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French Alps Holidays - Travel Guide

Experience the magic of the French Alps throughout winter and summer as you indulge in the pull of breathtaking landscapes that captivate the hearts of mountain enthusiasts. Wander expansive ski areas, immerse yourself in natural spring water baths, explore historical sites, and discover charming villages perched at impressive altitudes. Every element for a remarkable sojourn in one of the nation's highest peaks awaits you. At VeryChic, our dedication lies in presenting you with the epitome of accommodation, ensuring your confidence in a truly spectacular stay amidst the grandeur of the French Alps. Let us elevate your experience, making each moment a cherished memory against the backdrop of this sublime alpine haven.

 

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Take a magical journey to a nature lover's paradise in the French Alps, where every inch of this stunning destination comes with unparalleled beauty. Home to some of Europe's most magnificent natural landscapes, the Alps boast impressive mountains, crystal clear lakes, enchanting waterfalls, and untouched forests that weave a tapestry of pure serenity. Beyond the scenic wonders, the attraction of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, adds an extra layer of awe to your adventure. Soak in the majesty of the French Alps, where each moment is a discovery and every vista leaves an lasting mark on the soul. Join the ranks of those who seek not just a destination but an unforgettable journey into the heart of nature's grandeur. 

Dive into a rich tapestry of culture and leisure in the French Alps, a region that beckons not only with natural wonders but also a captivating history. Explore the historic roots of ancient Savoy, the ancestral territory of the Italian royal house, and the legacy of Dauphin. In Chambéry, be enthralled by the majestic Chateau des Ducs de Savoie, a testament to the region's majestic past. Annecy unfolds its tales through an ancient castle once owned by the Counts of Geneva, while Grenoble resonates with the echoes of the Dauphin's states. The Belle Epoque era bestowed upon the Alps charming spa towns like Aix les Bains, Évian-les-Bains, and Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, where thermal baths continue to lure visitors. And, of course, there's the iconic Courchevel, a peak of luxury among European ski resorts. 

So, if you want to know how to make the most of this gorgeous mountain setting on your holiday in the Alps, we'll tell you more below.

 

Weekend in the Alps: how to prepare well for your first mountain holiday

The French Alps are home to some of the most spectacular hiking routes in Europe. If you are in an adventurous mood during your holiday in the Alps, trekking is a perfect choice. You will find various marked trails, some for experienced walkers and others for casual hikers. To make the most of your first alpine adventure, here are some tips!

 

Get yourself in shape

The trek through these awe-inspiring landscapes is a rewarding challenge accessible to anyone in good health. With a series of descents and climbs amidst an average altitude of around 1300m, the key to an even more enjoyable experience lies in your physical preparedness. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or it's your first venture into the Alps, commit to daily workouts—take your strides outdoors, embrace the rhythm of jogging, and, of course, power through treadmill sessions. Strengthen your stamina, embrace the fresh Alpine air, and let the mountains become the backdrop to your fittest and most exhilarating adventure yet. Your body will thank you, and so will the breathtaking vistas that await your conquering spirit.

Invest in walking shoes

Get a good pair of walking boots and you'll be ready for the journey of a lifetime when you discover the game-changing trick to finishing every path in the Alps.  As you clock in those countless kilometres during your trek, these boots become your trusty allies, redefining your journey. Ascending becomes a breeze as they expertly distribute the effort between your legs and arms, a strategic energy-saving move that keeps you going strong. On the descent, these boots are your silent heroes, maintaining balance and alleviating the strain on your knees by absorbing the impact, letting you focus on the breathtaking views instead of discomfort. 

Protecting yourself from the sun

Take a protective measure before starting your mountain journey against the strong Alpine sun. Equip yourself with necessities to fend off the sun's rays when the UV index soars. Take along your go-to sunglasses, a dependable sun cream, and a stylish wide-brimmed hat for extra protection and flair. You have everything you need to protect yourself from the intense solar rays caused by the steep landscape. When lower altitude temperatures flirt with 30 °C in July and August, staying hydrated becomes essential. Carry bottled water to prevent dehydration and make sure you drink often to stay hydrated. The goal here is to thrive amid the peaks, not simply survive them. With these sun-smart necessities, you're not just facing the mountains, you're conquering them.

