If skiing isn’t for you or you just fancy a break from the slopes, there’s so much to do in this stunning part of the Alps. From go karting, bowling and Christmas markets to spas, cycling and exploring the incredible cities of Annecy or Lyon, a winter holiday here offers much more than perfect pistes...
Discover festive treats such as hot wine and gingerbread, plus last minute present ideas and a fantastic atmosphere at the Christmas market in Annecy old town. If you visit the market located along the canals in the medieval city late afternoon/evening you can also watch the sound and light experience where images are projected onto the facade of the town hall.
Thônes Christmas market takes place during December. Thônes is just a short drive from La Clusaz, Manigod and Le Grand Bornand, making this a perfect Christmas market for those who don't want to head down to Annecy. (Dates and times advertised around the village)
Thones Market - http://www.thones-valsulens.com
There are cinemas in La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand and Thones showing a range of recent releases. Films rotate between these cinemas and programmes are available in many local shops, supermarkets and tourist offices.
Alternatively, the 4 Nemours cinema in Annecy old town (22 Rue Sainte-Claire, phone:+33 4 50 45 47 88) shows films in their original language (VO) version. Programme information www.4nemours.com
There is also a Gaumont Pathe multiscreen cinema in the centre of Annecy, showing the latest releases as well as live theatre performances from around the world. These include, ballet from Moscow, opera from New York and French Comedy live. 7 Avenue de Brogny, Centre Commercial Courier, Annecy - http://www.cinemasgaumontpathe.com
For families with young children, visit Santa’s grotto between Annecy and Geneva, see his workshop and the main man himself - you can even have a snack with Mrs Claus!
There’s also plenty going on in La Clusaz, which hosts a great free festival for kids with an appearance by Santa - Les Pestacles du Père-Noël (24 December to 03 January)
Roughly a two hour drive from the Aravis gets you to the beautiful city of Lyon. There’s so much to do here, including the magnificent Christmas lights, a tour of the Traboules (or passageways), the Confluence museum, plus a fantastic free entry zoo in the Parc de la Tête d’Or. On top of that, Lyon is also one of the best cities to dine out in France!
The vibrant resort of La Clusaz organises a wide range of entertainments and activities for visitors. Take a look at their website for full details of what’s on. https://www.ovonetwork.com/en/whats-on-in-the-aravis-winter
A magical evening that culminates in the arrival of Santa Claus. Starting at 5.30pm, there’s free hot chocolate and mulled wine for everyone, plus a torchlight parade that heralds the arrival of Santa Claus. There’s also Mass in the church at 10.30pm, and celebrations in front of the church. http://en.legrandbornand.com/christmas-in-le-grand-bornand-chinaillon.html
The goat farm at Les Confins is well known in the area, producing some fabulous cheeses. Take a trip there with the kids and they can pat the goats while you sample the cheeses! Situated at the very end of the road from La Clusaz to Les Confins.
This area is famed for its cheese, so don’t miss out on sampling some! Contact the local Tourist Offices in La Clusaz, Manigod, Le Grand Bornand or Thônes for details regarding visits to local farms (meeting with the farmers who make the famous Reblochon, Chevrotin and Tomme de Savoie cheeses, sampling and buying fresh products etc...)
Why not take time to find out more about the area's local history at the Hameau des Alpes in La Clusaz. An interactive learning experience for all the family and they will even let you in on the real reason why Reblochon is called Reblochon.
An ideal setting for a day out with the family. Enjoy cross country skiing in the morning, followed by a delicious lunch in one of the many restaurants overlooking the glacial lake. Or how about a visit to one of the local goat farms, followed by a snowshoe walk down to the lake's edge to build snowmen? Lac des Confins also hosts one of the most exciting events marking the end of the winter season. The Defi Foly, which see’s the competitors shooting down a ski ramp (on anything that slides) to see how far they can make it across the lake before sinking.
