The Hautes-Alpes department is probably the highest in France. Located in the south of the Alps mountain range, it is appreciated by holidaymakers for its tourist destinations, both in winter, for its ski resorts such as Les Orres, and in summer, for its wild landscapes and exceptional sites such as the Queyras Regional Nature Park, the Buëch region or Lac de Serre-Ponçon (Serre-Ponçon lake). In this department, you will find many outdoor activities. The various marked trails allow you to discover the department and its national parks on foot, by bike or on horseback.
Hautes-Alpes is a paradise for mountaineers and climbers. Some of the natural climbing walls are renowned throughout the world. We can mention Orpierre where the most athletic climbers evolve on vertiginous cliffs culminating at an altitude of 1,200 m. Mountaineers will be able to climb the Barre des Écrins Mountain, the highest peak in the department. In summer, on the lakes of Lauvitel and Lauzon, we can practice water sports, like on the seashore. On the Durance River, kayakers and rafters can face the torrents during a descent.
For those who are not sport-minded, there are many typical villages to discover: Saint-Véran, Embrun, Mont-Dauphin, etc. The department has a sublime built heritage and some of the most beautiful treasures of sacred art in France.
Located at 735 m above sea level, in a preserved natural setting, Gap is a lively town where it is good to live or stay for holidays. Throughout the year, many events are organized: festivals of all kinds, the Gap fair, Christmas market, sports competitions, etc.
Strolling through the center, you can admire the pastel-colored houses, which invite you to cheerfulness. The Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Arnoux Cathedral, built in the 19th century in a neo-gothic style, houses magnificent organs. In one of the traditional restaurants in Place Jean Marcellin, taste the typical dishes of the region and discover new flavors: ravioles du Champsaur, oreilles d’âne, tourtons, tarte des Alpes, etc.
Located about 15 kilometers from the Italian border, Briançon is the highest town in the European Union. Thanks to its exceptional heritage, it has been designated “Ville et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire” (Town and Land of Art and History). Briançon was a military stronghold, where many garrisons stayed. On a rocky spur, perched at an altitude of 1,326 m, we can see the Fortifications of Vauban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by these ancient ramparts, the upper town has retained all its charm. It can be reached via the gates of Dauphine, Pignerol and Embrun, as it was done in those days.
In the narrow streets, houses with remarkable and colorful facades follow one another. After having taken the steep paths, you can admire a panorama overlooking the roofs of the city.
Serre Chevalier is a winter sports resort renowned for its vast ski area. Located not far from the Écrins National Park, the resort offers a wide range of outdoor activities, whatever the season. In summer, holidaymakers can discover unspoiled nature on foot or by bike on the many marked paths. The 200 km-long bike park is a paradise for mountain bikers. In winter, sports enthusiasts can take advantage of the 250 km of pistes dedicated to downhill skiing. On the largest unconnected ski area in France, skiers can ski between the larch trees and enjoy safely renowned off-piste routes.
Located in the heart of the Dévoluy Mountains massif, SuperDévoluy is a resort dedicated to families. In this resort, the facilities are designed to ensure that young and old alike can have a pleasant stay: multi-activity trails, beginners’ area, etc. The resort is also a meeting place for freeride enthusiasts thanks to its 2-hectare terrain park, where numerous modules and jump ramps are installed. Numerous leisure facilities allow holidaymakers to have fun off piste, whatever the season.
The oldest ski resort in France, Montgenèvre has slopes culminating at an altitude of 2,700 m, offering long descents. Its ski area, the Via Lattea is 400 km long. All year round, you can enjoy the longest toboggan run of France on the Monty Express. The bends and tunnels follow one another during the 1,400 m of descent and offer you 3 minutes of pure pleasure and sensations.
Beginners will be able to learn freestyle on the two terrain park trails where the boxes and jumping modules follow one another.
La Forêt Blanche
La Forêt Blanche ski area brings together the winter sports resorts of Vars and Risoul. Most of the slopes are located at an altitude of over 2,000 m and cross an exceptional setting, in the heart of a larch forest. Skiers enjoy a quality snow cover thanks to the cold and dry climate.
At the Forêt Blanche ski area, you can discover the incredible sensations of speed skiing. This slope, unique in France, is open to all. In 2016, Ivan Origone managed to beat the world speed skiing record, here, by reaching 254,958 km/h.
In all seasons, Hautes-Alpes offers you the best of the Southern Alps. In the Durance valley area, in the Écrins National Park or in the Queyras Regional Nature Park, a range of quality accommodation awaits you with hotels, campsites, bed and breakfasts, country cottages and seasonal rentals. Are you looking for places to visit? Discover our selection of tourist sites, museums, castles, monuments, or contact directly the Tourist Office of the village or the destination of your choice.