Summer in the French Alps 2021

The French Alps are one of the world’s most famous ski destinations with millions of visitors heading here every year to ski and experience the Alpine art de vivre. However, thanks to the Alps’ perfect combination of sunny weather, gorgeous scenery and an ever-growing array of outdoor activities, the French Alps have become an increasingly popular destination for summer holidays.

Buying a property in the French Alps not only gives you a perfect base from which to enjoy ski holidays with your family and friends, but it will also serve as a beautiful home away from home for sporty summer holidays. Plus, buying a property in a dual-season resort like Les Gets, Châtel or Méribel give you the opportunity to generate rental yields throughout the year – not just during the peak winter season.

Summer 2020 –  a year in review

Between 2014 and 2019, overnight stays in the French Alps have risen by 1.4m and 2019 was the busiest year in the French Alps since 2006. The various lockdowns and travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic had a negative impact on the travel and tourism industries across the globe and the French Alps were no exception. Overnight stays (all accommodation types considered) in the Savoie Mont Blanc area in 2020 were 11% lower than the figure for the previous summer.  (Source: L’Agence Savoie Mont Blanc)

However, INSEE reveals that, alongside the countryside and the seaside, the tourism industry in the mountains was less affected by the pandemic during the summer than Ile-de-France. The graph below takes a look at the year-on-year evolution of overnight stays, whilst overnight stays in hotels dropped overall during the summer, the drop was nowhere near as severe as it was in Ile-de-France and there was even a spike during August when the total of overnight stays was 7.7% higher in 2020 than 2019.

This can be attributed to the exceptionally sunny weather in the French Alps last summer and the fact that many French holidaymakers, unable or reluctant to holiday abroad, chose to take a ‘staycation’ instead. In addition, as most of the activities in the Alps are outdoors, it is easier to adhere to social distancing guidelines which makes it a safe and practical choice too. 

Summer in the French Alps 2020 vs 2019

Evolution of overnight stays at hotels (%) 2019 – 2020. Source: INSEE

The most popular resorts in the French Alps

The most popular summer destinations in the French Alps in 2020 included Lac d’Annecy (where you’ll find our French Alps office), Pays du Mont Blanc and Tarentaise. Whilst the distribution of overnight stays didn’t change too much when compared to 2019, there is one area that stood out: Tarentaise. This popular area is where you’ll find the Three Valleys, Espace Killy, Les Arcs and La Plagne recorded an extra 10,000 overnight stays last year.

Chalet and ski apartment rentals in the French Alps

Emerald Stay, a premium property rental management agency in the Alps, revealed that they saw increased demand across the majority of their portfolio and the average length of stay for guests rose by 58%. Chalets were a key driver in this change, possibly because they offer more space than an apartment and there are no communal areas, making it easy to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

During summer 2020, Emerald Stay saw an increase in French holidaymakers as well as guests from nearby countries such as Switzerland and Belgium. While the French Alps have an enviable international reputation, there were fewer customers from the USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia last year. Due to the pandemic and the frequent changes in guidelines, last-minute bookings were more important than ever. In 2019, the average booking window was two months whilst in 2020 the window was just three weeks.

Thanks to their flexible cancellation policies, dynamic pricing and marketing strategies geared towards local markets, Emerald Stay has taken full advantage of the longer booking window this year and summer 2021 is looking very bright with occupancy rates already 6% higher than 2020.

Summer in the French Alps 2021: what to expect this year

In a survey conducted by L’Agence Savoie Mont Blanc in May 2021, 35% of the French nationals are keen to go on holiday this year and 40% are still undecided. 82% of those who are keen to go on holiday this summer want to holiday in France and the seaside (60%) remains the most sought-after destination followed by the countryside (17%) and the mountains (15%). To help make summer 2021 a success, the Savoie Mont Blanc agency has launched an ambitious €2m campaign “Montagne, Mon tempo”. Geared towards families and young people undecided on whether or not they should go on holiday this year, the campaign focuses on the extremely flexible cancellation policies in the French Alps and will be promoted heavily online.

Resort highlights: things to do in the Alps this summer

Les Gets

A pioneering cycling destination since 1992, Les Gets has an expansive bike park with 128km of marked trails catering to all abilities and hosts the MTB World Cup Finals every year. However, summer in Les Gets is not just for cyclists, the resort also offers a golf course, plenty of hiking trails and paragliding. New for 2021, Alta Lumina is an exciting interactive nighttime walk that uses light, music and set design to tell the tale of a travelling musician – it’s a must-visit for families.


Alpe d’Huez

A true year-round town, Alpe d’Huez is not only a fantastic ski resort but a delightful summer destination too with plenty of hiking trails to explore and take in the beautiful alpine scenery. Sports enthusiasts should check out the Alpe d’Huez Triathalon which brings together 4,000 participants to tackle the resort’s 21 iconic bends. There are four events, ranging from a childrens’ triathlon to the gruelling ‘Triathlon L’.


Val d’Isère

Though this high-altitude resort has a calmer summer season than the likes of Les Gets and Alpe d’Huez, there is plenty to look forward to in Val d’Isère this summer. From 9th-11th July,  Val d’Isère is hosting the Odlo High Trail Vanoise, a series of seven unique, high-altitude races which showcase the region’s stunning scenery. L’Avaline Savoyard fair will take place on 7th-8th August and will welcome more than 100 exhibitors specialising in crafts and local products, brass bands and Alpine musicians. With farm animals and plenty of activities for children to enjoy, this is a fantastic family event.

French Alps

Regarded as one of the world's premier winter sports destinations, The French Alps spans 8 adjoining mountain chains that rise up from Provence in the South and across the borders of Switzerland and Italy. Spread across 210,000 kilometres, they combine some of the world's most dynamic ski destinations with an adventure sports scene fast on the ...

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