The soaring mountain peaks and lush valleys of the Rhône-Alpes region of France offer great skiing conditions between November and April and at other times, mountain biking, climbing, kayaking and hiking.
To the south-west lies the stunning Ardeche region, home to the dramatic Gorges de l'Ardeche.
Must-see sightseeing attractions in the Rhône-Alpes, include:
Chamonix, the oldest ski resort in France, is famous for long ski runs, off-piste terrain, chutes, glaciers and high bowls spread across seven ski areas and three mountainsides – equally perfect in summer when conditions are perfect for hiking and cycling.
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Tignes Val Claret
One of Europe's premier ski resorts shares the Espace Killy with Val d'Isere and offers more than 300km of ski trails across 10,000ha.
The resort caters to all levels of skiers, with slalom and mogul runs including the 1992 Olympics downhill course, snow parks, dog sledding, ski-joring (being pulled along by horses), snowshoeing and heli-skiing.
Ride a horse-drawn sleigh, go dog sledding or Nordic skiing and enjoy a traditional alpine village atmosphere. With more 200km of ski slopes spread across 3700ha, Peisey-Vallandry caters to skiers of all levels with on- or off-piste slopes, a speed-ski track, snow parks and downhill forest skiing.
Skiers can choose from more than 120km of varied ski trails that criss-cross the entire Villars-Gryon region. With free access for children under nine years of age, two ski schools and a snowpark on the Chaux-Ronde trail, this region is perfect for families.
Paddle the Ardeche River beneath 300m-high limestone cliffs and through the river’s most famous feature – a natural 60m-high stone arch spanning the river known as Pont d'Arc (Arch Bridge).
Peer into the 30km-long Gorges de l'Ardèche from viewpoints set along the canyon’s rim or go caving in the Aven Orgnac to see one of France's most spectacular and colourful stalactite formations.
While it’s not possible to enter the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave located at Vallon, you can see an exhibition and watch a video of the world’s oldest-known cave paintings, created some 32,000 years ago and depicting woolly rhinos, bison, lions and bears.