Trust his name. The department of Hautes-Alpes, located in the Southern Alps, is mountainous. It is the highest in France on average and more than a third of its surface area exceeds 2,000 m in altitude! Its prefecture, Gap, is the highest in the country and the beautiful village of Saint-Véran (2,042 m), the highest municipality in Europe. It culminates at 4,102 m at the Barre des Écrins, a mythical summit for mountaineers from France and elsewhere. Briançon la belle, perched at 1,326 m, is one of the highest European cities. Border with Italy, this airy and sumptuous territory has experienced a strong desertification in the last century. Mountain agriculture did not feed its people and the harshness of life at high altitudes was not compatible with modernity. Today, it is one of the most sparsely populated French departments, which is doing well thanks to tourism by enhancing its authentic and preserved alpine environment: winter tourism with alpine skiing and cross-country skiing, summer tourism with mountaineering. The Ecrins massif, within a national natural park, is one of the country's alpine jewels, a symbol of crystal-clear high mountains. The middle mountain is not to be outdone with the regional natural park of the Baronnies provençales, shared with the Drôme, where you can climb, fly or hike. Finally, the presence of the Durance and its tributaries, to which are added the mountain streams, attract rafting and kayaking enthusiasts. A string of alpine lakes where the peaks are reflected completes this idyllic picture.

What to visit Hautes-Alpes?

When to go to Hautes-Alpes?

As a consequence of the Mediterranean influence on the one hand, and the low influence of ocean rainfall on the other hand, since it discharges into the Ecrins massif, this territory enjoys a high level of sunshine (300 days per year), which means that it is visited by tourists in both winter and summer. But from one season to the next, it is not the same tourism that is at stake. In winter, skiers ski down the slopes of large or medium-sized resorts, including Serre-Chevalier (250 km of alpine skiing area!) or Vars, Risoul, SuperDévoluy, La Joue du Loup, not to mention the internationally renowned off-piste ski area of La Grave-La Meije. In the spring, cross-country skiers enjoy a treat. In summer, for experienced mountaineers, head for the high peaks. For others, there are many hiking trails at high altitude or in the middle of the mountains that do not require a high technical level. Summer is also the season for white water sports and swimming in rivers and lakes. To be immersed in those at high altitude requires courage! The torrents, likewise, remain cold in summer. The chilly people fall back on the lower part of the territory or on the heated swimming pools which have the particularity of being open in winter. A dive after skiing, why not? Small precision: at altitude, the temperature drops dramatically at sunset, even in summer, due to dry air and low cloud cover.

Prepare for your trip Hautes-Alpes

  • Book a ferry
  • Car Rental
  • Taxi
  • Find a hotel
  • Holiday rental
  • Tailor-made trip
Services / On site
  • Book a table
  • Activities & visits

Pictures Hautes-Alpes

Discover Hautes-Alpes

Practical information
When to travel?

As a consequence of the Mediterranean influence on the one hand, and the low influence of ocean rainfall on the other...
Read more about it

Weather forecast

The climate of the Hautes-Alpes is marked by the altitude and relative proximity of the Mediterranean. The Atlantic r...
Read more about it

Featured articles Hautes-Alpes

Serre Chevalier Briançon, escapade dans une station de ski pas comme les autres

Serre Chevalier is the largest winter sports resort in the Southern Alps and is located near the Ecrins National Park. It benefits from a preserved natural environment in which mountain lovers can enjoy a wide variety of winter sports. Serre Chevalier Vallée Briançon includes several villages, hamlets and the incredible town of Briançon, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list for its Vauban fortifications. Between two sessions on the ...

Mika sera en concert à Vars en décembre !

He will bring cheerfulness and good mood with him, as usual. The singer Mika will be present on December 11th on the snowy stage of Vars for a free concert. On the occasion of the 13th edition of Vars en scène, the international pop artist will open the long awaited new season. Like every year, a concert will launch the opening of the ski area, but also the arrival of winter. Mika will be singing songs from his new album "My Name is Michael ...

Les 10 meilleures stations de ski en France pour les enfants

The snow has already started to invade the highest peaks in France. For many families, the approach of winter is synonymous with holidays in the mountains, for the pleasure of practising winter sports in the middle of breathtaking panoramas, to meet around a good mountain meal, but also to take advantage of animations of all kinds! France has many ski resorts and among them, it is not always easy to choose the one that best suits the ...

Les meilleures destinations à rejoindre pour des vacances d'été à la montagne

Going to the mountains in the summer is the best way to enjoy nature and come back home totally refreshed. While the coast is often overcrowded in the summer, the large French mountain ranges offer a multitude of places to enjoy the peace and quiet in the heart of an exceptional natural environment. For those who like active holidays, the mountains offer numerous outdoor sports activities. In summer, it is also the perfect time to discover ...

Discover the bike tours Hautes-Alpes