Extreme Sports: Exhilaration in the Great Outdoors

  • Ice climbing in France

    © Patrick Poendl/Shutterstock

    Ice climbing in France

    © Patrick Poendl/Shutterstock

Extreme Sports: Exhilaration in the Great Outdoors

Despite its relatively compact size, France boasts a huge range of extraordinarily diverse landscapes offering a huge choice of fun and often unique sporting activities!

SUMMER activities – from hang gliding to via ferrata

Former women’s paragliding champion Sandie Cochepain offers high-altitude paragliding sessions on the grandiose slopes of Mont Blanc

  • Paragliding and mountaineering, with Zeb Roche and Claire Bernier. Zeb is a mountain guide and son of a famous guide who claimed many mountaineering “firsts” in the Himalayas. Zeb was also the youngest paraglider (at the age of 17) to take off from the summit of Everest in a two-seater paraglider with his father.



In the mountains this is known as a “zip wire”, an activity in which you are secured into a full body harness connected to a pulley that slides along a cable 15-150m above the ground for over a kilometre, reaching speeds of up to 100km/hr. Enjoy this “hair-raising” attraction in the Vosges, the Ardennes and the Alps of the Haute-Savoie (Châtel).

A French invention dating back to the 18C, the hot-air balloon offers a wonderful opportunity to fly slowly and silently above grandiose landscapes all round the world. However, a high-altitude flight above the Mont Blanc range, at altitudes above 4,000m, will provide an even greater sense of excitement and emotion.

Aerial views of the magnificent castles of the Loire provide a unique and spectacular insight into these listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


WINTER activities – from ice-fall climbing to ice diving and speed riding

  • Ice diving beneath frozen mountain lakes

- Dive Extreme, in Chamrousse (near Grenoble)
- Tignes Plongée, at the Espace Killy 
- Oser, in Orcières 1850

  • Speedriding: a cross between freeride skiing and paragliding

  Speedriding involves a combination of skiing down steep slopes and taking to the air at full speed for a few dozen metres at a time. Learn all about this spectacular new sport on a course with a qualified instructor.
- Speedriding-School, in Les Arcs
- Information on speed riding schools (in French): hang gliding and paragliding federation .