The French Alps area is one of the most popular year-round resorts in the world, easily reached via either Geneva or Lyon airports or if you choose to drive to the mountains of the Alps, you should count on an 8 1/2 hour drive from Calais to Chamonix. In this case, our recommendation would be to stop off en route in some bed and breakfast accommodation.
Ski resorts in the French Alps such as the Vallée Blanche area that includes Chamonix and les Houches (you can also snowboard, paraglide, snowshoe, ice skate, ice climb, sled and heli-ski from the Chamonix area of the Alps), Courcheval and Megeve, les Gets, la Clusaz and Trois Vallées are internationally renowned but there are also many other lesser known and therefore less crowded resorts to the North East of Annecy which are worth exploring.
Once the snows have melted, the French Alps become an ideal destination for summer sports activities such as climbing and mountaineering, horse-riding, hiking, mountain bike riding, paragliding, canoeing and white water rafting which are all widely available in the mountains of the French Alps. The pastures are filled with spectacular wild flowers which are a beautiful sight. Hike the marked trails through the mountain passes to snow fed mountain lakes or meander through shaded, cool woodland, away from the heat of the day. The fresh, clean air of the mountains of the Alps will revigorate the spirit.
If culture and architecture interest you, the French Alps region has much to offer. Visit the historic city of Chambery, once the capital of Savoie, with its Italianate architecture and 'Fontaine des Elephants'. Annecy is one of the most charming towns in the French Alps, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and on the shores of Lac d'Annecy. The medieval quarter is laced with canals, flower-covered bridges and arcaded streets. Why not take a boat ride from Annecy to Talloires, a tiny lakeside village with some excellent restaurants.
The French shore of Lake Geneva in the Alps is worth a visit. In Yvoire, the medieval walled fishing port guarded by the massive 14th century castle is quite a sight. Further East, Thonon-les-Bains is a renowned spa town in the French Alps, perched on a cliff overlooking the lake. You can reach the small harbour at the foot of the cliffs via the funicular, from where you can take a boat excursion to Geneva and Lausanne.
Did you know that the region of the French Alps, is also a top wine producing area? The Savoie vineyards, particularly around Chambery and Aix-les-Bains, are worth discovering with increasing numbers of wine producers making really interesting, quality wines and a selection of restaurants that promise much more than cheese fondue on the menu. The vineyards are surrounded by the most spectacular mountain scenery and close to some gorgeous Alpine lakes, making it a wonderful area to enjoy an active holiday, combined with wine touring.
A personal selection of accommodation for a mountain holiday in France including the Pyrenees, Alps and the Vosges
A fine selection of spa breaks in France, perfect for a pampering stay with your girlfriends