Don't forget your raincoat

Evening thunderstorms are not rare in the French Alps. Remember to bring a waterproof jacket, a wind breaker and rain trousers to keep you warm and dry. There is nothing to stop you from choosing a poncho, which also has the advantage of protecting your backpack. Finally, before you set off on your trek, find out about the weather conditions.

 

What are the must-sees on during your stay in the Alps?

For avid hikers, the outdoor playground unfolds with a symphony of activities—from summer hikes and exhilarating bike rides to challenging climbs that test your spirit. As winter blankets the picturesque landscape, the scene transforms into a snow-clad wonderland, inviting visitors to carve through pristine slopes via skiing and snowboarding. Nestled in the heart of these majestic mountains, discover enchanting villages like Chamonix, Annecy, Aix les Bains, and the Alpes d’Huez, each boasting world-class facilities for an unforgettable stay. The vibrant atmosphere and regional charm create an unparalleled experience, making your holiday in the Alps not just a journey but a celebration of nature's grandeur. 

Chamonix, pure Alpine charm

Perched in a serene valley at the foot of Mont Blanc, the enchanting town of Chamonix welcomes tourists with open arms, surrounded by a breathtaking tapestry of mountains, meadows, and streams that draw travellers from across the globe—and that includes you! This haven has it all, whether you're content simply basking in the beauty of the Alpine landscape or seeking the thrill of outdoor sports. Chamonix is a playground for the adventurous soul, catering to hikers, climbers, golfers, mountain bikers, and the beloved skiing enthusiasts.

Boasting internationally renowned ski resorts stretching 23 kilometres along the Chamonix Valley, a snowy haven between Les Houches and Argentiere, it is the perfect destination for your winter adventures. For an extended rendezvous with the charm of mountain villages, venture into Les Houches, a commune nestled amidst lush forests and alpine meadows, offering an array of hotels, rentable chalets, tempting restaurants, and delightful shops.

In Chamonix, the Aiguille du Midi stands as a crown jewel, an observation peak perched at a breathtaking 3842 meters, providing a panoramic 360° view of the entire French Alps. This iconic site is a must-see, accessible only by road, inviting you to elevate your senses amidst the splendour of Chamonix. Your adventure awaits—why not make it here?

Annecy, romance among the peaks 

Situated on the shores of a serene lake, embraced by the majestic backdrop of snow-capped mountains, Annecy unfolds like a page from a fairy tale. Picture-perfect scenes come alive as graceful white swans elegantly navigate the narrow canals of the Thiou River, flowing from the tranquil lake through the charming old town. Summer unveils a floral spectacle along the lakeside promenade, where potted flowers add a burst of colour to facades adorned with vibrant geraniums.

Stroll down the lively Rue de Sainte-Claire, a bustling thoroughfare adorned with arcaded buildings dating back to the 16th century, now housing a plethora of shops and restaurants. Amidst medieval streets, architectural treasures await discovery, including the 15th-century Saint-Maurice church and the 16th-century Saint-Pierre cathedral. The Palais de l'Isle, a 12th-century gem perched on the Thiou River, transitions from a historic prison to a vibrant venue hosting cultural and artistic exhibitions.

For an overnight stay, explore our curated selection of hotels in Annecy. Unravelling more history, the Château d’Annecy, a 14th-century residence of the counts of Genève, now stands as a captivating museum, weaving together architecture, regional heritage, modern sculpture, landscape painting, and contemporary art. Annecy isn't just a destination; it's an immersive journey through time, where every corner reveals a piece of history waiting to be explored.

Grenoble, the capital of the Alps

Discover Grenoble, the enchanting former capital of Dauphin, cradled in the scenic embrace of the Isère Valley basin, where towering mountains soar to heights exceeding 3,000 meters. A city bathed in history and crowned by the formidable Fort Rabot and Fort de la Bastille to the north, Grenoble beckons with a magnetic charm. 

 

grenoble

 

Journey through Grenoble's rich tapestry of history and culture, where every corner holds a piece of the past waiting to be explored. The Palais de Justice, an architectural marvel from the 15th and 16th centuries, graces the city with a Renaissance facade that whispers tales of the Dauphin's states. A must-see monument, the Chambre de la Cour des Comptes, weaves another layer of history into the city's narrative.

