The French Alps prove to us how nature and forces can create stunning works. This beautiful mountain range is renowned as a winter sports paradise. Aside from that, it is home to gorgeous scenery, making it a gem for nature lovers. So, whether you’re visiting to engage in sports adventure or to simply admire nature, the alps in Europe won’t disappoint. To help you enjoy the beauty of this paradise, here are 10 best spots you won’t regret visiting!
Where is the French Alps?
The French Alps are parts of the Alps mountains in south-central Europe. Specifically, it is nestled in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Most of its ranges are in France, but some of them are shared with Italy and Switzerland. Notable France cities in the Alps include Annecy, Chamonix, Grenoble, Chambéry, and Évian-les-Bains.
When Is The Best Time To Visit French Alps
The weather conditions in French Alps can make or break your trip. Moreover, depending on what activities you want to engage in, there’s a perfect season to do them. Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit to the alps mountains:
Spring (April-June): This time is when flowers start to bloom and hibernating animals come out. Spring in the alpine mountains is perfect to walk, cycle, climb mountains or even try kayaking. The weather during this time is warm but not too hot.
Summer (July-August): Summer guarantees you with endless sunshine on the French Alps. This is a great time for outdoor activities if you don’t mind the heat. However, take note that summer heat can bring about thunderstorms.
Winter (November-December): Winter is the busiest time in the Alps in Europe. This makes it the perfect season to do winter-related activities, such as skiing. If you want to experience the best powder on the French Alps, visit in January.
Autumn (September-October): Autumn is also a great time to enjoy walking, road biking, and climbing. This is when the weather is still warm during the day and gets cooler at night.
Val d’Isère is a top destination for mountain ski lovers. This beautiful ski resort boasts a vast terrain with many ski lifts, ski slopes, and cableways. With an altitude of between 1,550 meters and 3,500 meters, the ski resort offers vast on and off-piste options.
Aside from winter ski experience, this Savoy village is home to casual cuisine and Michelin-starred restaurants. The ski resort also has 18 ski schools that provide classes for different skiing levels. Oxygène is one of the most popular ski schools in the French Alps.
In addition, during summer in French, the mountain scenery in Val d’Isère turns lush and vibrant. The views are perfect for some walks and photos. The weather in the summertime is also favorable for some outdoor activities.
Nestled in the green Alps mountains is Evian-les-Bains town. This is among the most beautiful French Alps towns worth visiting. From the gorgeous scenery to the crystal waters, Evian-les-Bains is a popular leisure and spa destination.
Evian-les-Bains sits pretty on the shores of the gorgeous Lake Geneva. With its lakeside location, this town is also known for the French Alps spring water. If you’ve tried Evian water, it’s like you’ve already tasted a precious part of this gorgeous town.
Aside from its picturesque scenery, Evian-les-Bains has a rich history and architecture. The main Polish church of Paris, Notre Dame de l’Assomption Church, is located here. This magnificent church dates back to the 13th century. Aside from that, you can also visit iconic spots Palais Lumière and the Antoine Riboud Theater.
Another famous thermal French Alps town is Aix-les-Bains. This beautiful town in the Alps mountains is dotted with thermal baths. It’s a perfect destination to indulge in spas, saunas, steam rooms, and massages.
In terms of population, it is the second-largest Savoy town, making it a busy place to visit. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not worth the stay. This French Alps town is brimming with amazing things to do and see. From thermal baths, mountain views to swimming and sailing, a long list awaits.
This chic town sitting on the Alpine mountains is also home to some famous structures such as the Roman baths, the Arch of Campanus, and the Temple of Diana. Meanwhile, art lovers won’t be left behind. They can visit the Musée Faure, where you can marvel at Rodin sculptures, Impressionist paintings, and faience ceramics.
Another French Alps spot you won’t regret visiting is Grenoble. Sitting at the foot of the Alps mountains, this city serves as the perfect base for winter sports. Aside from that, Grenoble is also notable for its research centers, museums, and universities.
Among the historic buildings in Grenoble is the Palais de Justice (Law Courts). This palace boasts of an impressive Early Renaissance facade. The 16th-century-old Chambre de la Cour des Comptes, meanwhile, has intricately carved paneling.
When visiting Grenoble, don’t miss the chance of exploring The Musée de Grenoble. Here, you can marvel at the exceptional paintings by Philippe de Champaigne, Rubens, and George de la Tour. It is also home to many modern arts from Picasso, Matisse, and Léger.
Aside from cultural riches, Grenoble is endowed with gorgeous scenery. The sweeping views of the alpine mountains and verdant gardens are all breathtaking. There are many gardens and parks that make for great family spots. The 30-hectare land of Jardin des Dauphins boasts of manicured gardens, stairways, and terraces. Meanwhile, at Parc Guy-Pape, you can enjoy leisure walks with views of Fort Rabot.
Vercors Regional Natural Park
Boasting 186,000 hectares of limestone fortress, Vercors Regional Natural Park is among the breathtaking places in French Alps. It is home to rich natural treasures, from cliffs, gorges, plateaus, green valleys to caves. All these beauties equate to French Alps’ exceptional heritage.
Vercors is a favorite holiday destination for ski enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park is home to amazing ski resorts where you can enjoy nordic or downhill skiing. There are also other resorts that offer mountain biking and hiking. This vast paradise has the perfect spot for whatever you want to do.
For some slow activities, enjoy access to more than 500 km of runs. The park also houses hotels and golf resorts to enjoy some rounds of golf.
