirable environmental moves, such as introducing electric cars for car sharing, controlling water resources and controlling snow production.
Specialities from the southern Alps have one thing in common: a love of original names. Among the most extravagant are les oreilles d’âne (donkey’s ears). This delicious spinach gratin from the Champsaur valley takes its name from the wild spinach leaf, shaped like the ear of a donkey. In the Hautes-Alpes, it’s not unusual to see pomme givrée (frosted apple) on the menu as an aperitif or dessert – this nectar looks like iced cider and is a little delight, made from apples ripened at altitude and always served at -10°. And for cheese lovers, the Queyras valley offers a baiser du diable (devil’s kiss) for anyone who wants one. This characterful blue is an authentic part of Hautes-Alpes tradition, with production passed down the generations.
The southern Alps aren’t just about sunbathing for relaxation – they’re also well equipped for spa experiences to complement your skiing. Saint-Véran’s four-star hotel L’Alta Peyra boasts a divine outdoor heated pool, in which you can enjoy balneotherapy under a starry sky and expert care in a cosy atmosphere. The aquatic massage course at the Grand Bains of Monétier-Les-Bains provides total relaxation – at the end of the session, slip into the deliciously hot bubbles of the jacuzzi. And we couldn’t leave out Serre Chevalier Vallée–Briançon, which has just added its first cryotherapy centre to its list of wellbeing facilities.
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💣💣💣 OUTDOORMIX Winter Festival 2018 Vars (FR) #ski #snowboard #snow #snowboarding #freestyle #outdoormixfestival #winter #outdoormix #snowboards #outdoor #festival #snowboarder #slackline #skifreestyler #outdoorlife #lifestyle #snowboarders #burton #snowfun #skifreeride #freeski #gobigorgohome #gobig #socialfreeski #igworldclub_sport
For the second year running, the Outdoormix Festival is taking up residence in Vars, combining freestyle ski and snowboarding with kayaking and free music concerts (22–27 January 2019). In a more extreme sporting category, Superdévoluy will host the ski mountaineering world cup in February 2019 – don’t miss the hikers passing through the chourums (natural cavities in the snow endemic to the massif). And for fans of frozen waterfalls, the 29th edition of the Ice Climbing Ecrins will take place at Argentière-la-Bessée (17-20 January 2019). On the programme: an international competition open to all, safety workshops, ephemeral climbing, free skiing, snowshoeing, films and debates, fireworks and a whole lot of freshness.
Find out more information on Alpes French South website: http://www.purealpes.com/en/