The Ardèche – a Mecca for hikers!

Although the Ardèche area of southern France is perhaps best known for the gorge which makes the Ardèche River into a top canoeing destination, the dramatic scenery also makes for great hiking. The Ardèche département is home to nearly 6,000 km of marked walking trails which criss-cross the varied landscapes of this stunning region. Contained within this area are also two parks, the Parc Régional des Monts d’Ardèche, and the celebrated Parc National des Cévennes. Hikers are particularly drawn to the diversity of natural habitats, which range from mountains, high, wind-swept plateaux, a karst (limestone) area pockmarked with many caves and steep-sided valleys and more fertile farming country, characterized by orchards and vineyards. Naturally, this variety of landscapes results in a great diversity of flora and fauna too, including the extremely rare – and very majestic – Bonelli’s Eagle.

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Cheap ski holidays start with great-value accommodation

French ski resort breaks needn’t cost the earth!

The French ski resort of Val Thorens is famous for its high-altitude slopes (it’s based at some 2300 metres above sea level) and enormous ski area (as part of the 3 vallées area). What may be less well-known about ski holidays in the French Alps is that they’re not necessarily the preserve of the well-to-do. There are many ways of reducing the cost of your next skiing vacations. Probably the most effective of these is to shop around when looking for accommodation. Sometimes it’s worth contacting a given ski resort directly to see if they have any special offers. The average French ski resort does have quite a wide range of accommodation categories which are designed to suit all budgets. At Val Thorens, for example, there are 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, ski-in apartments in larger ‘residences’, self-catered flats with room for 10 or more and even a youth hostel!   Ski holidays in the French Alps for family-friendly fun! No matter where you go in the French Alps, whether on ski holidays or summer vacations, you’ll find that French ski resorts are very much planned with families in mind. For those looking for cheap ski holidays for families, a great place to start is the official Val Thorens ski resort website which offers a range of special packages, including ones aimed at family groups. These will typically cover both accommodation and ski passes. (more…)

4 stars Chamonix hotels: your home-from-home for winter sports fun!

The French Alps are the place for winter sports of all kinds. There are many different resorts scattered throughout the region, but Chamonix, as one of the oldest of all, has a special place in many people’s hearts. This is reflected in the way in which the town caters to virtually every pocket and every kind of visitor. From 4 stars hotels in Chamonix to self-catering apartments and bed and breakfasts, there’s an embarrassment of quality accommodation out there. If you’re a real winter sports fanatic, finding a location that’s close to the relevant ski lifts and cable cars is crucial. Four star hotels and similar luxury establishments are often strategically placed. For example, the Hôtel Les Grands Montets is, as the name suggests, sited at the foot of the famous Grands Montets ski area, which has some superb off-piste skiing to enjoy.  

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Getting off-piste in the Grands Montets ski area

Chamonix

has a total of four large ski areas and is also home to world-class competitions like the Freeride World Tour and Kandahar – the Men’s Alpine Skiing World Cup. If you’re not quite in this league, you can still enjoy a range of winter sports:

  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Ice climbing
  • Hiking

  If you’ve chosen a 4 stars Chamonix hotel for your stay, the chances are you’re looking to be pampered after a hard day on the slopes. Many 4 stars hotels in Chamonix offer all-inclusive packages with just that in mind – access to spa facilities, massages and more. hotel-chamonix Pamper yourself with in-hotel spa facilities Lastly, Chamonix is also known for its lively après-ski scene and fine dining.