Why not avoid the crowded seaside and scorching heat this year? Instead, “go green” this summer and enjoy fresh air and cool, calm nights in Méribel! The French alps in summer are the perfect rejuvenation cure, alternating adrenaline thrills with time to devote to your wellbeing. Alpine holidays take you far from the stresses of daily life, and are shaped by breath-taking views, unspoiled nature, original experiences and authentic encounters. There are twice as many mountain activities in summer; the sensation of unlimited space takes on a whole new dimension and you will achieve things of which you never thought yourself capable. Choosing to spend your holidays in the French alps during the height of the season offers you a break from everyday life with lasting benefits…
Summer holidays in the French alps
Urban-dwellers willing to try something a little different for their summer holiday can experience all the ‘sensational’ things Nature has to offer in the French Alps. Long associated with healthy retreats, the mountains have become the new summer detox destination. With varied activities, spectacular landscapes, French “art de vivre” and authentic local cuisine, every day brings something new to discover. Here you can mix mini-adventures (a mountain bike trip, family hike and night in a mountain refuge, a yoga session in the middle of a nature reserve) with more extreme thrills (high altitude zip line, via ferrata at 3,000 metres, or vertiginous canyon descents).
The great outdoors is also the ideal setting to slow down and live in the moment, perhaps enjoying a picnic in the shade of a pine forest, an afternoon spent on the banks of an emerald lake in the Tuéda Nature Reserve, a visit to an alpine farm, a fun hunt for animal tracks or even a chance to try fly fishing… In the evening, what could be more agreeable than trying traditional dishes or enjoying a leisurely aperitif of local Savoy wines and a platter of delicious local charcuterie?
Where do French alps go in summer? Try the adventure of new adventures!
Méribel, a natural gem in the heart of les 3 Vallées in the French Alps, is full of mini challenges to experience with family, friends or solo, whether you are sporty or not. In the mountains of Méribel, far from the crowds, the days stretch out and you have plenty of time to try new activities. Each day, you can discover a different one, whether traditional or novel. In no time, you’ll be caught up in adventures and new experiences and by the end of your stay you’ll have the satisfaction of having left your comfort zone, gained in self-confidence and rediscovered the pleasure of effort and reward. You still need more good reasons why Méribel is the destination where to go in the French alps in summer?
The via ferrata here is the highest in France. Three routes allow you to experience the sensation of flying around the summits, and the Burgin/Croix des Verdons route, perched at 2,700m, offers you a view at the end which stretches over le Mont Blanc to Switzerland. During the climb, the route takes you through exposed sections, high altitude ridges and natural passages on stony ledges, immersing you in an exceptional high mountain setting.
Another way of combining contemplation and a chance to test yourself, are glacier hikes, which are always popular with families (minimum age, 10 years). Half way between hiking and mountaineering, glacier hikes offer you a whole day of new sensations as you learn to walk on a glacier, thanks to Méribel’s mountain guides. Hikes on offer include, the crossing of three passes (Thorens, Lory and Bouchet) and on arrival, the chance to spend a night in a refuge on the Pointe de la Réchasse, Dôme de Chasseforêt, or Dôme de Polset …
If you enjoy the idea of sleeping on top of the world, go on a refuge trip and spend one or several nights high up in an exceptional setting, waking when nature is still slumbering and being first to reach the mountain passes to spot chamois and ibex. Choose from the Tour de l’aiguille du Fruit, Col de la Vanoise, La Valette, Col du Souffre and others. Discover all the wonderful walks and hikes on offer.
Fans of white water sports such as rafting are also well catered for here. Canyoning, a fantastic mountain sport for thrill-seekers, has found its ideal home in our region. The wide choice of mountain streams means beginners and experts can enjoy a succession of jumps, slides, abseils, wild swimming and caves at Montmin, Pussy, Bénétan or Angon … It’s like being in a mini French Amazon!
Still wondering where you should stay in French alps in summer? Experience the art of living well & authentically
In contrast to France’s coastline and more touristy regions where to stay in summer, the whole Méribel valley nestling in the French Alps has managed to retain its traditions and its typical architecture. Among the valley’s fifteen small villages made up of stone and wooden chalets with sculpted facades, you’ll find a Baroque church in the heart of the village of Les Allues, a communal bread oven still used for special events, and even a museum bringing together all the traditions of the valley (agricultural equipment, the birth of skiing, etc.) in an old village house.
In Méribel, you’ll notice how traditional mountain customs and rhythms are still observed in summer – offering visitors a complete break from ordinary life. Here, walks in Nature help even the busiest people slow down and appreciate the environment and the sounds of the forest, and encourage them to listen to their biological clock. In this enchanting setting, your heart rate will slow, your muscles will relax and stress will evaporate. This may begin with a yoga session on the banks of Lake Tuéda, a 3-hectare mirror lake, or with a hike at sunrise. Follow with a hearty breakfast in a refuge, while marmots and chamois frolic in the still-silent Vanoise National Park.
Then enjoy a zero-waste picnic in one of the unspoiled landscapes of our area which skirt the Vanoise, before setting off to visit one of the many small local food producers, or take part in a breathing or Qigong class, before going off to spot a family of black grouse. Even the youngest children have the luxury of varied entertainments with “little gardeners’ group activities”, fun foraging, treasure hunts, pony rides or trampolining…
As evening falls, you’ll be back home in one of Méribel’s cosy accommodation options: in a chalet; or on the terrace of a comfortable apartment admiring the stunning view; or in the panoramic swimming pool of one Méribel’s charming hotels with a view of Mont Vallon; or in a luxurious and comfortable modern refuge, your body happily tired after its full day.
This is time to spend with friends. Our mountains have rightfully gained a reputation for convivial evenings, enjoying platters of local charcuterie and cheeses, trying little-known Savoyard recipes and specialties, rounded off with a bilberry tart… In the mountains, evenings are cosy. The sofa becomes a setting for shared secrets and memories, aided by a glass of local Génépi, Chartreuse or pine liqueur. You eagerly imagine the discoveries to come, debating the plans for the following day – perhaps a visit to the Raffort sawmill, a stroll past the old watermills or a chance to relive the “Route des Tommes”, the traditional way of transporting cheeses through the mountains. And on the eve of the first weekend of August, excitement spreads throughout the valley at the prospect of celebrating the traditional Fanfoué village fete.