You’ll rarely find a more accurate truth than the saying you haven’t skied until you ski in the Alps. With hundreds of kilometres of pistes at vertiginous heights surrounded by breathtaking sights from all around, the French Alps are hard to match in world renown as an elite skiing destination. What makes them even more alluring to the avid winter tourist are the snug little villages and resorts with catered ski chalets that look as if having sprung to life directly out of a Christmas postcard. Among them are beloved names such as Avoriaz, Tignes, Chamonix and Meribel. Aside from the endless possibilities for thrilling skiing adventures, these and many other places in the French Alps have one more thing in common: the incredibly photogenic sights that draw in every nature (or social media) lover’s camera. Here are a few of the top views for snap-happy visitors. The Eye of the Needle Perhaps most famous among them is L’Aiguille de Percée, or “the Eye of the Needle”. One could spend hours gazing up at this rock puzzled at how nature has managed to carve the enormous eye-shaped hole through it, preserving only a thin rocky outline. You may recognise it as the hole James Bond skied through in an iconic scene from ‘A View to Kill’ in 1985. While the authorities strongly advise against this stunt (and with good reason!), you are welcome to climb the rock itself and pose for a stunning photo inside its ‘eye’. The Wall At an incline of 76%, the Wall in Avoriaz has honestly earned its reputation as one of the most dangerous pistes in the world. If you can stomach standing at the top and not being able to see the hair-raising kilometre of piste that follows beyond the steep edge, you will certainly relish the dizzying vistas crowding around for your attention and camera lens. Just don’t get too carried away (...or make sure you are a pro at unexpected extreme skiing!). Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Nestling at the base of the Alps’ highest peak, Mont Blanc, the resort of Chamonix gives direct cable car and train access to some of the most picturesque spots in the Alps. Among them are France’s largest glacier: Mer de Glace (‘sea of ice’), Brevent mountain with its spectacular view of Mont Blanc, and Aiguille du Midi mountain offering its visitors the opportunity to admire spectacular landscapes from a glass box suspended a sheer kilometre above ground. With these and numerous other spots which can’t wait to claim your fascination, the French Alps offer winter tourists the finest distillate of two worlds: that of energetic adventure skiing down pistes and conquering mountain tops by day, and of cosy gatherings by the fireside of a catered ski chalet by night. All you need is a pair of skis, a good camera and a bunch of dear friends and you are ready for your next alpine adventure. |
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for the best catered ski chalet accommodation in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.
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