Things to Do in Rhône-Alpes - page 2
Perched in the shadow of Mount Salève, the Maison du Saleve is an 18th century farmhouse dedicated to showcasing the relationship between man and mountain. With exhibits, workshops, guided walks, hikes, and an exhibition for children, there are plenty of learning opportunities. There are also some incredible views — from the exhibit’s photography to the outlook over Lake Geneva and the Mont Blanc mountains. The mountain has affectionately been called the “Balcony of Geneva.”
La Salève has a long legacy of scientific study, and is also considered to be a birthplace of rock climbing and mountains expeditions. Permanent and temporary exhibits detail the history, study, and sports of the mountain. Guided walks in the nature around the museum allow for the best immersion in the surroundings, and bikers will appreciate the cycling paths weaving throughout. The whole experience is family-friendly and accessible from Geneva, which offers access via its city pass.
With a prime position in the foothills of the mighty Mont Blanc and with access to some of the best ski terrain in the French Alps, Megève is one of France’s most famous winter resorts. More than 290km of downhill runs and around 80km of cross-country trails, one of France’s largest ski schools and excellent facilities make Megève a top choice for both first-timers and experienced skiers, and it’s lavish reputation has made it a favorite haunt of wealthy Europeans, celebrities and royals.
Dotted with rustic ski lodges and romantic chalets, Megève is undeniably atmospheric during the winter, with its historic buildings gleaming with fairy lights and horse-drawn carriages trotting down the cobblestone streets. Visit in the summer and it’s equally attractive, with a lively weekly market, a popular spa resort, and opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.
This family-friendly theme park dedicated to the history and science of volcanoes is set in the heart of Auvergne’s Chaîne des Puys, a UNESCO-listed chain of dormant volcanoes in central France. Visit Vulcania to learn how volcanoes are formed, erupt, and eventually go extinct via interactive and multimedia exhibits and activities.
Located 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) outside Chamonix city center, Lake Gaillands (Lac des Gaillands) is a man-made lake created in the early 1900s during excavation work for a nearby train line. The site quickly filled with water, creating an outdoor recreation area frequented by locals and visitors who enjoy hiking, fishing, and rock climbing at the lake.
The Step into the Void (Aiguille du Midi Skywalk)is a glass room suspended 12,604 feet (3,842 meters) high on the summit of Aiguille du Midi mountain. Reinforced by strong steel and set on the edge of a steep cliff, the transparent box offers unobstructed views of Europe’s highest peaks, with nothing but air below.
Grands Montets Ski Area (Les Grands Montets) is the biggest and most popular ski area in Chamomix, boasting some of the largest vertical drops in the world at more than 6,561 feet (2,000 meters). Huge areas of the mountain are left ungroomed, making it a mecca for off-piste enthusiasts. The snow is exceptional here both early and late in the season.
The Semnoz is one of the most famous mountains of the Bauges range in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in eastern France; it reaches 1,699 meters high. The most popular place on Semnoz is a barren area called Crêt-du- Chatillon –a rarity on what is an otherwise heavily forested summit– which offers sprawling views of not just the permanently snow-capped mountain range but also the picturesque city of Annecy and its eponymous turquoise lake below. Rumor has it that its name comes from the ancient roman word for salmon, due to the peak’s fish-like shape. The summit is open year-round; it’s a very popular hiking destination in the warmer months (summer bobsleigh, via ferrata, mountain biking, and karting are also available); on the other hand, it’s morphs into a full-on Alpine skiing center come wintertime with four different stations catering to a diverse clientele, from thrilling downhill slopes to peaceful cross-country skiing trails – all of this, just 20 minutes from beautiful Annecy.
It is possible to book an exhilarating downhill 4-hour mountain bike tour of Semnoz fromAnnecy, which is led by a professional and knowledgeable guide who will not hesitate topoint out noteworthy landmarks or take visitors to their secret viewpoints.
Visitors of all ages will find plenty of ways to spend a fun-filled day at Walibi Rhône-Alpes. Thrill seekers can head straight for the roller coasters, while others might prefer the bumper cars, water rides, and petting zoo. Or, check out one of Walibi’s circus-style shows.
The distinctive blue icefields of the Bossons Glacier (Glacier des Bossons hovers over the town of Chamonix just below the Mont Blanc massif. Once stretching from the Mont Blanc summit to the village of Les Bossons below, the glacier has retreated in recent years. With chairlift service and plenty of easy hiking trails, the Bossons Glacier is one of the most easily accessible glacier hikes from Chamonix.
Housed in the 20th-century Chamonix Palace, the Alpine Museum (or Le Musee Alpin celebrates the history of the Chamonix Valley and notable ascents of Mont Blanc. The museum’s collection of vintage mountain climbing equipment, old photographs, and maps draw visitors interested in mountaineering history and the development of tourism in the valley.
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