Dreaming of wine-soaked getaways in a quaint small town? Then heading to France is an excellent idea. Known for robust cuisines, cozy villages, and wine regions as far as the eye can see, France is one of the most versatile and exciting places for planning chalet-inspired trips all season long – no skiing required. Not sure where to look? We’ve got five welcoming destinations to get you started. Don’t forget your books, sweaters, and fuzzy socks!
Looking to cozy up by the fireplace surrounded by crystalline bodies of water and towering snow-capped mountains? Then Annecy is the place for you. Known for colorful half-timbered houses, cobblestone roads, and warm shops stocked with local cheeses, wine, and other gastronomic delights, this small Alpine village is perfect for those looking to post up against a beautiful backdrop. Although known for its flower-laden streets in summer, the pastel colors of Annecy's Old Town sparkle against the frigid waters of the town’s eponymous lake in winter. Indulge in local raclette and fondue at the town’s canal-side restaurants, and don’t miss a visit at the city’s Château d’Annecy.
When it comes to planning a cozy French getaway, looking to small Alsatian villages is one of your best bets. Known for colorful houses, medieval streets, and riverside taverns laden with hearty foods, this German-influenced area of France is one of the warmest, soul-filling regions in the entire country. While Strasbourg and Colmar are also gorgeous options, Eguisheim offers a quieter, more off-the-beaten path destination. Dive into the local specialities of tarte flambées, choucroute garnie, and flammekueche (essentially Alsatian pizza), all paired with local Riesling, Crémant d’Alsace, or Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir). Fair warning – a quick Google image search of this city will likely have you booking flights in seconds.
Love Burgundian cuisine and rustic local wines? Then a trip to Auxerre is for you. Smaller than the regional cities of Dijon and Beaune, Auxerre offers a more homey experience in this world-renowned wine region, yet offers just as much gastronomic delight. Get lost in cobblestone streets of the Old Town, discover a variety of ancient cathedrals and churches, or take a stroll down the Yonne river for scenic views. Foodies, indulge in the delights of local gougères and boeuf bourgignon, all washed down with a glass of local wine from Irancy or Chablis. Wine lovers, this one’s for you.
Located in the heart of Haute-Savoie (and conveniently at the base of Mont Blanc), Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a no-brainer for ski lovers everywhere. Here, cable cars bring tourists to the breathtaking panoramic viewpoint of Aiguille du Midi year-round, as well as to the Pointe Helbronner, where visitors can gaze upon miles of stunning glaciers that nestle the Italian border. In addition to skiing, Chamonix is also known for its hiking, golf scene, rock climbing, and beyond – basically, if you can’t get enough of the good outdoors, this destination is for you. (However, cozy fireside lovers, fear not. The après-ski culture here is as strong as it gets.)
Similar to Chamonix, Megève offers a quaint, Alpine-inspired experience, though with a more under-the-radar feel. This beloved French ski resort village is located in the Mont Blanc Massif, and its small town center offers designer shops, cobblestone streets, and dozens of cozy chalets to choose from. Panoramic views at Mont d’Arbois promise to take your breath away, and a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants promise to satiate your stomach. Best of all, day trips to-and-from Chamonix are also readily available, making visiting both easier than ever.