The French departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie in the Rhône-Alpes region were established in 1860 as a result of the Treaty of Turin, which officially united the Duchy of Savoie with France. A large proportion of the area consists of mountains and mountain ranges (the Massif des Bauges, the Massif de la Chartreuse and the Massif de la Vanoise, etc.), the most famous of which is Mont Blanc, whose 4800 metre high peak is the highest in Western Europe. Due to its relief, the “Pays de Savoie” region places great emphasis on winter sports, which are well catered for in its 50 resorts, including the most famous ones in France, such as Val d’Isère, Tignes and Les Arcs, etc.
However, in terms of natural resources there is much more to Savoie/Haute-Savoie than just its mountains. There are also many waterways and magnificent lakes, such as Lake Geneva, Lake Annecy, Lake Bourget and Lake Aiguebelette. These low-altitude lakes, which have an average temperature of 24°C in the summer, offer a wide range of water-based activities, such as fishing, swimming and canoeing/kayaking, etc.There are many parks and nature reserves, including the Vanoise National Park which is the oldest of France's seven national parks, helping to protect and enhance these beautiful landscapes. Here, you will discover an abundance of flora and fauna (Alpine marmots, chamois and ibexes, squirrels, buzzards and storks, etc.), thanks, in part, to the reintroduction of many species. By trying out the many hiking routes around lakes and mountain ranges and across nature reserves, you will be able to admire this fabulous heritage.
As well as their rich and unique history and geography, the Savoie/Haute Savoie region boast an equally remarkable cultural heritage, which is evident in the churches, abbeys, chateaux, towns, villages and museums (over 80 of them), etc. These places are enlivened, particularly in the summertime, by numerous arts and cultural festivities such as festivals, concerts, theatrical plays, exhibitions and fireworks, etc, which are often an opportunity for people to immerse themselves in the region’s culture by discovering local specialities which reflect its traditional yet sophisticated character. If we had to limit ourselves to mentioning just two Pays de Savoie specialities, it would have to be the local cheeses and wines, as you can’t sample one without the other! The best mountain cheeses are prepared on the Alpine pastures (Reblochon, Beaufort, Emmental and Tomme, etc.), whereas most of the AOC white wines come from the vineyards at a lower altitude. These two local specialities come together as one in the winter when locals and visitors spend cosy evenings tucking into fondues or tartiflettes [creamy potato, cheese and meat hot dish], etc.
In winter and summer alike, the Savoie/Haute-Savoie region is an enchanting destination which combines beautiful landscapes and abundant sporting/cultural activities with high-quality accommodation. We have a selection of charming and prestigious seasonal rental properties in Savoie and Haute Savoie. A broad selection of ideally located holiday chalets, villas and houses makes it easy to scratch beneath the surface of this magical region.
Our suggestions … what to see/do in Savoie/Haute-Savoie
Travel the length and breadth of the historical route of the Dukes of Savoie: 12 stages mark out the history of one of Europe’s most ancient dynasties. There are so many towns, chateaux and abbeys to discover if you want to follow in the footsteps of the House of Savoie.
Go and discover Vanoise National Park and its emblematic ibexes.
Visit Annecy, a city of art and history.
Enjoy spa towns like Evian-les-Bains and Aix-les-Bains.
Try out the via ferratas, mountain routes equipped with (fixed) cables, rungs and bridges. You will be able to experience all the sensations of mountain climbing in complete safety.
See our holiday rentals in this area