Fresh mountain air, beautiful nature and cozy villages, this summer in the French Alps. In the French Haute-Savoie you will find the Portes Du Soleil ski area, which is popular among winter sports enthusiasts. But did you know that there are also all kinds of fun things to do for the whole family in summer? This part of France is less well known among the Dutch in the summer, but is it justified? We tested it and visited the villages of Chatel, Morzine and Les Gates, which are in the middle of the Portes Du Soleil district. There we came to the conclusion that this region has everything for a holiday in the fresh air that will make the whole family happy.
Happy faces, being active together and making lifelong memories. Active holiday with children of all ages. Read along with files 10 tips for this beautiful part of the French Alps?
1. Visit the mountain village of Chatel
At an altitude of 1200 meters and in the center of the Portes du Soleil area, we find the French village of Chatel. Located near the border with Switzerland, this mountain village has a lot of charm defined by its original farm chalets. Here you will not find huge apartment buildings, but beautiful Alpine houses and French gastronomy.
For these activities starting today from Chatel:
- Climbing among the treetops: When you take the Super Châtel lift from the center to the top, you reach the climbing park. Fun for kids, but feel free to join in too. The first path is still fairly easy, then comes the challenge!
- Fabulous: Ready for some extra adventure? How about a trip with wonderful? You fly comfortably with a seat belt, at a speed of about 100 km / h over beautiful landscapes.
- Full speed with Bob Luge’s Bobsleigh: Among the spruce trees of Pré-la-Joux, you will find a sleigh track that is great fun with the kids. The track has a length of 650 m and an average speed of 7 m/s descends at full speed.
2. Go on an adventure in Morzine
In one of the other valleys in the region of Portes du Soleil you will find the mountain village of Morzine. Here the mountains come alive with lush greenery and flowers. The village, established since 1181, has managed to maintain a laid-back pace of life and authentic charm despite the tourism. Leave the car behind, because with lifts you can easily go to Avoriaz and Les Gets. Moreover, the village is an ideal base for a real lake and mountain vacation.
The best things to do with Morzine are:
- Jacot world: When you take the elevator outside the center of Morzine, you will reach the world of Jacot. A restaurant where it is especially fun for children to meet all the animals. What about the giant chicken and the dwarf? Or different types of ducks, rabbits, goats and sheep. Read to the children from the storyboards and they are completely happy.
- Climbing the Pas de Lijle Pass: Then it’s time to get up to speed again. The most beautiful view of Morzine can be found on the Pas de l’Aigle. With a stunning view of Mont Blanc and beautiful pine forests.
- No car can be seen in the center: Morzine has established a pedestrian zone in the center of the village and provides peace and security to the holidaymakers in the center. The village comes alive in summer and many activities are organized for children (6+). Kids can roam free while their parents have a little rest and relaxation.
3. Discover the vitality and coexistence of Les Gets
When we enter Les Gets (pronounced Lee Zjee), you immediately feel how vibrant this French Alpine village can be. You will find many shops, restaurants and terraces. And where there is catering, you often find pleasure too. This place is again a base for active people. During our stay we were amazed, because the World Cup mountain biking is in full swing when we visit the village.
Want the real Les Gets experience? Then do at least one of the following activities:
- Wept Lake: A great place for families is Lac des Ecoles. In summer weather, this is the perfect place to look for some refreshment. You will find a playground, bike path and overnight stay. The latter is a path of inflatable obstacles in the water, which you can climb and slide over. A real playground on the water for kids and parents.
- Alta Lumina: As soon as the sun goes down at Les Gets, the Alta Lumina light show begins. You will walk through the woods and along the way you will join the adventure of a musician who travels the world in his hot air balloon to spread his enchanting melodies. It is a wonderful experience for the whole family that you can visit all year round.
- Mountain Bike World Championships: How lucky we were to experience this unique event during our stay at Les Gets. The Mountain Biking World Championships includes cross-country, downhill, and e-mountain bike competitions. Unfortunately, this event is not held every year in Les Gets, but there is a relaxed atmosphere every summer thanks to the mountain bikers.
The above villages are attractions in themselves and are an ideal base for recreational activities. For the tips below, you’ve come to the right place in the entire region!
4. Make the most of your stay in this area with Multi Pass
When you are staying in shared accommodation, you can use the Multi Pass Portes Du Soleil. For €2.50 per day per person, you have unlimited access to many activities. This includes access to 25 pedestrian ski lifts, 800 kilometers of hiking trails, swimming pools, lakes, sports facilities, and more. In addition, you will get a minimum 10% discount on many other activities by showing this card. Unlimited use of lifts alone is a plus and ensures that you can go in all directions during the entire stay.
5. Experience the mountain bike cycle
In summer, everything in the three French Alpine villages transforms into a place dedicated to mountain bikers. Everywhere you see mountain bikers, mountain bikers and more mountain bikers. For many, this is the reason to visit this region. Few of the bikes are uphill, but most sports fans go to the slopes. Gondolas, lifts and trails are fully equipped for mountain biking in summer. You don’t have to be a professional to tour. From novice to expert, there is a course to suit everyone. Kids are also thought of, and you’ll find many mini tracks or bike parks for kids 8 and up. Do you dare to descend the mountain through one of the many distinct trails?
6. With elevator(s)
With the lift to the top of the mountain, this is an activity in itself. Enjoy the surroundings in peace as the elevator slowly takes you to great heights. Such a wonderful experience, especially for our children. At the top of the mountain, you will also be rewarded with a beautiful view. There are plenty of opportunities in the area to enjoy the view. How about a visit to Le Morclain from Châtel? From the center of the village, the Super Châtel cable car takes you to an altitude of 1,650 metres. From there you can continue on the Le Morclan lift towards an altitude of 1970 metres. At the top you have stunning views of the mountains, culminating with a view of the top of Mont Blanc.
7. Endless possibilities for hiking
Walkers can also enjoy themselves here, because with more than 800 kilometers of hiking trails, there’s plenty in store for this group of active people. There are also plenty of options for families with children, depending on the level and distance you want to walk. Beautiful views guaranteed while hiking (provided the weather doesn’t throw a wrench in the works).
8. Take to the skies to paraglide yourself
Speaking of scenic views, this popular activity is not to be missed. We are, of course, talking about paragliding. In this sport, you run down the mountain with a parachute and then take to the air and enjoy the most beautiful views. During your trip, you usually enjoy a view of Mont Blanc, which rises above other mountains. Therefore, paragliding is widely practiced in all three villages. Once the weather permits, you’ll see the paratroopers take to the skies one by one.
9. Take a trip to Lake Geneva
Now that Switzerland is so close, a trip to the neighboring country is definitely something that should be on the schedule. From Châtel it is a 45-minute drive to Thonon-les-Bains, Évian-les-Bains and Montreux and over an hour to the Lavaux vineyards. Perfect for a day trip from the French Alps.
10. Swimming in the most beautiful pools or lakes
The area offers many opportunities for a refreshing swim. Especially when the weather allows it in the summer, swimming is the thing that kids definitely enjoy the most. If you are looking for a swimming pool, you will find the Forme d’O Aquatic Center in the center of Chatel and the Aquatic Center in Morzine. Here you will find indoor and outdoor swimming pools. As mentioned earlier, in Les Gets you will find a wonderful swimming lake, Lac des Écoles. In short: you can always relax in every village.
Of course there is plenty to do in Chatel, Morzine, Les Gates and the nine other villages in the Portes du Soleil district. One thing we know for sure is that you can totally enjoy the nature, tranquility, activities, food and drinks of the area here. This area is a real destination for active and energetic people. To do so, set out on an expedition in the beautiful French Alps.