Tandem Paragliding in Alpe d’Huez France

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.

Panoramic views of the French Alps in summer

Panoramic views across the valley below – Alpe d’Huez France

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. 

Selfie view while paragliding over green fields in Alpe d'Huez

Admiring the view Alpe d’Huez France – Photo taken by Alpe Sports Loisirs

Take off

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. 

Setting up the parachute on the grass covered hill

The pilot preparing the parachutes – Alpe d’Huez France

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.

Tip

  • Just remember when your pilot says run, you have to run!!!!!!!
Selfie with the pilot with parachute laid out on the ground

A selfie while we wait for take off – Alpe d’Huez France Photo By: Alpe Sports Loisirs

MidAir

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.

Selfie while paragliding over Alpe d'Huez

Strapped into my pilot Alpe d’Huez France Photo By: Alpe Sports Loisirs

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.

Tip

  • 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.
Foot picture while paragliding over the river

Alpe d’Huez France

Landing

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. 

Tip

  • This is why I think it is best to try and wear trainers, it makes it so much easier when you land. 
Flag at the landing area with mountains in the background

The Landing area – Alpe d’Huez France

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. 

Aerial view of the hairpin bends up the mountain

The 12 Pins and Alps – Alpe d’Huez France

If you want to do Solo paragliding

If flying tandem was not enough for you and you have decided that “going solo” is the next best thing. Then you should look into booking yourself onto a Beginners Paragliding Course and seeing if that is for you.

 

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If you are already an experienced paraglider pilot then you will love flying in Alpe d’Huez France. It is definitely possible that you do your own paragliding but best to seek advice from the local flying club members or from local pilots when you arrive. Also, carry your flying licence or membership card with you.

Tip

  • Ensure that your medical insurance covers you sufficiently for flying abroad, including 3rd party liability cover.
Paraglider gliding through the green valley

Alpe d’Huez France

Additional Information

  • 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
Harnessed up ready to run down the mountain

A selfie with my pilot, while we wait for takeoff – Alpe d’Huez France

Pricing

  • 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.
Foot picture while gliding over the hairpin bends and city in the valley

A foot selfie over the 21 hairpin bends of the Tour de France – Alpe d’Huez France

Top Tips

  • 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. 
Selfie while paragliding over snow covered village

Paragliding on Skis in La Clusaz – France

Would I recommend it

This is the 5th time that I have been Tandem Paragliding in 3 different countries (FranceSwitzerland 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.

Aerial view of the the city in the valley

Admiring the views from Tandem Paragliding  – Alpe d’Huez France

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.

Panoramic view from the take off area showing the Alps in the background

Waiting to take off for my flight Alpes d’Huez 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.

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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?

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Do you know that Alpe d’Huez France a part of the Tour De France cycling route?

Disclaimer: Even though I was invited by the Alpe d’Huez Tourism and France Montagnes  All views are my own and based on my own experience.

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24 Comments

  1. This looks really cool. I saw a Banff Film Festival entry once about paragliders launching in France and using thermals to climb to the top of the ski runs. Then they would paraglide and ski down the slopes. It was basically a self-supported helicopter skiing run. Ever since then, I dreamed of paragliding in the French Alps. This post really spoke to me.

    1. The good thing is that you can drive up in the summer and then catch chairlifts in the winter. No climbing required 🙂 I really enjoy Paragliding and I highly recommend it.

  2. I totally share your love of tandem paragliding and want to do it everywhere I go! You’re totally right in that taking off your first time is the hardest. My first time was in Zermatt, Switzerland from 10K feet and I asked my pilot if we would run off the mountain and go down first and then float up or what? He explained we would only go up and this put me at ease. Also a great tip you have is to try to go with a group (or at least one other person). My friend and I got great photos of each other. I wasn’t so smooth with the landing, but oh well, it was the best thing ever!

    1. I would love to do it in Zermatt and taking in the views of the Matterhorn that must have been amazing. I have done it on my skies before as well and the land was so much easier than without skis you just put your skies down and you glide across the snow crazy but fun.

  3. Oooooh! I never tried paragliding before…looks like an amazing experience! Although, I am a scared of heights (I couldn’t even do bungee jumping) I’m not sure if I can handle flying through the sky ;-P

    1. I could never do bungee jumping either that would scare the life out of me for sure. This is much easier and you glide you don’t have to do any jumping, I promise

  4. This sounds so amazing. While 130 Euro sounds a little bit steep for my current budget it went straight to my bucket list for when I live in Europe again and have a little more money to spare than 50 Euro per day. The pictures you took are also breathtaking.

  5. Oh my this scary but very beautiful. This is a ski resort in winter right? I wonder how it looks all covered in snow, must be pretty.

  6. Wow! Those views are breathtaking especially the hairpin bends. I have done paragliding only once until now and it was a long time ago. I somehow could not gather the courage to try it again. But these views have given me serious adventure goals. An Adventure of a lifetime indeed!

  7. Paragliding would be such a thrilling experience and one I think I could put my fear aside and do as the views would be so amazing. I do get motion sick, so I’d have to chat with the company to see what they recommend.

  8. This looks super-nice – and I would just die doing this. Not by myself, anyway, but probably not as a tandem either: I’m afraid of heights – whereby flying doesn’t bother me, and after all this is sort of flying, so…Anyway, thanx for sharing this exceptional experience that we probably never will have in common, and thanx for the fantastic views.

  9. I’ve never been paragliding but I would love to try it! This looks like a beautiful place to do it as well. I’m going to the Pyrenees later in the year, maybe they have paragliding there…

    1. I have been to the Pyrenees on both the French and Spanish side and it is such a stunning place. I do hope that you get to try it your self, it is an amazing experience

  10. Paragliding is such an exciting and spectacular sport. It gives wings to the oldest desire of Man to fly like a bird. The Alps provide the perfect setting for this sport. The thrill of taking off from the edge of a mountain and the serene landscapes that lie below makes this experience really breathtaking.

  11. Oh my God! Yes! This looks so adventurous and the views from that height are breathtaking. I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to try it but I’m so glad you tried it and enjoyed it 🙂

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