When the winter snow melts and the sweet spring air rolls over the Annecy mountain tops, the French Alps undergo an astonishing transformation. White turns to green, carpets of wildflowers blossom and the lakes reflect the deep blue sky. Up in the mountains summer temperatures can be high and sunbathing is just one of the many activities on offer. If you like sports and adventure then you’ll love the French Alps when it’s not ski season. White water rafting, abseiling, mountain biking, swimming, mountaineering, golf, hiking and so much more make the French Alps one of the most fun places to go for active holidays.
Summer in Lake Annecy Mountain resorts
The fabulous French alpine resorts of La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand, Manigod and Saint Jean de Sixt perched on the majestic Aravis Range, have joined to become Lake Annecy Ski Resorts. Most people know them only for ski holidays but they also make for a stunning break in spring, summer and autumn.
You really need wheels to be able to get around and see the area fully here. Driving on the mountainous roads with sensational views is just the icing on the cake. Tiny villages with gorgeous restaurants, fabulous street markets, cycling and walking routes and the most sports activities I’ve ever come across in one area make this an amazing summer playground. And there are so many surprises here.
Faverges is a small town with a wonderful Wednesday morning street market, shops and restaurants. Despite its small size, Faverges has been put on the global gastronomic map by a local butchers shop, Boucherie Jargot et Fils. The shop is run by two brothers who, it is said, make the best speciality sausages known as pormoniers, in France. In the Haute-Savoie, pormoniers are a legend, every family will have their own recipe but it always contains spinach or cabbage or chard. The sausages are boiled and eaten with potatoes. It’s a hearty meal and very tasty.
If you’re in Faverges when the “Cabin Festival” takes place, July to November, you’re in for a treat. In a woodland and watery setting, architects and designers create cabins from natural materials that will make you smile. Find out more in the local area: www.sources-lac-annecy.com
Enter the grotto and fly down a giant zipline
The area around Faverges is pictuesque and colourful. There are wonderful places to walk and even a grotto hidden in a forest. Take a guided tour of the Grotte de Seythenex and wear sensible shoes for your trip. This natural hole in the ground has a steep descent. www.cascade-seythenex.fr
Enjoy the beautiful riverside walk and views over the steep ravine with its waterfall and if you’re feeling adventurous – take on the giant zipline! A visit here makes for a great day out twinned with a trip to nearby La Sambuy. This lovely area has gorgeous spring and summer meadows filled with wild flowers and alpine plants and you can follow a landscaped trail to see more than 100 species.
Thones is a picturesque area and home to Reblochon cheese makers. The piquant cows milk cheese that’s delicious and perfect for the mountain dish tartiflette. (Click here to read about my visit to a grandmother/granddaughter cheese making outfit).
Head to the nearby Montremont fish farm where there’s a restaurant that specialises in trout dishes. Looking like something out of the land of the hobbits, in summer the garden twinkles under tiny lights. It’s incredibly pretty and very laid back. www.pisciculture-montremont.com
If you thought the French Alps were just for winter – think again. Head to Annecy and the resorts of the surrounding mountains to discover a wealth of activities, attractions and outstanding natural beauty.
More on the Annecy Mountain resorts
7 photos of Annecy that will make you want to go there straight away!
The divine Hotel Abbey of Talloires
Le Grand Bornand – stunningly pretty and perfect for those who love great food, activities and a friendly town in the mountains