When you think of the French Alps, you probably think of white peaked mountains and trees heavy with fallen snow, sipping on glühwein in the jacuzzi, and savouring fondues by roaring fireplaces (as well as a bit of skiing or snowboarding).
But while the summer months are perhaps less synonymous with this beautiful region, they are no less enjoyable, in fact, just as much so. According to the 2019 Club Med Southern Africa French Mountain Holiday Report supported by Atout France, more South Africans are choosing to holiday in the French Alps during European summer (June-August). For South Africans, holidaying in the French Alps during summer is a unique experience which can be enjoyed as a multi-generational family, a group of friends or a couple. There are options to enjoy great food, discover the village, go to a local cheese factory, basically enjoy the mountain lifestyle rather than focusing exclusively on the sport of skiing. The days are longer, and activities are diverse: walking, trail running, orienteering racing, rock-climbing and Via Ferrata, cycling (and you can make it easy on yourself with an eBike), golfing and so much more in the most panoramic settings. Getting to the French Alps with the likes of an Air France (with direct flights from SA to France) is also easier than ever before.
Here are our top 5 reasons to consider a summer mountain holiday:
1. The mountain biking
You can’t ask for more dramatic views or more beautiful (and tranquil) scenery. Thrill seekers will welcome those ubiquitous rapid descents, and if you can’t be bothered to trek into the wilderness, there are even ski lifts that can drop you off at certain locations. You could also try your hand at e-biking, using an electronic bike to get up some of the steeper hills, so you can spend longer in the saddle and get the most out of your rides.
2. The hiking
Hiking is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in nature, plus it’s an activity that suits the whole family, no matter how old your children are. Babies can be brought along in carriers, while younger children can walk themselves, as long as you choose the easier trails. There are hikes for beginners and experts, themed trails for waterfall lovers or culture vultures at Club Med Summer Mountain resorts you can even take a guided hike or be your own guide using a special app.
3. The picnics
After all that hiking or biking, what better way to chill out and refuel than a meal eaten al fresco? Picnicking in the French Alps is a real treat: picture yourself munching on delectable fruit, feasting on local cheeses and cured meats, and accompanying it all with delicious wines and juices. Nothing tastes better than the freshest food eaten in the most picturesque surroundings.
4. The watersports
H20 has so much to offer summer holiday visitors to the Alps! Whether you’re enjoying a revitalising hydro massage, visiting the jacuzzi, getting some exercise in indoor or outdoor pools or doing a session of water aerobics, there is so much to enjoy in the way of water inspired exercise at resorts like Club Med Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon. You could even book a session of waterskiing, try your hand at canyoning, or go rafting through rapids for an extra shot of aqua-adrenalin!
5. The kids clubs
We all love our children, but that doesn’t mean that some time apart wouldn’t do the whole family some good! Certain resorts in the French Alps have kids’ clubs that cater for children from a few months old up to teenagers, so that their parents can enjoy some time together to reconnect, or simply relax on their own. The best option when travelling with kids to the French Alps is to go for an All-Inclusive package where all meals, drinks, activities, kids club and more are included.
What could be better than escaping the cooler South African months and heading to enjoy a warm holiday together in the European mountains? Start doing your research, dust off those passports and book your 2020 summer holiday to the French Alps soon.