In the Alps this summer, get in touch with nature

Why not turn off your phones and take a wander in the footsteps of the craftsmen of the mountains to reconnect with the authentic materials of life. Leather, wood, stone and even the earth under your fingers, it’s so revitalising! Here are four ways to experience the pure air and nourishing nature of the Alps…

1. Earthy pleasures of pottery

It's the new yoga. In the Saarland, an enchanting corner overlooking the resort of Les Gets in Savoy, the Bonhomme sisters organise weekly workshops in the summer, where you can learn about pottery, shape the clay and make your own piece. Anouk also raises lambs as well as making pottery figurines of them, while Nathalie, a graphic designer, brings an artistic touch to the creations of her sister. The result? Poetic, fresh, delicate and original. A place to channel your inner artist. Artisan pottery des Gets (External link)

2. Getting up close to granite

At the family run company of Laurenzio, in Combloux in Haute-Savoie, granite has been cut and worked for four generations. Naturally, novices aren’t let loose with the diamond cutting wire or chisels to split the monumental blocks created on Mont Blanc thousands of years ago. But you can get to stroke the stone on a guided tour – and it really is impressive. Laurenzio Granit of Mont Blanc (External link) (French only)

3. Cutting the leather

In the workshop of Didier Perrillat, discover the art of working with leather. Located in one of the oldest chalets of Grand-Bornand in Haute-Savoie, Didier explains his trade, that of a saddle maker and leather specialist, a rare profession these days. As you sit in his workshop, cosy at the corner of the stove, you’ll find Didier’s story fascinating. Didier Perrillat, master craftsman at Le Grand Bornand (External link) (French only)

4. Carving devils from wood

At Bessans in Haute-Maurienne, woodcarving has been a tradition for more than four centuries. The most famous of the sculptures is the devil, the emblem of the city. Meanwhile, in Vallée d'Abondance, doves are preferred, made from the wood of a spruce tree and cut by hand using an Opinel knife. Whichever you prefer, angel or demon, it’s a relaxing experience to watch a performance of this ancient art.
The devils of Bessans in Maurienne (External link)
The doves of Abondance (External link)

The French Alps