Best known as the host city of the 1992 Winter Olympics, the commune of Albertville is located in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France. The town of less than 20 000 residents is situated on the Arly River, close to where it intersects with the Isère River. Albertville is a medieval mountain town, surrounded by beautiful countryside with an altitude ranging from 1132 to 6683 feet.
It is a popular destination for mountain sportspeople alongside other nearby mountains including Dent de Cons, Négresse, Belle Etoile, Mirantin, Roche Pourrie, Journée, Pointe de la Grande and chaîne du Grand Arc. As well as snow sports like skiing and snowboarding, outdoor enthusiasts flock to Albertville to enjoy activities including mountaineering, hiking, mountain-biking and horse-riding.
The town is accessible by road along the D1212 from the north and from the N90 from the south which meets the D1212. The closest airport to Albertville is 40km away in Chambery. Geneva International Airport is around 66km away just over the Swiss border, with the drive to Albertville taking around an hour and half from there down the A31 via Chambery then onto the A430 and N90.
Conflans is the quaint medieval part of the town dating back to the 14th century, since which time Albertville has facilitated trade relations between France, Italy and Switzerland. Conflans sits on a hill overlooking the modern, industrial sections of Albertville. The area features old houses, massive walls, Gothic town gates and a church from the Baroque period.
The spectacular views of Albertville and its surrounds can be seen by taking a ride of the cable car, Col de la Tamie.
But medieval relics and stunning scenery aside, the main reason to go to Albertville is to enjoy the snow sports. There are several fantastic resorts and runs, some of the best include:
- Les Trois Vallees, the Three Valleys, comprising Courchevel, Méribel, Les Menuires, Val Thorens, is home to four of the best known ski resorts. From here, you have access to over 220 lifts on a single pass across a vast area. During the warmer months, the Three Valleys is popular with mountain bikers.
- For intermediates, the Flaine ski area in Haute Savoie is ideal.
- For families, visit the village of La Clusaz. The town itself is an quaint old style mountain village while the mountain has 130km of trails suitable for beginners and intermediates.
- The biggest of France’s ski resorts, La Plagne consists of 10 different purpose-built villages of apartments and some hotels. There are over 106 lifts available, with most runs suiting beginners and intermediates. La Plagne is a great place to learn how to ski as well. (photo:Markus Schweiss, Maksim)