For people who want to do more with their summer holidays than simply lie on a beach, the French Alps are a brilliant option. There’s plenty to keep you occupied, resorts are uncrowded, the scenery is stunning and accommodation is a fraction of the price compared to the peak winter season.
My family are huge mountain lovers so tend to visit the Alps both summer, and winter and this summer decided to try out the region. Known for mountain biking in the summer, there are 12 linked resorts with 24 chair lifts and cable cars with trails for all levels, including an 80km circuit on the French/Swiss border. So you can either get a lift up and do most of your cycling downhill or, as I prefer, hire an electric mountain biking so you can also ascend with ease.
There are also plenty of high-adrenalin activities for the more adventurous including via ferrata, white water rafting and paragliding.
While mountain biking is very much the centre of things in these resorts in the summer, there are masses of other things to do too. For those who prefer a more sedate type of cycling, was the first ski resort to offer town bikes which can be hired direct from the rack (like Boris Bikes in London or Velib’ in Paris) – we cycled up to Mont Caly where there is a pretty café and stunning panoramic views. There ware well-marked hiking trails (again, you can choose to only walk downhill if you are feeling lazier) and swimming lakes, pools, tennis courts, mini golf a summer luge and plenty more. Many activities (including the lifts) are covered by the brilliant which can be bought for a couple of euros a day.
All the resorts run special events throughout the summer season – during our visit the free “Morzine Plage” was on which included a giant sandpit. “crazy ping pong” and Total Wipeout style games for the kids. Les Gets summer events include a lounge music festival and a huge summer concert.
The lakes at both resorts a well worth a visit. As well as plenty of grassy areas for sunbathing, Les Gets’ Lac des Ecoles has a new inflatable assault course on part of the lake which is great fun but you need to get there early to book a place – it is very popular. Just outside Lac Montriond has stunning views and is a lovely place to swim.
We stayed with – starting in in Les Gets. The lodge is outside of town (you’ll probably want a car) in a peaceful location with a couple of restaurants nearby. Tame horses wander around what would be pistes in winter and mountain bikers can get a chairlift home from town. Several rooms have private hot tubs (plus there’s a communal one) and there’s also a sauna. It’s very much a British home form home with UK TV in the bedrooms, baked beans and real tea bags at breakfast,and an impressive set three course meal every night.
The second half of our stay was in the which is an ultra-comfortable self-catering apartment for four in enviable location right on Morzine’s high street, again with access to a hot tub and sauna, UK TV and a properly equipped kitchen. Best of all, it is cleaned every day by one of VIPs army of unfailingly cheery and polite staff.
The mountains might not seem the most obvious choice for summer but they have a great deal to offer – we will certainly be back next year.
Details – Self-catering in the Valdez suite, Morzine costs from £50 pp per night and half board in Altitude Lodge from £75 pp per night, minimum of three night stay in each.