A busy summer in the French Alps
Whilst many exclusively associate the mountains with world-class skiing and winter holidays, the French Alps are an increasingly popular destination for a summer holiday too.
With enough sunshine to rival the French Riviera, award-winning restaurants, plenty of outdoor activities and gorgeous scenery to explore, the French Alps are the ultimate summer destination.
As seen in our annual Summer in the French Alps report, the number of overnight stays in the summer have been steadily increasing from 21.4m in 2014 to 22.6m in 2018. However, the coronavirus pandemic hit the travel industry hard, causing the 2019/20 ski season to finish abruptly and delaying the start of the summer season. Despite this, the French Alps have proved to be especially popular this July and August with numerous tourism offices seeing an above-average influx of tourists.
In Les Gets, the director of the tourist office noted that August has been unbelievable despite a slow start in May and the cancellation of the MTB World Cup.
Les Carroz had a great summer season this year as well. The Director of the Tourism Office commented that this summer was one of the best in years with a 62% occupancy rate during the first week of August. The second week was even better with an occupancy rate of 70% and, at the time, the occupancy rate was predicted to be at 69% during the third week. All in all, this represents a double-figure increase when compared to summer 2019. Tignes had a fantastic July with 18% more tourists than July 2019. The first week of August was particularly busy with an impressive 88% occupancy rate.
Why are the French Alps so popular this summer?
COVID-19 has encouraged French nationals to book a holiday in France as opposed to holidaying abroad. As a result, those who usually wouldn’t have travelled to the Alps for the summer have decided to do so as it allows them to stay far away from the crowds on the Atlantic Coast.
Also, with so many of us spending extended periods inside, it is not unreasonable to argue that holidaymakers are seeking a type of holiday which allows them to be out in the open air and immerse themselves in nature.
Best summer activities in the French Alps
Enjoy the world-class sport events
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic impacted most of the events this year, the French Alps usually has a lively roster of world-famous competitions as well as local festivities. One not to miss is, of course, the Tour de France, which courses through the Alps and often passes through Alpe d’Huez which is infamous for its gruelling uphill climb with 21 challenging corners to navigate. Mountain bike enthusiasts will already know about the MTB World Cup which is held in Les Gets.
Summer sports with a view
In the summer, the ski resorts shed their blankets of snow to reveal lush valleys and gorgeous Alpine lakes, making for delightful hikes and walks. Plus, many of the resorts offer a great array of watersports on the lakes too such as paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking.
There are also some fantastic golf courses in the French Alps, such as Golf Les Gets, Golf de Méribel and Chamonix’s Robert Trent Jones Sr. course.
Fine dining and unwinding
The French Alps are also perfect for those who want to indulge in some well-deserved relaxation. Here you will find a plethora of state-of-the-art spas, many of which are blessed with mountain views such as Form d’O in Châtel. Also, the French Alps is a real feast for the senses with its rustic Savoyard restaurants and its constellation of Michelin-starred establishments.
3 resorts in the French Alps to explore in summer 2020
Exuding rustic charm, this Haute-Savoie village is perfect for a summer holiday surrounded by breathtaking Alpine scenery. From adrenaline-fuelled canyoning and rafting to guided mountain walks, there is something for the whole family to enjoy in Châtel.
A must-visit for mountain bike enthusiasts, Les Gets boasts an incredible mountain bike park with 120km of trails as well as access to the Portes du Soleil area which has an amazing array of trails to explore, taking you from village to village. For golf with a view head to Golf Les Gets, an impressive 18-hole course facing the Mont Blanc.
A real sports paradise in winter and summer, Méribel has a fantastic selection of activities from watersports and hiking to golf and paragliding. If you are looking for something more relaxed, head to one of the resort’s numerous spas such as the five-star Hôtel Le Kaïla which has earned a mention in the Telegraph’s 2020 list of the best hotels and chalets in Méribel.