This section of the French Alps begins south-east of Grenoble and juts against the Italian border, taking in the major towns of Gap and Briançon. It's an area of friendly villages, 300 days of sunshine and some of the highest peaks in the Alps. What you won't find, however, are the large queues that can take some of the fun out of a ski holiday.
Among its 31 resorts, there is plenty to captivate skiers of all levels. One of France's biggest ski domains is at Serre Chevalier Vallée, where the great variety of the skiing satisfies mixed-ability groups.
And expert skiers will already be familiar with La Grave-La Meije, which offers some of the most challenging pistes in the whole of the Alps. But winter sports activities aren't limited to the slopes: you can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice climbing and the exhilarating sport of ski jöring, which involves being pulled on skis by a horse. If all that sounds too strenuous, then bask in the warmth of the thermal springs.
The département of Hautes-Alpes is within easy reach of three international airports: Grenoble, Marseille and Turin across the border in Italy. Shuttle buses, the navettes blanches, connect the airports with the resorts. Rail options involve taking the Eurostar to Paris and changing for trains to Briançon and Oulx in Italy.