Summer in the French Alps: A-Z activity guide
- Credit: Archant
Looking forward to summer in the French Alps this year? Peak Retreats has created an A–Z summer activity guide, featuring the best activities available in the mountains this summer!
A is for Accrobranche
Test your nerve as well as your balance on an obstacle course in the trees. Try the accrobranche in Samoëns at Indiana Parc which has several courses for all ages, from pre-schoolers to adults!
B is for Bungee
Not for the faint hearted, this adrenaline rush is for the brave ones in your group! Enjoy the amazing mountain scenery before jumping off for a thrilling experience. Best in Chamonix.
C is for Culture
The French Alps has a long history of culture which has been passed down through the generations, towns and villages have remained authentic and true to their roots. We have hand-picked the resorts that we feature, choosing real, authentic French towns so that you are able to experience local delicacies and uncover the history.
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D is for Deval Karting
Jump in an engineless go-kart and freewheel down the deval kart track! This mountain-only, adrenaline-fuelled version of go-karting is available in Morzine, Les Gets and Châtel.
E is for Equestrian
Guided horse-riding treks offer a great experience for all. There is an equestrian centre in most Alpine resorts that will offer mountain rides, including Morzine, Les Gets and Tignes.
F is for Fishing
The relaxing sport of fishing is possible in many different Alpine resorts. Make your catch of the day on a natural lake at the foot of the mountain or at altitude, or find a hidden gem and fish on a river. There are some good spots in La Rosière and Samoëns.
G is for Golf
There are some truly stunning golf courses in the French Alps which would take your breath away! Enjoy the peaceful, uncrowded fairways, fresh mountain air, magnificent scenery and panoramic views. Play a round or two in Grand Massif, Portes du Soleil, Tarentaise, Mont Blanc, Aravis, Annecy and Évian.
H is for Hiking
Make the most of those wonderful mountain paths! Try hiking in the Portes du Soleil region where there are 400 miles of marked routes! Or head to Chamonix Valley which has 350km of marked walking trails. Or explore the Vanoise National Park between the Tarentaise and Maurienne Valley, which has hundreds of kilometres of walks to be explored. Maps are available from the local Tourist Offices.
I is for Ice Skating
Ice skating... in summer? A great, family friendly activity available in Morzine and Les Deux Alpes – both locations have indoor ice rinks open in the summer.
J is for Jacuzzi
A simple but fantastic, relaxing addition to a holiday, especially after a day of exploring the Alps. A Jacuzzi is perfect to relax and unwind in. These are available at several apartments and chalets, but can also be found in resort spa centres.
K is for Kayaking
Take advantage of the water sports opportunities, surrounded by stunning mountain scenery – ride the course of the river in a kayak! Why not try kayaking in Tignes or Mont Blanc.
L is for Luge
Hold on tight… A luge is a toboggan (sometimes on rails, sometimes in a specialised curved trail), suitable for 1 or 2 people at a time. Luges zoom down the mountains, often involving several bumps and bends. It’s a perfect family fun activity! It’s a perfect family fun activity, available in numerous resorts!
M is for Mountain Biking
We all know about the success of the Tour de France and road cycling, but did you know about the amazing mountain biking on offer in the French Alps too? Mountain biking is available in most resorts but is superb in Morzine, Samoëns and Chamonix as there are trails to suit all levels and abilities, including some very technical and steep downhill tracks for those that love a challenge!
N is for Nordic Walking
An enhancement of ordinary walking using specially designed poles to get a full body workout, it’s a great way of exploring the mountains!
O is for Outstanding Spas
There are some amazing spa locations dotted around the French Alps resorts and towns, many offering the very best in relaxation treatments and facilities. These include Évian, Saint-Gervais, Val Cenis, Bourg-Saint-Maurice and Chamonix… to name just a few!
P is for Paragliding
There are some unbelievable sights to behold in the French Alps, and they look even better in the air! Take to the skies this summer and embark on a summer activity like no other. Many resorts now offer paragliding, but some of the best ones to try include Val Cenis, Annecy or Mieussy (which is where the sport was invented in 1978 – it’s close to Les Gets and Samoëns).
