Where can you paraglide in winter in France?
You might think that paragliding can only be enjoyed when the air is warm, but it's perfectly possible to enjoy it in winter! But where can you go paragliding in winter in France and enjoy an experience that will make you forget the cold while taking in some exceptional scenery?
Not only on foot, but also on skis or snowboard, winter paragliding offers different ways of taking off to discover sublime landscapes. Comfortably seated at the front of the harness, in front of the instructor accompanying you in tandem and steering the wing, you'll enjoy the activity exactly as you would at any other time of year! The only differences will be the colours of the landscape before your eyes, the temperature of the air, and perhaps your skis or snowboard at your feet for an original take-off and landing: for this reason alone, paragliding in winter in France is an experience not to be missed, even if you've already paraglided in spring, summer or autumn!
And if you want to experience this exceptional aerial adventure, here's a top 10 list of the best winter paragliding spots in France to help you choose your next flying site.
1 - Facing the Mont Blanc massif
Famous the world over, Mont Blanc offers breathtaking panoramas all year round. But being able to see it from the air, especially when its surrounding landscapes are covered in snow in winter, is an impressive experience! You can either take your winter paragliding flight from Chamonix, with different take-off points such as Planpraz, the Aiguille du Midi or the Col de l'Index; or you can take your winter paragliding flight from Megève, with even the possibility of taking off at sunset depending on the day's weather conditions! There's something magical about soaring over the majestic Mont-Blanc, which makes the ski resorts at its foot some of the best sites for winter paragliding in France.
2 - Around the Vanoise massif
The Vanoise massif, a high mountain range in Savoie with peaks approaching 4,000 metres, is the perfect mountain setting for winter paragliding in France. The ski resorts of the Paradiski, Les Trois Vallées and Espace Killy areas have incredible take-off sites for getting up close and personal with the relief of the massif: the Col de la Loze or the summit of the Saulire if you want to paraglide this winter in Courchevel or Méribel the way you want (on foot, skis or snowboard); the Col de la Lovatière if you're up for paragliding on skis in La Plagne; the summit of La Tovière if you're up for paragliding on skis or snowboard in Tignes; and so on. There's something for everyone!
3 - Resorts with views of the Aravis mountain range
Still in the Alpine ski resorts, La Clusaz and Le Grand-Bornand, as well as the Portes du Soleil a little further afield on the French side, are among the best sites for winter paragliding in France. At the foot of the Aravis massif in Haute-Savoie, winter paragliding in La Clusaz and Le Grand-Bornand offers impressive views of the snow-covered massif, either on foot or on skis, while a winter paragliding flight in Les Gets, in the Portes du Soleil, offers not only breathtaking panoramas of the Aravis chain, but also of the Mont-Blanc massif. All you have to do is choose whether you'd prefer to feel very small right next to the imposing Alpine peaks, or admire them from further away!
4 - Above the most beautiful lakes in the Rhône-Alpes region
Apart from Lake Annecy, where paragliding is not possible in winter, you can enjoy the beauty of 2 other major lakes in the region at this time of year: Lac du Bourget near Chambéry and Lake Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. Whether it's for a discovery, acrobatic or long flight, paragliding over Lac du Bourget can be done all year round from Chindrieux, but only on foot. You can enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake in winter, as well as the surrounding towns and hills. On the other hand, as Lake Geneva is in the Alps and surrounded by ski resorts, a more lively atmosphere will be added to your winter paragliding flight from Thollon-les-Mémises!
5 - On the Dune du Pilat
Who said that winter paragliding in France could only be done in the mountains? Leave the skis and snow behind and head to the Atlantic coast for a winter paragliding experience at the Dune du Pilat! You'll discover Europe's highest dune in a completely different light, with far fewer tourists than in summer, giving you even more time to enjoy the area and the panoramic views that await you over the entrance to the Arcachon Basin, the Banc d'Arguin, the Cap Ferret peninsula and the Dune du Pilat itself. The only effort you'll need to make is the climb to the top of the dune before you can take off!
6 - In the Chartreuse massif, near Grenoble
The Chartreuse massif, which straddles the border between Isère and Savoie, is a great place to discover paragliding all year round, even in winter. From Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet and other take-off points all along the massif between Grenoble and Chambéry, you can take to the skies at altitudes of between 800 and 2,200 metres to admire limestone cliffs, forests and, for the luckiest of you, wild animals such as chamois and local birds. Winter paragliding at Saint-Hilaire-du-Touvet is accessible to all, with different types of flight available to suit your desires, making it the perfect experience for a first flight!
7 - In the heart of the Ecrins massif
The Ecrins massif, a vast national park with numerous glaciers and high mountain peaks, richly deserves its place in this top 10 list of the best winter paragliding spots in France! Whether you're on foot, skis or snowboard, a winter paragliding flight in Serre-Chevalier is bound to amaze you with its panoramic views of the Barre des Ecrins and the other high peaks of the national park. You can take to the skies from the summit of Le Prorel, or from other carefully selected high altitude take-off points depending on the day's weather.
8 - The Grandes Rousses massif
Just a stone's throw from Grenoble, the Grandes Rousses massif is another great place in the French Alps to go paragliding in winter. Even if you're a beginner skier, you can take part in a paragliding flight on skis at l'Alpe d'Huez from an altitude of 2,108 metres, a flight with a 1,400-metre vertical drop during which you can even try your hand at paragliding! You'll be facing the legendary Alpe d'Huez climb in the Tour de France, as well as the surrounding peaks such as Le Rissiou, Le Taillefer and the Deux Alpes glacier.
9 - In the Hautes-Pyrénées
The second largest mountain range in the country, the Pyrenees are also an unmissable playground for winter paragliding in France. At the foot of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, at an altitude of 2,876 metres, you can go paragliding on foot from Campan, near Bagnères-de-Bigorre, or go paragliding on skis from the Col du Tourmalet, between Barèges and La Mongie.
10 - Within the Grands Causses Regional Nature Park
In the south of the Massif Central, less than 2 hours' drive from Montpellier, enjoy a paragliding flight in winter in Millau! With breathtaking views of the town itself, the river Tarn and the famous Millau Viaduct, this year-round aerial experience will stay with you for a long time, even if there's no snow.
As you can see, paragliding in winter can be practised in many different places in France, even outside the mountains! What's more, it's one of the best activities to do when there's no snow in the French Alps, both for its accessibility and for the breathtaking panoramas it offers of the surrounding area. And if you're still hesitating because you've never flown a paraglider before, don't hesitate to take a look at our complete guide to tandem paragliding, which will answer all your questions about this aerial sport!