You'll find the famous French Alps along the country's borders with Switzerland and Italy, creating a string of snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, and cozy villages worth exploring. Although the Alps offer numerous outdoor activities, like hiking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, backpacking, trail running, and biking, you don't have to be an athlete to enjoy the region. Trails and ski routes range from easy to expert (including handy cable cars), so even the casual hiker can savor the views.
Besides taking advantage of the obvious outdoors, you can also enjoy the Alps in other ways. Explore some of the charming alpine villages, Annecy and Chamonix being favorites. And while there, try the local fare, such as fresh mountain cheese and tasty tartiflette. You can visit the French Alps at any time of the year, enjoying summer and winter activities. And as a bonus, in November and December, you can catch those adorable Christmas markets and warm up with mulled wine.
What to Do in the French Alps
The list of activities in the French Alps is nearly endless. From active adventures like trail running your way up to Mt. Blanc to a more leisurely exploration of mountain towns, you can enjoy a little bit of everything.
Day Trip to Annecy
While spending time in the French Alps, enjoy exploring some of the charming alpine villages. Annecy is a favorite, as it offers a shimmering lake, views of the mountains, and plenty of culture, history, and delicious food. Visit its crowning jewel, the Château d'Annecy, and stroll through the quaint Vieille Ville (Old Town). You'll find several 16th- and 17th-century buildings to admire, plus gurgling canals. If you're feeling more active, join the locals by boating on the lake or walking around its shores. Read More
Savoy Food & Nature Tour + Cooking Class
Dive into the scenic alpine territory of Savoy, set in the Western Alps near Annecy. You'll join a local on the hunt for the area's best food and nature, stopping to learn about the abundant pastureland and forests. Visit a cheese shop to taste different varieties, some that you'll use later on for your cooking class. Then join your host at his house, where you'll learn to prepare traditional tartiflette, a hearty dish of potatoes, onions, and reblochon cheese, plus herbal tea and Christmas wine to take home with you. Read More
Hiking in the French Alps
The French Alps are synonymous with Chamonix and Mt. Blanc, so a trip to the area can easily include these scenic spots. To tackle both, enjoy a moderate hike to Lac Blanc, an alpine oasis that sits at 7,760 feet (over 2,300 m) and offers panoramic views of the mountain range. This circular hike starts with a cable car ride to Flegere, includes a picnic lunch at the lake, and ends with other scenic pools as you hike back down into the valley. Read More
Ride the Aiguille de Midi Cable Car
Take the scenic route up to Aiguille de Midi, a famous peak and one of the highest in Chamonix. In just 20 minutes, the Aiguille du Midi cable car will take you from the center of Chamonix to the high mountains, reaching an altitude of 12,604 feet (3,842 m). From the top, enjoy panoramic views across the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps, including uninterrupted vistas of Mont Blanc. If you're brave, you can step out onto the glass viewing platform! Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Itinerary in the French Alps
Visiting the French Alps is easier to arrange than you might think, but it does take a little effort. There's no big hub in the Alps, but its serene beauty and remoteness are what make it so appealing! Still, you can pair a mountain trip with other regions, such as Lyon and the Rhône Valley for some wine tasting or Nice and Marseille in the French Riviera. The French Alps are also close to Geneva, Switzerland, and Turin, Italy, larger cities with international airports.
How many days to spend in France and the Alps will depend on how you combine these different regions. If you'd like to spend most of your time in the Alps, plan for two full days of travel (there and back), and give yourself 3 or 4 days to explore the mountains and villages. If you'd like to add another region or city to the mix, such as Lyon or Chamonix, at least one week will suffice.
Past kimkim travelers enjoyed the following itineraries that included experiences in the French Alps: