The mountainous Savoie extends from Lake Geneva's southern shores to western Europe's highest peak, mighty Mont Blanc (4810m).

Savoie has been a magnet for health-conscious, well-heeled jet-setters since an 18th-century thermal spa boom in still-chic towns like Aix-les-Bains and Évian-les-Bains. Today, winter sports are Savoie's raison d'être. Snowheads travel far and wide for resorts that are among the largest and most snow-sure in Europe. The crème de la crème are Les Trois Vallées, Chamonix and Val d’Isère, which glitter with premium accommodation and restaurants. Slightly easier on the wallet and still accessing wondrous snow are Les Portes du Soleil and St-Gervais. Come summer, mountain bikers and hikers venture to the rugged, cave-speckled regional parks of Chartreuse, Vanoise and Bauges.

Almost as pleasing is Savoie's traditional cuisine, a farmhouse menu of melted cheese, saucisson sec (dried sausage) and herbal liqueurs – burned off rapidly by mountain adventures (we hope).

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