Skiing in the French Alps

The evolution of mountain holidays: France for the active traveller

Insights from Club Med’s 2019 mountain report

For many, holidays aren’t just about lying on a beach and soaking up some sun. There are those travellers who are all about active holidays. This can be for the purposes of wellness, fun, active rest, of all of these combined. The fact is that more and more travellers want holidays where there’s stuff to do. Whether you want to spend your whole holiday cycling, hiking, skiing, acrobranching, and more or if you want to do this some of the time and chill the rest of the time, France is one place you should add to your holiday list.

France as a destination has always been a firm favourite for overseas travel, offering many drawcards for South Africans. Besides being easily accessible, the destination offers different seasons and the possibility of all-year travel.”*

According to the 2019 Evolution of mountain holidays report, prepared by Club Med and supported by Atout France, there is an 11% increase in mountain holiday bookings for All-Inclusive resorts in France. Many of these bookings are for families, many are for the purpose of wellness, and many are booked far in advance.

Wellness travel is increasing in popularity globally and is a strong motivator for many holidays. In some cases, it is the primary motivator and in others it is the secondary motivator. Regardless, wellness is an important component of a traveller’s journey and for those seeking active wellness, France offers plenty.

Club Med has found that mountain biking is increasingly popular for those seeking summer holidays in the French Alps.

“I am an avid mountain biker, but for some reason I hadn’t connected the dots that Les Arcs Panorama is the ideal place for mountain biking. And you can use e-bikes too, so you get to experience more of the landscape. If you’re a real thrill-seeker, there are some epic endurance trails. This area should really be known as a mountain biking Mecca,” says Amy Hopkins, Managing Editor of Women’s Health South Africa.

Sean Badenhorst, co-founder of TREAD Media, visited Club Med Les Arcs Panorama with his wife and son in the summer and had this to say:

“The resort has a strong family focus. In fact, it encourages family bookings and has facilities that ensure kids and teens are entertained and cared for, allowing parents opportunities to enjoy activities alone. As for the mountain biking, well, it was incredible! The fleet of bikes is expansive in terms of sizes and you can choose between a regular mountain bike and an e-bike – plus the mountain bike guides are professional and experienced. It was an incredibly memorable trip that we’ll treasure as a family forever.”

In winter

This is the classic French mountain holiday: travellers exploring the snow-capped Alps on skis or snowboards. From learning to master your chosen sport to enjoying après-ski at popular spots like La Folie Duce, winter holidays in the French Alps are wonderful. If skiing and snowboarding aren’t your thing, you can try Nordic walking – another active way to explore the slopes but as slowly or quickly as you choose to walk.

If you’d like a day away from the slopes there are quaint mountain villages to explore – each with delicious cuisine, wines, and rich history.

For families, snow holidays are amazing. There are opportunities for you to bond, expose your children to different cultures, and have some time away in a different environment. Mother and former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss, who took a snow holiday with her husband and three children – including a baby – says she recommends snow holidays for families.

“I would definitely recommend taking a Club Med snow holiday with your family, even if you have very small children. Our kids were nice and tired at night, after a busy day of fun, and they slept well. You’re creating the most incredible memories and it’s an active holiday for your family,” she says. Read more of why she thinks snow holidays are great for families here.

A child learns to ski in the Alps with the Club Med Kids' Club
Learning to ski in the Alps with the Club Med Kids’ Club

In summer

Summer holidays in the French Alps are less well-known by South African travellers but it’s time that changed significantly. For active travellers like fit couples and families, this holiday is ideal. Not only do you get to explore the French Alps you get to do it in warm summer temperatures with a truckload of activities to try.

You could go acrobranching, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, golfing, canyoning, and more. You can even enjoy family picnics in a clearing in the lush grass before heading off on your next activity.

Hiking through the French Alps with Club Med
Hiking through the French Alps with Club Med

You can still enjoy mountain villages but this time you can comfortably walk the streets without fear of freezing, you can enjoy classic French cuisine, and you can marvel at the magnificent mountain views.

Simply put: you should enjoy an active holiday in the French Alps whether you are after wellness, family time, or just a great holiday.

Speak to a sun or snow specialist at the Travel Agency by Club Med today and book all your flights, transfers, and accommodation.

* From “Evolution of mountain holidays – a panoramic view” – a report by prepared by Club Med in partnership with Atout France