Best Spots in the French Alps this Summer

This is a guest post by Alpine Infusion.

Mountains aren’t only for winter!

After the snow has melted and the skiers have gone home for the year, you may assume the French Alps have little to offer. But, you’d be wrong.

There are a number of hidden gems nestled within in Europe’s best loved mountain range. The key is knowing where to look.

If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve got a handy travel guide for you. Here are the best spots in the French Alps this summer.

The Vanoise National Park

Did you know there’s a national park nestled within the French Alps? If not, you do now!

The Vanoise National Park is rich with cultural history and home to stunning, rare wildlife. So much so, it’s been described as a ‘genuine green diamond’. It’s just waiting to be discovered by those who venture to the mountains in the summertime.

The park aims to protect and conserve biodiversity, including eagles, fauna and ibexes. A number of rare plants, such as certain wildflowers, also live within.

Admired by children, hikers and nature enthusiasts alike, the park has something to appeal to everyone. You can even go fishing in the Ouillette lake, surrounding by some simply stunning scenery.

Whether for a long walk or a picnic, this makes for the perfect summer’s day out!

This park is easily accessed when staying in some of your favourite resorts. Staying in a catered chalet in Meribel will not only make your holiday one of luxury, but give you easy access to the park and its delights.

‘Little Venice’

Thanks to its stunning scenery, pavement cafes and relaxed atmosphere, the French town of Annecy has been lovingly nicknamed ‘Little Venice’.

This part of the Haute-Savoie region of the Alps comes to life in the warmer months.

You’ll be spoilt for choice on what to do first! It could be relaxing by the beach, attending a festival or dining out in one of the many restaurants.

If you love your sport – you’re also in luck. Annecy is the European capital of outdoor activities! From sailing to hiking, you’ll see the mountains in a completely new light; transformed in the summer.

Of course, we had to mention the Lake. Lake Annecy is one of the most breath-taking natural settings that you can only appreciate in its full glory as the weather gets warmer. Whether it’s sailing on it or sunbathing around it – there’s something for the whole family to do.

Écrins National Park

Écrins National Park is home to spectacular meadows and wildlife, making it the perfect place to explore. It’s popular in the summer time, yet never feels overcrowded.

You can take part in a hike, explore a glacier or photograph some of the wildlife. Many foxes, squirrels and marmots can be found inside. There’s enough to keep you entertained for hours!

You can easily reach the park from your Courchevel 1850 chalet by car.

Lake Geneva

Looking to make your next summer holiday an unforgettable one? Visit Lake Geneva.

Shared by France and Switzerland, the lake is home to endless hours of fun. This includes swimming and boating, to name just two water sports. There are many others to try!

Remember – it’s not just the lake itself but everything around it. Cycling is a popular activity for those who love the fresh air and enjoying the views.

Those who aren’t keen on sport have plenty to do too. From salons to spas, there’s more than you could fit into one day!

Barcelonnette

Barcelonnette is stunning to look at. It’s home to picture-perfect views, street markets and colourful houses. In summer, you can appreciate this small French town in all its glory!

All the architecture has been inspired by Mexico. It’s as close as you can get to that part of the world without leaving Europe!

There’s plenty to do during a day-trip here. From dining out to taking part in a festival, it’s a hidden gem you don’t want to miss.

Book Your Accommodation

Ready to explore the French Alps in summer? All that’s left is to book your accommodation.

Alpine Infusion offer luxury ski chalets in the Three Valleys that will make your next holiday one to remember forever.  Tempted yet?

Top 5 Activities besides Skiing in the Three Valleys

This is a guest post by Alpine Infusion.

The Three Valleys has plenty to boast about when it comes to winter sports. It’s best known for being the largest and one of the most impressive ski areas in the world, but making the most of the Alps isn’t just limited to skiing.

For those looking for something a little different, there are plenty of options to keep you entertained throughout the year. From mountaineering to sledging, we’ve thought of everything when it comes to the best non-skiing activities in the Three Valleys.

Ice Karting and Ice Driving

Fancy taking a car out for a spin? In Val Thorens, situated in the Tarentaise Valley, you can hire specially modified cars to drive around an ice circuit.

You’ll be co-driver to an expert for the first few laps, but after you’re shown the ropes you’ll be able to grab the wheel for yourself! If you want something a little more downsized, there’s also a mini track available for go-karts.

Explore the three valleys on foot

Exploring the Summits on Foot

The slopes themselves aren’t exclusively accessible through skiing!

Non-skiers can buy a ‘pedestrian pass’ and walk to their chosen summit. You’ll be able to meet friends at mountain restaurants, travel on pedestrian-friendly lifts and take those all-important holiday snapshots.

There’s something for everyone throughout the Three Valleys, whether it be gentle walks for all the family or more challenging, mountaineering hiking routes for those in need of a challenge.

Of course, it’s always vital to plan your routes and check the weather before you head out. Always ensure you’re being as safe as possible!

Spend a Night at a Mountain Hut

There’s nothing quite like the magic of a mountain refuge in the evenings after a long hike. Throughout the Three Valleys you’ll find plenty of huts available for overnight stays, ranging from the basic to top-quality accommodation.   

While the huts make for a fantastic experience, you may want something more permanent to keep you cosy during your holiday. Alpine Infusion offer award-winning luxury ski chalets in both Meribel and Courchevel with catering from top chefs, extensive client services and true extravagance.

Paragliding in the three valleys

Paragliding

If you’re in need of a fresh perspective on those fantastic mountain views, there are several accessible paragliding points dotted about the Three Valleys.

