The 7 Best Summer Resorts in the French Alps

Posted on 04 April 2024

Looking for the best summer resorts in the French Alps? With so many resorts, deciding can be overwhelming. Summer mountain resorts are not just for skiing in winter – they also offer fantastic activities in summer, and are a great place to own a second home. There is something for everyone, from hiking and mountain bike trails to relaxing by pristine lakes. Whether you are looking for a vacation spot, or somewhere to buy a mountain retreat, the French Alps deliver in abundance.

The French Alps in southeastern France run along the border with Italy and Switzerland. The region’s rich cultural heritage is influenced by the proximity to Italy and Switzerland, unique traditions and customs, and agricultural life. The region’s several national parks and nature reserves also attract nature lovers.

The French Alps ranks as a top holiday destination because of the many activities to enjoy year-round. In winter, ski attractions and world-class resorts like Chamonix, Courchevel, and Val d’Isère attract skiers and snowboarders. While visitors enjoy hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, and leisurely walks through picturesque alpine meadows in summer.

The Best Summer Resorts in the French Alps

1: Alpine Activities in Chamonix, France

  • Chamonix is at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps and Western Europe, standing at 4,810 meters (15,781 feet.)
  • Chamonix is considered the birthplace of modern mountaineering. Many climbers come here to attempt the ascent of Mont Blanc or other challenging peaks in the region. The town serves as a base camp for climbers and offers various guiding services and equipment shops.
  • Chamonix hosts several events throughout the year, including the famous Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a challenging trail running race that circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif, attracting elite athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • The nearest airport to Chamonix is Geneva in Switzerland, which is approximately 88 kilometres (55 miles) away. Chamonix is accessible by road and rail, with regular bus and train services.

Chamonix, a famous mountain resort for summer activities, is near the Aiguille du Midi, a spectacular mountain peak accessible by cable car. From the summit of Aiguille Du Midi, visitors admire panoramic views and even see Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe. Standing over 3,800 meters in a glass box above sea level is truly awe-inspiring. The attraction, step into the void, is hugely popular despite the location of the glass box.

Another notable attraction in Chamonix is Mer de Glace glacier, the largest glacier in France, reached by taking scenic train rides and then descending by cable car or on foot. The glacier offers surreal landscapes, with towering ice formations and captivating blue hues. Exploring ice caves or taking guided hikes on the glacier are popular visitor activities.

Chamonix’s programme of activities is endless for outdoor adventures. The area is renowned for mountaineering, with many challenging routes for experienced climbers. Additionally, there are numerous climbing spots. Activities like rafting, canyoning, and paragliding are available for thrill-seekers, providing an adrenaline rush amidst Alpine scenery.

For family experiences, visit the largest adventure park of Addicted Park Gaillands. This outdoor park is just a 20-minute walk from the town centre and has Tarzan swings and ziplines. It is greatly enjoyed by kids of all ages seeking treetop adventures. Chamonix Sports Centre also has an outdoor heated pool and an indoor pool with attached paddling pool.

Chamonix’s popularity for family summer holidays is attributed to the combined beauty and array of outdoor pursuits. The town’s proximity to mountain peaks makes it a mecca for mountaineers and climbers. Furthermore, the accessibility of l’Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace glacier allows visitors to experience the wonders of mountains without extensive hiking or climbing. Several activities available ensure an unforgettable summer getaway for adventure fans and nature lovers alike.

2: The Summer Alpine Resort of Morzine

  • Morzine is situated in the Haute-Savoie department.
  • Like Chamonix, Morzine is a major tourist destination, attracting visitors primarily for winter skiing, as well as summer hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.
  • In the summer, the town’s ski lifts often remain operational in the summer months to provide access to hiking and biking trails.
  • The nearest airport to Morzine is Geneva in Switzerland, which is approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) away.
  • Morzine has a charming alpine village atmosphere, with traditional Savoyard architecture, local shops, restaurants serving regional cuisine, and cultural events showcasing the heritage of the region.

morzine resort in French Alps

Morzine, one of France’s best summer mountain resorts, offers several exciting activities during summer. For water enthusiasts, there are plenty of options to indulge in thrilling adventures, and this makes it perfect. Kayaking down pristine rivers is popular, allowing visitors to admire mountain scenery while riding rapids. Canyoning also prompts great adrenaline rushes; rappelling down waterfalls and swimming through narrow gorges make for an unforgettable experience.

