French Alps

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French Alps
FrenchAlps 03270006a.jpg
Aerial photograph of the Mont Blanc massif, the tallest mountain in the French Alps, seen from the west
Highest point
Peak Mont Blanc
Elevation 4,810.45 m (15,782.3 ft)
Coordinates 45°50′01″N06°51′54″E / 45.83361°N 6.86500°E / 45.83361; 6.86500 Coordinates: 45°50′01″N06°51′54″E / 45.83361°N 6.86500°E / 45.83361; 6.86500
Geography
Massif des Alpes map-fr.svg
Ranges of the French Alps.
French regions Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Borders on Swiss Alps, Italian Alps
Geology
Orogeny Alpine orogeny
Age of rock Tertiary
Type of rock Bündner schist, flysch and molasse
NASA photo of the French Alps (26 Oct 2002). Alps of France NASA A2002274 1240 250m.jpg
NASA photo of the French Alps (26 Oct 2002).

The French Alps are the portions of the Alps mountain range that stand within France, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions. While some of the ranges of the French Alps are entirely in France, others, such as the Mont Blanc massif, are shared with Switzerland and Italy.

Alps major mountain range system in Central Europe

The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries : France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).

Mountain range A geographic area containing several geologically related mountains

A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Contents

At 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), Mont Blanc (Italian: Monte Bianco), on the French-Italian border, is the highest mountain in the Alps, and the highest Western European mountain. [1]

Mont Blanc highest mountain in the Alps (15,780.9 feet)

Mont Blanc, meaning "White Mountain", is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of Russia's Caucasus peaks. It rises 4,808.7 m (15,777 ft) above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence. The mountain stands in a range called the Graian Alps, between the department of Haute-Savoie, France and the region of Aosta Valley, Italy. The location of the summit is on the watershed line between the valley of Montjoie, and Arve in France and the valley of Ferret and Veny in Italy.

Notable towns in the French Alps include Grenoble, Chamonix, Annecy, Chambéry, Évian-les-Bains and Albertville.

Grenoble Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère and is an important European scientific centre. The city advertises itself as the "Capital of the Alps", due to its size and its proximity to the mountains.

Chamonix Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, more commonly known as Chamonix, is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

Annecy Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Annecy is the largest city of Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France. It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, 35 kilometers (22 mi) south of Geneva.

Ranges and summits

ChainRangeHighest summitElevation (m/ft)
Graian Alps Mont Blanc Massif Mont Blanc 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft)
Graian Alps Beaufortain Massif Roignais 2,995 metres (9,826 ft)
Graian Alps Lauzière Massif Grand Pic de la Lauzière 2,829 metres (9,281 ft)
Graian Alps Vanoise Massif Grande Casse 3,855 metres (12,648 ft)
Graian Alps Graian Alps central group Pointe de Charbonnel 3,752 metres (12,310 ft)
Dauphiné Alps Belledonne Massif Grand Pic de Belledonne 2,977 metres (9,767 ft)
Dauphiné Alps Grandes Rousses Pic Bayle 3,465 metres (11,368 ft)
Dauphiné Alps Arves Massif Aiguilles d'Arves 3,514 metres (11,529 ft)
Dauphiné Alps Taillefer Massif Le Taillefer 2,857 metres (9,373 ft)
Dauphiné Alps Écrins Massif Barre des Écrins 4,102 metres (13,458 ft)
Cottian Alps Massif du Mont-Cenis Pointe de Ronce 3,612 metres (11,850 ft)
Cottian Alps Cerces Massif Grand Galibier 3,229 metres (10,594 ft)
Cottian Alps Queyras Massif Rochebrune Peak 3,320 metres (10,892 ft)
Cottian Alps Ubaye Massif (Orrenaye) Aiguille de Chambeyron 3,411 metres (11,191 ft)
Maritime Alps Mercantour Massif Cime du Gélas 3,143 metres (10,312 ft)
Maritime Alps Pelat Massif Mont Pelat 3,050 metres (10,007 ft)
Maritime Alps Massif des Trois-Évêchés Tête de l'Estrop 2,961 metres (9,715 ft)
Ligurian Alps Ligurian Alps Punta Marguareis 2,651 metres (8,698 ft)
Savoy Prealps Chablais Alps Hauts-Forts 2,464 metres (8,084 ft)
Savoy Prealps Haut-Giffre Massif Haute Cime 3,257 metres (10,686 ft)
Savoy Prealps Aiguilles Rouges Aiguille du Belvédère 2,965 metres (9,728 ft)
Savoy Prealps Bornes Pointe Blanche 2,438 metres (7,999 ft)
Savoy Prealps Aravis Range Pointe Percée 2,750 metres (9,022 ft)
Savoy Prealps Bauges Arcalod 2,217 metres (7,274 ft)
Savoy Prealps Chartreuse Mountains Chamechaude 2,082 metres (6,831 ft)
Dauphiné Prealps Vercors Massif Grand Veymont 2,341 metres (7,680 ft)
Dauphiné Prealps Diois Mountains Mont Jocou 2,051 metres (6,729 ft)
Dauphiné Prealps Dévoluy Mountains Grande Tête de l'Obiou 2,789 metres (9,150 ft)
Provence Prealps Bochaine Mont Céüse 2,016 metres (6,614 ft)
Provence Prealps Digne Prealps Les Monges 2,115 metres (6,939 ft)
Provence Prealps Baronnies Mont Mare1,603 metres (5,259 ft)
Provence Prealps Vaucluse Mountains Signal de Saint-Pierre1,256 metres (4,121 ft)
Provence Prealps Luberon Mountains Mourre Nègre1,125 metres (3,691 ft)
Maritime Prealps Castellan Prealps Puy de Rent1,996 metres (6,549 ft)
Maritime Prealps Nice Prealps Pointe des Trois Communes2,080 metres (6,824 ft)
Panorama of Chamonix valley Chamonix Valley Panorama.jpg
Panorama of Chamonix valley