With both winter and summer flights available around many of the resorts, you’ll be able to take in the scenery all year round.

Mountain Biking

Once the snowy season comes to an end, the summer weather plays host to some fantastic mountain biking trails across the Three Valleys. There’s a wealth of variety when it comes to scenery, and a huge range of trails to dig your wheels into.

You can find many guided tours that’ll keep you within the eye of an experienced professional, and you can hire equipment to ensure you get the best out of the Three Valley trails.

Book Your Stay with Alpine Infusion

If you’re tempted by the alternatives to skiing, you may want to consider booking your accommodation with Alpine Infusion.

Choose from catered chalets and enjoy unique leisure and entertainment facilities, including swimming pools, saunas, complimentary bars and plenty more. Be sure to book your stay today and guarantee your spot in the mountains!

Where to start skiing

I’m sure there are quite a few people out there who love the idea of a ski holiday but think that they are too old to start, not sporty enough, prone to breaking bones etc…

Well, enough of the excuses! It’s time to go for it and get hooked on skiing. I didn’t start skiing until my mid 20s but I have not looked back since. Yes, the first few days were not easy and I thought I would never ‘get it’. People kept telling me that it will just suddenly click, which seemed very unlikely as I sat frustrated on the edge of a green run, unable to master the art of turning. However, after a few deep breaths, I dusted myself off, got the snow out of some hard to reach places, and tried again. I was surrounded by the most spectacular views of mountains and trees laden heavy with snow. Not a bad place for humiliating myself with a group of French girls who ‘got it’ after half an hour.

After that low point, I am so happy that I didn’t give up, and around the 3rd day I actually started enjoying it.

In my opinion, it’s a great idea to have a couple of lessons in a ski dome or on a dry slope before you go on your first holiday. Somewhere like the Chill Factor in Manchester is an ideal place to get to know the basics. You’ll be shown how to use a poma lift (a type of drag lift to get you up the slope, also known as a button lift) and learn how to do some of the basic things. This way when you arrive in the mountains you can enjoy the experience from the start, and will not waste precious time being shown how to clip your boots in to your skis. Make sure you book some more lessons in resort as well. I enjoyed doing adult group lessons as there is a certain amount of bonding over falling over and seemingly endless attempts to put your skis back on. However some people develop a lot quicker during one on one private sessions with an instructor. In this case you might benefit more from 2-3 private lessons than you would from a week’s group sessions.

If you are not sure which type of lessons would best suit you, then check with your ski school. They may let you trade some group lessons for a private lesson or vice versa.

Make sure you choose your ski school carefully, and ask around for recommendations. It’s true what they say – “You never forget your first ski instructor”. A positive, cheerful instructor will make the experience a lot more enjoyable! If you feel like your group is holding you back, or that they are a bit too advanced for you, then don’t be scared to join a different level.

No matter where you start your lessons, the key is patience, perseverance and a good attitude. I can guarantee that you will have an amazing time! Yes, it can get frustrating at times but you have to laugh it off and carry on. You don’t have to be sporty or particularly fit to learn to ski, it’s all about confidence! 😉

Another thing to remember when booking your first ski holiday is that some resorts are better suited to beginners than others. Some resorts have special ‘Learn-to-ski’ packages for complete beginners, with lessons and a limited lift pass included. If you have done some lessons before your holiday then you will probably want a local area lift pass for a bit more variety.

Here are some of the best ski resorts for beginners

Bansko, Bulgaria

Bansko is a relatively small resort, but 35% of it is given over to slopes suitable for beginners. In addition to this, Bansko is much cheaper than other European ski resorts so it is a good place to give skiing a go if you are not sure you are going to love it.

The closest airport to Bansko is Sofia – click here to get the best prices on transfers from Sofia Airport to Bansko.

Flaine, France

Flaine is a great resort for beginners for a few reasons. It is easy to get to, being just over an hour from Geneva airport. It is mainly a ski in, ski out resort meaning that you can avoid walking around carrying your ski gear. Finally, it has a great snow record and many of the beginner areas are close to the centre of the resort.

The closest airport to Flaine is Geneva – click here to get the best prices on transfers from Geneva airport to Flaine.

Soldeu, Andorra

Soldeu is a great place to learn to ski. There are a number of English ski schools and the great nursery areas are close to the resort centre.

If you are going to Soldeu, you can fly to Barcelona, Girona, Carcassonne or Toulouse.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Barcelona airport to Soldeu.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Girona airport to Soldeu.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Carcassonne airport to Soldeu.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Toulouse airport to Soldeu.

Courchevel, France

Courchevel has a reputation for being one of the most expensive places on earth, but this is down to the highest village of Courchevel 1850. However, Courchevel 1650 (Montriond) is a great option as there is a beginners area near the resort centre, and there are some very long blue runs to progress on to. You can also stay in Courchevel 1550 and take the fast gondola up to Courchevel 1850 where there is one of the best beginners areas in the world.

To get to Courchevel, you can fly to Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble or Lyon.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Geneva airport to Courchevel.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Chambéry airport to Courchevel.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Grenoble airport to Courchevel.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Lyon airport to Courchevel.

Obergurgl, Austria

Obergurgl has vast areas for beginners to practice, and also has a good number or wide, long blue runs to progress on to.The ski schools in Obergurgl are also very good.

The best airport to fly to for Obergurgl is Innsbruck.

Click here to get the best prices on transfers from Innsbruck airport to Obergurgl.