Furthermore, scuba diving in sparkling lakes surrounding Morzine promotes fantastic opportunities to visit underwater worlds and discover hidden treasures. For more leisurely activities, the luge attracts families. This exhilarating toboggan ride twists and turns down the mountain, guaranteeing big smiles for all ages. Meanwhile, Morzine Aquatic Centre has an outdoor swimming pool and other family activities. Our favourite thing to do for the day is to visit Lake Geneva.

Morzine, in the Portes Du Soleil area, focuses on creating family-friendly environments with activities for all ages. Alongside the luge are various child-friendly attractions, including bouncy castles, trampolines, and mini golf. Families enjoy leisurely walks in picturesque countryside or relax by crystal-clear lakeshores.

3: Leisure Activities in La Plagne

  • La Plagne is a popular resort in the Tarentaise Valley in the Savoie department of southeastern France.
  • La Plagne is linked with the neighboring resort of Les Arcs via the Vanoise Express cable car, providing access to over 425 kilometers of interconnected pistes.
  • The resort spans a wide altitude range, with the lowest point at around 1,250 meters (4,100 feet) and the highest point reaching over 3,250 meters (10,660 feet) at the summit of Bellecôte.
  • La Plagne comprises several villages, each offering its own distinct character and amenities. These include Plagne Centre, Plagne Soleil, Plagne Villages, Plagne 1800, Belle Plagne, Plagne Bellecôte, and Aime La Plagne.
  • The nearest airport to La Plagne is Chambery approximately 130 kilometres (81 miles) away.

This famous purpose-built mountain resort offers unforgettable experiences for whitewater rafting. With affordable self-catering apartments and several summer activities, La Plagne is perfect for adventure seekers. Located near the Isère River, La Plagne boasts the main attraction of thrilling grade two to four rapids. Regardless of your rafting experience, numerous water levels and mountain guides show you the ropes. The Isère River guarantees an exhilarating rafting experience throughout the year.

Apart from its remarkable whitewater rafting activity for teenagers, La Plagne offers several activities and events during the summer seasons. Hiking and mountain biking trails allow visitors to visit alpine scenery and get closer to nature. Additionally, the resort offers paragliding and canyoning expeditions that are perfect for adrenaline-pumping adventures.

La Plagne’s affordability makes it an attractive choice for seasoned rafting enthusiasts and adventurous family days out. Self-catering apartments provide comfortable and cost-effective accommodation options. Overall, La Plagne in France is the ultimate destination for whitewater rafting. With its purpose-built resort, ideal location and affordable accommodations, visitors enjoy unforgettable rafting experiences on the Isère River, all while making lasting memories in this beautiful region.

4: Fresh Mountain Air of Samoëns

  • Samoëns is in the Haute-Savoie department and Vallée du Haut-Giffre, surrounded by stunning alpine scenery.
  • Samoëns is classified as a “Village Monument,” recognized for its rich architectural heritage and historical importance. The village has retained its traditional Savoyard charm, with stone buildings, narrow streets, and a central square.
  • Samoëns is part of the Grand Massif area, which encompasses five interconnected resorts: Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, and Samoëns itself.
  • Samoëns is home to the Jardin Botanique Alpin La Jaysinia, a botanical garden established in 1906. Located near the village, the garden features a diverse collection of alpine plants and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • The nearest major airport to Samoëns is Geneva located approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) away. The village is accessible by road, with shuttle services.

For family-friendly destinations, this summer mountain resort stands tall and proud. This picturesque town has activities for teenagers and complimentary children’s clubs. These clubs provide safe and fun environments for children to play and meet new friends. At the same time, parents indulge in well-deserved relaxation time. And speaking of relaxation, parents should visit the in-house spa to unwind and rejuvenate. In addition, families can enjoy the outdoor pool and see the natural surroundings.

At the same time, guided hikes and downhill mountain biking are also available. But the fun doesn’t stop there. This mountain resort earns fame for adventure activities with mountain guides that will get everyone’s adrenaline pumping. There is no shortage of excitement and thrills, from riding and rafting to high-ropes courses and even paragliding.

