The Alps Covers a Vast Area

The French Alps are dramatic soaring alpine mountains, deep twisting river valleys and lakes, the personification of outstanding mountain scenery.

The Alps covers a vast area from Annecy in the west to the Swiss and Italian borders in the east and from Geneva in the north whilst reaching almost to the Mediterranean in the south.

The alpine heights are magnificent and include Mont Blanc, Europes highest mountain, reaching as far as 4810m at its summit. Whilst Mont Blanc is inhospitable without specialist equipment even in the peak summer months, there are many other heights and valley passes that are delightful walking country in the summer and the playground of skiing enthusiasts in the winter.

The deep alpine valleys offer great water based sports and enchanting villages.

As you might imagine, winters can be severe in the Alps, especially in the mountains. It is surprising how much the temperature changes as you climb. In winter time it can be pouring with rain in the valleys and as you drive towards the mountains the rain turns to a driving blizzard. So go prepared.
On the other hand, the summers are temperate although with more rainfall than in other areas of France.

There are many other types of active entertainment in the Alps including Via Ferratas, summer and winter skiing and Activity Centres.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is the domain of experts, however whilst there is some serious stuff in the Alps, there is also plenty of more level stuff, easily within the scope of younger families.

Only to be undertaken with expert supervision, white water rafting can provide great fun for older children and parents alike.

The cuisine is typically strong flavoured and intense, complimenting the local lifestyle. Recipes adapt to ingredients that are immediately available; mostly dairy products, eggs, meats, fish and fresh produce.

The cultivation of cheese is virtually an art form that reached its pinnacle in the Savoy region which benefits from the Alpine meadows where cows and goats can thrive.

Local wines are also well known, although they have yet to rival the best vintages of Bordeaux and Burgundy . Montmelian is a popular red wine similar to Beaujolais . Also famous is Seyssel, a sparkling white wine with fine vintages that are comparable to champagne.

Dinners are usually finished with a glass or two of beaux de vie, strong liquor that goes well with the mountain climate. The best known varieties are Gentian and Chartreuse. Marc de Savoie is another unique drink, taken from the residue of distilled brandy, a fiery liquid that still swims in your head the morning after.

Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for TheFrench Alps Rental Site

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