France may be my homeland, but there is still so much of it I am yet to discover! This includes the Alps, where I grew up and where I have enjoyed exploring further since having my children. Revisiting familiar places I grew up in as well as discovering new places with Barry and the children never fails to make me happy. Here are some of my favourite spots in the Alps and nearabouts.
I am lucky that my parents now live in the Vercors, near St Marcellin (where the cheese comes from, and I even spent time working in a cheese factory there!). We have enjoyed regular holidays there and always go exploring when we are there. We also got married nearby at the Couvent des Carmes.
There are lovely little local spots such as Le Jardin Ferroviaire in Chatte (38), and Le Jardin des Fontaines Petrifiantes in la Sone. We also love going on hikes in the nearby mountain range : the Vercors.
Funiculaire de St Hilaire du Touvet
I grew up in the Vallee du Gresivaudan, between Grenoble and Chambery. At one point we lived in Lumbin, which was great as the village hosted La Coupe Icare, an annual paragliding competition in fancy dress, and there would also be a balloon fiesta. In order to get up the mountain in the first place, most people would take the funicular, which is one of the oldest and steepest in the Alps. When you get to the top, you can walk around the village and go and watch the paragliders jump off the mountain.
La Palais du Facteur Cheval
I remember going to visit the palace created the Facteur Cheval as a child, but seeing it as an adult affected me really differently… this is one man’s life achievement! The film made about his life was really good, even though very sad. It is absolutely incredible to see.
Les Passerelles du Lac de Monteynard
We might have been slightly ambitious when we first went on this hike with my two. It was an incredibly hot day and we ran out of water halfway through…. Luckily we were rewarded with giant ice creams at the end (it’s a common theme!). The Himalayan footbridges are incredibly beautiful and the lakes a gorgeous turquoise blue. It was definitely worth it!
The ski resort of Chamrousse is part of the Belledonne mountain range. We love a good ski trip but there is something truly beautiful about hiking in the mountain in Summer. The landscape, the wildlife, the fauna and flora… You can walk around, take the cabins up and then down again, lots of options.
Lyon is such a beautiful, historical town. It is separated into four main areas: Le Vieux Lyon, La Croix Rousse, La Confluence et la Presqu’Ile.
My favourite to visit with the family are Le Vieux Lyon, the old town is so beautiful and is filled with history! There lots of restaurants to choose from, a great amount of ice cream places. You can wander through the Traboules (secret covered passage ways used as old spice shortcuts, and later on used by the Resistance), take the funicular up to the Croix rousse for beautiful views over all of Lyon, and wander around the Parc de la Tete d’Or which has a lovely (and free!) little zoo, a stunning greenhouse and generally just lots of space for little ones to run around. The quays have also been renovated and make it lovely to walk along the river.
I went to school in Grenoble for college and lycee, so I spent a lot of time there in my teens and tend to avoid it nowadays! But when we do go, we always have lovely day. The kids love to get the tram, travel in the “bubbles” (although they don’t enjoy the climb up to the Bastille so much… luckily you can get drinks and ice creams at the top!) and play in the fountains.
As I was writing this list, I kept thinking of other places. There are so many more I can add! But that will be for another day 😉
Have you been to any of these? Are there any you would add?