5: Summer Holidays in Tignes

  • Tignes is situated in the Tarentaise Valley of the Savoie department. It is part of the Espace Killy ski area, along with neighboring Val d’Isère.
  • Thanks to the Grande Motte glacier, Tignes is one of the few ski resorts in France that offers summer skiing. The glacier provides opportunities for skiing and snowboarding from late June to early August, attracting professional athletes, national teams, and summer ski camp participants.
  • The nearest airport to Tignes is Chambery approximately 140 kilometres (87 miles) away.
  • Tignes is committed to sustainability and environmental conservation. The resort has implemented various eco-friendly initiatives, including waste management programs, energy-efficient infrastructure, and initiatives t

Tignes, a beautiful French Alps Mountain resort, promotes several leisure activities during the summer seasons. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, mountain biker, or simply looking to unwind in nature, Tignes is a brilliant summer destination for an alpine holiday.

Expansive alpine activities are one of the main draws of Tignes as a summer mountain resort. Water sports fans enjoy the crystal-clear lake and activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, and even wakeboarding. The surrounding mountains provide perfect backdrops for mountain biking fans with various trails. However, beginners should always head out with mountain guides first.

For those who like heights, Tignes offers excellent rock climbing opportunities. Rugged cliffs and abundant crags provide a challenging activity for teenagers. Additionally, Tignes boasts of summer skiing. Grande Motte Glacier, located at an impressive altitude of 3,456 meters, remains snowy year-round with lift access, allowing skiers and snowboarders to enjoy the slopes even in summer.

Tignes consists of several villages, each offering its own unique atmosphere and amenities. The five main villages of Tignes are Le Lac, Val Claret, Les Boisses, Les Brévières and Le Lavachet, a smaller village located between Tignes Le Lac and Tignes Val Claret.

6: Family Experiences in Alpe d’Huez

  • Alpe d’Huez is in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region at approximately 1,860 meters (6,102 feet.)
  • Alpe d’Huez is part of the Grandes Rousses area featuring the iconic Sarenne ski slope, which is one of Europe’s longest black runs in Europe, stretching over 16 kilometres (10 miles).
  • Alpe d’Huez is famous for its inclusion in the Tour de France cycling race. The climb to the resort has been featured numerous times in the race.
  • The nearest airport is Grenoble approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) away.

Alpe d’Huez, a summer mountain resort, has plenty of activities, beautiful scenery and world-class summer opportunities. This enchanting resort attracts holidaymakers worldwide, thanks to its numerous ski slopes, excellent lift access and thrilling off-piste areas. One notable feature of Alpe d’Huez is Club Med, a renowned international holiday resort chain with a vast programme of activities. Club Med offers exceptional amenities, top-class accommodation, and several entertainment options, making this an excellent family summer holiday contender.

A 2-hour drive away is Queyras Regional Natural Park. This park is highly praised for outdoor pursuits, spectacular views, and a preserved environment that allows flora and fauna to thrive. The outdoor park is a pristine wilderness area renowned for breathtaking landscapes, diverse flora, and fauna. Spanning over 650 square kilometres in the Hautes-Alpes department of southeastern France, the park encompasses rugged mountains, deep valleys, alpine meadows, dense forests, and picturesque villages.

Queyras Park has dramatic views, with peaks soaring over 3,000 meters. The park is dominated by the Massif du Queyras, a rugged mountain range renowned for jagged peaks, sheer cliffs, and glaciated valleys. Visitors marvel at stunning vistas of snow-capped peaks, sparkling alpine lakes, and lush green meadows as they explore an extensive network of hiking trails.

Rare and endangered species like the ibex, chamois, marmot, golden eagle, and bearded vulture roam through forests, meadows, and rocky slopes. The park is also renowned for vibrant wildflower displays, with alpine meadows bursting into bloom with colourful flowers during the spring and summer.

Queyras Park offers several outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy throughout the year. Hiking and trekking are particularly popular, with well-marked trails crisscrossing the park, ranging from gentle nature walks to challenging mountain ascents. Established in 1977, Queyras Regional Natural Park is dedicated to conserving and preserving unique natural and cultural heritage.

