The Alps are the largest mountain chain in Europe, extending for almost 1,000km with a surface area of 35,000km² in France. The Alps also boast some of the highest peaks in Europe, with striking differences between the Northern Alps and Southern Alps.
In the north, the most symbolic peak of the mountain range is Mont Blanc which stands at an altitude of 4,810m, while in the south, although many of the peaks reach altitudes of 4,000m, there is an obvious progression towards the sea.
The same can be said for the vegetation. The northern mountains are home to beautiful forests of spruce and fir, while the vegetation further south is more arid and composed of larch, thyme and lavender.
The three départements in the Northern Alps are the Haute-Savoie, Savoie and Isère.
This region is home to France’s famous historic ski resorts such as Chamonix and Megève, as well as its major skiing areas such as the Trois Vallées (Courchevel, Méribel, Les Ménuires) and Paradiski (Les Arcs, La Plagne, Peisey-Vallandry).
The Southern Alps consist of six départements: the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-Maritimes, as well as parts of the Drôme, Var and Vaucluse. Serre-Chevalier, Montgenèvre, Pra Loup and Isola 2000 are the most emblematic ski resorts in this region.
Natural Parks and Relaxation
The French Alps offer numerous opportunities for hiking through its natural parks. In addition to acting as habitat for many protected species, the parks also boast beautiful lakes such as Lake Annecy, Lake Le Bourget and Lake Geneva, with the town of Evian, famous for its waters, overlooking the latter.
The Alps are the ideal destination for a whole host of leisure and outdoor activities – skiing, hiking, mountaineering, white water rafting, pot-holing, mountain biking, visiting thermal baths and much more besides!