Ski areas

The largest connected ski areas are:

  1. Les Trois Vallées (Courchevel, Méribel, La Tania, Brides-les-Bains, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, Les Menuires, Val Thorens and Orelle): 338 slopes, 600 km of pistes.
  2. Portes du Soleil (Avoriaz, Châtel, Morzine, Les Gets, Saint-Jean d'Aulps, La Chapelle d'Abondance, Abondance, Montriond, Swiss resorts): 288 slopes, 650 km of slopes not entirely connected.
  3. Paradiski (La Plagne, Peisey-Vallandry, Les Arcs), Champagny-en-Vanoise: 239 slopes, 420 km of slopes.
  4. Via Lattea (Montgenèvre, Italian resorts): 214 slopes, 400 km of slopes.
  5. Évasion Mont-Blanc (Combloux, Megève, Saint-Gervais, Saint-Nicolas-de-Véroce, Les Contamines Monjoie): 183 slopes, 420 km of slopes not entirely connected.
  6. Espace Killy (Tignes, Val-d'Isère): 137 slopes, 300 km of slopes.
  7. Grand Massif (Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Samoëns, Sixt): 134 slopes, 265 km of slopes.
  8. Les Aravis (La Clusaz, Manigod, La Croix Fry, Merdassier, Le Grand-Bornand): 133 slopes, 220 km of slopes not entirely connected.
  9. Les Grandes Rousses (L'Alpe d'Huez, Vaujany, Auris-en-Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Villard-Reculas): 117 slopes, 236 km of slopes.
  10. Serre Chevalier: 111 slopes, 250 km of slopes.
  11. La Forêt Blanche (Risoul, Vars): 104 slopes, 180 km of slopes.
  12. Les Sybelles (Le Corbier, La Toussuire, Les Bottières, Saint-Jean-d'Arves, Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves, Saint-Colomban-des-Villards): 96 slopes, 310 km of slopes.
  13. Valloire and Valmeinier: 83 slopes, 150 km of slopes.
  14. Grand Domaine (Valmorel, Saint-François-Longchamp): 82 slopes, 150 km of slopes
  15. Espace San Bernardo (La Rosière, La Thuile - Italy): 73 slopes, 150 km of slopes.
  16. Les Deux Alpes and La Grave: 69 slopes, 220 km of slopes.

The other large ski areas are:

Praz-sur-Arly Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Praz-sur-Arly is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.

Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe is a commune in the Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.

Flumet Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Flumet is a commune in the Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.

Activities

A range of winter and summer activities are available in the French Alps. In the winter, these include skiing and snowboarding as well as alternatives such as snowshoeing, sledging. There is a range of other activities that happen such as gliding which most happens during the summer months. [2] Summer activities include hiking, mountaineering, biking and rock climbing. [3]

Aiguille du Dru mountain

The Aiguille du Dru is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps. It is situated to the east of the village of Les Praz in the Chamonix valley. "Aiguille" means "needle" in French.

Aiguille Verte mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps

The Aiguille Verte, which is French for "Green Needle", is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif in the French Alps.

Mer de Glace glacier

The Mer de Glace is a valley glacier located on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif, in the French Alps. It is 7.5 km long and 200 metres (660 ft) deep but, when all its tributary glaciers are taken into account, it can be regarded as the longest and largest glacier in France, and the second longest in the Alps after the Aletsch Glacier.

I can no otherwise convey to you an image of this body of ice, broken into irregular ridges and deep chasms than by comparing it to waves instantaneously frozen in the midst of a violent storm.

See also

Related Research Articles

Graian Alps mountain range in the Western part of the Alps

The Graian Alps are a mountain range in the western part of the Alps.

