Enjoy the French Alps in summer…l Athena Advisers

15 June

Ever thought about swapping your traditional summer beach holiday for a few detoxifying weeks in the world’s most beautiful mountains? Instead of plonking yourself amid throngs of tourists, be surrounded by expansive green settings, pure blue skies and unlimited horizons. 

Is hiking the one and only summer activity in the Alps?

A common misconception. Over the last few years local governments have pushed hard to make alpine resorts’ summer offering as enticing as possible, thus creating new tourism streams and lightening the reliance on the winter season. A good example, especially if you have children, is Chamonix. Always known for its rock climbing, Chamonix has grown to be the complete alpine sports village, right throughout the year. The most popular activity is mountain biking, followed by dozens of relaxing or white-knuckle activities, many designed for the whole family. The resort event has it’s own sports complex.

Drive out of Chamonix and you can enjoy an open-air picnic on the shores of Lac de Passy, which is warm enough for swimming. Or just take a lift to Combloux and relax on the wooden decks around its ecological swimming lake. 

Where are the best places for sportier types?

Samoens, close to Les Gets and part of the Les Port du Soleil mountain domain is perhaps top of this list. It boasts the Alps best network single mountain biking track and is lift accessed. At the top of the wild track you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of Mont-Blanc.

There are also more unusual activities. You’ll find one in Tignes. Called Gliss-speed, it is an electric craft that slides along Tignes’ lake. Imagine jet skiing in a go-cart. And in Morzine you will discover even more summer activities, such as canyoning (generally the process of flinging oneself down a series of natural waterfalls), kayaking, paragliding, rock climbing and via ferrata (wired climbing routes that traverse mountains, originally designed by serviceman during the second world war). 

And what about skiing during the summer?

At resort level, temperatures can reach the high 30’s, but up above on the various glaciers of the French Alps, the snow stays crisp and even. Here are the best resorts to going glacier skiing during the summer.

Les 2 Alpes offers 11 runs, 16 lifts and an amazing 18-hectare freestyle area, all during summer. One lift pass gives you access to many other activities too, including swimming, tennis and tobogganing. 

On the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes you have 20km to play with and with a fast funicular railway you can be back up to the top in just 7 minutes. Once at the top you can enjoy a panoramic view of the whole Savoy region. 

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