Les Portes du Soleil: Spotlight on four destinations
A trip to Les Portes du Soleil for some summer fun in the mountains revealed a host of things to do and some wonderful villages and resorts.
The 12 resorts include, in France, Abondance, Avoriaz 1800, Châtel, La Chapelle d’Abondance, Les Gets, Montriond, , Morzine-Avoriaz and St Jean d’Aulps and, in Switzerland, Champéry, Val-d’Illiez Les Crosets Champoussin, Morgins and Torgon.
This is my spotlight on the four destinations I visited.
Les Gets is one of the French resorts and a great base for a summer or winter holiday. Wherever I looked there were happy people cycling, hiking or running. The groups comprised families and friends or couples.
There is plenty to enjoy in the resort with a long menu of activities such as mountain biking, cycling, e-mountain biking, a forest park adventure, geocaching, trampoline, golf, via ferrata, climbing, waterspouts, swimming, paragliding, caving, archery and tennis, as well as host of hotels, restaurants and cafes.
One activity that is easily accessible and great fun is to make use of a fleet of self-service street e-bikes, rather like the “Boris Bikes” or Next Bikes that you see in the UK.
It’s simple to hire one of these e-bikes with prices starting from €1 for half hour (up to four hours of use; then €2,50 every 30 minutes. Or choose the half-day (4h) option for €7 of €27 for a full day hire (8h).
I used the power-assisted bike to ride the hill to Les Gets Swimming Lake. There is even laned swimming in the pretty lake, plus lots of fun activities, too. Another good option is Lac de Montriond.
A popular skiing French destination, in summer the mountains offer the opportunity for plenty of active things to do. The resort is set at the foot of a wooded valley with many high summits all around.
Choose from mountain biking, swimming, summer toboggans, horse riding, road cycling, self-balancing scooters, paintball, a fitness trail, hiking, climbing and tennis.
Chatel is a pretty village resort in France. It offers good skiing options in the winter and boasts a popular bike park for mountain bikers in the summer. There are 20 tracks, suitable for a wide range of abilities.
You can also try other activities including climbing, archery, mini golf, paragliding, walking, running, e-MTB, tennis and a tree climbing circuit. I also tried the fantastic Fantasticable.
Also visit the Goat Village (well named!) or Les Lindarets, to give it its Sunday name.
Champéry, Région Dents du Midi
Champéry village, in Région Dents du Midi in Switzerland, is dominated by spectacular peaks. The Dents du Midi first attracted Alpinists at the start of the 20th century and today you can follow in their footsteps, should you choose to. Take a look at hiking routes in Champery.
There is also a cable car that takes mountain bikers to a bike park where there are well-maintained tracks to ride.
If you have the skills, try the 2007 World Cup track, or how about the Grand Paradis route, which is part of the Portes du Soleil MTB tour?
Other activities include swimming, downhill scooters, a forest park adventure, via ferrata, climbing, paintball, hiking, nature trail and tennis.
And when you fancy a spot of relaxing, head to nearby Thermes-Parc Val-d’Illiez for swimming and spa options.
See the official Portes du Soleil website, too.