The Alps – they’re not just for winter, they make for the most amazing summer playground too! A holiday in the French Alps in summer isn’t about taking advantage of the region’s off-season – it’s about taking advantage of the different world that’s revealed once the snow has melted…
The Alps are Europe’s longest mountain range, starting in the south of France and extending out to Vienna. For most of us the French Alps are all about snow, ski-ing and of course après-ski. But the Alps are far more than a winter ski destination – a summer visit makes for a memorable and fabulous break.
What could be better than fresh mountain air, the heavy scent of lush blossom and wild meadow flowers, blue skies reflected in calm lakes. The mountains help provide a natural barrier against clouds and rainfall – so that’s a glorious climate to go with the captivating views. What’s not to like?
8 reasons to take a holiday in the French Alps in the summer:
1. Spectacular locations
When the warm air rolls across the mountaintops and winter snow has melted, the entire Alpine region changes. The glare of white snow is replaced by green foliage, and by June the grass is thick and swathes of wildflowers begin to carpet the landscape. The scent of blossom fills the fresh air, you’ll be moved to just stand and stare at the intense and spellbinding beauty of a summer mountain in all its colourful glory…
2. The Weather
You’re missing out if you’ve never sunbathed at the top of a mountain. Summer in the mountains tends to be hot and sunny in the lower valleys, sheltered areas can be very warm indeed but it does get chilly at high altitudes. The driest, hottest months are July and August; September when temperatures are cooler makes for a perfect time to cycle.
3. Activities for all the family
One of the most popular activities is walking. Choose from flower-filled meadows that fill your senses with joy to serious mountain top, high-altitude ice-hikes that will get the adrenalin flowing for the most serious of mountaineers. You can be as energetic as you like – or not. A short walk with a picnic is perfect for some; a several hour hike is what others crave. Don’t feel like walking? Take a cable car or chairlift and just sit back and enjoy the views.
Whilst for some it’s two feet that appeals – for others its two wheels. Cycling in the French Alps will blow your mind. Try the Portes du Soleil region of France, where more than 300 miles of marked trails are accessible from the main centres of Morzine and Les Gets. As with walking, there’s plenty to suit all levels here from a gentle ride to some full on mountain biking
Or how about mountaineering, potholing, golf (many nursery slopes double up as golf courses during the summer) or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, paragliding. It’s a great opportunity to indulge in your favourite extreme sports or try them for the very first time!
4. Those lakes…
We can’t not mention watersports – there are dozens of beautiful, natural lakes reflecting the blue skies and sparkling in the sun. Canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, boating, scuba diving, swimming, even white water activities! Or you could just take a gentle, chartered boat ride for an Alpine view from a different angle. There’s not much that beats sitting around a lake and chilling in one of the amazing lakeside towns and villages such as Annecy, breath-takingly beautiful, unspoiled and vibrant.
5) It’s something different…
As most people associate the Alps with winter this is a chance to experience a different holiday from most. Summer in the mountains: swimming in clear blue lakes, trying new local cheeses, wines and gastronomy, sleeping like a baby after all that fresh air. Whether you want to chillax or try a new sport, you won’t need to mooch along like a sardine in an overfilled tin in the uncrowded French Alps in summer.
6) In fact, you can even ski if you want to
“Can you ski in France in the summer?” we’re constantly asked. Yes you can! But, we’re talking high up, early opening times, however at La Plagne, Les Deux Alpes and the Grande Motte glacier at Tignes, you’re almost certain to be able to ski even in the summer.
7) Its brilliant for families
The French Alps make for brilliant baby-friendly bolt holes. There is plenty to do for kids of all ages and chalets holidays in particular make this a real break for mums and dads too. Most chalets will supply necessary kit such as high chairs and cots. Resorts run activity clubs for kids and babysitting is easily available. There are plenty of adventure parks and pool parks too.
8) The price…
You’ll find that visiting the Alps during the warmer months is an incredibly cost-effective way to visit the region. Many luxury chalets will cut their rates dramatically when skiing isn’t on the agenda, so you may well end up with a proper summer holiday bargain as you enjoy one of Europe’s most summer destinations.