French Alps

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Location

The French Alps are one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the world, snowcapped peaks and icy-blue lakes. Stretching  from Lake Geneva in the north to Provence in the South. Savoy and Dauphiné  divide the two regions.  No part of France has more dramatic scenery than the Alps; the western ramparts of the mountains and their foothills are truly majestic.

Savoy region is where you will find the Europe’s highest mountain – Mont Blanc.
Whether you enjoy a skiing, hiking  or just want to enjoy the stunning scenery, this part of France will provide you with unforgettable memories for years to come.
The skiing here is the best in Europe. Some resorts are legendary, areas such as Brides-les-Bains, La Clusaz and Chamonix are popular ski destinations.

From Snowboards to kids to pro Black slopes, there is skiing for everybody.

France has hundreds of kilometers of ski slopes, in some of the most spectacular mountains in the world. From the Alps, to the Massive Cental to the Jura in the South of France, it is possible to ski all year round.

From January to March, skiers flock to Chamonix-Mont Blanc, (known as the capital of Alpine skiing) Megève, Val d’Isère, and Courchevel 1850; from July to September, spa fans head to Evian-les-Bains and Aix-les-Bains.

The Capitial city of the Alps is Grenoble.

Grenoble is surrounded by Alpine Peaks. A progressive university city, with numerous museums and collections of modern art. Grenoble, the capital of the French Alps, is the gateway. Grenoble lies 30 minutes by car from the Grenoble-St-Geoirs airport, 40 minutes from the Lyon-Satolas international airport, and 90 minutes from Geneva’s Cointrin airport. The city is connected to the Paris-Lyon-Marseille motorway on the west and to the Chambéry-Geneva motorway on the east.

Charmonix  has some of the best hiking trails in the alps, visit the Alpine villages of Morzine and Megeve.
Chamonix-Mont Blanc
, the capital of Alpine skiing, with its 19km (12-mile) Vallée Blanche run. Mont Blanc, at 4,734m (15,780 ft.), is the highest mountain in western Europe.

The Town of Annecy is a great base for water sports, hiking and cycling. The old town is worth a visit with its narrow streets and 13th century castle.

The French Alpine region has something for everyone.

Attractions

Grenoble

Grenoble is a major cultural and tourist destination in the French Alps, and one of Europe’s leading contemporary art museums, Magasin – Centre National D’Art Contemporain.

Spa

A number of spas are in the French Alps, with Evian-les-Bains and Aix-les-Bains being among the most visited and well known.

Meribel

Meribel – is at the heart of one of the biggest skiing areas in the world – the Trois Vallees which caters for skiers of all levels. The 1992 Winter Olympics were held in and around the Trois Vallees.

 

The Parc National de la Vanoise.

The Parc National de la Vanoise – France’s first national park, it is a breathtakingly beautiful region of Alpine peaks, lakes and glaciers. It is also home to France’s largest colony of Alpine ibex.

Les Deux Alpes

Les Deux Alpes – Is where you need to head to for summer skiing. Truly magical, the French Alpine region has something for everyone so even if you’re not the best skier about you’ll still fall in love with the region.

Top Destinations in Lyon, the Rhone valley and the French Alps

Grenoble
Alp d’Huez
Lyon
Chamonix
Annecy
Valence
Ceillac
Voiron
Montreuil
Saint Etienne
Courthezon
Chambery

 

How to get there

BY AIR ; 

Grenoble lies 30 minutes by car from the Grenoble-St-Geoirs airport, 40 minutes from the Lyon-Satolas international airport, and 90 minutes from Geneva’s Cointrin airport. The city is connected to the Paris-Lyon-Marseille motorway on the west and to the Chambéry-Geneva motorway on the east.

The region has four airports: two international airports, Marseilles-Provence and Nice-Côte d’Azur, a European airport, Toulon-Hyères and a national airport, Avignon-Caumont.

There are numerous UK and European Airlines visiting most of the popular tourist destinations.

   

BY ROAD;

The region has an excellent motorway and road system giving access to the main regions of France.

 

BY RAIL;

Excellent Rail connections to all destinations.

You could also take Rail Europe’s Snow Train down to the French Alps, where every level of skier and boarder is taken care of. With an interesting mix of runs in the resorts, you are bound to find a suitable selection.