Q is for Quad Biking
Experience exhilarating fun on a 4x4 all-terrain quad bike around specially designed courses throughout the French Alps. Not just for the adults! Most offer children’s quad biking around mini-circuits. Les Deux Alpes, Morzine and Samoëns all cater for adrenaline junkies on quad bikes, luckily this activity is popular throughout the French Alps in summer.
R is for Road Cycling
Most people know that the French Alps is THE cycling haven when it comes to road cycling and even offers a chance to glimpse the Tour de France each year. There is no better place to test your road cycling skills than in Savoie Mont Blanc region, or perhaps just ride with the family and take in the scenery around Lake Annecy.
S is for Summer Skiing
A couple of resorts offer skiing, even in the summer! Enjoy the sun on the slopes in the morning and watersports in the afternoon - there’s a much larger range of activities available if you choose to ski in the summer rather than (or as well as) in the winter. Summer skiing is available in Les Deux Alpes and Tignes.
T is for Tennis
A sport loved by all ages, available for all abilities. Take advantage of the generally warmer and sunnier weather and rally to your heart’s content. Many resorts throughout the French Alps have access to tennis courts over the summer.
U is for UNESCO Sites
For those looking to indulge in more cultural and historical activities, you’ll be happy to know that there are two UNESCO sites available in the vicinity of French Alps, as well as many notable towns featuring vast historical sites. The two UNESCO heritage sites are the historic city of Lyon and the prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps.
V is for Via Ferrata
A challenging combination of scrambling and climbing rock faces with man-made courses of pegs, cables, fixed ropes, ladders and hand rails. They vary in length and difficulty to suit most people’s appetite for adventure, and some sites have special courses for children. Helmets and harnesses are provided for safety. Try the recommended Via Ferrata in Val Cenis, Les Saisies or Aussois.
W is for Water Rafting
Discover rafting as a family on an easy river or take on the rapids in the French Alps! There are various day trips available in and around many of the resorts, but one to look out for is located near the Mont Blanc and Chamonix Valley. Children are welcome from the age of 7 years. The rafting guides are all fully qualified and are there to ensure you have a great day out!
X is for ‘xtreme’ Sports
There are limitless opportunities to undertake extreme sports in the French Alps and some activities already listed could count towards them. In fact, most extreme sports are catered for in some aspect in the French Alps, but there are many events that take these activities to a new extreme. Each summer, 2000 riders slip, slide and fall down Pic Blanc, in Alpe d’Huez (near Vaujany), in search of ‘enduro’ biking glory. Professionals and regular Joes (and Joannas) alike from 30 countries take part on the 30km track with its 2,600m of vertical descent! Fancy a go?
Y is for Yoga
Alpine yoga retreats are taking off and some resorts will cater for a combination of hiking and yoga in one holiday adventure! You could even go yourself if you know the moves. Take part in a relaxing yoga session whilst admiring the breathtaking views of the French Alps!
Z is for Zoos
Explore the animals and natural habitats throughout the French Alps by visiting one of the zoos or nature reserves. Here you can find a variety of plant and animal life that you might not see outside the reserves. The Mont Blanc and Chamonix Valley offer a fantastic array of opportunities to see nature close up. The Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve, Merlet Animal Park and Saint-Bernard Breeding Centre make up a great base for exploring the wildlife in the French Alps. The other option for nature lovers is the huge Vanoise National Park, easily accessible from many resorts.
Other Summer Activities in the French Alps
Abseiling, luge runs, adventure parks, canyoning, wildlife spotting, hot air balloons, paddle-boarding, caving, high ropes, water ski, windsurfing, zip wires, ice climbing, helicopter flights... we could go on!
French Alps specialists ‘Peak Retreats’ offer holidays throughout the year, from self-catered chalets to all-inclusive hotels. For more information visit www.peakretreats.co.uk/summer or call their friendly team of specialists on 0844 576 0171.