Skier and Snowboarder Magazine – the UK’s original free ski and snowboard magazine

The traditional ski and snowboard season may be over but during the rest of the year, French ski areas still have plenty to offer those who love being in the mountains – and especially those who enjoy their food.

As well as the natural environment of snowy peaks, beautiful woodlands, colourful flowers, and turquoise lakes, there is a massive choice of places to eat.

To give you an example, Chef Benoît Vidal at the two-Michelin-star restaurant L’Atelier d’Edmond in Val d’Isère turns every plate into a work of art.

During the spring, he and his team go into the mountains to collect wild plants to use in his dishes.

Between Val Thorens and Les Ménuires, restaurant Chez Pépé Nicolas is equally photogenic, with its own permaculture garden and serving traditional Savoyard dishes with a modern twist.

For something really different, stay overnight in a transparent bubble at Le Perchoir des Pyrénées, near Tourmalet-Pic du Midi from where the views of the Pyrenees are astounding.

For those who still want to be active in the mountains, the list of choices is very long. Experienced climbers can join a guide and tackle the legendary Aiguilles d’Arves in the Maurienne Valley.

Or learn the basics of mountaineering, negotiating glaciers with crampons and using ropes on a three-day course with Alpineo in the Écrins National Park.

Want to learn how to survive in the wild? The guides from La Maison de la Montagne in Orcières will teach you how to make a fire, build a shelter, look for animal footprints and identify edible and medicinal plants.

This summer, Peisey-Vallandry will be opening its gondola for the first time for hikers and mountain bikers.

If you’re a major cycling fan, head to Vaujany and its legendary mountain passes, including Alpe d’Huez and the Col de la Croix de Fer.

A total of 43 mountain resorts hold the ‘Famille Plus’ label, recognising their commitment to family-friendly activities, entertainment and childcare.

For an adrenaline rush, try the 1,800m double zipline La Bee above Val Thorens or enjoy the summer version of dog sledding, cani-rando in Vaujany – both are Famille Plus resorts.

Families can go hiking together in the forests of Lac de la Rosière near Courchevel, another Famille Plus resort. A range of activities are available around the lake, including a climbing forest for children from three years and up, ziplines for children from 12 and up, via ferrata and an orientation course.

The new cable car in Les Ménuires will be open this summer to take visitors up to a panoramic terrace where they can take in the 360-degree views of the Alps, from the Écrins mountain range to Mont Blanc.

Nature, wildlife and wellbeing

The biodiversity found in the French mountains is unique and must be protected. While on holiday, you can learn about the indigenous flora and fauna from a guide with expertise in local plants, how to recognise them and whether they have medicinal or culinary properties. Visitors can also observe chamois, eagles, and marmots in their natural mountain habitat.

La Plagne is offering sylvotherapy or ‘ski sophrology’, which improves the health of the body and mind through contact with the energy of trees. Participants need to learn to ‘listen’ to the forest and its sounds, but also to its colours and smells, while at the same time also listening to their own body, their breathing and their feelings.

Lac du Lou

The five national parks in the French mountains are the perfect setting for mindful hikes when you are encouraged to switch off your mind, live in the present and enjoy the surroundings.

In Val Thorens at the edge of the Vanoise National Park, you can bivouac close to refuges. Walk 45 minutes from Val Thorens or 30 minutes from Les Ménuires to the picturesque – a natural mountain lake located between two mountains. You can spend an unforgettable night surrounded by nature in a world of your own.


Trail running is gaining popularity in the mountains – and the resort of Super Besse in Auvergne hosts the Trail de la Perdrix (this year on 10 July). Runners can choose between three distances: 11km, 17km and 31km. Another trail in the same mountain range is the Trail du Sancy (24-25 September) in the resort of Le Mont-Dore.

The Etape du Tour (10 July) is the only cycling event that allows amateur cyclists to ride a Tour de France stage. This year’s event starts in Briançon and finishes in Alpe d’Huez, covering a challenging and magnificent 170km with an altitude difference of 4,700m. It takes in some of the most iconic mountain passes: Lautaret, Galibier and La Croix de Fer.

Valloire will host the second Highline Festival (21-25 July), which showcases spectacular sports such as alpinism, climbing and highlining (walking along a long slackline rigged high above the ground).

Piano concert against a backdrop of amazing views at the Pic du Midi

Piano Pic (17-29 July) is a classical music festival in the Pyrenees, with concerts taking place in magical heritage sites such as the Pic du Midi at 2,877m, the Escaladieu Abbey and various churches.

Famous pianists play at the festival as well as the György Sebök International Academy. This is a truly magical experience for musicians and music lovers.


‹ Need more skiing and snowboarding? Head for the glaciers this summer

Categories: France, Holiday News & Special Offers

Tags: acitivities, France, hiking, Michelin