Paradisiacal Peaks: Exploring the Alps Off-Season

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Published On

June 6, 2024

As winter recedes, a new season takes hold, igniting a newfound fever for adventure in the heart of the French Alps… Snow-capped peaks and pristine pistes. For many, the French Alps conjure up visions of a white-washed winter wonderland. Yet when the icy Alpine scenes begin to thaw, seasoned travellers eagerly await the transformation, as lush green hillsides and verdant valleys emerge creating a grand playground for adventure.

Embracing the off-season

While visiting the French Alps in high season offers an unrivalled ski retreat, many August families are now discovering the benefits of holidaying off-peak. Our booking system is sustainably designed to encourage year-round occupancy, making longer stays possible in off-peak periods and in turn supporting communities and local livelihoods, whatever the season. The atmospheric villages of Chamonix and Megéve are the perfect candidates, with the summer season offering an entirely new perspective on the traditional Alpine retreat. Free from crowds, nature flourishes, temperate weather prevails and the pace of living slows. Embracing the off-season, we share our guide to a summer getaway in the French Alps, designed to inspire your next August adventures.

Mountain Highs

The Chamonix valley is home to over 600 kilometres (400 miles) of marked trails. For exceptional views and mountain air, the hike to Lac Blanc is a firm August favourite. A range of routes for all abilities start in Chamonix town, with the easiest combining a scenic ride on the La Flégère gondola and L’Index chairlift followed by a leisurely hike. Wander through evergreen forests and Alpine meadows until you’re greeted by awe-inspiring panoramic vistas. August recommends packing a picnic to complement the view, or treating yourself to a well-earned slice of blueberry tart at the local mountain refuge. 

If hiking isn’t your thing, it’s also possible to take in the mountain air with a game of tennis at the nearby Chamonix Mont-Blanc Tennis Club. Opt for a lesson with a seasoned pro, or visit with the entire family in tow for some friendly competition. Gold aficionados are also well catered for at the Golf Club de Chamonix in the nearby town of Les Praz, where all 18-holes are enveloped by soaring peaks. 

Seeking an adrenaline rush? Cyclists can take to the slopes via the region’s network of ski lifts, ascending the highest of peaks before feeling gravity’s thrill as they soar their way back down. Be sure to take a Go-Pro to document the journey.

Hiking in the French Alps

Alpine Indulgence

Loved by the same family for five decades, this five-bedroom, late-20th-century treasure possessed a rich, arcadian splendour that had dulled Active days require ample energy and what better way to experience the essence of summer in the Alps than by embracing the flavours of the region? To prepare for the day’s adventures, begin each day with a nourishing al fresco breakfast on the private terrace of your chalet or apartment. Alternatively, welcome the weekend with a leisurely brunch at Acrus Coffee, a local Chamonix gem offering delights such as the Croissant Savoyard, a decadent treat with melted Reblochon cheese.

For family feasts in the comfort of home and gourmet picnics on the go, August recommends stocking up on all the essentials Le Refuge Payot. A delicatessen in Chamonix town,the family-owned store stocks over 100 Alpine creations, ranging from Savoyard cheese and charcuterie to Savoy wine and Swiss chocolate sourced from across the valleys.  

As no trip to France would be complete without immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of French cuisine, we also suggest a long, laidback lunch on the outdoor balcony of restaurant, Bizes. Overlooking the tranquil River Arve, indulge in seasonal meats and fish fired on the Josper grill, accompanied by creative desserts and cocktails. By night, head to La Maison Carrier, where you can dine on the terrace in Mont Blanc’s majestic shadow, while savouring traditional Savoyard dishes that have stood the test of time. 

After dinner, unwind at the Quartz Bar with live jazz music taking place each weekend, before retiring to your home for a glass of génépy (a local Alpine digestif) and board games - a quintessential summertime reprieve

August Signature Home in Chamonix, France
August Signature Home in Chamonix, France

What to Pack

Simply arrive and unpack: one of the many benefits of being an August homeowner. With a summer trip to the French Alps, the experience is made even more effortless. Swap bulky scarves, salopettes and skis for shorts, t-shirts and a pair of hiking boots or trainers, with lightweight layers to suit any occasion. Serenity seekers should also pack their favourite bath salts for creating a spa-like experience at home, while intrepid explorers shouldn’t leave home without sunscreen and a refillable water bottle to combat the sun’s warm rays.

August Premium Home in Combloux, France
August Premium Home in Combloux, France

Dreaming of owning a second home in the French mountains? Alpine living could be closer than you think. Speak to our expert Advisory team and start your August journey today.