The ultimate guide to summer in the French Alps

You may think of the Alps as purely a winter destination, but this diverse region delivers year-round, especially when planning that family summer escape. But with such a vast mountain range to explore, which resorts and experiences do you choose?

Club Med resorts offer a unique lake and mountain experience in the summer, with spectacular scenery and a balance of activity and relaxation. Guests can enjoy all-inclusive benefits, such as local gourmet food, kids club with qualified carers and a variety of activities for all ages. It's the ideal choice for active families who want to have a memorable summer adventure in the French Alps. Check out our ultimate Club Med and Alps summer guide…

Alpe D'Huez

The resort

If you’re looking for a getaway spot that thrives, no matter the season, look no further than Club Med Alpe d'Huez Resort. You’ll find it amid the slopes of the Grandes Rousses Massif, where there’s so much more beyond skiing. Don’t miss views of the Huez and Oisans valleys for one – best enjoyed from the terrace after an invigorating dip in the 18-metre pool. Or how about the gastronomic delights of on-site restaurant Le Pic Blanc, with its panoramic valley vistas and fresh, local produce? Pair it with a glass of Dauphiné terroir after a day spent exploring the mountains.

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Exploring on two wheels

Alpe d’Huez needs little introduction as the cycling capital of the Alps. Beginners and pros alike flock here to take on some of the most memorable routes in Europe, made famous by the mighty Tour de France. The most iconic (and the most daring) is the Alpe d’Huez cycling climb, featured in nearly 30 races and stretching for 13km from Bourg d’Oisans to the race finish in Huez village. But it’s not all road cycling here. The 35 maintained mountain bike trails offer 250km of thrills. For a real buzz, try the ‘Megavalanche’ – a vertical drop amid rocky Alpine terrain. Older kids can even go on accompanied mountain bike rides to explore the trails for themselves.

Must-try experiences

Take the Pic Blanc cable car

Built in 1963, not only is this cable car bike, hike, and ski friendly, but it also takes you to the 3,330m summit of Pic Blanc, the highest peak in the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine ski area. On a clear day the views take in around 20% of France!

Channel your inner Tour de France champion

If you’re a serious cyclist, the 21 bends and gruelling 13.2km climb of Bourg de Osains are a must. Expect the first six bends to be the toughest, with average gradients around 11%, while the middle section and final five turns level out to 8-9% and 5-6% respectively.

Relax on the resort’s south-facing terrace

There’s nothing quite like soaking up the serenity and scenery of the Alps, and few places do it better than the Club Med Alpe d’Huez terrace. After a busy day biking, hiking or adventuring, sit back in the sunshine, vino in hand, and relish the spectacular natural beauty of the region.

Grand Massif

The resort

What we love most about Club Med’s Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon is how seamlessly it blends into its surroundings. Indeed, with its sloping rooftops, mountain-inspired menus, and precarious plateau positioning, you’d be forgiven for wondering where the slopes end, and the resort begins. This is what makes it the perfect family getaway. Your kids can even tag along on mountain hikes with the advantage of an experienced guide. With the Giffre Valley on your doorstep, you can explore with ease – whether you’re into hiking, mountaineering, paragliding or rafting, this is a great jumping-off point. And, perhaps most importantly, the resort can arrange your excursions for you, taking the hassle out of the planning process.

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Soaking up Alpine landscapes

High Alpine meadows, dramatic valleys, world-class peaks… Grand Massif really does have it all. Most know it for Mont Blanc, but you don’t have to be tramping and climbing this mighty mountain to appreciate its majesty. In fact, in the village of Samoëns you can amble between altitudes of 700 and 2,120m, breathing in that fresh mountain air and taking in vistas across the Giffre Valley and Mont Blanc range. Or, if you prefer a more sedentary approach, outdoor terraces and spas abound here, so you can take in the mesmerising scenes without even breaking a sweat.

Must-try experiences

Wakeboard in the mountains

Yup, you read that right! At the Grand Massif Samoëns Morillon you can learn how to wakeboard, thanks to a water sports centre on the banks of the Arve Alpine River. A thoroughly thrilling experience against an epic backdrop, and it’s included as part of your Club Med experience too.

Stroll through Samoëns village

This is perhaps the Alps at their most authentic. Amble around Samoëns’ charming buildings and you’ll soon discover evidence of the village’s skilled stone masonry, dating back to the 16th century. Admire the old indoor market, ancient lime tree and Notre Dame de l’Assomption – the traditional church of Samoëns.

Enjoy a family walk on a glacial cirque

Grand Massif may be a renowned ski area, but it still has hidden gems. Fer à Cheval (horseshoe) cirque, at the base of Giffre Valley, is the largest glacial cirque in the Alps. It soars up to 2,000m, pocked with waterfalls forged by melting ice – a truly spectacular sight and unforgettable tramping experience.

Les Arcs Panorama

The resort

Club Med Les Arcs Panorama may be tucked away on the mountainside of Les Arcs 1600, but this hidden resort is anything but unassuming. Its curvy, Scandi design reflects the drama and undulating architecture of the mountains, while its location blends forest and peak vistas. Certainly, this Club Med gem is beloved for its views – hence the moniker – with its 1,800m altitude taking in the Tarentaise Valley, Mont Blanc, and beyond. And you don’t even need to leave the grounds to see it all. Dine at avant-garde White Stones, and enjoy wine from the cellar on its sun-soaked terrace – complete with those sweeping panoramas…

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Hiking, biking and panoramic views

You’ll find Les Arcs Panorama in the forested Tarentaise Valley, where wellness meets adrenaline. In fact, it’s in this region where you’ll find vast national parks like Les Écrins or La Vanoise, not to mention abundant adventures. Of course there’s the skiing, but in summer we love trail running, tackling via ferratas, and biking or hiking the uncrowded, well-marked trails. Get your pulse racing with paragliding, rafting and canyoning in the Isere River, or lower your heart rate with some horseback riding through the glacier-carved Champagny-le-Haut valley. For local flavours and culture, try one of the many festivals that pepper the summer calendar here.

