If France had a secret, then it would be the Rhone Alpes. Between the spectacular mountain peaks of the French Alps and the breathtaking volcanic landscape of the Massif Central lies probably the most exciting areas of Western Europe. Have we caught your attention? Yes? Then continue on reading and discover all the wonders France’s big secret has to offer, tattletaled to us by top travel bloggers.

Lac d’Annecy

Lac d'Annecy

Facebook: Auvergne – Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

One absolute must see in the Rhone Alps Lac d’Annecy. It is beautiful, scenic, and perfect for a day trip. It is also close to the old town of Old Town Annecy, where you will find some good shops and restaurants that will fill your afternoon.  

There is a lot of wonderful delicacies to try in the Rhone Alps. Of course, my favorite was the chocolate. No trip to the Alps is complete without indulging your sweet tooth in some chocolate.  The donut-like Bugness are also the extra notch you will have to put in your belt.

You have to get outdoors in the Alps. Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and skiing are just a few of the highlights. However, make sure to check out some of the old cities in the area. The Alps are a great place to escape and enjoy quite towns and beautiful nature.

From Stephen Schreck – www.abackpackerstale.com

Grenoble

Grenoble

Facebook: Officede Tourismede Grenoble

Grenoble is a very green city and home to many beautiful parks. These include Parc Paul Mistral and Jardin de Ville amongst others.The Musée de Grenoble should be high on your list. It’s larger than it looks and houses not only paintings but sculpture and even some Egyptian artefacts. You can easily spend a few hours taking in the magnificent artwork and gardens complete with beautiful sculptures.

Whenever you’re feeling peckish make sure Pain et Cie, is your first port of call. The breakfasts are utterly delicious and they have tonnes of home made bread and spreads to delight your taste buds. The white chocolate spread was my favourite, whereas my parents preferred the jams when they came to visit. They also serve up fabulous tartlets and gourmet salads for lunch which deserve a try!

A trip to Grenoble is not complete unless you’ve been up the Bastille. What is it? The Bastille is the name of the fortress and hill 476m above the town of Grenoble and is home to the first urban cable-car in the world. The cable car is affectionately known as the “bubbles” and I strongly recommend you use it for your journey to the top. A round trip is €7,15. If you’re feeling more active you can choose one of the pathways up to the top and walk, or run. You’ll indefinitely be passed by joggers who think this is the perfect sport for a run. I, however, think they’re crazy!

-Written by Hannah, www.thatadventurer.co.uk

Lyon

Lyon

Lyon has a serious eating culture. Some of the best chefs in the world are from Lyon. And I guess it’s not totally unheard of to plan a pure eating staycation. I always knew that the Lyonnais culture was known for its cuisine and gastronomy scene. Many people say that it’s the best culinary destination in France, and if France is the gastronomy capital of the world, then by the power of maths, it reigns as the most ultimate food city. First stop? No brainer. Take me directly to Les Halles de Lyon market. A food temple brought to us by arguably one of the most influential chefs of our time, Paul Bocuse. The indoor market is filled with over 50 different stands selling cheese, cured meats, wine, seafood, bread, chocolates, sweets, and a few counters for eating. I would happily claim squatter’s rights, live and die in this market.

Restaurant tip: Cafe des Federations, a tiny bouchon serving typical Lyonnais cuisine. And any place with a sassy pig as the mascot wins extra points. The eclectic cozy space seemed like it was frozen in time. It was filled with business men lunching – chatting, drinking, laughing, and slopping crusty pieces of luscious French bread deep inside bowls of rich gravy. The only female in the restaurant, and only one under 40 years old, I knew this was a good choice. And then I really knew I was in the right place when a basket pork gratton was placed on the table.

Marché Saint-Antoine Célestins: If my first stop was to Les Halles, second stop to an old school bouchon, and for the third it only made sense to next hit up your every day local farmer’s market. Note to culinary travelers: ALWAYS check out markets, supermarkets, and super local eateries within the first hours of visiting a new city. It’s the first thing you should do.

-Written by Allie Lazar, www.pickupthefork.com

Valmorel and La Plagne

LaPlagne

Facebook: La Plagne

I went on a spring ski trip to the French Alps – ready to discover the best Valmorel and La Plagne had to offer. Our days were filled with eating, skiing, discovering charming towns and sledging down a hill. Spoiler alert: my body hurt at the end of the trip, but I did make it back home alive. Now, why would one go on a ski trip during spring rather than, let’s say January? Easy, the weather! Admittedly, if you’re a ski fanatic and have a higher level, it’s recommended to go earlier since the snow is better at that time – but for a beginner or mid-level skier, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t go at other times. The sun is shining bright, it’s often hot enough to chill without a sweater and have your après-ski drink on a sunny terrace. Win!

there’s really only one correct answer here – tartiflette! Belgians will probably already be familiar with this potato and cheese loaded treat, let’s just say it was a good thing there was some exercise involved during this trip as well. So.much.food!

sledging, skiing, snowboarding, snow shoe walking, and so on and so forth. In La Plagne there were also several activities (called “sublicimes“) arranged at different ski stations. The zen attitude station offered a jacuzzi, sauna and massages whilst other stations involved reverse bungee jumping (two elastics catapulting you into the air – I kindly passed on that offer) or a beach-like setting in the snow. These are all free and available for everyone that feels like taking a little break from the slopes. At the hotels, you can usually enjoy wellness treatments as well.

-Written by Kim, www.brunetteblogging.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catriona Megahey

Catriona Megahey

Catriona (known correctly as Ka-tri-na or mistakenly as Ka-tre-o-na, but has given up trying and adheres to both) grew up in Hannover, Germany to Northern Irish parents. Spends her time trying to be active either cycling, playing football, GAA or drums.
Catriona Megahey