The Snow Train is a great way to start your holiday, whether you’d like to get a good night’s sleep or start the party in the onboard bar/disco on the way. With overnight trains from Calais or Paris.

 

BY SEA;

The ports of Marseilles and Toulon have regular connections with other Mediterranean ports.

 

BY BUS/COACH;

There are many coach companies spread around the region

 

Festivals

There are many festivals here are a few;

  • The Aix-en-Provence opera festival
  • The Avignon theatre festival
  • Tthe piano festival at La Roque d’Anthéron
  • The international photography exhibition held inArles.

 

Less well-known but just as captivating, other festivals also attract large crowds: the Salon-de-Provence jazz festival, the “Nuits de la Citadelle de Sisteron”, “Musique en Pays de Fayence”, the Ramatuelle drama and music festival, the Manosque movie festival…

 

Eating  Dining  Shopping

The cuisine of the Savoy is robust, suited to the active lifestyle of the people. Recipes depend on the region’s raw ingredients: fresh produce, eggs, fish, meat, cheese and milk. Cheese fondue you will find on every menu in the region. The region’s most famous cheese is a form of Gruyère known as beaufort.

Those who appreciate the pungent taste of goat cheese will search out the Savoyard chèvre St-Marcellin, (or petit St-Marcellin). Based on a combination of cows’ and goats’ milk; its exterior is firm and supple, but its interior is sweet and creamy.

The lakes and streams of the Savoy yield trout, carp, grayling, pike, eel, perch, and a famous delicacy found only in the cold Alpine lakes of France and Switzerland.
The region’s smoked hams, pâtés, and sausages, sometimes served with red lentils, are delicious.
As for wines and spirits, the gentle foothills, with their southern exposure, produce good wines.

The most famous red wine is the Montmélian, similar to Beaujolais. The best-known white is a sparkling Seyssel, whose finest vintages have been compared to champagne. The Alps produce potent liquors called eaux-de-vie, which are usually served after the evening meal

Great wines:

Brouilly, Chenas , Chiroubles, Cote-de-Brouilly, Fleury, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, Regnie, Saint-Amour.

 

History

The Rhone-Alpes region is the meeting point of northern and southern Europe, bordering on Switzerland and Italy. This region contains a wide variety of sites and a wealth of historical, geographical, cultural and economic treasures.

Savoie has a rich history. The first people lived in this region is dated from 12000 BC. They are hunters and they are the first leaving some traces in Savoie. By 900 BC, different tribes occupied the region. They were mainly agriculture based. Between 121 and 61 BC, the Romans took the region. After a long period of occupation, the tribes of Allobroges decided to be a part of the Roman Empire. The Romans improved the road system and develop the city of Geneva, Annecy. Savoie had always been the temptation of its powerful neighbor. This region had been occupied five times. In 1815, the people of Savoie “les Savoyards” find back their ancestral monarchy. Under the influence of the revolutions of 1848, Savoie decide to be unified with Italy against Austria with heavy military contributions.

The Dauphine region and former frontier province in southeastern France, was divided in 1790 after the French Revolution into the departments of Drome, Isere, and Hautes-Alpes. This territory, after the fall of the Roman Empire, constituted the largest part of the first kingdom of Burgundy. Later on, it progressively became in the possession of the Carolingian kings, then the second Burgundian kingdom of Arles and finally became a possession of the counts of Vienne, whose title, Dauphin, gave the region name. The last Dauphin of Vienne sold the region to France in 1349.

Some of the earliest anthropological and archaeological remains in Europe have been found in France, yet little is known of France before the Roman conquest (1st cent. B.C.). The country was known to the Romans as Gaul. It was inhabited largely by Celts, or Gauls, who had mingled with still older populations, and by Basques in what became the region of Gascony. Some of the Gallic tribes undoubtedly were Germanic. Settlements on the Mediterranean coast, notably Marseilles, were established by Greek and Phoenician traders .

Useful telephone numbers

Emergency Number

SAMU (emergency medical assistance) 15
Police 17
Fire Brigade 18

Airport Information

Train station:

Tourist Office:

Holiday rents online:

National Transport Line

24 hour medical service


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