We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Summer Alps hiking near Lyon

2 posts
Save Topic
Summer Alps hiking near Lyon

Hi

We're looking for a good Alpine hiking destination within 3ish hours of Lyon for a week's holiday in mid-July. Ideally we'd like a town/village that:

- is in a national park with good maps and well-marked walking/hiking routes

- has lifts/cable cars running in the summer so we can do some hiking in the mountains

- has nice restaurants and a few things to do

- is NOT overly touristy (we don't mind the odd souvenir shop but not hundreds of them)

- is NOT too much of a party-town (again, we don't mind the odd bar/club but not a whole street of them)

Hope we're not asking too much!

Cheers,

Berwyn

Mentioned in this post
Lyon
Lyon
Rhone, France
5 replies to this topic
Marlow, United...
Level Contributor
5,173 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Summer Alps hiking near Lyon

Pralognan fits the bill IMO - 2.5 hours from Lyon, on the edge ( a few hundred metres of the Vanoise national park):

pralognan.com/organisez-votre-sejour/activit…

Mentioned in this post
Lyon
Lyon
Rhone, France
Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
1,828 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Summer Alps hiking near Lyon

Not touristy, no clubs but with cable cars is kind of an illogical request. Authentic villages usually do not have cable cars that ruin the landscape in summer. The only exception would be La Grave, with the cable car to the glaciers de la Meije. It would be my first choice, as the hiking in the area is splendid. There's the hike to Lac Noir and Plateau de l'Emparis in general, the hike to Glacier d'Arsine from Villar d'Arène via Pas d'Anna Falque, the hike the Lac du Goléon, hikes from Col du Galibier, there's the Alpine garden at Col du Lautaret, Briançon isn't far to visit etc...

Pralognan is a nice option too, I think it would be my third choice for your tastes. Plenty of hiking like Lac Blanc, col du Palet from Le Laisonnay, the Lacs Merlet, Col de la Vanoise and neighbouring lakes. Pralognan is a ski resort though, while La Grave is an authentic old historic village with a few ski shops added to it over the years.

My second choice would be Briançon itself. It's 3 h from Lyon, but it offers the largest choice for hiking. Briançon is a larger town, but the historic centre is amazing, plenty of restaurants, the forts to visit. Must hikes are the Vallée de la Clarée, with plenty of options (mainly lakes), there's the Col d'Izoard with its weird desert like feel, and great hiking too, there the Queyras mountains, with hikes from Saint Véran, Abries or Ristolas, there's the Vallouise with the must do hike to Glacier Blanc in Ecrins National Park... Very rich area. It's the furthest from Lyon though, and it's a larger town with supermarkets on the outskirts, but it still feels authentic. If you like shopping for local art and craft, try a different restaurant every day, it's your best option.

Don't fix yourself on national parks. Many areas of France aren't in national parks but rival what you can find in them. Vallée de la Clarée is a good example, so are the Queyras mountains or the Vercors. La Grave is in Ecrins National Park.

Edited: 14 May 2018, 18:31
Mentioned in this post
La Grave
La Grave
Hautes-Alpes, France
Lac d'Annecy
Lac d'Annecy
5,596 Reviews
Annecy, France
Hotel Noir
Hotel Noir
121 Reviews
Paris, France
Col du Galibier
Col du Galibier
238 Reviews
Valloire, France
Lac Blanc
Lac Blanc
392 Reviews
Chamonix, France
La Vanoise
La Vanoise
179 Reviews
Lanslebourg Mont Cenis, France
Lyon
Lyon
Rhone, France
Col d'Izoard
Col d'Izoard
134 Reviews
Cervieres, France
France
France
Europe
Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
1,828 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Summer Alps hiking near Lyon

It would also help if we knew your hiking background. Can you hike 6-7 h a day with 1000 m elevation gain ? Or are you more into half day hikes with no more than 800 m elevation gain ? Do you have fear of heights ? Are you more interested in glaciers, or peaks, or wildlife, or wildflowers or lakes ? Do you have any hiking experience ? All of this would help zeroing in on the type of hikes I should recommend you. The ones I've recommended aren't too difficult, only col du Palet may be too much in a day if you're not used to hiking.

2 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Summer Alps hiking near Lyon

Poolounger2 -

Thanks for the tip! I've had a quick look at Pralognan and it looks great! Will have a more detailed look later.

Nicolas B -

Thanks for the advice. I did worry 'ski lifts' and 'not touristy' was a big ask! La Grave looks like a good option and thank your for all the hiking routes. To answer your question, we are experienced hikers and have walked in the Alps before (just not this area). We are comfortable with long day hikes and climbing 1000m+. However, we're not climbers so anything that requires specialist climbing equipment is a no. In terms of a fear of heights, my partner will literally walk along anything whereas i tend to avoid any narrow ridges with big drops on both sides. For example, my partner has happily walked along the Crib Coch approach to Snowdon whereas i would avoid this - a Google Image Search will help if you're not familar with it. We're mainly interested in breathtaking views and interesting wildlife. Sorry for so much info!

Thanks both.

Berwyn

Mentioned in this post
Nicolas
Nicolas
110 Reviews
Paris, France
La Grave
La Grave
Hautes-Alpes, France
Grenoble, France
Level Contributor
1,828 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Summer Alps hiking near Lyon

OK for wildlife there are a few hotspots, for example a good spot for bouquetins (mountain goats) is the hike from Plan de la Tueda (after Méribel) to Glacier de Gébroulaz. Before the glacier, on the left of the track, there's a desolated rocky area, where bouquetins love to stay. As a general rule, bouquetins can be seen on rocky outcrops, mostly in the morning (they stay hidden in the hot afternoons). Chamois, another type of mountains goats, can be seen about anywhere above 1800 m, they're more shy, so early in the morning is the best time to surprise them. I saw them several times on the walk to Glacier d'Arsine, on the left of the track once you're on the main plateau. In Queyras, there's a lot of marmots and chamois on the walk to Pic du Château Renard, it's wildflower heaven as well.

Vultures have made a big comeback in the Alps. I can't remember seeing them in Vanoise (where Pralognan is) but I've seen some in Ecrins. Mostly I see them in Oisans, Devoluy, and Vercors. I even saw a bearded vulture once. Eagles are way harder to spot.

Usually in every walk you take, you'll see something. I once took a friend who'd never really been hiking in the Alps to walk where he saw almost everything : marmots, chamois and vultures. Sometimes you just see a squirrel. As a general rule, wake up very early to start walking at 8 am if you can, and you won't see anything in the forest, only once you're above the treeline.

For views, Ecrins and Queyras are tough to beat. Ecrins has some steep sections, and is known for sometimes scary sections, but not in the walks I've told you about. Also, don't neglect another advantage of Ecrins and Queyras : it is much sunnier than Vanoise, because of its sheltered geographical location. Briançon famously has 300 days of sunshine per year, and is the sunniest town in France. Vanoise is much greener, because of all the rain. So if you go for Vanoise, plan ahead for backup activities on rainy days, like visiting farms, museums, checking out waterfalls, that kind of thing.

Mentioned in this post
PIC
PIC
989 Reviews
Valence, France
France
France
Europe
Reply to: Summer Alps hiking near Lyon
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted