The French Alps

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  • Topic: France, Alps, Chamonix
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  • Published : November 23, 2010
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THE FRENCH ALPS

The French alps are a majestic mountain range which lies mostly in France. It carries with it a very diverse mix of cultures, languages, geography and people. It is one of the greatest mountain ranges in all of the world. It is sought after by countless locals and tourists both winter and summer for sport as well as leisure. Some of the biggest towns in the alps are Chamonix, Grenable and Chambery. Mount Blanc is the highest point in the French alps, it is also the third most visited natural sight in the world.

The Rhone-Alps region is the meeting point of northern and southern Europe, bordering on Switzerland and Italy. This region contains a wide variety of sites and a wealth of historical, geographical, cultural and economic treasures. The Rhone-Alps region includes the Ain, Ardeche, Drome, Isere, Loire, Rhone, Savoie and Haute-Savoie departments. The capital of the RHONE-ALPS region is the gallo-romane city of Lyon. The mountains including Mont-Blanc (4807 meters), natural parks, rivers and mountains rivers, and famous vineyards.

The caves in the Appanzel alps show traces of neanderthal habitation. During the last ice age all of the alps were covered in ice so they preserved many artifacts from 15,000 years ago. On the Italian side of the alps there are many artifacts such as carvings and art left from the bronze age. There are also accounts from the Romans and Greeks on the alps. in 218BC the Carthaginian general Hannibal was the first to successfully cross the alps with his army of 38,000 infentraty, 8,000 calvary and 37 war elephants. This is still one of the most celebrated war achievements of ancient warfare.

The alpine region of the French alps was settled by Germanic tribes from the 6th to the 13th centuries. Many people in the Carolingian empire lived in the alps so the settlements did not swindle until the fall of the empire in the 11th century. The Frankish and the Habsburg empires in the Alps were strategically placed to keep invaders out of France, these are known as the alpine pass towns and were very important to the military of France.

The western alps went through a huge power struggle between the lords of Savoy and Dauphine. In 1349 France took over Dauphine. The power struggle was now between Savory and France, France pushed Svorie back bit by bit untill it was all the way into Italy. The region of Nice was a sought after place that was fought for by both sides and France managed to keep a hold of it.

The central alps had it’s share of power struggles also. From 1291-1516 the Swiss Confederacy fought to gain controll of these lands from France. The Swiss ended up gaining much of this land and still holding it today.

The eastern alps have a long political history which goes back to the house of Habsburg fron 1415. This was a huge castle fortress in the mountians. The Swiss tried to take it but were mostly unsecusful. Habsburg also won part of Austria and had to fend off invaders from 1282-1803. In 1803 the house of Savoy took some of this land, mainly the southern part of the alps slopes. This meant Italy had gained more of Frances precious land in the alps. This was good for them because this was critical hunting land to survive in the cold winters.

Chamonix is on the northwest side of the French Alps. it has 10,000 residents in it’s town. It shares a boarder with Italy and Switerzland. Mount Blanc belongs to this mountain. All of the water supply in the swiss city Geneva comes from Mount Blanc. Chamonix is the mecca of winter sports enthusiasts. People come from all over the world to ski, ice climb, rock climb, paraglide, raft, canoe, mountain bike and to do anything else you can imagine. It is also home to the largest cable car in the world, Algullle de midi that was built in 1955 and goes up 12,605 feet high. There are thousands of miles in the summer for mountain bikers and for skiers in the winter.

Chamonix was founded in 1741 When two English...
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