Posted on 07 November 2021
Put skiing aside, and you will find a long list of things to do in the French alps, all year round. Over the last decades, local towns strived to improve their skiing infrastructure. However, they also turned to off-slope activities for the young and old all year round, regardless of whether it is winter, spring, summer, or autumn.
This boosted their tourism appeal and reputation as the ideal place to own a holiday home in France. While you will still find the traditional terms of ski chalets and apartments used, their residences are now a year-round base to enjoy the great outdoors. So, let us look at what the French Alps boasts about when it comes to off-slope attractions.
6 Things to do in the French Alps
1: Golfing in the Alps
Mention golf and most people think of Spain, yet the French Alps has a few golf courses that are the perfect place to swing your club among stunning mountain scenery. The 18-hole, par 63 course in Flaines open from July to September. Another 18-hole course in Lac De Tignes offers more facilities, including a golf school and club for kids. Robert Trent Jones senor, a well-respected golf architect, designed the 18-hole Chamonix course. At the same time, professional golfer Henry Cotton designed the Golf Du Mont d’Arbois in Megeve. Les Arcs and Les Gets also offers up decent courses for avid golfing fans. More about golfing in the French Alps.
2: Cycling Routes
The Tour de France passes through the French Alps every year; hence it should be no surprise that it appeals to experienced and novice bikers. Places like Chatel open their chairlifts in summer to give cyclists easy access to 600 kilometres of tracks, while other hotspots include Morzine. Enjoy the Bourg d’Oisans and Alpe d’Heuz route which is a staggering 1143 metres. Other famous trails include the Savoie road, the Col de L’iseran with its beautiful ascent, Col du Mont Cenis on the border with Italy, and Col du Télégraphe in the Massif des Arves region.
3: Weekend in Alp d’Huez
When it comes to off-slope activities, Alpe d’Huez easily wins as a leading resort. The Pic Blanc at 3330 metres attracts people looking for the best views in the French Alps and is easily reached via cable car. The Palais des Sports et des Congress is one of the best sports centres in the French Alps. At the same time, those who like adrenaline kicks head to Le Signal peak to indulge in paragliding. Another activity to see the French Alps from the air is a helicopter alpine tour, or the family can sign up for a dog sleighing ride. The resort also has a 700-metre alpine coaster ride, with two tunnels, ten beds and 65 metres of vertical drops. Lastly, a popular attraction is the Grotte De Glace Ice Cave Museum, or you can pay your respects at the Eglise Notre-Dame-des-Neiges church. More about things to do in Alpe d’Huez.
4: National Parks in the French Alps
For lovers of the great outdoors, national parks are the best place to go, and the French Alps has three of them; Ecrins, Mercantour and Vanoise. Sitting in the Rhone Alpes region, Vanoise opened in 1963, is the best and offers a wide range of flora and fauna. Additionally, when the snow melts away, it is one of the best French Alps destinations for trekking trails. Enjoy a day trip or make a weekend stay, and choose Courchevel or Val d’Isère surrounding resorts for hotel accommodation. Meanwhile, Ecrins is close to Les Deux Alpes, while Mercantour receives 1 million visitors annually and offers a delightful section of lakes. More about national parks in France.
5: Alpine Gastronomy in Val d’Isère
There is nothing better than French cuisine. The unique blend of ingredients and delightful cooking methods throws up dishes to die for. Food lovers sometimes say Paris is the best place to take your tastebuds on a culinary journey. However, Val d’Isère can easily match it in terms of quality and prices. Local bakeries like Maison Chevallot sell pastries and cakes to die for, but the resort also has two Michelin Starr restaurants. Such is the demand for L’Atlier d’Emond, make reservations well in advance. More about attractions in Val D’Isère.
6: Tourist attractions in Chamonix
The must-see attraction in Chamonix is the Aiguille Du Midi Skywalk, also known as Step into The Void. This glass box hangs off the 3777 metre Aiguille Du Midi Mountain edge and is not for the faint-hearted. Another big attraction Mer De Glace is France’s largest glacier and the place to see ice sculptures and mam made grottos. The Mont Blanc tramway is a scenic ride through the French alps, or you can relax by the Lac Blanc and stunning Lac De Gaillands lakes close by. As well as offering the regular helicopter and paragliding flights, indulge in a bit of golf or have a thrilling ride on the 1300 metre Alpine Coaster ride. More about Chamonix.
Best French Alp Resorts: So, as you can see, there is plenty of things to do in the French Alps, from the daredevil paragliding rides to a relaxing game of golf. If you are wondering where to stay, though, this list of resorts talks about the best, what they offer and why they stand out in the French Alps.