Must-try experiences

Climb the Aiguille Rouge

So-called for its crimson rocks, this 3,226m peak in Vanoise National Park promises tremendous summit views. Follow the marked piste to the top and, in prime summer conditions, you can complete the climb in a day. Your reward? Views of all the giant Vanoise mountains, and even across Italy.

Walk in the shadow of Mont Blanc

The Les Arcs ski area is just a short distance from Mont Blanc, with numerous hiking trails from the Club Med resort. Run or walk winding routes through fir trees and take in both peak and valley views; perhaps even venture to 2,450m to the highest point of the Chal Pass.

Experience downhill mountain biking

Step out of Les Arcs Panorama and into your cycling gear; the Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry Bike Park has its entrance at the resort! It boasts 149km of trails, including a practice park, cross-country routes, and eight downhill runways. You can soak up the forested, mountain landscapes, while getting your heart pumping.


The resort

Located in one of the liveliest sections of the Alps, Club Med Tignes is where you go if you’re looking to meet like-minded travellers. The vibe here is distinctly happy, and it’s perhaps the most family friendly resort that Club Med offers in this region. And, being in the bustling Tignes-Val d’Isere ski area, activities here abound. Start your day with yoga on one of four south-facing terraces, before heading out to hike on a glacier, SUP on the lake, or recharge your batteries in the on-site Sothys Spa. Days are best finished with some international fare at Le Val Claret.

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Recharging among lakes and glaciers

Tignes may exude charm and confidence, but this typically busy region has a softer, introverted side too. Look in the right places, and this is somewhere where you can truly unwind and get back to nature. Being just a stone’s throw from nature reserves like Hauts-de-Villaroger, it’s a great spot for gentle hikes spent discovering the local flora and fauna, searching for wildlife – from squirrels to wild boar. But it’s the watery beauty here that really slows the pulse. Discover laid-back beach vibes amid the mountains at turquoise Lake Tignes, filled with water from the equally impressive Grande Motte glacier.

Must-try experiences

Spy the Aiguille Percée

Otherworldly geology awaits. The natural archway of Aiguille Percée – otherwise known as the ‘Eye of the Needle’ – sits above Tignes and its rock window is perhaps the region’s best-kept secret. The 7.9km hike (or bike trail) can be challenging. The reward, though, is spectacular. Make the adventure easier with the Palafour ski lift!

Soak up epic views from the Glacier de la Grande Motte

The highest point in Tignes, from the summit of the 3,656m Grand Motte Glacier you can gaze across Mont Blanc and much of the French Alps. And, if you’re desperate for your ski fix, the altitude here means you can hit the slopes for 10 months of the year.

Make Lac de Tignes your playground

Fed by glacier meltwater, this mountain-flanked lake is a postcard-worthy haven for summer water sports – young and old alike love it here! Take it easy shoreside, rent a pedalo, kayak or canoe, or shift the activity level up a gear on the slides and trampolines, or with a spot of stand-up paddleboarding.

Val d'Isere

The resort

The Club Med resort at Val d’Isere showcases the true magic of skiing. It’s got a thoroughly traditional feel to blend in with the village: think brown wooden chalets bursting with charm amid the hollow of the valley. It also places heavy emphasis on exclusivity, luxury, and style – thanks to the Club Med Spa by Cinq Mondes, the hot tub on the terrace, and its peaceful pool. Be sure to try the energising Vibhava Yoga course too, designed to help rebuild deep connections with life and the people around to you, not to mention the mountains that surround this breathtaking region.

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Embracing idyllic mountain life

The timeless style, charm and history of Val d’Isere makes it one of the best places in the Alps for truly experiencing mountain life. Most know it for its high-end resorts and epic skiing – it plays host to the Alpine Ski World Cup every year after all – but it also delivers an arsenal of outdoorsy adventures beyond the pistes. So, pull on your walking boots and get exploring! There’s the Le Vallon du Prariond for a stroll through gorges, spotting grazing animals, the gentle, family friendly Le Vallee du Manchet, and the Alpine meadows and forests of Foret du Fornet.

Must-try experiences

Explore the village of Val d’Isere

Traditional Val d’Isère is a magnet for skiers, but still maintains its authenticity and charm. It’s also great for being on foot – not just skis! Explore the Baroque St Bernard de Menthon church, surrounded by stone chalets with sculpted wooden balconies. Or perhaps stroll the pedestrianised squares and open-air ice rink.

Lace up and hike Vanoise National Park

This vast park stretches for 535km2, with a staggering 400km of marked trails. Pull on your hiking boots and head out in search of 1,400 plant species, glaciers, valleys, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Vanoise is also home to marmots, ibex, golden eagles and chamois, not to mention France’s biggest ibex colony.

Sample an array of Alpine cuisine

Val d’Isere is packed with bars and restaurants to choose from, but it’s Club Med’s Les Millesimes that will take you on a real flavour journey. The menu fuses local and French gastronomy, not to mention some of the very best French wines – from well-known tipples to more small-batch vintages.

Enjoy the freedom of the Alps with Club Med...

Feeling inspired?

To start planning your summer adventure in the French Alps, head to the official Club Med website.