Attractions and activities in The French Alps

In 1992 the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville draw the world’s attention on French ski areas. French resorts may not be as picturesque as those in Switzerland and Austria but they are some of the most extensive and best for all sorts of sport activities. Their high altitude, mostly between 2000 m and 3000 m (6,500 ft. to 9,843 ft.) provides the resorts with reliable snow. Chamonix, Megeve and Val d’Isere are charming, authentic resorts, rich with traditions and local history, shared in the initial development of Alpine skiing a century ago. Many of the other, more modern French resorts have been built with skiing in the Architects minds. The result is thousands of apartment and hotels that give you the convenience of direct access to the slopes from your doorstep. And on top of that, travellers will find great apres ski possibilities and delicious typical Savoyard restaurants. Examples of these modern French ski resorts are Avoriaz, Tignes, Flaine, La Plagne and Les Arcs.

Traditional Savoyard dishes are based on local production and contain readily available products such as potatoes, cheese and dried meets. Try one of the authentic Savoyard dishes Tartiflette, a gratin of potatoes with reblochon cheese, onions and bacon bits. Two Savoyard dishes have popularity extended far beyond the Alps: the Fondue, half Emmental, half Beaufort cheeses melt with Savoy white wine in a special saucepan and the Raclette, a special cheese melt on a special grill and served with potatoes, delicatessen products and pickles.

Grenoble is the capital of the French Alps and a gateway for all ski resorts in the region. Grenoble is a great place to visit. The monuments of this captivating city are unforgettable and the city will surprise you at every turn. Beautiful bridges, quais, building facades and public squares are a delight for the eye.

Chamonix is one of the best known ski resorts in the world. Chic, bustling and elegant are the words that best describe the cosmopolitan Chamonix. The first Winter Olympic Games were hosted here in 1924 and this event turned the resort into a winter sport capital. The enormous variety of terrain makes Chamonix a very attractive ski resort for beginners and experts alike. In the summer many of the lifts and cogwheel railways stay open and provide tourists with access to exceptional viewpoints and delicious mountain restaurants. There are a great number of interesting excursions around Chamonix, worth experiencing.

Briancon is the highest town in Europe. The great fortress town with fountains, squares and gargouille streets is really something to be seen. A gargouille is a small canal that runs down the center of the street. There are only two towns in France with gargouille streets and Briancon is one of them. Briançon is often called the sunshine capital of Europe, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and an extremely low rate of relative humidity. Winter sport was developed with the resort of Serre-Chevalier (250 km, 155 miles of ski runs) as well as summer sports such as mountain climbing, hiking, biking and canyoning.