• French Alps, France
    Grandes Jorasses and nearby peaks, as seen from the Aiguille du Midi

French Alps

The Savoie region grows Europe's highest mountains and is the penthouse of the French Alps, with drop-dead spectacular scenery. More than just a pretty-peaked face, stubborn Savoie maintained its independence from France until 1860, when mountains became targets, rather than obstacles, for travelers. Today's Savoie is France's mountain-sports capital, showcasing 15,780-foot Mont Blanc as its centerpiece. Boasting wooden chalets overflowing with geraniums and cheese fondue in most restaurants, Savoie feels more Swiss than French.