Think of the French Alps and you may simply think of snow and ski-ing. But in summer, Europe’s longest mountain range provides a completely different playground. The mountain air is pure, alpine meadows bloom with 13,00 varieties of colourful plants and while there can be rain in any mountain range, there is plenty of sunshine too. But it’s the great variety of staggering scenery that will take your breath away: dark forests, snow-capped peaks, and a wonderland of emerald lakes and waterfalls. Walking in the silence of the mountains, you’ll hear just the sound of birdsong and the whistle of the marmot as it scurries across your path. Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain at nearly 5,000 metres, is your constant companion and if you want a day off from walking you can even get up close on the Aiguille du Midi cable car.
Prices are considerably lower than in winter and you’ll find a great variety of places to stay. Morzine, a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in south-eastern France, ticks all the boxes; the mountain sides are free from the ugly scars of the winter season that spoil many ski resorts. Residents here take a pride in their town, it has all the facilities you are likely to need and it’s easily accessible from Geneva. Staying at one of our recommended small chalets, you’ll enjoy comfort, a touch of luxury and fine food.
Finally, you don’t have to be particularly fit to walk in these mountains; even fairly basic fitness will allow you to reach impressive scenery with the aid of the cable cars and ski lifts surrounding the town. You can walk at safe altitudes while enjoying a ‘Haute Montagne’ feel. The footpaths are easy to follow, with excellent signposting as you follow parts of the classic Alpine long distance footpath (GR5) and old smugglers’ trails high up along the Swiss border.