The French Alps – Beyond Skiing
Mention the French Alps and most people automatically visualise snow-covered slopes, charming (but surprisingly cheap) catered chalets, and heavily clothed skiers. But there’s so much more to the French Alps than skiing, as everyone who has ever been there can attest. Gorgeous alpine scenery, scrumptious cuisine, luxurious spas, and colourful festivals are among the area’s many and varied attractions. With regards to sports alone, there are dozens of sports events and attractions each year, attracting thousands of visitors each year. The area also has schools and training grounds for different sports such as hiking and cycling. Listed below are some sports events and attractions that draw visitors from all over the world.
4 Jours Cyclistes in Grenoble
The picturesque winding mountain paths of the French Alps are famous to cyclists all over the world, both for its beauty and for the amazing cycling events that are held there, or, in the case of the Tour of France, pass through. For those who wish to participate or view an exciting cycling event but can’t commit weeks to the sport, the 4 Jours Cyclistes (“Four Cycling Days”) in Grenoble a great choice. This historic and prestigious event originally spanned six days (6 Jours de Grenoble) was first held in 1970, and have through the years given rise to great French cyclists such Eddy Merckx, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, Bernard Thévenet, Charly Motter, Laurent Fignon, Adriano Baffi, Giovanni Lombardi, and Mickaël Rasmussen, among others.
During these four days, professional cyclists compete against one another in various races to win the trophy dubbed as the Golden Spirit. At night, the town amps up the festivities with live music and other performances—the perfect nightcap for visitors before heading retiring to the comforts of their cheap catered chalets.
For families, especially those with teenagers and small children, the Roll’n’Cry is a fun and relatively low-key activity that is nonetheless one of most popular activities in Annecy. Held every Friday, weather permitting, locals and visitors alike meet in front of the town hall and strap on rollerblades for a tour of the town and the lake. Held by the local rollerblading club, the event is free and open to everyone. The atmosphere is casual and light, and is a great place to meet new friends while you explore the countryside. No worries if you did not pack your rollerblades as they can easily be rented from local sports shops. Afterwards, join your new friends and indulge in hot chocolate and yummy pastries before heading back to your cheap catered chalets.