10 mountain destinations to spend the summer in the great outdoors

In summer, the mountains offer an ideal setting for living in perfect harmony with nature. The medium and high peaks, the wide green meadows, the lakes and rivers that make up this exceptional environment are a call for long walks with family and friends. This is an opportunity to slow down time, around a picnic by a stream or while exploring the architectural heritage, but also the ideal time to exercise and surpass oneself during outdoor activities that are good for the body and mind. In the heart of the Alps, in Auvergne, in the Vosges or in the Pyrenees, here are 10 mountain destinations in France for holidays in communion with the great outdoors.

Les Angles, Pyrénées-Orientales

The resort of Les Angles, located at an altitude of 1,600 m in the heart of the Capcir valley, has been able to modernise while retaining its authentic charm. You can start your stay with a stroll in the old village, before indulging in the many activities available in the area. The adepts of mountain biking, on foot or on horseback, hike in the areas dominated by the peaks of the Péric and the Madres. With the children, you can go to the Angles animal park to see bears, bison, fallow deer and other roe deer in the heart of 37 hectares of forest. A joyful moment to better understand the local fauna and flora. The other interest of the resort of Les Angles is to dominate the charming lake of Matemale, a place of relaxation and tranquility. In the summer, you can enjoy swimming in the mountains in water up to 23°C, lazing on the beaches and practicing water sports such as sailing, canoeing and pedal boats

Samoëns, Haute-Savoie

Samoëns is one of those mountain villages that make families happy. In the village, everything has been thought of so that parents and children can stroll peacefully in the pedestrian streets with pushchairs and stop in the shops that promote the local gastronomy. Leisure centre, paintball, swimming pool, Samoëns has various infrastructures to have a good time. Beautiful and peaceful walks or bike rides are also proposed around the Col de Joux Plane and the Cirque du Fer à Cheval, so many places where you can enjoy sublime mountain panoramas. In the summer, the ski lifts offer the opportunity to climb to the top, with breathtaking views of the mythical Mont-Blanc as a reward. And for the more courageous and thrill-seekers, you shouldn't miss out on other flagship activities such as caving in the Balme caves and rafting in the turbulent waters of the Giffre

Le Mont-Dore, Puy-de-Dôme

At the foot of the Puy de Sancy, Le Mont-Dore offers a prestigious playground for hiking, a flagship activity for lovers of mountain holidays in summer. Several paths allow you to enjoy superb walks where you can soak up the magic of the volcanoes and the specificities of the area. On foot, by mountain bike or on horseback, it is difficult to get tired of the beauty of the relief and many guides are available to communicate the richness of the fauna, flora and history of the sleeping volcanoes. Thrill-seekers will enjoy the trail or climbing, as at the Pic du Capucin. With the children, the summer toboggan and the acrobatic tree-to-tree courses with zip-line sessions are the promise of fun and 100% complicity moments

Saint-Lary-Soulan, Hautes-Pyrénées

Situated in the heart of the Vallée d'aire in the Pyrenees, Saint-Lary-Soulan has the authentic and warm atmosphere of a high mountain Pyrenean village. In summer, once comfortably settled in the village, you can enjoy hiking, with views of the Rioumajou, Aulon and Moudang valleys and the unavoidable Pyrenees National Park. In a place where the Tour de France has stopped many times in the course of its history, it is difficult not to feel like getting on the bike to ride through the Plat d'Adet area and its superb panoramas. On another day, after a session of canyoning, archery or paragliding, a moment at the spa in one of the wellness centres is a delicate way to relieve sore muscles and take care of yourself

Le Grand-Bornand, Haute-Savoie

Direction the Aravis Massif for a stop in an authentic mountain village. The 400 hundred-year-old chalets and the softness of the wood give it a certain charm and an exotic atmosphere. Heritage lovers have the opportunity to discover charming little chapels and go back in history by visiting the Maison du Patrimoine to discover the daily life of yesteryear. In summer, long walks lead to prestigious sites, near the Peyre lake or at the foot of the Roman bridge, located on the old Roman road to the Colombière pass. Along the way, one takes the time to contemplate the fauna and flora: ibexes, marmots, chamois and lammergeyers populate the territory and wild blackberries and bilberries are a call for gourmet breaks. At Le Grand-Bornand, the possibilities are almost endless and mountain biking, Nordic walking, paragliding and golf can give way to a moment of relaxation and idleness near the pools of the aquatic centre

