French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) president David Lappartient attends a press conference to announce French Alps' bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. GETTY IMAGES

The visit is one of the anticipated steps for the French bid since it was selected by the IOC last November as the "preferred host" for the 2030 Olympics, while the American city of Salt Lake City was the only candidate for the 2034 Olympics.

From site mapping to logistical aspects, political and financial guarantees, popular support and environmental impact, the focus will be on a "detailed examination" of the project, which stretches from the Swiss border to the Mediterranean, Jacqueline Barrett, the IOC director in charge of future Olympic hosts, told the press on Monday.

If the two bids are deemed convincing enough, the "Commission for the Future Olympic Winter Games" will recommend them to the IOC Executive Board in mid-June, ahead of the official double award on 23 and 24 July in Paris, just before the 2024 Olympic Games, by the members of the Olympic body gathered for their 142nd session.

Jacqueline Barrett and Christophe Dubi, the IOC's Executive Director for the Olympic Games, left little doubt as to the outcome of the process, hailing "a wonderful project" and praising the beauty of the landscapes, the local experience in organising sport and the "political-administrative framework" left behind by the preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The future host commission will visit the four Olympic and Paralympic poles from north to south, starting with Haute-Savoie (cross-country skiing, biathlon), the important Savoie site (including alpine skiing and bobsleigh/luge), snowboarding and freestyle skiing in Briançon and ice sports in Nice.

However, the future venue for speed skating has yet to be decided - it could use infrastructure abroad or a dismountable hall, as will be the case for the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan - and transport plans need to be refined, always a tricky issue in such a vast geographical area characterised by mountainous constraints.