French Alps

300 days of sunshine


The Hautes Alpes (5,549 km2 in size) is France’s adventure playground - a multi-activity mecca that encompasses a region just smaller than the combined total size of the Lake District (2,292 km2), The Peak District (1,437 km²) and the Snowdonia National Park (2,140 km2). Yet the Hautes Alpes only experiences 2 million visitors a year compared to the combined 40 million visitors that the Lakes, Peaks and Snowdonia receive annually!


The Hautes Alpes is tucked away just beneath the Northern Alps and borders Italy to the east, Bourg D’Oisan and Grenoble to the West, and Provence to the South. The average altitude is over 1000 m, and the highest elevation is over 4000 m. so not surprisingly the Hautes Alpes comprises the highest village (Saint-Véran in the Queyras – 2042m.) and the highest town (Briançon – 1326m.) in France. Which is why the locals call this region “the Mediterranean Mountains” with a stable “300 days of sunshine” a year climate.


The Hautes Alpes offers the widest range of outdoor activities anywhere in Europe, all year-round. Here are the main areas and the activities they offer:


Activities Available

The Ecrins National Park
Mountaineering, refuges, glacier travel, ski touring, snow shoeing
The Queyras Park
Hiking, ski touring, mountain biking, WW rafting, rock and ice climbing
This huge region comprises 7 big valleys:
FreissinieresMountain biking, canyoning, ice climbing, VF, rock climbing, ski touring and Dormillouse hamlet!
FournelCanyoning, ice climbing, mountain biking, hiking
The Vallouise ValleyMountain biking, hiking, VF, XC/downhill/touring skiing, ice climbing
Ailefroide ValleySnow shoeing, ski touring, rock and ice climbing, bivouacking, alpinism
L'Argentiere BasinZip lines, mountain biking, VF, rock climbing, WW rafting and kayaking
Valley of CervieresRoad cycling, mountain biking, rock and ice climbing, ski touring, XC skiing
Massif Des CercesTrekking, Yurt living, multi-pitch rock, mountain biking, ski touring, XC skiing, VF
The Durance Valley
The White-Water capital of France – includes many WW rivers
Europe’s largest man-made lake – 25 Km long – includes the following:
SUP, rafting, canoeing, sailing, Land Art, Yurt living, trekking with Donkeys, Tree top adventures


Choose from a wide selection of high quality chalets and apartments ideal for familes and/or groups of friends.

outdoor activites french alps

alpine seasons


Winter - Late November to early April

During this period the following activities are on offer:

  • Ski and snowboard downhill and off-piste, X-C skiing, snow shoeing, igloo dwelling, and ice-fall climbing.
  • From mid-April you can enjoy hiking, Via Ferrata and rock climbing.

Spring - April to mid June

Few tourists come to the Hautes Alpes during this season yet it's great for walking, rock climbing, white water rafting and kayaking, mountain biking and road cycling, Via Ferrata, and paragliding.

  • This is arguably the best period for hiking courses.
  • Relish in alpine pastures brimming with fresh flowers under deep blue skies and end of winter snows high above.

Summer - Late June to late August

Now the temperatures in the Ecrins Massif increase from 25°C to 30°C,

  • but heavy late afternoon showers can also occur.
  • Now you can most activities including skiing on the glaciers of La Grave and Les Deux Alpes

Autumn - Early September until early November

Fantastic weather, and amazing colours - great for rock climbing, mountain biking, walking and hiking, road cycling, mountain biking and Via Ferrata.

  • September is often more settled than July or August, and a lot quieter, but with slightly lower temperatures.
  • Early October you will find the colours at their most intense.
  • By the end of October, the region already feels like it is ready for winter and by mid November we usually get our first big dumps of snow.