Have some fun paintballing - kids and adults will have a great day in a fun and active environment. (kids from 6 years old / open from 10am to 10pm during the school holidays and by reservation for the rest of the year) http://www.aravis-paintball.com/index.php
Get behind the wheel in any weather with family and friends and unleash your inner Lewis Hamilton or Olivier Panis! Located on the road from Thones to Saint Jean de Sixt. http://kartparc.fr/ Phone - + 33 60 83 46 936.
Lieu dit Les Etouvieres. Enjoy a visit to this beautiful natural environment. Montremont, Thones. http://www.ecomusee-bois-foret.com/page/home Phone - +33 4 50 32 18 10.
This area is famed for its food, with Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz and Manigod boasting some fabulous restaurants. Add to this Annecy old town, which is full of restaurants, cafes and bars, plus a wonderful atmosphere and you have something to suit all tastes. We strongly recommend booking tables in advance if you plan on eating out. Visit our Insider’s Guide for a growing list of OVO Network’s favourite places to eat out.
A fantastic way to explore Lake Annecy, please check that your preferred boat trip is running before you head to Annecy as some do stop during certain weeks in winter.
Through most of the year you can hire bikes and electric bikes to cycle around the lake on the cycle path. Segway tours should also be operating, but again please check with the rental companies.
Bike hire Basecamp Talloire - https://www.base-camp.bike/en/
Segway tours - https://www.mobilboard.com/en/agency/segway/annecy
New to La Clusaz for this winter season is a great new bowling alley, perfect for a fun activity for all the family off the piste. Why not make a day of it and head down to Annecy with all the family to Le Bowl. http://www.le-bowl.com
An adrenaline pumping, fast paced activity, that is played in the dark. It will keep you on your toes, whilst you track down your foes! (friends and family)
La Foret Enchantee in Annecy (Grand Epagny) is great fun for kids on a rainy day: http://www.laforetenchantee74.fr/
For budding ice queens or kings, enjoy ice skating in la Clusaz, le Grand Bornand or Annecy. In Annecy you can also watch the local ice hockey team the Chevaliers du Lac, take on the competition - it’s a great evening out!
Le Grand Bornand - http://www.legrandbornand.com/patinoire-grand-bornand.htm
La Clusaz - http://en.laclusaz.com/winter/skating-rink.html
Annecy ice hockey - http://www.annecy-hockey.com
Enjoy the thrill of swimming outside (or inside) in a mountain environment, with wonderful views. There’s also a sauna and hammam to enjoy.
Take to the saddle, with a choice of horse riding stables at Thones, La Clusaz and Annecy le Vieux.
La Clusaz - http://www.aravis-passion.com/page/accueil
If your family loves swimming, climbing, shopping and eating, head to Vitam Park on the way to Geneva for a fun day out. https://www.vitam.fr/en/vitam
Evian is transformed every winter for a festival with a difference, taking place from 9 December 2016 to 4 January 2017 http://www.lefabuleuxvillage.fr/
Grand Bornand has a great range of traditional games for kids and their parents to enjoy, all located in the centre of the village. Plus there’s a range of other things going on - find out more on the website.
Take to the air and view this beautiful area from the sky. Find out more at https://www.ovonetwork.com/guide/listings/airmax-parapente/.
There’s a great choice of spas and health centres in the area, perfect for some rest and rejuvenation.
Annecy: Well -being http://www.lac-annecy.com/bien-etre-370.htm
Grand Bornand: http://en.legrandbornand.com/spas-center.html#.VJPrKB0MBg
Enjoy creating something special with a range of crafts available in Le Grand Bornand. http://en.legrandbornand.com/creative-activities.html
Or why not take part in a pottery course in Manigod with Laurent of Atelier Polkadot. Your chance to create something genuinely unique. If you can’t manage a course, her beautifully located workshop and gallery are well worth a visit.
Choose to fly over Lake Annecy, the Aravis or Mont Blanc with experienced pilots - an unbelievable way to view this part of the Alps. http://www.avialpes.com/english/
If you’ve never tried cross country skiing, you should give it a go. The tracks are well maintained and it’s easy to get lessons and go out and explore.
Wherever possible we have included links to English sites, however where this has not been possible you may find a French language link. We have tried to check all information is up to date, but please check availability/programmes and opening hours before visiting any of the above.