Thanks to its outstanding natural, historical and cultural assets the Rhone-Alpes region in south-east France has a deserved reputation as a prime tourist destination. Flights to Grenoble take you from the UK to mountains in under 2 hours and it’s these peaks that are the region’s main draw with almost 200 ski resorts to choose from within a 3-hour drive from the airport.
The area is also home to a number of famous spas and superb lakes, and is popular with hikers and mountain bikers, ensuring the attraction for active visitors is all year round.
For city break weekenders, Grenoble offers an enjoyable range of artistic, historic and religious sights, and cultural festivals in the summer. As seasons go however – and with those mountains as every backdrop – it is the primary lure of fantastic winter sports that remains.
For those seeking snow-based activities, it’s great news that as of December 2012 Monarch Flights will offer seasonal flights to Grenoble from Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London Gatwick, making this area even more accessible for skiers, boarders and of course, the apres ski specialists.
Grenoble, the international airport, provides perfect access to the French Alps and welcomes more than a million passengers each year.
Getting to the Slopes
Thanks to the comprehensive motorway network of this region, the airport is well connected to ski resorts and other regional cities.
From the airport visitors can access a local and regional bus network, as well as frequent and reliable coach transfers that leave regularly from the airport through the typical ski season of December to April. Car hire is also available for those looking for a little more flexibility.
Grenoble itself is just half an hour drive from the airport and all the major ski resorts such as Alpe d’Huez, Les Deux Alpes and Courchevel. Megeve, Meribel and La Grave, are between 1 to 2 hours.
If you want to go a little further afield, the resorts of La Plagne, Les Arcs, Sainte Foy, Tignes and Val d’Isere are still only 2-3 hours away from Grenoble airport. Regular flights to Grenoble with Monarch and relatively short transfer times make it a great destination for short breaks as well as longer ski or snowboarding holidays.
It’s fair to say that to warrant such a range of resorts in one area, the quality of winter sports is very high. This is largely down to the unique combination of natural features provided by the Alps, but also down to the fact that many of the resorts are extremely well established; some like Les Deux Alpes, since the 1940’s, and all have been continuously invested in. For more information, look at the official website of the French ski resorts, it covers them all!
With dedicated snow parks, off-piste opportunities, high steep slopes, vast numbers of runs, modern ski lift systems, excellent facilities, and in some resorts, guaranteed year round snow, it really is a delight for ski or snowboard aficionados.
Equipment hire and ski schools are of a high standard and readily available for beginners or those wishing to refresh their skills. For the more adventurous there is the chance to try the extreme snowboarding sport of ‘freeriding’ and mountaineering, as well experience the vast number and range of runs.
Naturally, the resorts also offer a fantastic range of restaurants and nightlife, whether you’re looking for gastronomic treats or lively bars, with family and/or friends, the resorts offer something for everyone.