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.

The must-see places in 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.

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As a consequence of the Mediterranean influence on the one hand, and the low influence of ocean rainfall on the other...
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The climate of the Hautes-Alpes is marked by the altitude and relative proximity of the Mediterranean. The Atlantic r...
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Featured articles Hautes-Alpes

Outdoor Winter Festival : du sport et de la musique à la station de Vars

While the winter season is in full swing, the resort of Vars is going into alternative sports mode Freestyle and Freeride, with the discovery of many practices such as snowboarding, mountain biking on snow, freeride skiing, snowscoot, paragliding and even kayaking border cross, all on snow of course. At the same time, Pro competitions of the Freestyle and Freeride circuit take place, the opportunity to see great athletes at work. In the ...

10 stations françaises idéales pour skier avec des enfants

Experienced skier, you dream of skiing down the slopes, but you worry about your toddlers who will taste the joys of the mountains for the first time? Trust the flair of the Little Futé! From the Alps to the Pyrenees, passing through the Massif Central, the Vosges and the Jura, we have selected the 10 most renowned French ski resorts for their childcare. They guarantee a quality stay for adults and children alike, offering reception and ...

musique et nature en harmonie Festival Messaien au Pays de la Meije

This festival was created in homage to the famous and talented composer Olivier Messaien. During a few days of this summer period, it unveils a program of concerts but also cultural and educational events, in splendid natural territories, in a mountain environment. Thus, throughout the event, festival-goers can attend a film screening, attend a conference, go on a musical hike in the heart of the Alps or even attend a concert, with the theme ...

13e Altitude Jazz Festival dans les Hautes Alpes !

The thirteenth edition of the festival will take place from Saturday 19 January to Saturday 2 February 2019! As usual, it will be held in three parts: the Grandes soirées (about ten "grandes soirées" that give the festival rhythm in the Briançon valleys, the Jazz Bars (at aperitifs or in the evening, the bars and restaurants will introduce you to a multiple, eclectic and talented jazz) and the Jazz Off-Piste: where music usually stops, ...

Discover the bike tours Hautes-Alpes