Question about the Alps

We are planning a 4-5 week trip...during June and early July, doing much of Rick's Best of Europe for 21 days but adding some of our own extras. I feel very confident with the first 18 or so days in my research and planning. There are three of us and we will have a car after we leave Paris (our first destination). Basically we are planning a big loop which includes Paris to Normandy,then Bruges, Amsterdam, Rhine River Valley, Rothenburg, Salzburg area, (that is a basic route although I have planned it much more detailed and a few other things added than I just included)....then the Alps.... OK here is where I am stalled. We want to see the majesty of the Alps. We have been to almost all the US National Parks and prefer the natural aspects of the sights as opposed to the towns and shopping, and night life. The Alps are so much grander than the Rockies etc.. We want to experience that. I have watched the episodes about the French Alps around Chamonix and the Swiss Alps/ the Berner Oberland. I have gone back and read the various helpline posts that I can find on the subject. Knowing that we have time and a car, and that we will end up back in Paris, where do you suggest, and why. Please be specific. I appreciated some comparisons that I found in older posts to some US examples of which I was familiar. Include financial considerations too. We will be in the Alps in late June and have about three days which could be adjusted. Thank you.

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
499 posts

Cynthia, you didn't mention what time of year that you would be going; this may affect what some of us may suggest to you. Normally I would want to go to the Berner Oberland, not sure where you can leave your car safely. Therefore, I would suggest Chamonix/Mt. Blanc, but that may only be good for two days. Might suggest Chamonix for one day, take train to Martigny towards Montreux and then onto Berner Oberland. Ask your Hotel if you can leave car at their Hotel.

Posted by Bob
694 posts

Hi Cynthia. Big plus that you have a car. Both Berner O and Chamonix areas are great. Many people also like Garmish-P in Germany. If possible, have a plan a and b, and decide at last minute based on weather. Car access is easy at any of these. Switz is definitely more expensive. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

Last summer my family vacationed in the ski resort area of Avoriaz. It is about a 6 hour drive from Paris, and takes you through Beaune/Burgundy. While not the prestigousness of Mt. Blanc, it does offer many advantages. It is calm, beautiful, and for only 2€/person/day, you can purchase a multipass that gets you unlimited use of the ski lifts, indoor pool, sauna/whirlpool area, mini golf and discounts to things like the summer luge rides. The ski lifts were the big attraction for us. The TI sells (for like 2€) a little book with maps of different hikes around the area that use the ski lifts. We were able to do a hike + ski lifts that took us all the way into Switzerland. Another hike we did took us to a great view of Mt. Blanc. One even went to a farm where we had some delicious cheeses for much less than you can buy them in stores. There's a couple of little grocery stores, several restaurants, and an occassional evening activity, but the majesty of the mountains is the main attraction. We really, really enjoyed our time there.