Next month’s Tour de France is going up all five of France’s mountain ranges. It will showcase the country’s dramatic landscape and remind us just how much fun an Alpine home can be – in the summer as well as winter months
The countdown has begun for one of the world’s most celebrated annual sporting events, the Tour de France, which this year sees competing cyclists begin the 3,540-kilometre course in Dusseldorf in Germany on 1st July.
The event will be a great showcase for anyone looking for a scenic French home that offers outdoor activities.
Highlights of ‘Le Tour’ are always the stages that wind through the mountains, and for the first time in 25 years all five of France’s mountain ranges feature in the race in 2017.
As well as the usual climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees, the three-week Tour will include stages in the Vosges, Jura and Massif Central mountain ranges. The event will be a great showcase for anyone looking for a scenic French home that offers outdoor activities.
You don’t need to climb a mountain to see French homes and get answers to all your property buying queries. Come to the Property Guides stand at Your Overseas Home, Manchester on Saturday 24th June. Further details here.
It’s also a reminder that tourism and property in France’s fabulous mountainous regions, in particular the Alps, no longer focus solely around winter sports and the length of the ski season. These days, mountain resorts put as much effort into making the summer months as fun as the winter by offering all types of outdoor activities, and we’re not just talking about trekking.
To give you a taste of what owning a French mountain home could be like, here are five popular summer activities in the Alps with suggestions for where to enjoy them – as well as skiing once the snow arrives:
The Alps offers some of the most challenging cycling, whether you’re on a road bike or mountain-bike. The Portes du Soleil area, which straddles France and Switzerland is famed for both types of cycling. There, the resort of Châtel boasts 15 chairlifts able to accommodate mountain bikes in the summer and offers 600 kilometres of tracks, 19 trails and a bike park.
The Savoie and Haute Savoie départements form one of Europe’s most picturesque destinations to play a round of golf. There are a surprising number of courses to choose from too, including Chamonix, Avoriaz, Megève, Tignes (the highest course in Europe), Les Arcs and Courchevel. The family oriented resort of Les Gets, in the Portes du Soleil area, has a scenic 18-hole course.
Many Alpine resorts have public tennis facilities but serious followers of the game will know that Courchevel, with its own club, is an international tennis hub, hosting professional tournaments. Flaine, part of the Grand Massif, is another popular resort with facilities a cut above the average, which are used for tennis camps during the summer.
The Chamonix Valley, in the shadow of Mont Blanc, is a favourite destination of paragliders from around the world. It’s a good place for beginners as well as experienced flyers, thanks to the selection of flying schools and range of high and low altitude take-off and landing points.
Rafting and canyoning
Canyoning – navigating rivers and gullies in a wetsuit – and rafting are two of the most exhilarating ways to experience the natural beauty of the French Alps. There are some fantastic rivers in the Haute Savoie suitable for both activities, including L’Isère, the source of which is near the similarly named Val d’Isère, and the Dranse, which is only 30 minutes from the Châtel ski resort.
For more inspiration, read about a British homeowner who gets year-round thrills at his chalet in the French Alps by skiing in the winter and paragliding in the warmer months, by clicking here.