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Gems of Paris by French Moments

Did you know? 74 is the two-digit number allocated to the French departement of Haute-Savoie. Famous for its ski resorts, mountain cheese and breathtaking landscape, the departement includes the pristine waters of Lake Annecy and Europe’s highest summit, Mont-Blanc.


The French departement of Haute-Savoie

Map of Savoie Haute-Savoie
Map of Savoie © French Moments

The departement of Haute-Savoie holds the number 74 in the alphabetical list of French départements, between 73 (Savoie) and 75 (Paris, formerly Seine). Its name is literally translated in English by Upper Savoy.

The departement is part of the historical province of Savoy. It shares with the south departement of Savoie the same history and culture.

Today it is part of a much larger region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (formerly Rhône-Alpes until the 1st January 2016).

A mountainous region

Glieres Plateau departement of Haute-Savoie
The Plateau des Glières in spring © French Moments

Most of Haute-Savoie is situated in the French Alps and borders Switzerland and Italy. The region extends from Lake Geneva to the north to the Bauges Mountains to the South, and from the Jura Mountains to the west to the Mont-Blanc massif to the east.

Haute-Savoie has the largest range of elevations of all the French departements. The lowest point is 250 m at the Rhône by Seyssel and the highest point is 4,810 m at Mont-Blanc (Western Europe’s highest mountain).

The departement includes two of the three great lakes of Savoie: Lake Geneva (shared with Switzerland, also known as Lac Léman in French) and Lake Annecy. The whole region is found within the watershed of the Rhône.

A fast-growing population

The population of the departement is of 783,000 people in 2014 (called Haut-Savoyards) compared to 494,505 in 1982. The population has been growing by 11,000 people each year since 2005.

The capital city is Annecy (pop. of 160,000) and other major towns include Annemasse (160,000), Cluses (84,000), Thonon-les-Bains (72,000), Sallanches (44,000) and Rumilly (15,000).

A departement with world-famous sites

Haute-Savoie has some of the world’s most renown ski resorts: Chamonix, Morzine-Avoriaz, Megève and La Clusaz to name a few.

Haute-Savoie is a very dynamic region and includes many touristic sites, some of world fame:

Annecy and its lake
Annecy French Moments French base Haute-Savoie
The old town of Annecy © French Moments
Chamonix and the Mont-Blanc massif
Salève mountain Mont-Blanc
Mont-Blanc see from Virage du Plan (1260 m) © French Moments
The French side of Lake Geneva (including Yvoire, Thonon and Évian)
Yvoire on the shores of Lake Geneva © French Moments
Yvoire on the shores of Lake Geneva © French Moments
The Aravis Mountain range
Col des Aravis © French Moments
The Cirque du Fer à Cheval
Cirque du Fer à cheval
Cirque du Fer à Cheval by Tangopaso (public domain)
The Chablais Mountains
Chablais Môle departement of Haute-Savoie
The mountains of Chablais in Haute-Savoie (seen from the Môle) © French Moments
The historic town of La Roche-sur-Foron
La Roche-sur-Foron © French Moments
The ruined castle of La Roche-sur-Foron © French Moments

Have you visited the departement of Haute-Savoie? Let us know where are your favourite sites by commenting below!

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Infographics Savoie Haute-Savoie


Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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  1. Il est très beau ce bonhomme de neige!
    Quel environnement magnifique. Il y a bien longtemps que je ne suis pas allée à la montagne. Trop longtemps.
    Ce chocolat chaud, était bon dis moi?

  2. I have planned 1 week in this region for early September 2019. Can you recommend a location/village to stay in as a base for experiencing life in the mountains and French village life. My wife and I are amature photographers and so are looking to record our stay in this part of France.

    1. Hi Lincoln, there are so many villages in the Savoie region to recommend! Here are a few ideas:
      – in the département of Haute-Savoie : Talloires-Montmin (Lake Annecy), Le Grand-Bornand, Cordon (with views of Mont Blanc), Samoëns, Châtel (near the Swiss border)
      – in the département of Savoie : Granier (Aime-la-Plagne), Bonneval-sur-Arc (Maurienne Valley), Pralognan-la-Vanoise, Hauteluce (Beaufortain).
      Hope that will help. Check these locations on Google Earth to have a better idea of the surroundings! Pierre

      1. Thanks Pierre.
        How do you think I will find the weather and access to this region at that time of the year? ie. early September. I will be driving from Geneva.

        1. Early September the weather should be fine – it will still be summer so it’s unlikely you’ll find snow in the mountain villages. Even though I have to say that sometimes the weather is unpredictable… 🙂

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