The French Alps are part of the large European chain of mountains known as the Alps. They are primarily attractive for outdoor activities, such as Alpine Skiing and mountaineering. Less famous but still popular sports, in the region, include mountain bike (cross-country, Downhill), white water rafting and paragliding. The region is also noted for its stunning beauty, including many alpine lakes, the largest being Lake Geneva (Lac Leman), Lac d'Annecy and Lac de Bourget; these lakes are year-round attractions for their beauty and access to numerous water sports.
The French portion of the Alps are also home to famous resorts towns Chamonix, St. Gervais, Albertville (1992 Olympic Winter Games), Grenoble (1968 Olympic Winter Games), and Annecy with its old city and lake.
The French Alps are well connected to the rest of the country. The nearest international airport is Grenoble Isère Airport. Lyon and other cities have a direct TGV (fast train) to Paris. Many towns are also connected by TGV or ordinary trains. There are also highways in many valleys. There is also the international airport of Geneva (Switzerland) nearby.
- 1 Alpe d'Huez
- 2 Brides les Bains (part of Les Trois Vallées)
- 3 Chamonix (Winter Olympic Games in 1924)
- 4 Courchevel (part of Les Trois Vallées)
- Isola 2000
- 5 La Clusaz
- 6 Le Grand Massif
- 7 Les Arcs
- 8 Les Deux Alpes
- Les Menuires (part of Les Trois Vallées)
- 9 Les Trois Vallées (Winter Olympic Games 1992)
- 10 Meribel (part of Les Trois Vallées)
- 11 Megève
- 12 Portes du Soleil
- 13 Risoul (part of La Forêt Blanche)
- 14 Tignes /Val d'Isère
- 15 Val Thorens (part of Les Trois Vallées)
- Vars (part of La Forêt Blanche)
The primary language in the French Alps is French, although as with any other tourism hotspot, don't be surprised if your broken French is met with well spoken English.
Due to the mountains, you can't fly directly into the French Alps, however, you can fly to surrounding airports and arrange transfer from there. There are many companies that specialise in airport transfers from local airports to all the major ski resorts. The major local airports are in Grenoble and Chambéry.
One of the best ways to get around the Alps is renting a car. It gives you the freedom to go wherever you please while you're there and take in all the wonderful scenery. As a major tourist location, there are plenty of car rental agencies to help you do this.
The tallest mountain in the Alps and in Europe (outside the Caucasus) is Mont Blanc in Haute-Savoie, which stands at 4,807 m (15,767 ft), so it's definitely worth a look if travelling to the Alps. Lake Geneva is another natural landmark that can be seen in this area.
The beautiful terrain around the French Alps means that there is plenty to do all year round and that people can try a range of diverse and exciting activities. The area is of course most famous for its skiing however visitors flock to the area for a variety of other activities including mountain biking, hiking and mountaineering.
The French Alps have also great many restaurants and are especially famous for its numerous varieties of cheese.
The popularity of the Alps, particularly for skiing, has led to very high prices, especially for drinks. It is not unusual to pay more than €4 for a small glass of beer in a mountain bar.