Activity Holidays in the French Alps
Stretching from Lake Geneva 370 km south to Provence, the French Alps are one of the most awe-inspiring mountainscapes in the world. Craggy, snowbound summits soar above forested valleys, an extreme geography that makes the French Alps perfect for outdoor sports.
Bike, hike, climb and ski the mountains around Mont Blanc. Raft, kayak and paraglide the lowland areas around Annecy, Thonon and Chambéry. Chamonix is a Mecca for thrill seekers while Grenoble provides big city amenities and quick access to low-altitude, less expensive ski resorts.
Sunny trails, an incredible lift network and miles and miles of singletrack make the French Alps a hot-ticket mountain bike destination. With regular flights to Geneva, Grenoble and Nice providing easy access to the resorts, you can often be riding the same day you fly. If you have more time, a drive down opens up the opportunity to string a few resorts together for an epic riding holiday. Don’t miss the Portes du Soleil with its links to 12 resorts, 24 chairlifts and 650 kms of trails, or Chamonix with its miles of alpine singletrack.
With soaring mountains, a laissez-faire attitude to danger, and great climate, the French Alps are a hot-ticket snowboarding destination. Snowboarders of every stripe flock to the French Alps each winter, from families and couples who enjoy the wide open pistes of the Three Valleys to serious freeriders who pit their wits against the steep terrain of Chamonix and La Grave. Resorts such as Les Arcs and Avoriaz were instrumental in snowboarding’s early days, while Tignes, Chamonix, Val d’Isère, Courchevel and Morzine are now home to some of the largest seasonaire communities in the Alps.
Canyoning is a great way to explore some of the French Alps’ most inaccessible yet beautiful landscapes. The high mountain terrain that makes the French Alps such a great place for winter sports also make it ideal for canyoning. Spring meltwater fills rivers and carves out deep canyons perfect for exploration. From the Chamonix Valley to the Tarentaise and Annecy, you can slip down natural water-slides, leap into crystal clear pools, abseil down waterfalls and zip-line across ravines.
Chamonix sits in a valley surrounded by far and away the most spectacular scenery in the French Alps. It’s almost Himalayan in its awesomeness with deeply crevassed glaciers carving gullies between vertical rock that soars 3.8 km above the valley floor. Extreme geography means Chamonix is a Mecca for thrill-seekers from all sporting persuasions who arrive in their droves to ski, board, bike, climb or jump off the endless hidden pleasures of the Mont Blanc Massif.
Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your active holiday to the French Alps, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this guide. Bonnes vacances!