Savoie-Mont-Blanc spreads across more than two-thirds of the French Alps and counts 110 plus resorts on home territory – including world icons like Val d’Isère, Chamonix and Courchevel. Naturally, in late April, when the snowline recedes back up the mountains, everyone in the area simply falls sound asleep until ski season kicks off again in December.
Oddly enough, that unlikely scenario might very well be one you’ve just assumed. After all, what could there possibly be to do in the French Alps except ski?
Well, apart from the lakes; beaches; Alpine meadows; spectacular national parks; rivers; valleys and snow-free mountains themselves, you could try almost endless sunshine and average temperatures of 25˚. Then there are dozens of Famille Plus resorts, so the area’s made for kids. And if all that isn’t quite tempting enough, have some wildlife: most sensible creatures snooze out winter around these parts but, come summer, it’s showtime – and how.
Still think you can’t do a family holiday in Savoie-Mont-Blanc without extortionate lift passes and equipment hire? Here are another 10 great reasons to change your mind.
As far as a gap in your wildlife knowledge goes, don’t worry too much about unfamiliarity with the marmot – especially if you’ve only visited the French Alps to ski. A member of the squirrel family, these endearing creatures hibernate in winter and only make an appearance in late spring. Then, for about four months straight, they eat non-stop; romp around; whistle loudly to attract each other's attention and grow fat and fluffy.
Flaine Mountain’s one of the best places to spot marmot in summer and the resort organises family hikes with local guides in July and August. Kids as young as six are welcome so it’s not too strenuous and the prospect of spying giant squirrels is always enormously motivating.