Known as the ‘sporty’ city, the capital of the Hautes-Alpes department – Gap was awarded the Alpine town of the year in 2002. Nestled in a deep glacial valley with the mountain sides almost reaching 2000meters, this is home to over 40,000 residents which has the largest population in the county. The City is quiet and peaceful which enjoys the Mediterranean weather climate, with hot dry summers and cold Alpine winters which can see up to an average of 27.6m of snowfall each year. This lends itself to a family friendly ski and snowboard resort. The Ceuze Gap Ski Resort is small and user friendly, with its varied choice of ski runs it appeals to the beginner and intermediate skier alike. The picturesque chalet style houses in the city offer a welcoming atmosphere with quiet civilised nightlife.
Just a few Kilometers up the hill-side is the elegant Domaine de Charance, an 18th century castle surrounded by immaculately kept gardens and home to one of the finest old rose gardens in the world. Now the headquarters of the Écrins National Park the estate is open to the public so they can appreciate its beauty and romance. Steady strolls over the magnificent garden terraces are fed by small canals, waterfalls and fountains and the first yellow rose created in 1914 can be seen in this garden today.
On Saturday mornings Gap holds a weekly Market in the Jean Marcellin Square, they are relaxed and laid back yet bustling with activity, the stalls offer a great variety of Grapes, Wines, Ciders, Rum’s, Whiskey’s and much more. If you are looking for something a little special, a treat or even a gift for someone, you are sure to stumble across something here. There is always plenty of tasting sessions available where you can sample some of the finest cheeses or maybe if you are brave enough you can even try frog legs. The City is very family friendly with play parks and a theater to keep the little ones entertained all day long.
The City also supports a massive sporting and cycling network with copious amounts of cycle paths and cycle lanes alongside the road to keep you safe and help you enjoy your ride more. But it’s not just cycling they are passionate about here. They have some spectacular hiking and horse-riding adventures from one day outings to a several day expedition on the incredible mountains framing Gap itself, offering some of the most breath-taking views the Alps has to display. They have a big framework for a variety of sports from Cross-County Skiing and Mountain Biking to Ice- Hockey and Netball.
If you want to head 20km out of the city to the tranquil serenity of Lac de Serre-Ponçon then this is well worth it. The lake is absolutely stunning and is one of the largest artificial lakes in Western Europe.
The City has hosted the Tour de France and the Criterium de Dauphine on many occasions and will also host the Monte Carlo car Rally Stage on the 18-24th January 2015.
Its fair to say there is a lot going on in this city. Tuesday, July 21st – the Tour de France riders will have their 2nd rest day in Gap and is sure to attract many fans and exciting events.