Walking in the French Alps
The French Alps is famous for walking and there are routes all over the Alps. We have focused on the undiscovered Southern French Alps for our walking in the French Alps holidays as there really is something for everyone.
From the dramatic Himalayan-like Valgaudemar Valley, 22km long dominated by 3000m+ glaciated peaks on either side, to the rolling alpine landscapes of the Champsaur Valley within an hour of each other, the only limit is your imagination!
The Champsaur Valley is famed for its unique 'bocage', the alpine farmer's system of hedgerows and fields. It the only such existing example in a mountainous environment.
There is also the stunning limestone Dévoluy massif, not to mention the deep blue turquoise waters of the Serre-Ponçon and Sautet lakes to compliment the mountain views.
Unusually for the Alps, there has never been any industry in this area, and as a result the area has become famous for its pure air and the diversity of flora and fauna that thrive on the mountain-sides and in the valleys. Every season has its own special charm.
There's plenty of wildlife to look out for, including butterflies, marmots, chamois, ibex, wild boars, golden eagles and other birds of prey. There are also established wolf packs in the area and signs of lynx. There are thousands of different species of flowers including some favourites like blue gentians, orange lily, wild daffodils and over 60 species of orchid.
For families we can recommend some great walks with easy paths, gentle gradients, spectacular views and plenty of good places for rests, marmot spotting and picnics. Have a read of our best family walks with a view blog. You can do any of these walks as part of our summer multi activity holiday.
There are countless day walks taking in ridges, cols, lakes and peaks. Or, if you want to go for a longer journey why not use the network of long distance footpaths - GR routes (Grande Randonnée), that criss-cross the high mountains of the Ecrins National park and go off for a few days staying in mountain refuges along the way!
For an experience in a high mountain refuge, there are also two day hikes with various routes for all levels including young children.
The classic long distance route in the area is the Tour du Vieux Chaillol which we can organise for you as a guided or self guided trip.
Conditions are great for walking all year round, however from November until May, winter walking equipment may be needed and a knowledge of avalanche hazard and safety is required. Have a look at our snowshoeing page for more information about winter walking. If you love wildlife, our Walk through the foothills of the Alps is a must do trip.
All the guides we use are fully qualified and experienced accompagnateurs en montagne (equivalent to mountain leader) or UIAGM high mountain guides who are local to the area. Our guides won't just lead the way and keep you safe, they will show you where the wildlife is hiding out, tell you about the plants, and explain the geology and history of the features you will see on your walks. They'll use their local knowledge and experience and a little ingenuity to find the most spectacular routes that will fit into your holiday.