Why you should try Tandem Paragliding in Alpe d’Huez France
If you are up for an Adventure of a lifetime then you can’t go past tandem Paragliding over the Alps in Alpe d’Huez France with Alpe Sports Loisirs. Imagine flying through the air like a bird and taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery that the alps have to offer.
As well as having one of the best aerial views of one of the most famous bike climbs in the world, 21 hairpin bends of the Tour de France.
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Paragliding is one of the most popular activities in the Alpes and is currently one of the fastest growing air sports in the world. It is also an activity that can be enjoyed in either Summer or Winter giving you two totally different experiences. And if the conditions are right, you can soar effortlessly through the air for hours without a care in the world.
For any first-timer tandem paragliding, you will be excited and scared at the same time while taking in the views of both the mountains on the horizon and panoramic views across the valley below. As it is tandem paragliding, your professional pilot will not only make sure that you are ok but will make you feel at ease during your flight, all the way to your landing point.
I had such a great experience and not only did I feel safe but my pilot instructor was very professional which put me at ease.
They say that the hardest part is taking off and I agree, especially if you have not done it before and let’s face it going off a mountain is not a natural thing for most. But you will be glad to know that you don’t run, jump and then your parachute opens. Instead, it is much more an nicer experience with your parachute opening up before you leave the mountain and you gently lift up.
Once you’ve reached the takeoff area on the Alpes d’Huez ski slope, your pilot will explain the process and what you need to do before takeoff. He will do all the safety checks, make sure the parachute cords are not tangled, straps you in and generally makes sure you feel relaxed before he straps himself in behind you.
Then you literally just wait until the wind is correct before you run forward and lift off, there you go. If you are wondering how they know about the correct wind direction, all takeoff areas have a special flag that is used to tell which way the wind is going and the turbulence.
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I found my take off in Alpe d’Huez France was one of the easiest I have done and I was super excited to get off the ground and see the 21 hairpin bends of the Tour de France cycle climb from above. It also may have helped that I had only tandem paraglided in Switzerland the week before and I knew what to expect when taking off.
- Just remember when your pilot says run, you have to run!!!!!!!
Once you are up in the air, your pilot will make sure that you are positioned correctly in the seat harness and that you are comfortable. You don’t have to worry as your pilot who is directly behind you strapped in, is in full control of the parachute.
It is hard to explain but the seat harness does make you feel very safe, which is exactly what it is meant to do. All you need to do is sit back and relax and take in the amazing experience of flying over the famous climb of the Tour de France and discover the magnificent panorama of the Oisans and the Ecrins park.
My favourite part was overlooking the valley below where Le Bourg d’Oisans was based, looking at the beautiful blue river that seemed to have gone on forever in through the alps. Also when the Eagle was flying underneath was a pretty special moment too because the glide said it was very rare for that to happen.
- As the passenger, you can choose how you want to fly, whether you just want to glide through the air, do a few tricks or fly the parachute yourself. It really is up to both you and the pilot to decide on what you are going to do midair.
The marked landing area is in the village below Le Bourg d’Oisans, near the town car-park and just before the start of the famous 21 hairpin bends of the Tour de France cycle climb. Don’t worry it is marked with an orange flag and ….. the area will not be missed by the pilot.
You don’ t have to worry as the field is very flat and the landing is pretty straightforward, less dramatic than taking off. All you may need to do is run a few steps when you land but it is usually pretty gentle and no real impact. It should be pretty gradual which is due to the manoeuvrability of the parachute by your pilot.
- This is why I think it is best to try and wear trainers, it makes it so much easier when you land.
Booking your Flight
To make sure that you get to experience your tandem paraglide and not be disappointed, it is best to at least book a couple of days in advance. This is because with tandem paragliding it all depended on the weather conditions, which can change at any time.
Having a couple of days notice means it will allow some leeway that if the tandem paraglide is cancelled due to weather, then it is most likely that you can reschedule the flight.
If you want to do Solo paragliding
- Ensure that your medical insurance covers you sufficiently for flying abroad, including 3rd party liability cover.
- The flight should take around 20-30 minutes, depending on various things like wind.
- You will be picked up and dropped off at your accommodation.
- Check to see if it is possible for a group of you to fly at the same time so you can take photos of each other in the air. This is what we did with our group.
- Tandem flights are possible to do any day of the year, depending on availablity.
- No particular level of fitness is required, just the ability to sit back and enjoy the view.
- For the more adventurous, ask about the ‘Sports’ flights, where you get a little more altitude by setting off higher.
- Beware it is subject to favourable weather and can be postponed in case of bad weather.
- 10% deduction for cancellation on Day 2 except for a medical certificate
- Tandem Flight and return transfer from €130 per person per person
- Option “aerobatics”: Additional 30 €
- Options “briefing and introduction to piloting”: 30 €
- Gift vouchers available
- You can check on the Alpe d’Huez site here for other prices and flights.
- It can get windy, so please make sure you wear appropriate shoes so they don’t fall off and a light jacket.
- Do you have air sickness? Mention it to your pilot who will make sure to offer you a smooth ride.
- I stayed at the VIP chalets during my time in Alpe d’Huez France
- Check with your pilot if it is ok to take your camera up, as some pilots are not always keen. Mine was strapped to the paraglider.
- If you are there in Winter and you a confident skier, why don’t you try tandem paragliding on your skis? I tried it this season in La Clusaz France and absolutely loved it.
Would I recommend it
This is the 5th time that I have been Tandem Paragliding in 3 different countries (France, Switzerland and Turkey)and every time it has been an absolutely amazing experience. It is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity for most and the best bit is that you can share it with a group of friends or family.
If you are worried that it is not going to be safe, just remember that it takes many hours of flying to qualify as a tandem pilot so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands. The only thing you are going to have to worry about is catching the bug, to keep doing it.
Discover more of French Alps and France
If you are interested in discovering more of French Alps or other destinations in France, feel free to read my following articles. All are great options for groups of friends or family, especially who love the outdoors.
- A Summer Guide French Alps – Morzine, France
- Best Things to do – Chambéry, France
- What to do in the Summer – Les Gets, France
- Top Interesting things to do– Nantes, France
Thank you for reading this article ‘Tandem Paragliding in Alpe d’Huez France’, I hope it helped you to decide where to try Paragliding for the first time. If anything the views from Alpe d’Huez are just stunning.
Have you been to Alpe d’Huez France in either summer or winter before? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below or if you know any other places to see while in the area?
Do you know that Alpe d’Huez France a part of the Tour De France cycling route?