Lots of people know Val d’Isère in winter, but there’s also a great time to be had here in summer. When the slate roofs of the ancient village lose their blanket of snow and wild flowers blossom in the meadows and the mountainside of the Vanoise National Park, there’s a whole host of things to see and do.
To get the very best out of summer in Val we’ve singled out five essential activities that mustn’t be missed:
1- Watch the sun rise over the Col de l’Iseran
This famous climb is one of the legends of the Tour de France. It is situated on the Route des Grandes Alpes, and at 2 770m it is the highest paved road over a mountain pass in the whole of the Alps. Dedicated road cyclists and e-bikers alike make the tough 15km ascent to the summit through the best part of 1000 vertical metres. At the top, the view across the Pisaillas glacier and the other permanent snowfields of the Maurienne Valley simply takes your breath away. From here, you can make the winding 13km run down – all the way to the charming old village of Bonneval-sur-Arc, with its slate roofs and thick stone walls.
2- Spend a night in a refuge in the Vanoise National Park
This dedicated conservation area in the heart of the Savoie was created in 1963 in response to reports that ibex were becoming an increasingly threatened species in the Alps. The Vanoise National Park is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna.
To fully appreciate this natural environment ,there’s nothing better than sleeping in a refuge, waking to birdsong and starting the day completely refreshed.
3- Enjoy a picnic at the Lac de l’Ouillette
Tucked away at an altitude of 2500m, the lac de l’Ouillette is an excellent choice for families, hikers, and fishermen. You’re surrounded by spectacular views in all directions and the wild flowers and animals of the park in summer add to this enchanting natural experience. You can reach it for free via the Solaise Gondola , by the road up the Col de l’Iseran ,or by the Arolle Millénaire footpath. You can rent fishing gear and try your luck at trout fishing.
New this year is a boule park, and it’s also an ideal spot for lunch, whether at a picnic table or on the terrace of the restaurant of the same name. At the end of the lake, there’s a Native American tepee and and children’s swings.
4- Try downhill mountainbiking
Along with neighbouring Tignes, Val d’Isère is considered to be one of the pioneering resorts of downhill mountainbiking . Since it began in 2012, their joint Bike Park now comprises some 160km of trails : downhill pistes for all levels, learning areas, enduro runs, cycle-cross and VAE. Just as in skiing, the pistes are colour classified by level of difficulty : green, blue, red, black and even double-black.
Get your adrenalin kicks on the green Popeye, the world’s longest piste. At 13km, this gentle trail doesn’t present any worrying level of difficulty. You’ll enjoy the cruise down and there are three rest areas along the way. Taking it easy, you need to allow 90 minutes to two hours from the top of Bellevarde to the village of Val d’Isère.
5 – Join an open air yoga course
From July 7 to August 30 you can recharge your batteries in glorious natural surroundings, thanks to Hatha Yoga. This discipline that originated in India involves learning different Asana postures and breathing exercises to impart mental and physical wellbeing.
Maria, a teacher from the French Federation of Hatha Yoga, runs dedicated one-hour sessions at the Sports Park in the Manchet Valley.
A good plan for summer : To enjoy access to activities, try the new Val’Pass card. All you have to do is simply to buy the card from one of the designated sales points – the Centre Aquasportif, the Manchet welcome desk, the Tourist Office, or the Olympique gondola. You can recharge the card for your chosen activities. The Val Pass card gives you a 10% discount on activities as well as exclusive offers from our partners.
We hope you have a wonderful summer !
- FOR MORE INFORMATON
- To find out more about the various entertainments on offer, sports in Val d’Isère, locations and timetables for different activities, listen to Radio Val d’Isère (96,1 FM) at 9.15am, every day except Saturday.
Details of the weekly programme of activities on offer are equally available at the desks of the Centre Aquasportif and the Le Manchet welcome centre.
- You’ll also find all information on sporting events at www.valdisere-sports.com .
- To book your children into the leisure club : https ://www.valdisere.com/famille/centres-de-loisirs-et-creche/