Summer adventure in the Alps

Alpe d’Huez is best known as one of the Alps’ most popular ski resorts, but Catherine Cooper tells us how it also makes a brilliant family destination in summer too.

Summer holiday in the Alps

The Cooper family in the Alps

Says Catherine: “Alpe d’Huez is one of the most famous stages of the Tour de France, and as such it is a big centre for road cyclists setting themselves the challenge of cycling up the iconic road with 21 hairpin bends from the valley floor to the village.

“But as well as that, it’s also very popular mountain bikers who can take one of the selected lifts which are open all summer and roll (or slide, or fall) down various cycle pistes which are graded from green to black like ski pistes.

“As near-complete novices, we joined a 2-hour VTT initiation session in a group of about 15 with two patient instructors who taught us how to squeeze the brakes gently with our finger tips and push our bums back over the seat as the slope got steeper. After that they took us up the main DMC ski lift before guiding us down the mainly grassy but occasionally rocky slope.

“Looking at the rest of the group in near full body armour I began the lesson fairly convinced I was going to break something but thanks largely to the patience of the instructors, actually managed to enjoy the second run down and even gave it a go again another day.

“Another day we took two lifts all the way to the top – there was still snow on the ground up there and we were woefully underdressed – and another day took a lift up to walk alongside some stunning lakes joined by streams.

“Back down in the village we tried out summer luge and X-Fly – a collection of activities including two zip wires, climbing walls and an eight-metre jump into an air bag.

Zipwire in the Alpe d'Huez

Livi tries the zipwire

“On the one rainy day the children tried out the indoor adventure park In’Vertigo, played table tennis and indoor mini golf. The Palais des Sports offers a Premium Pass which gives you unlimited entry to the indoor and outdoor pools, ice rink, tennis courts, minigolf, table tennis and more, so it doesn’t even need to cost a fortune.

“On our last day in the resort Toby and Livi took their first parapente flight and then in the afternoon we went mountain biking. However I was feeling lazy so after one run down I swapped my ordinary bike for an electric one and spent the afternoon cycling up to the lake, down the hill a little so that I could power up past the proper cyclists aided by the little motor. As far as I’m concerned now, that’s the only way to cycle.

Parapente flights in the Alps

Don’t look down! A parapente flight

“We stayed in VIP Ski’s Chalet La Maison, a luxurious and comfortable chalet at 2,000 metres, above the main village of Alpe d’Huez in a quiet location but very close to the main DM1 telecabine and some chairlifts as well as shops, bars and a small supermarket.

The chalet has four en suite rooms with balconies, lovely big living room with a large sunny balcony with deckchairs and fabulous view, Freeview TV, Bose sound systems and fully-equipped kitchen. Best of all, downstairs there’s a sauna and jacuzzi. Summer prices start at £105 per room per night, self-catering. Breakfast can be added for an additional charge of £7.50 per person.

Find out more about VIP Ski’s Chalet La Maison here:,-chalet-la-maison.

Visit the official site of the Alpe d’Huez here:

French alps

Summer holidays in the French Alps


Most families tend to head to the coast for their sunshine holidays and leave the mountains for winter snow, but summer holidays in the French Alps ticks many of the boxes for a great family holiday, without the problems faced by families staying in packed resorts.

We think there are three main reasons to consider the Alps for a summer holiday:

  1. They are considerably cheaper than the coast
  2. The Alps is much quieter
  3. You’ll find loads of fun activities

Summer in the French Alps

So why at the Alps cheaper than the coast?

It’s all to do with the cost of accommodation. Because this area is better known for being a ski resort, there’s a glut of accommodation that’s never full in the summer months.

You can pick up an apartment from as little as a couple of hundred pounds per week in the school summer holidays – compare that with a beach family holiday  where normally you wouldn’t get much change from a thousand pounds.

How about the traffic?

The traditional exodus to the coast doesn’t affect the Alps. Roads remain quiet over the summer months, driving becomes a pleasure and you can explore the mountain roads at your leisure, without the fear of being stuck in traffic down to the beach, or back again at the end of the day.

And what is there to do?

For those of you who can’t bear the idea of missing out on swimming, the mountain resorts tend to be well-equipped with either pool complexes or lakes you can swim in.

You’ll see signs for ‘Base de Loisirs’ where there’s often many activities on offer, from swimming, tree-top adventure climbing, river rafting and play-grounds for children.

For the more adventurous there are the more challenging activities. Try climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, parascending or via ferrata.

A via ferrata (Italian for “iron road”) is a climbing route in the mountains where climbers secure themselves to cables or iron rungs to help them reach high peaks. The origins of via ferrata date back to the nineteenth century, but via ferratas are strongly associated with the First World War, when several were built in the Dolomite mountain region of Italy to aid the movement of troops. More on via ferrata to follow when our own intrepid mountaineer tries it for the first time this summer…

Where to stay?

Here are three summer holiday options on our website,

Chalet La Giettaz is located in the picturesque Savoyard village of La Giettaz, surrounded by fabulous Alpine scenery: a wonderful location for year-round holidays with family and friends.  In summer, the area offers many opportunities for walking, cycling, mountain biking and other outdoor activities, or simply relaxing in the beautiful surroundings.

Simply Morzine offers summer family activity holidays with renowned alpine family specialists. You can choose from a variety of catered and self-catered accommodation including family-run French hotels, private luxury chalets and apartments perfect for a family. There is a superb programme of activities for all ages and interests, from toddlers to teenagers and dads to grandads! Catered bookings include free activities.

Chez Pascal is a luxury chalet in Morzine, French Alps.  It’s great for summer family activity holidays and the chalet offers an outdoor terrace and games area with spectacular views.

So, are you up for trying something different?  We can recommend it!