Gap is a beautiful city located in the Hautes-Alpes department of southeastern France. Known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, Gap offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Gap, France:
1. Gap Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Arnoux)
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Start your exploration of Gap with a visit to the impressive Gap Cathedral. This magnificent Gothic-style cathedral dates back to the 19th century and features intricate stained glass windows, a grand organ, and a beautiful interior. Take a moment to admire the architecture and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.
2. Charance Domain
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Just a short drive from the city center, you’ll find the Charance Domain, a picturesque natural area that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Explore the expansive gardens, stroll along the hiking trails, or have a picnic amidst the serene surroundings. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Château de Charance, an elegant 18th-century castle located within the domain.
3. Museum of Gap (Musée Muséum départemental des Hautes-Alpes)
History enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Museum of Gap, which showcases the rich cultural heritage of the region. The museum features a diverse collection of artifacts, including archaeological finds, traditional crafts, and art exhibitions. Learn about the history and traditions of the Hautes-Alpes department through engaging displays and informative exhibits.
4. Gap Old Town (Vieux Gap)
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Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Gap’s Old Town, where you’ll discover narrow alleyways, colorful buildings, and quaint shops. Admire the well-preserved medieval architecture, stop by local cafes for a cup of coffee, and browse through boutique stores offering regional products and handicrafts. Don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Fontaine de la Paix, a beautiful fountain located in the heart of the Old Town.
5. Serre-Ponçon Lake
For outdoor enthusiasts, a visit to Serre-Ponçon Lake is a must. Located just a short distance from Gap, this artificial lake offers a wealth of recreational activities. Spend a day swimming, sunbathing, or picnicking on the lake’s sandy beaches, or try your hand at water sports like sailing, windsurfing, or paddleboarding. The surrounding mountains provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and nature walks.
6. Skiing in Gap Bayard
During the winter months, Gap Bayard becomes a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. Just a short drive from the city, this ski resort offers a variety of slopes suitable for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the thrill of winter sports surrounded by breathtaking alpine scenery.
7. Cultural Events and Festivals
Gap hosts several cultural events and festivals throughout the year, providing visitors with a chance to experience the local traditions and lively atmosphere. The Tour de France often passes through Gap, attracting cycling enthusiasts from around the world. Additionally, the city organizes music festivals, art exhibitions, and theater performances, showcasing the vibrant cultural scene of the region.
8. Gap-Bayard Golf Course
Golf enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the Gap-Bayard Golf Course, nestled in the scenic surroundings of the Bayard Plateau. This 18-hole golf course offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all levels. With panoramic views of the mountains and pristine fairways, golfers can indulge in their favorite sport while immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the region.
9. Gap Market
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Gap Market, held every Wednesday and Saturday in the city center. This bustling market is a treasure trove of local produce, artisanal goods, and regional specialties. Stroll through the stalls, sample delicious cheeses, olives, and pastries, and interact with the friendly vendors. It’s a perfect opportunity to experience the authentic flavors and culinary delights of the Hautes-Alpes region.
10. Ecrins National Park
Embark on an unforgettable adventure by visiting the nearby Ecrins National Park, one of the most stunning natural parks in France. Just a short drive from Gap, this expansive park is a paradise for nature lovers. Hike through breathtaking mountain trails, marvel at crystal-clear lakes, and witness the diverse wildlife that calls this park home. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply seeking tranquility in nature, Ecrins National Park is a must-visit destination.
Take a day trip from Gap to the charming village of Chorges, located on the shores of Serre-Ponçon Lake. Explore the narrow streets lined with traditional houses, visit the 12th-century Saint-Victor Church, and enjoy panoramic views of the lake from the village’s elevated position. Chorges also offers opportunities for water activities, such as sailing and kayaking, allowing you to make the most of the beautiful surroundings.
12. Local Cuisine
Indulge in the delicious local cuisine of Gap, which showcases the flavors and traditions of the Hautes-Alpes region. Treat yourself to hearty mountain specialties such as tourtons (fried pastries filled with cheese and potatoes), ravioles du Champsaur (small pasta pockets filled with cheese), and tarte des Alpes (a traditional Alpine tart). Pair your meal with a glass of locally produced wine or try génépi, a traditional herbal liqueur that is popular in the region.
13. La Passerelle
Visit La Passerelle, a cultural center located in the heart of Gap. This modern venue hosts a variety of artistic performances, including concerts, theater productions, dance shows, and exhibitions. Check the schedule and catch a captivating performance that showcases the local talent and contributes to the vibrant cultural scene of the city.
14. Gapen’Cîmes Adventure Park
If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, head to Gapen’Cîmes Adventure Park, located in the forest near Gap. This adventure park offers various thrilling activities such as zip-lining, tree climbing, and rope courses suitable for all ages and skill levels. Challenge yourself and enjoy an exhilarating day surrounded by nature.
15. Regional Wine Tasting
The Hautes-Alpes region is known for its excellent wines, and Gap provides opportunities to explore and taste the local vintages. Visit wine cellars and vineyards in the surrounding areas to sample wines made from grape varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Engage with winemakers, learn about the winemaking process, and savor the distinct flavors of the region.
16. Gapen’Cimes Music Festival
If you happen to visit Gap in the summer months, don’t miss the Gapen’Cimes Music Festival. This annual event brings together a diverse range of music genres and artists, filling the city with enchanting melodies. From classical performances to jazz, rock, and world music, the festival offers something for every musical taste. Enjoy open-air concerts in scenic locations, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, and experience the magic of music under the starry skies of Gap.
17. Via Ferrata
For thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts, Gap offers the opportunity to experience via ferrata—an exciting activity that combines hiking, climbing, and breathtaking views. Climb along steel cables and ladders attached to the rock face while being safely secured with a harness. The Via Ferrata of La Bastille, located near Gap, offers various routes suitable for different skill levels, allowing you to challenge yourself and admire the stunning landscapes from new heights.
18. Montmaur Castle
A short distance from Gap, you’ll find Montmaur Castle, a majestic fortress perched atop a hill. This well-preserved medieval castle dates back to the 13th century and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the castle’s towers, ramparts, and interior rooms, and learn about its fascinating history through informative exhibits. Montmaur Castle also hosts cultural events and exhibitions, adding to its allure as a historical and cultural attraction.
19. Les Baronnies Provençales Natural Park
Extend your exploration beyond Gap and venture into Les Baronnies Provençales Natural Park, located to the south of the city. This protected area is renowned for its rugged landscapes, picturesque villages, and aromatic lavender fields. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Provençal countryside as you hike or cycle along scenic trails, discover charming villages like Nyons and Buis-les-Baronnies, and indulge in the flavors of the region, including olives, honey, and aromatic herbs.
20. Pic de Bure Observatory
If you have a fascination for astronomy and space, a visit to the Pic de Bure Observatory is a must. Situated at an altitude of 2,550 meters (8,366 feet), the observatory offers a unique opportunity to explore the mysteries of the universe. Take guided tours, visit the exhibition center, and learn about the research conducted at this state-of-the-art facility. On clear nights, stargazing events are organized, providing a chance to observe the celestial wonders with professional telescopes.
21. Gap Fashion Week
For fashion enthusiasts, Gap hosts its very own Fashion Week, showcasing the latest trends, designs, and creations by both established and emerging designers. Experience the glamour and creativity of the fashion industry as you attend runway shows, exhibitions, and workshops. From haute couture to streetwear, Gap Fashion Week celebrates the artistry and innovation of fashion in this picturesque setting.
Places and Things To Do