FROM PARACHUTE TO PARAGLIDE
The story began here. Between the lakes and the mountains. All the way back in 1978. At the time, members of the Annemasse Paraclub in the Haute-Savoie decided to use their parachutes to take off from a mountain and land in the valley. Paragliding was born. The adventure continued in Mieussy before expanding throughout the Savoie and Haute-Savoie areas in the 1990s. The Col de la Forclaz in Annecy, Chamonix, the Aravais Mountains in the Haute-Savoie, and Les Saisies, Bourg-Saint-Maurice, and la Combe de Savoie in Chamoux-sur-Gelon in the Haute-Savoie have become the top places to glide in France. And also on the international scene. What do all these sites have in common? Ideal geographical locations.
Located on the 45th parallel north, the aerology in the Savoie Mont Blanc is perfect.
SPRING, SUMMER, WINTER, OR FALL
Currently, the area has 72 sites (38 in the Savoie and 34 in the Haute-Savoie) and more than 500 instructors. The two French departements offer areas to glide and instructors to accompany you almost non-stop throughout the year. Although spring and summer remain the best seasons for first-time and longer glides, the fall and winter provide an approach centred on hiking and shorter flights
Paragliding is largely considered a recreational sport in the region, but it has become more competitive since the beginning of the new century. The area now regularly hosts stages for the long-distance World Cup, the World Championships—taking place at the Combe de Savoie in Chamoux-sur-Gelon in 2022—and several days of stages for the Bornes to Fly race between the Haute-Savoie and the Savoie, which combines paragliding and walking.
Paragliding, which can be done as young as six years old, seems to have reached a ripe age. Schools run the sites, train instructors, and provide support to anyone who wishes to discover the activity or train to participate.