Annecy is among the French Alps towns that offer some of the most breathtaking views. Nestled at the tip of Lake Annecy and surrounded by snowcapped alpine mountains, there’s so much to see and do in this gem of a town.
Visiting Annecy lets you take in all the beauty of Lake Annecy. It is one of the largest lakes in France and is the cleanest in all of Europe. Every angle in Lake Annecy offers eye-catching scenes.
Aside from the stunning views, Annecy is home to many watersports. From swimming, paddleboarding, scuba diving to sailing on a yacht, Annecy is keen to keep you busy. When summer in French hits, the sandy, and grassy beaches become a playground for children to play in. Add to that the crystal-clear waters for a relaxing swim against the stunning views of Annecy.
Chamonix is renowned for the magnificent mountains surrounding it. Visiting this beauty allows you to enjoy nearby peaks, panoramic views, and glacier fields. Aside from that, Chamonix offers many other things to do and see from the valley floor to its peak.
Visiting Chamonix lets you take in the sweeping views of Mont-Blanc. For some mountain ski adventures, the base of Mont-Blanc offers a selection of safe routes. Some of the famous ones include “The Three Mont Blanc – Traverse,” “The Dome du Gouter Ridge,” “The Corridor Route,” and “The Descent of the North Face.” Mont-Blanc is the highest peak in the French Alps and the highest peak in Europe by extension.
Megève is among the best ski resorts in the French Alps. Lying in the shadows of the magnificent Mont-Blanc, the natural snows allow for excellent mountain ski adventures. Aside from skiing, Megève offers amazing views and some relaxing activities to enjoy. Leisure walks are most welcome in Megève. There’s nothing like a stroll on cobblestone streets with picturesque views.
This quaint village exudes a vibrant atmosphere with upscale restaurants, modern hotels, and boutiques dotting the area.
For the best view of the town, ride on the Megève Rochebrune cable car. This is an excellent way to view the town and its surrounding mountains. After a long day of exploring the town, a massage in Megève’s luxury spas is always a great idea.
Nestled in a valley in southeast France is Chambéry, this Alpine town is surrounded by the Chartreuse and Bauges mountain ranges. This strategic spot gives visitors in Chambéry almost 360-degree views of the French Alps.
Chambéry is the historic capital of Savoie, making it one of the historical French Alps towns worth a visit. Walking along this old center leads you to charming alleys and passageways. Lining up the streets are stately homes, architecture, and restaurants that tell you Chambéry is both Italian and French.
If you have the time, head on to Lac du Bourget, which is less than 10 kilometers to the north. Lac du Bourget, also known as Lac Gris, is the largest freshwater lake in France. It offers breathtaking views and fresh air.
Surrounded by 4,000 meters of peaks including Mont-Blanc, St. Gervais perfectly exudes an alpine feel. This village is a favorite holiday destination among locals and tourists. The top attractions in St. Gervais include the Tramway du Mont Blanc. This is a famous electric railway that takes you all the way up the Glacier de Bionnassay. At 2,372 meters above ground, the ride gives you the best views of the alps in Europe. Another way to best enjoy the views is by riding the Bettex/Mont d’Arbois cable car. Getting on this cable car lets you enjoy stunning views over Mont-Blanc.
Aside from the breathtaking views, the base of St. Gervais has a great selection of restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. This village is an excellent spot to enjoy winter sports, stunning views, and the best French produce.
Where To Stay In The French Alps
Deciding on where to stay in the French Alps mainly depends on the season and activities you want to do. If your itinerary heavily involves skiing, you’d want to choose a ski resort in Chamonix or in Portes du Soleil. Meanwhile, if you want to visit during summer, pick among the spa resorts in French Alps. Evian-les-Bains and Thonon-les-Bains are popular choices. For city lovers, there are plenty of hotels in Annecy and Grenoble.
Here are some highly recommended hotels in the French Alps:
Luxury hotels: Hotel Mont-Blanc sets the bar high as a luxury hotel in the French Alps. Who would say no to a hotel sitting at the foot of Mont-Blanc? Meanwhile, Hotel Ermitage – Evian Resort gives you overlooking views of the lake. For ski lovers, Hotel Macchi in Vallée d’Abondance is an excellent choice.
Mid-range hotels: L’Arc en Ciel in Thonon-les-Bains is a great option for families. It houses large suites with kitchens and a swimming pool. If you have a cozy ski lodge in mind, book at Hotel Beauregard. Meanwhile, at the heart of Annecy sits Allobroges Park Hotel. This hotel offers clean and modern rooms with secure parking.
Budget hotels: For budget skiers, Savoy Hotel is a favorite choice. Nestled in the quiet village of Brides-les-Bains, this hotel is known for simple rooms with comfy beds. A hotel with a sauna and pool? Check out Zenitude Hotel-Residences Les Terrasses du Lac with great views of Evian-les-Bains Lake. If you’re staying in Annecy, the warmth and cozy rooms at Alexandra Hotel are very inviting.
Ski Your Way To The Alps!
Home to some of the world’s largest and amazing ski areas, the French Alps is any ski lover’s paradise. However, the French Alps are not just about skiing; there’s so much more the Alps mountains can offer. You can explore the beautiful French towns, visit museums and parks, relax in a sauna, or feast on French cuisine.
The French Alps are rich in exciting and relaxing things to do whatever season you visit. So, book a flight now to the French Alps and enjoy every bit the alpine mountains have to offer! And while you’re at it, pay the other French cities like Lyon, Nice, Provence, Cannes, and Paris, a visit, too!