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  • Escape the ski crowds in the Hautes-Alpes

    Set between Grenoble and the Italian border, this sunny corner of the Alps has a wealth of friendly villages, some spectacularly high peaks and fantastic winter sports. Yet the Hautes-Alpes are delightfully unspoilt and offer less crowded ski holidays than better known ski areas of France.

  • Hautes-Alpes for skiing, sleigh rides and mountain holidays

    The beautiful, unspoilt region of the Hautes-Alpes is perfect for those who like their winter sports or mountain holiday in an authentic traditional village with chalets, snowy pastures and sleigh rides, all surrounded by breath taking natural scenery.
    Hautes-Alpes is our region of the month and it lies between Grenoble and the Italian border. Here, the sun shines for 300 days a year and the terrain includes spectacularly high peaks perfect for all types of skiing – even parachute skiing.

    There’s a wide variety of winter sports activities on offer, with cross country skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing and the exhilarating sport of ski jöring, which involves being pulled on skis by a horse. Those who like their Alpine holidays less strenuous can bask in the warmth of thermal springs.

    The region boasts two conservation areas - the enchanting Écrins National Park, with its rivers and lakes, and the Queyras Regional Nature Park, with panoramic views of peaks and glaciers. Main towns are Gap and Briancon, a picturesque delight of steep, narrow streets, tall church spires and a dramatic river bridge.

    For summer mountain holidays, this is an equally extraordinary destination where fields of lavender wave in the breeze below the year-round snow and the ice of glaciers. Beautiful valleys provide the perfect venue to get away from it all and, whether for skiing or summer, you can choose from our great accommodation options of chalets, apartments and cottages.

  • The Midi Pyrénées - perfect for ski and summer holidays

    During the winter, the ski slopes of the Pyrenees mountains are a fantastic, more 'French' and cheaper alternative to the more popular Alps. Stay in a mountain village or nearby countryside and combine sightseeing and culture with winter sports. In summer, the peaks and passes become a paradise for walkers, cyclists and fishing enthusiasts. The more adventurous can try rock climbing or white water rafting while, if you prefer holidays of a gentler persuasion, you can just relax with a glass of wine and the local cuisine and enjoy the majestic scenery and mountain air.

    The Midi Pyrénées spreads right across South western France, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, and includes the departments of Ariège, Aveyron, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Lot, Tarn and Tarn-et-Garonne. All except the Hautes-Pyrénées department owe their name to the river that crosses them.

    The Midi-Pyrénées is bordered to both the north and south by mountains, and the Pyrenees form a natural frontier with Spain, so a bonus to staying in the area is a chance to cross into Spain to explore. The Pyrenees National Park is one of the seven national parks in France and there are also three regional nature parks. The caves of Padirac, in the Lot, are considered to be one of Europe’s greatest geological curiosities and the Ariège also has an abundance of caves that tell stories about the life of Homo sapiens.

    RocamadourRocamadour, in the Lot, is among the most visited places of interest in France, second only to Mont Saint-Michel, and anyone interested in insects and nature will love Micropolis in the Aveyron. If you prefer flying objects, the Cité de l’Espace, the space experience in Toulouse, is a must-see and, of course, Lourdes welcomes visitors from the world over.

    There’s a fabulous feast of food here, from foie gras to rare truffles, from Rocamadour goat’s cheese to Quercy lamb. Cep mushrooms are found in the undergrowth in autumn and bryony along the paths in spring. Cassoulet, aligot (mashed potatoes with cheese), garbure (soup with cabbage and confit of goose), stockfish and gâteau à la broche (spit-roasted cake) are just some of the traditional recipes that you may sample.

    Toulouse-Blagnac airport is the fourth airport of France and has connections to all parts of the UK and most of Europe, including cheap airlines, and you can drive via Paris on the A71 and A20 which runs straight through the middle of the Midi- Pyrénées. The journey is approx 850km from Calais to the northern end of the Midi Pyrenees and will take around 8-9 hours depending on length of stops.

    See gorgeous holiday homes and more information in our complete guide to the Midi-Pyrénées