Gérardmer, Vosges

Every year the town of Gérardmer attracts many visitors who come to enjoy the various activities available around this "pearl of the Vosges". It is a real corner of paradise with a great variety of landscapes, between coniferous forests, peaceful lakes and refreshing waterfalls. It owes its reputation in particular to the presence of Lake Gérardmer, just a stone's throw from the town centre. All holidaymakers who wish to escape the frenzy of the coastline can take advantage of the largest lake in the Vosges to fish, swim and engage in a wide range of water sports such as rowing, canoeing, kayaking, electric rowing boats and diving. The hikes lead you near superb waterfalls such as the Pissoire and Saut du Bouchot waterfalls. Finally, don't forget to climb to the top of the Mérelle tower to enjoy a superb panorama of Gérardmer, its lake and the surrounding countryside

Val d'Allos, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

The Val d'Allos is a resort in the Southern Alps and you can immediately feel the meeting of the mountains and a climate that smells like the Mediterranean. It is located in the heart of the Mercantour National Park and the hikes lead to landscapes that oscillate between mountains, trees, green areas, carpets of flowers and waterfalls. Impossible during a stay not to go to Lake Allos, quite simply the largest natural high altitude lake in Europe. The bluish reflections of the water, the surrounding mountains and the conifers invite to wonder and silent contemplation. Also a must during the holidays, strolls on the paths of the Haut Verdon accompanied by donkeys, mountain bike sessions to enjoy the diversity of the landscape and time at the Val d'Allos leisure park with friends or family, to enjoy sunbathing, swimming and the many facilities for playing tennis, basketball or football

Le Lac Blanc, Haut-Rhin

Welcome to the Vosges massif to enjoy a place full of peace and quiet where nature fascinates as much as the beauty of the villages. The Lac Blanc resort is situated on the Alsatian side of the massif, and a stay here will inevitably lead you to some of the most beautiful villages of the Kaysersberg and Orbey, which always seduce by the beauty of their architectural heritage. In terms of nature, the Lac Blanc site has become a paradise for hikers who, after the effort, discover the magnificent hilly panoramas that line the shores of the lake. Fishing, mountain biking, climbing, there's something for everyone, and the Lac Blanc barefoot trail is an incredible experience to be lived in a group, mixing adventure and a moment of symbiosis with nature

Vaujany, Isère

The Vaujany resort is a splendid place to spend your holidays in a mountain environment. Located opposite the Grandes Rousses massif, on the slopes of the Rissiou, it has developed in a reasoned way, to offer modern infrastructures and at the same time preserve its charm of yesteryear. Around the village, the high mountains await those who take the cable car to reach the exceptional landscapes at an altitude of more than 2,800 m. A little further down, it is the area of the large lakes that amaze walkers, with its emerald-coloured lakes. The more courageous often take to heart the mountain bike trails of Oz-Vaujany and the Alpes d'Huez, when around the village, the fir forests provide the shade needed for a picnic on hot summer days. Swimming pool, minigolf, pony, tree climbing, discovery of the animals on the farm, children are also welcome, and the whole family can have a good time.

Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves, Savoie

The village of Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves transports you for your holidays in the heart of the atmosphere of an authentic mountain village. A simple and authentic place, typically Savoyard, where architecture enthusiasts take pleasure in visiting its baroque church and chapels. A religious heritage that is also part of the Way of Assisi. In the summer, you can enjoy the unmissable open-air walks, such as the Three Lakes circuit, starting from the Col de Croix de Fer. You can observe all the beauty of the environment, between large lakes dominated by the Saint-Sorlin glacier, steep rocks and vegetation. Sports enthusiasts can practice via ferrata, trail and canyoning for a little thrill, when families like to spend time on mountain bike, horse and pony rides or watch milking in the mountain pastures with milk tasting

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