Southern French Alps: where to go on vacation? 

When one speaks about the Southern French Alps, one usually includes the mountains of the Hautes Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes Maritimes.

With plenty of sun as in Mediterranean regions (300 days of sun in Briançon per year), the Southern Alps offer a great diversity of fauna, flora and landscapes.
Compared with the Northern Alps, the ski resorts are mainly family ones and are integrated in their environment (fewer blocks of buildings and more villages) while remaining big and diversified (Serre-Chevalier, Montegenèvre - Voie Lactée...), the mountain villages there, are more authentic and welcoming thanks to a commitment to preserving heritage (Névache, Cervières, Vallouise ...)
In short, that’s a top ecotourism destination for those who wish to go to the mountains, slow their rhythm and reconnect to nature.

Below we present our 3 most beloved valleys around Briançon ; they constitute the whole of "The Hautes Vallées".


La Grave, the Claree Valley and the Izoard constitute the three "Hautes Vallées" of the French Southern Alps.

The Claree Valley : "The most beautiful Valley in the Alps" (Southern French Alps)

The Claree valley, Nevache
Claree Upper valley

Wild and preserved, classified as one of the Natural Sites since 1992, it is located in the North of the department of the Hautes-Alpes near Briançon.
It is crossed by a river with crystal clear water from which it gets its name, and is dotted with distinctive villages : the Vachette, the Rosier, Val-des-Prés, Plampinet, and Névache (1600 m above sea level).
Beyond these villages, the road continues another 12 km crossing that gem like Upper Claree Valley, and ends in the middle of the mountains, 2000 meters above sea level.
It is a paradise for Hiking in the summer, Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and Dog sledding in the winter.

La Grave : Paradise for mountaineering and Freeride skiing (Southern French Alps)

Nestled in a deep valley, La Grave is opposite "the Meije", the most famous summit of the massif des Écrins. This valley is internationally renowned for mountaineering and freeride skiing (great potential of off-piste slopes). The difference in height of its ski area is impressive : 2 150 meters between the dome of the Lauze and La Grave. Cross-country ski enthusiasts will rather meet in Villard-d'Arêne on the 10 km long marked slopes, on fringe of the Écrins National Parc. There are many hiking possibilities ! La Grave is also known by kite-surfers for the famous very windy, Lautaret Pass (also legendary for cyclists).

Freeride ski at La Grave
Freeride ski at La Grave

Izoard Pass: Legendary for cyclists (Southern French Alps)

Izoard Pass in the Southern French Alps
Izoard Pass

The Izoard Pass is a legendary meeting place for cyclists in the summer, tour-skiing, cross-country-skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts in the winter (the trails are well groomed). The hike to go to the Napoléon Mountain Hut is great and gourmets will be able to have a treat there. For a quicker and more exciting return, they may sled down!

Ski resorts and Hiking around Briançon

Click on the different icons of that interactive map of the Southern French Alps to learn about :

  • Ski Resorts: where to do some alpine or cross-country skiing (the icons are different according to the types of skiing!)
  • Ecotourism valleys: wonderful landscapes and trails
  • The Chalet d'en Hô : Chalet Hôtel/Spa *** in Névache
  • Cities: with a train station.

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Le Chalet d'en Hô*** -
Hameau des Chazals - 05100 Névache - FRANCE - Tél. : +33 (0)4 92 20 12 29
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