Embrun - South of France

Embrun is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. It is located between Gap and Briançon and at the eastern end of one of the largest artificial lakes in Western Europe: the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. 

Located in a geographically transitional zone, formed by the valley of the Durance on one side, and surrounding areas rising to elevations near 3000m, Embrun (870m), has a climate among the driest and sunniest of the Alps. This is the reason why it is rightly nicknamed the "Nice of the Alps", due to its temperate climate. Embrun is also surrounded by mountains and unspoiled nature. The town is included in the peripheral zone of Ecrins National Park, with fully equipped ski stations such as Les Orres, Vars-Risoul, Reallon Crévoux. Embrun was the capital of the Alps during the Roman Empire, as an Ecclesiastical metropolis, it was the seat of a bishopric since the 4th century with Saint Marcellin, then Archbishop until the French Revolution. Later in the 17th century, it became a military town, fortified by Vauban.

We have travelled to this area many times, one reason is family another because this is just such a fantastic place. You can hike, bike, run, swim, high ropes course, river rafting, mountain biking, skiing (winter time) and so much more. We stayed at La Robéyère a very nice hotel only 10 minutes walk from the centre of Embrun.

Twice a week, Saturday and Wednesday, there is huge "farmers market" in the city. You get the best and freshest produce France has to offer at really good prices. If you are in the market for patches, clothes, hats or other stuff, you can of cause get that too. We would start every day with a cafe creme and a croissant from the local patisserie. And on market days, after loading up on dried ham, goat cheese, tomatoes, melons, baguette, and other delicacies, we would head for the mountains or find a lake, eat our picnic and simply enjoy life.

I love hiking, and the French Alpes was my first encounter with the sport. Back then we would carry everything with up, tent, food, sleeping bag, cloths etc. We would be up in the mountains for 3-4 days, enjoying the fresh air, nature, the views and the solitude. Now we do more 1 day hikes, up and down again in the same day. I would like to stay up there for longer, and I hope we will find time for that in the future. This time we cheated a little and took a lift up-up-up. Then we hiked down to a lake, where we had lunch and went for a swim, before we headed the rest of the way down.