While the ski lifts will remain closed during the winter holidays, lovers of snow, nature and the great outdoors will head for the small family resorts located lower than the large resorts in the Alps that are normally popular at this time. The small ski resorts of Villard-de-Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors should therefore be able to do well. In the spotlight in 2019 after basketball legend Tony Parker's takeover of the equipment company SEVLC, the resort is still banking on its fantastic setting, on the borders of the incredible Vercors Regional Natural Park, to develop its nature activities. Ski lifts or not!

In Villard-de-Lans, skiing all the same!

If the resort has invested a lot in recent years to improve its downhill ski slopes, it is unfortunately not this winter that we will be able to enjoy it. But don't panic, you can enjoy Nordic skiing with no less than 153 km of groomed cross-country trails. Situated in the Vercors, at the entrance to the imposing Gorges de la Bourne, and above the Grande Moucherolle which from its 2,284 m altitude dominates the surrounding limestone slopes and plateaus, the landscape is magical. A superb area of freedom in a grandiose setting that is often compared to Canada. And the whole family will be able to enjoy these dreamlike landscapes, on foot or with snowshoes. It will even be possible to learn biathlon, a sport made so popular by the very young retiree Martin Fourcade.

Outdoor getaway in the Vercors Regional Nature Park

Finally, it should not be forgotten that Villard-de-Lans is situated on the borders of the incredible Vercors Regional Natural Park. A gem located just ten kilometres away

Divided between the Isère and the Drôme, the Vercors is this famous white citadel crowned by an ocean of forests. Plunging its limestone roots into the depths of an ancient sea, tearing the plain apart with its luminous cliffs, the Vercors rises in majesty. On these porous lands shaped by water, a generous nature shelters a remarkably rich fauna and flora at the confluence of the Alpine and Mediterranean climates. Rich in its living environment, but also rich in its isolation, a natural barrier against enemies, the Vercors has always attracted mankind. A hunting ground for prehistoric men, a deposit of natural resources, this mountain range still owes its fame to one of the most tragic and glorious pages of our recent history, the Maquis of the Vercors. If contemporary times have seen the development of leisure activities, particularly Nordic skiing or hiking on the slopes and mountain pastures of the Vercors, this territory has managed to preserve its wild character and the development of tourism, necessary for the local economy, is done in perfect harmony with respect for the environment. In all seasons, the Vercors plunges its guests into a world where collective admiration for the courage of the men who inhabit this natural fortress and solitary wonder in the face of unspoilt nature mingle.

To discover these high plateaus, head for Lans-en-Vercors, the gateway to the park. The commune therefore houses an ambassador house for these protected and preserved areas of nature. It should be known that the Vercors Regional Natural Park covers an exceptional territory since it is quite simply the largest reserve in metropolitan France. It is also one of the very first French parks for the richness of its fauna and flora, as well as for its heritage. A real mine of information on the Vercors, events, news, accommodation, sports and cultural activities, this house is to be discovered before leaving to discover all the activities to be practised on the vastness of this territory. Whatever the season, it is possible to enjoy the Park: skiing, dog sledding, snowkiting in winter, but also free flying, climbing, caving, canyoning, fishing parties, there is really something for everyone!

And this might give you some ideas for your next holidays. Because here, local life sets the rhythm of the year 365 days a year. In summer, the rich flora and fauna provides a superb backdrop for hiking, cycling, horse riding... but also the ideal setting for sporting activities - golf, paragliding, hot-air ballooning... - or more committed sports such as canyoning, climbing... In autumn and spring, you can enjoy the activities of a complete sports resort, but also the traditions of agriculture and breeding in a lively town, all year round, which is not satisfied with a purely seasonal activity.

The unmissable visits of the Vercors

In the Vercors, you should also visit the narrow streets of the medieval village of Pont-en-Royans, the undisputed emblem of the massif. And it is breathtaking to discover this incredible site with its houses suspended above the tumultuous waters of the Bourne. And Pont-en-Royans, which had already amazed Stendhal in its time, has been listed as a Historic Monument

We will also take the direction of Saint-Nazaire-en-Royans, nestled under its impressive aqueduct, at the foot of Mount Vanilla, which is reflected in the dark waters of the Bourne

Built in the 19th century, it offers a particular charm and above all a breathtaking view of the massif. With the limestone cliffs of Presles and Grande-Cournouse as a backdrop, which add a grandiose touch to the landscape

Another jewel of the Vercors is the village of Léoncel, perched at an altitude of 900 m. In the middle of forests, meadows and rocks, the village has about sixty inhabitants and is home to a beautiful Cistercian abbey of the 12th century. Jewel of Romanesque art, this abbey was built in 1137 by 12 Bonneveaux monks and quickly became the most important monastery in the Vercors. Léoncel comes from the Latin word "Lyonnae" and "cella" which means monastery of the Lyonne, Lyn in Celtic means "watercourse". Relay to the Col de la Bataille and the forest of Lente, the valley of Léoncel attracts hikers in summer, and of course Nordic skiing enthusiasts in winter.

Finally, the Vercors, populated since prehistoric times, has sites such as the Grotte de Thaïs or the Grotte de la Draye Blanche which allow you to go back in time.

Smart info

When? All winter long the resort of Villard-de-Lans and Corrençon-en-Vercors will delight nature lovers, Nordic skiing and long walks in the snow. But the two villages have also joined forces to offer a resort to live in all seasons

How to get there. By car, by coach, by train (Grenoble TGV station) or by plane (Grenoble-Isère or Lyon airports), everything is possible.

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Useful. To best prepare his escape to the Vercors.


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