Gran Paradiso mountain in the Graian Alps located between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions of north-west Italy

The Gran Paradiso is a mountain in the Graian Alps in Italy, located between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions.

Val-dIsère Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Val d'Isère is a commune of the Tarentaise Valley, in the Savoie department in southeastern France. It lies 5 km (3 mi) from the border with Italy. It is on the border of the Vanoise National Park created in 1963. During the Albertville 1992 Winter Olympics, the Face de Bellevarde was the site of the men's downhill race. Other alpine skiing events held during those games included men's giant slalom and alpine combined. Val d'Isère regularly hosts World Cup alpine events, usually for the men in early December, and hosted the World Championships in 2009. It is located in the Savoie région with good transport links in and out of Lyon, Geneva and Chambéry. The ski area of Val d'Isère and Tignes forms the Espace Killy, named after the triple olympic champion Jean-Claude Killy who grew up in Val d'Isère.

Portes du Soleil ski area in the French Alps

Les Portes du Soleil is a major skisports destination in the Alps, encompassing thirteen resorts between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. With more than 650 km of marked pistes and about 200 lifts in total, spread over 14 valleys and about 1,036 square kilometres (400 sq mi), Portes du Soleil ranks among the two largest ski areas in the world. Almost all of the pistes are connected by lifts – a few marginal towns can be reached only by the free bus services in the area. The highest point of skiing is 2400 m and the lowest is 900 m. As with many other Alpine ski resorts, the lower slopes of the Portes du Soleil have snow-making facilities to extend the skiable season by keeping the lower slopes open during the warmer months.

Haute Route

The Haute Route, is the name given to a route undertaken on foot or by ski touring between Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland.

Écrins National Park national park of France

Écrins National Park is one of the ten French national parks. It is located in the south-eastern part of France and consists in a mountainous region of the Dauphiné Alps, south of Grenoble and north of Gap, shared between the départements of Isère and Hautes-Alpes.

Megève Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Megève is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France with a population of more than 4,000 residents. The town is well known as a ski resort near Mont Blanc in the French Alps. Conceived in the 1920s as a French alternative to St. Moritz by the Rothschilds, it was the first purpose-built resort in the Alps. Originally it was a prime destination for the French aristocracy. It remains one of the most famous and fanciest ski resorts in the world.

Argentière ski resort

ArgentièreFrench pronunciation: ​[aʁʒɑ̃tjɛʁ] is a picturesque skiing, alpine walking and mountaineering village in the French Alps, part of the commune of Chamonix Mont Blanc, at an altitude of 1,252 m (4,108 ft).

Aiguille du Midi mountain

The Aiguille du Midi is a mountain in the Mont Blanc massif within the French Alps. It is a popular tourist destination and can be directly accessed by cable car from Chamonix that takes visitors close to Mont Blanc.

Combloux Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Combloux is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France, with a population of over 2000 residents. It is a mountain village in the French Alps and is popular as a ski resort. Combloux is located 4 km (2.5 mi) from Megève and 30 km (19 mi) from Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.

Les Contamines-Montjoie Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Les Contamines-Montjoie is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.

Mont Blanc massif Mountain range in the Alps

The Mont Blanc massif is a mountain range in the Alps, located mostly in France and Italy, but also straddling Switzerland at its northeastern end. It contains eleven major independent summits, each over 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) in height. It is named after Mont Blanc, the highest point in western Europe and the European Union. Because of its considerable overall altitude, a large proportion of the massif is covered by glaciers, which include the Mer de Glace and the Miage Glacier – the longest glaciers in France and Italy, respectively.

Maurienne former Savoy province

Maurienne is one of the provinces of Savoy, corresponding to the arrondissement of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in France. It is also the original name of the capital of the province, now Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

Col de lIseran mountain pass

Col de l'Iseran is a mountain pass in France, the highest paved pass in the Alps. A part of the Graian Alps, it is situated in the department of Savoie, near the border with Italy, and is crossed by the D902 roadway.

Les Sybelles ski area in France

Les Sybelles is a French linked ski area, located in the Savoie department in the Alps. It is one of the largest skiable domains in France. The resort was the home base of Jean-Pierre Vidal, winner of the gold medal in slalom at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Oisans valley

L'Oisans is a region in the French Alps, located in the départements of l'Isère and Hautes-Alpes, and corresponding to the drainage basin of the River Romanche and its tributaries. Between Livet-et-Gavet and Le Bourg-d'Oisans, the Romanche forms a deep gorge.

References

  1. Mont Blanc shrinks by 45cm in two years
  2. "frenchalps.co.uk - Your website dedicated to information on the French Alps". frenchalps.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  3. "French Alps Mountain Activities | frenchalps.co.uk". frenchalps.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-27.