The French Alps are an ideal destination for anyone who loves tradition, culture and spectacular scenery. French villages are renowned for their charm and authenticity, with cobbled streets, historic buildings and breathtaking views.
Whether you want to enjoy the autumn colours, winter sports, spring flowers or summer sunshine, France has a destination for every season. In this article, we present some of the most beautiful traditional villages in the Alps, according to your favourite season!
Four traditional Alpine villages to discover in spring
Saint-Véran, a village among the peaks
Located in the Hautes-Alpes, Saint-Véran is one of the highest villages in Europe so it’s no surprise that it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The village is known for its traditional architecture and stone houses. Spring is an ideal time to visit Saint-Véran: nature is in full bloom and the days are longer.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, in the shadow of the mountains
This Provencal village is on the border between the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Var. It is known for its pottery and its pretty pedestrianised streets.
Spring is an ideal time to visit Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, as the gardens are in bloom and the restaurant terraces start to come alive. The mild temperatures and the spring sunshine ensure a very pleasant stay!
Bonneval-sur-Arc, rocks and waterfalls
Bonneval-sur-Arc is a typical mountain village in the Savoie region of France with stone houses and slate roofs. The village is surrounded by majestic mountains, making it a great destination for hiking and outdoor activities.
In spring the snow begins to melt, giving way to green meadows and cascades of meltwater. The village offers a wide range of activities for all ages and tastes: hiking, theatre, markets, flea markets, festivals, sports, treasure hunts… To find out more about this family-friendly destination, click here.
Les Contamines-Montjoie, typically Alpine
A mountain village in the Chamonix Valley in Haute-Savoie, Les Contamines-Montjoie is an ideal place for hiking and outdoor sports.
The ski slopes become hiking trails as the seasons change and the scenery is beautiful. It’s perfect for those who love peace and quiet and nature, and of course, the village is much less crowded than it is in the summer months!
Book your chalet in the heart of nature
4 beautiful Alpine villages to visit in summer
Serre-Chevalier, for the view and the experience
This mountain resort in the Hautes-Alpes offers stunning views and a multitude of summer activities such as mountain biking, hiking, rafting and paragliding.
Don’t miss the historic village of Monêtier-les-Bains, located in the Serre-Chevalier Valley, with its natural hot baths, churches and cobbled streets.
Briançon, with its rich history
This pretty mountain town in the Hautes-Alpes is surrounded by ancient fortifications and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Briançon is a popular hiking destination with mountain trails that offer spectacular views of the Alpine valleys. The town itself has a rich history and remarkable architecture, with churches, military buildings and traditional stone houses.
La Grave, nature at your fingertips
A small village in the Hautes-Alpes, at the foot of the Meije, La Grave is one of the most iconic mountains in the Alps.
La Grave is a popular hiking destination with mountain trails that offer spectacular views of the surrounding glaciers. And when it comes to activities, it has plenty to offer, including hiking trails, ice climbing, hiking, festivals, climbing school… To book your activity with your partner, family, or with friends, click here.
Megève, the emblem of the Alps
One of the most famous villages in the Haute-Savoie, Megeve is known for its traditional wooden chalets, cobbled streets and upmarket shops.
A ski resort in the winter, Megeve transforms itself in the summer and offers many activities such as hiking, mountain biking, golf and paragliding. And naturally, the scenery is beautiful, with lush green meadows, streams and majestic mountains.
The most beautiful chalets in Mègeve
The 4 best villages to discover in the French Alps in autumn
Annecy, between the lake and the mountains
Located in Haute-Savoie, Lake Annecy is surrounded by majestic mountains and the famous lake of the same name.
The town of Annecy offers breathtaking views in every season. Once summer has passed, the trees add a splash of colour to the mountainous landscape and visitors can enjoy a whole range of activities, such as hiking, cycling and boating. And if you visit in autumn, you’ll escape the summer crowds!
Valloire, the colours of the Alps
This mountain village in Savoie is famous for its traditional architecture and welcoming atmosphere. When autumn arrives, the colours of the leaves add a touch of magic to the surrounding mountain scenery, making Valloire a superb place to walk and explore nature.
Vars, time for a rest
The village of Vars is famous for its spectacular scenery, including snow-capped peaks and larch forests. In autumn, the leaves of the trees add their colour to the surrounding landscape, making this village an ideal place to enjoy nature and outdoor activities.
So for nature lovers, if you want to take a break and breathe in the mountain air, this is the perfect destination!
Samoëns, the beauty of the Alps
Samoëns is an iconic village in the Haute-Savoie region, famous for its traditional architecture and stone houses. It’s also a popular hiking destination in the autumn with mountain trails offering spectacular views.
The autumn colours add a touch of warmth to the picturesque mountain scenery. It’s a great time to enjoy this beautiful corner of the Alps, which is both isolated and welcoming.
Enjoy a chalet stay in the autumn
Four Alpine villages which are perfect for a winter stay
Val-Thorens, the classic ski resort
This ski resort in Savoie is the highest in Europe. It offers snowy slopes with breathtaking views and runs for all levels.
The village is particularly lively in winter and offers tourists and locals a wide range of activities, making it an ideal destination for holidays with friends, couples and families!
Families with babies and young children are particularly well catered for in Val-Thorens, with daycare, a snow garden, a cable car playground, baby skiers, baby swimmers and children’s shows.
Les Gets, traditional and welcoming
A mountain village in the Haute-Savoie, Les Gets is famous for its warm atmosphere and typical wooden architecture.
Every winter, Les Gets becomes a family resort, where you will find plenty of great skiing for all levels. The village is also known for its hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails.
Val d’Isère – don’t miss it!
This ski resort in Savoie is one of the most famous in the French Alps. Val-d’Isère offers ski slopes for all ages and abilities, as well as a wide range of après-ski activities, such as ice skating and snowshoeing. The village is also known for its traditional stone and wood architecture.
La Clusaz, a picture of Alpine tradition
A mountain village in Haute-Savoie, La Clusaz is known for its traditional atmosphere and Alpine charm.
In winter, La Clusaz offers great skiing for all levels as well as a variety of après-ski activities for all ages. The village is also famous for its picturesque mountain scenery. So it’s no surprise that La Clusaz is a popular ski destination for nature lovers. Book your stay now…
Book a stay in La Clusaz
The French Alps are full of traditional villages that are well worth exploring, whatever the season. So whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the colours of autumn, hit the slopes in winter, enjoy the summer sun or discover the floral landscapes of spring, travelling with your partner, family or friends, there’s a destination to suit you.
The villages presented in this article are just a few examples! In fact, there are many more to discover when you explore this beautiful region. We hope these destinations will inspire you to find out more about the most traditional villages in the French Alps, no matter what the season.
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