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Alps

The French Alps include the Rhone-Alpes and Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur regions and the whole of the Alps mountain range is shared with Switzerland and Italy. Mont Blanc is the highest point on the French-Italian border at 4,808 metres. It’s a wonderful all-year-round outdoor activity centre with a great choice of self-catering holiday cottages.

The area is known for its stunning mountain scenery as well as beautiful alpine lakes, the 3 largest being Lake Geneva, Lac d’Annecy and Lac de Bourget which offer numerous water sports. It has the highest concentration of National parks, regional parks and reserves in the whole of France.

Most visit the area to take part in alpine or cross country skiing, mountain biking, white water rafting, paragliding and of course all types of walking. In winter the walking is more extreme but spring, summer and autumn there is something to suit everyone, high level mountaineering, lower level hiking or river, valley, forest and lakeside walks. It’s a paradise for nature lovers who can look out for chamois, ibex, red deer, wolves, soaring eagles and an amazing variety of alpine wildflowers. The whole area boasts medieval towns and charming villages each with their own unique character reflecting the changing seasons. Chamberry is the capital of the Savoy region at the junction of two major Alpine valleys. It’s full of buildings revealing the areas rich past, a somewhat hidden gem but a memorable place to visit for a true alpine experience with lively cafes and pretty arcaded streets.

Annecy started off as capital of the county of Geneva before becoming part of Savoy during the reformation. It was voted Alpine town of the year in 2012 which is hardly surprising considering its perfect location on the northern side of Lake Annecy, with a backdrop of wooded and often snow-capped mountains. Major landmarks are the Château d’Annecy and the castle Palais de l’Isle. It’s now a major destination for paragliding with the town hosting many international competitions.

Megeve is a world class ski resort in the Mont Blanc Massif offering downhill, snow parks and cross country trails. The town centre is pedestrian free with cobbled medieval streets surrounded by hotels, designer boutiques and rustic-chic chalets. In summer you can walk along marked trails through forests and meadows to see panoramic mountain views.

All Isere is an Alpine region named after the River Isere with a mix of hiking, cycling and ski resorts and very popular with visitors from the UK. For a hike with a difference try the Tour du Mont Blanc and walk over a suspension bridge above the melt waters of the Bionassay glacier.

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