Though best known for excellent winter skiing, the French resort of Courchevel has a lot to offer summer visitors too. One attractive feature of the town it is proximity to the wonderful La Vanoise National Park. Ideal for family hikes, mountain biking and wildlife enthusiasts, La Vanoise makes the perfect location for summer fun. Let’s discover the history of the park and meet one of its most famous residents, the Alpine Ibex. |
The Creation of the La Vanoise National Park
In the 1940s, both locals of the la Vanoise region and the French government realised that the beloved Alpine Ibex was disappearing from the area. Seeing that their Italian neighbours had created a national park a few decades earlier, they decided to do the same. With the aid of groups such as the Touring Club of France and the French Alpine Club, as well as local hunters, a large reserve was formed. However, people soon complained that the reserve didn’t cover nearly enough land. It was expanded in the early sixties and France’s first national park was officially created.
Stunning Wildlife and the Amazing Alpine Ibex
The La Vanoise area is home to many fascinating species. Look up and you might see a golden eagle or a bearded vulture; among the trees are black woodpeckers and rock ptarmigans. There are lots of native mammals as well, such as the Eurasian lynx, wolves and the mountain hare.
The most famous inhabitant is undoubtedly the Alpine Ibex, also known by their German name of Steinbock. These wild goats prefer to live at high altitudes close to the snowline. They are extremely good climbers and live so far up that they have almost no natural predators. A beautiful chestnut brown in the winter, both male and female ibex have distinctive, curved horns stretching over their backs. The males also have a wispy beard on their chins.
Sadly in the past they were thought to have mystical qualities and were hunted almost to extinction. Now, after years of care, the population is growing quickly.
Family Fun in the La Vanoise National Park
There are plenty of activities to get involved with in la Vanoise besides watching the wildlife. I would certainly recommend donning your boots and discovering some of the many delightful hikes here. There are over six hundred kilometres of trails, so you could easily spend a holiday simply exploring!
Kids will love taking out a mountain bike on one of the specially created trails in the area and if you want to get your blood pumping a little, why not try paragliding?
How to Get There: Geneva to Courchevel to La Vanoise
La Vanoise National Park is easily accessible from a base in the Courchevel resort. The best way to reach the town is to fly into Geneva airport, then book a transfer to take you from Geneva to Courchevel. Shuttle Direct’s transfer service means that you will be driven in comfort and safety from the airport in Geneva to Courchevel and to the start of your holiday.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you need an airport transfer from Geneva to Courchevel, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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