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7 Villages of the French ALPS

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Pretty village in the French Alps

In Central Europe are the Alps, an impressive and magnificent mountain range whose highest peak is Mont Blanc, with 4810 meters above sea level. It is around this mountain path that some of the finest Villages of the French Alps.

They are vacation or leisure destinations in both summer and winter, so today we are going to take a look at some of these picturesque towns and villages.

Pralognan-la-Vanoise

Night view of Pralognan

Only about 700 people live in this mountain village. It’s a lovely place is located in the Vanoise National Park, at the foot of the Grande Casse and its glaciers. The houses are made of wood and stone, the streets narrow and the natural environment unforgettable.

What can we do in winter? Because the whole village is one family ski resort where the white of the snow covers the green of nature. You can make new snowshoe walks, cross-country ski outings or go skiing.

Alpine skiing and Nordic skiing are also practiced. there are spas where you can take thermal baths indoors or outdoors, you can take dog sled rides, or ride a horse or pony. Also in winter, we practice tandem paragliding, survival courses or, with children, learning how to make igloos.

Pralognan in summer

What can we do in summer? This makes hiking, climbing, fishing practical too paraglider contemplative, get to know the fauna and flora of the place, pass by Le Cristal and enjoy the swimming pool, the water slide, the bowling alley, the climbing wall or the Olympic ice rink.

Bike rides can be done on electric bikes, there are zip lines, canyoning, horse or pony rides and much more. This summer 2022, there is a Pralo’Pass, the activity card which offers a week of unlimited access to the ski lifts, the Olympic ice rink and the swimming pool.

Aix les Bains

marina of Aix-les-bains

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It’s a real destination, literally. In other words, a long time ago it was the holiday destination of the famous queen victoria and the French superstar Edith Piaff. The Belle Epoque he gave the best of himself to the travelers of this city.

The thermal station rest in the shade of Mont Revard on the shores of Lac du Bourget, the largest lake in France. The truth is that the city is a beautiful place, with magical thermal waters that can be enjoyed in the Thermes Chevalley spa. The waters are rich in calcium, bicarbonates and other minerals believed to help arthritis, stress and tendonitis.

Aix les Bains

But, of course, if hot springs aren’t your thing, the city offers so much more. Its streets are superb, a walk in time there is a Romanesque arch from the 1st century a gothic castle of the 15th century, lots of flowers on the balconies of houses and buildings… And if you want an example of the Belle Eporque, nothing better than the Grand Cercle casino.

Annecy

Views of Annecy

A city known as “the Venice of the North”. If you go in the summer, there is no better way than to dive into the waters of the Lake Annecy, surrounded by mountains, magnificent for bathing in peace. You can also stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town or Old Citywith its restaurants along the canal, its food and antique markets or its craft shops.

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Annecy also has a 12th century former prison, transformed into a palace, the Palais de LÎle, an emblematic local construction that overlooks the main canal. Rue Filaterie also offers an unforgettable stroll.

The photo not to be missed is that of the Pont des Amours or Lovers’ Bridge which connects the Espalanade du Paquier to the European Gardens. The legend says that if you kiss with your partner on the bridge, your love will last forever.

Saint-Veran

holy summer

One of the villages of french alps the most picturesque is Saint-Véran. surrounded by Regional Natural Park of Queyras, on the border with Italy, has no equal. It culminates at 2,000 meters above sea level and its architecture is a treasure that fascinates visitors at all times.

The village has charming chalets with wooden walls and pebble roofs. Its church is also worth a visit as it is the oldest building in the region, built in 1641. Today it functions as a museum of local crafts and traditions.

Beaufort-sur-Doron

Views of Beaufort

Small but popular in both summer and winter. It is in the region of Beaufortain, in Savoy. It has a beautiful natural setting and is really close to top notch ski slopes.

So many people go straight to the ski resorts but the truth is that the city cannot be overlooked. If you go there in summer you will appreciate the bridges with stone floors, the picturesque houses, the atmosphere far from the madding crowd.

in Baufort-sur-Doron the cheese is done and you can see how at the Cooperative du Beaufort. He is only 20 minutes from town and the cheese he makes, Beaufort, has Denomination of origin since the 60s of the last century. So if you happen to eat this cheese anywhere in the world, what you put in your mouth was made here. A good way to taste them is to go to a restaurant and enjoy them on a plate with pasta or in a fondue.

Chambery

Chambery streets

Chambéry is another french alpine village charming, near Lake Bourget. In winter it is a world-class ski destination and in summer the waters of the lake become a watersports track.

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In the city you can visit the 17th century Elephant Fountain, which from its height of 18 meters pays tribute to a local hero, General Boigne. There is also the Castle of the Dukes of Savoyi, from the 11th century, a curious mixture of medieval and Gothic architecture surrounded by gardens.

Chambery is the home of the philosopher who, if you went to college and pursued a career in the social sciences, you must have read: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Today, you can discover his life at the Musée de Charmettes, with its 18th century gardens.

Chamonix

chamonix at night

It is close to Mont Blanc and is one of top destinations for international skiing and also alpinis month. The first Winter Olympics were held here. It has typical alpine architecture, with super panoramic views of the magnificent mountains all around.

Tourism arrived in the 19th century. The Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix was then founded to control and regulate what was done on the slopes of the mountain. The monopoly of this association lasted almost until the end of the 19th century. The Winter Olympics we mentioned above took place in 1924.

Chamonix under the snow

Of course, in the French Alps there are many other towns, villages and even places which, due to their number of inhabitants, are already small towns. France is all beautiful, but spending a few days in the mountains, breathing the fresh air, sometimes in the clouds, is an unforgettable experience. No more skiing or hiking and eating lots of French cheese.

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