7: Crystal Beauty at Lake Annecy

  • Lake Annecy is in the Haute-Savoie department of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France.
  • It is the third-largest lake in France by surface area, covering approximately 27.59 square kilometers (10.65 square miles). Lake Annecy is is one of the cleanest lakes in Europe. It reaches a maximum depth of around 82 meters (269 feet).
  • The lake, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, features charming villages like Annecy, Talloires, and Doussard. Lake Annecy also offers recreational activities, including swimming, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, and boating.
  • The 42-kilometer (26-mile) bike path encircling the lake is popular among cyclists, offering stunning views and relatively flat terrain. The nearby Col de la Forclaz is a renowned paragliding spot, attracting enthusiasts from around the world who launch from its cliffs and soar over the lake.
  • The city of Annecy, often called “Venice of the Alps,” sits on the northern shore and features charming old town, canals, medieval architecture, and vibrant marketplaces.

In the heart of the French Alps, Lake Annecy showcases crystal-clear beauty. Its pristine waters glisten under warm sunshine, and surrounding snow-capped mountains create picturesque backdrops of superb, awe-inspiring views. Aside from splendid views, visitors take refreshing dips in inviting waters or go for leisurely swims in calm and clear depths.

For those who prefer to stay on land, cycling along the scenic lakeside paths is famous, allowing you to take in magnificent views at your own pace. Additionally, the iconic Palais de l’Isle, a medieval castle-turned-prison nestled on an island in the lake, is a must-see. The convenience of Lake Annecy cannot be overstated. With its proximity to Geneva airport and superb views, reaching this paradise quickly and efficiently ensures you start your relaxing getaway as soon as possible.

Do Enjoy Culinary Traditions During Summer

Of course, the French alps in summer is all about getting out and about, but do take the time to journey through the traditional alpine cuisine. Traditional Alpine cuisine reflects blended French, Italian, and Swiss influences, resulting in various dishes and delicious cheeses celebrating local ingredients and centuries-old traditions.

One iconic dish, raclette, is where regional cheese is melted and scraped onto boiled potatoes, cured meats, and pickles. Fondue Savoyarde, another classic, features melted regional cheese blended with white wine and garlic, served with bread for dipping. Originating from France’s Savoie region, tartiflette, a beloved comfort food made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, lardons (bacon), onions, and white wine, is a rich and satisfying dish.

Crozet, small squares of buckwheat pasta and a staple in Alpine cuisine, are often served with melted regional cheese or incorporated into gratins, soups, or hearty salads. Tourtons are deep-fried turnovers with savoury or sweet fillings like potatoes, delicious cheese, or fruit. Diots au Vin Blanc are traditional Savoyard sausages simmered in white wine, often served with polenta or potatoes. (more about food in the French Alps.)

About Cycling in the Alps

For avid cyclists who love breathtaking scenery, cycling in the French Alps during summer should be on your bucket list. Indeed, many people buying property, just associate the alps with the famous reputation for skiing. But outside of the winter months, the alps become an outdoor playground with cyclists flocking from around France and the world.

With majestic mountains, tough climbs, and stunning landscapes, the French Alps offer unforgettable experiences. From the famous Mont Ventoux to the legendary Col du Tourmalet, there is no shortage of classic climbs featured in cycling’s most prestigious races, like the Tour de France.(More about cycling here)

Airports to Use

When travelling to the French Alps, the choice of airport largely depends on your destination and your preferred mode of transportation. Geneva Airport is famous because of its proximity to many popular ski resorts and mountain destinations in France and Switzerland. It is a convenient entry point for Chamonix, Megeve, Morzine, and Les Gets destinations.

Lyon Airport provides access to popular destinations like Grenoble, Courchevel, Val d’Isère, and Tignes. The airport is approximately 150-200 kilometres from many Alpine resorts. Chambery Airport is a gateway to the eastern French Alps, offering convenient access to ski resorts like Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens, and La Plagne. Grenoble Airport provides access to the best summer resorts in the French Alps like Alpe d’Huez, Les Deux Alpes, and Chamrousse. (More about French Alps airports here)

Explore Your Summer Escape in the French Alps!

Are you ready to embark on a journey to your own slice of paradise nestled amidst the majestic peaks of the French Alps? Look no further! Our exclusive listings of properties for sale offer a gateway to unparalleled beauty and adventure. From charming chalets with breathtaking mountain views to luxurious residences, our curated selection caters to every discerning taste and lifestyle. Whether you seek a cozy retreat for intimate getaways or a spacious mountain haven for summer family gatherings, we have the perfect summer property in the French Alps.