For art aficionados, the Musée de Grenoble stands as a beacon, showcasing masterpieces by Rubens, George de la Tour, Philippe de Champaigne, and 19th-century luminaries like Delacroix and Monet. Modern art finds its place here too, with works by Picasso and Matisse, creating a sanctuary of creativity in the heart of the Alps.

Grenoble isn't just a city of cultural riches; it unfolds its natural heritage through expansive parks and verdant gardens. Across the Isère, beneath the gaze of the Fort de la Bastille, lie the Jardin des Dauphins and the Parc Guy-Pape—Grenoble's green oases. The former unfolds over 30 hectares of floral wonders, terraces, staircases, and paved paths, while the latter offers a breathtaking panorama of Fort Rabot. 

Aix les Bains, a renowned spa resort

Standing on the shores of Lac du Bourget, Aix-les-Bains emerges as a jewel in the crown of internationally renowned spa towns, boasting the finest thalasso centres in the region. Picture a rustic landscape, panoramic views, and an air of serenity that defines the perfect backdrop for a truly rejuvenating holiday. Aix-les-Bains, steeped in history, unveils its fame through natural mineral waters that once held therapeutic significance in the Roman era, adding a timeless touch to your wellness journey. Whether you seek a blissful escape or a therapeutic retreat, this town is a haven where the healing powers of nature meet modern indulgence. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity, let the mineral-rich waters embrace you, and discover why Aix-les-Bains is not just a destination but a sanctuary for those who seek the ultimate blend of relaxation and luxury.

aix-les-bains

 

Partake in the epitome of relaxation as Aix-les-Bains unfolds its modern thalassotherapy centres and spa havens, promising an oasis of serenity and rejuvenation. Among these retreats, Marina Adelphia stands as a pillar, housing a wellness centre with therapeutic baths and spa treatments, a luxurious four-star hotel, and a gourmet restaurant—a trifecta of luxury for the discerning traveller. Discover tranquillity amidst Les Thermes de Marlioz, cocooned in a quiet, green park adorned with centuries-old trees, offering a sanctuary for both body and soul. 

For art connoisseurs, the Faure Museum awaits, nestled in the enchanting Villa Chevalley Park, offering not only an extraordinary collection of impressionist paintings, sculptures, and faience ceramics but also a breathtaking panorama of Lake Bourget and the surrounding peaks. 

Megève, the Alpine capital of winter sports

Enter the enchanting realm of Megève, a pinnacle among France's premier winter sports resorts, beckoning aficionados of downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. Rooted in medieval history dating back to the 14th century, Megève unveils its picturesque village, where narrow cobbled streets wind through a charming main square adorned by the parish church—a testament to its authentic Alpine allure. This village seamlessly blends its historical charm with a modern infrastructure, boasting numerous hotels, luxury boutiques, and gourmet restaurants that promise a luxurious retreat amid the snowy peaks.

Megève, home to the largest ski resort in the Alps, captivates with an expansive ski area that has earned renown far and wide. Traverse the slopes, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and experience the thrill of winter sports against the backdrop of this timeless village.

Vercors Regional Natural Park

Explore the natural beauty of Vercors, a captivating chain of forest-covered hills nestled in the Dauphin region, between the Rhone Valley and the Alps Winter Road. Towering at 2,346 meters, the summit, Grand Veymont, invites you to reach new heights amidst a landscape adorned with deep winding valleys and dramatic gorges. Vercors, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offers a web of well-maintained trails, perfect for exploring on foot or horseback, making it the ultimate trekking destination in the Rhône-Alpes.

As the seasons change, Vercors transforms into a winter wonderland, offering excellent facilities for a diverse range of winter sports, ensuring an adventure for every snow enthusiast. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or a snow sports aficionado, Vercors sets the stage for an unparalleled experience in the heart of nature.

For those seeking to extend their adventure, venture into the dolomites of the Eastern Alps in Italy, where a new chapter of exploration unfolds. Vercors isn't just a destination; it's a symphony of natural beauty and adventure, waiting to be explored in every season. Lace up your boots, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and let Vercors be the canvas for your next unforgettable outdoor escapade.