5 unusual activities to unwind in the Alps this summer

In summer, the mountains reveal their sumptuous and fragile hidden treasures. From Isère to Savoie, via the Hautes-Alpes, the resorts of the Alps offer a host of unusual activities to unlock their mysteries and reconnect with nature, yourself and your loved ones: Observe the stars and wildlife, play at being adventurers by spending the night clinging to a cliff, try out electric surfing on a mountain lake, practise yoga at altitude, visit art workshops in the Ecrins National Park... Let's set off on a series of unexpected and eco-responsible Alpine escapades.

Explore Game and Portaledge, adventures high up in Isère

The mountains in summer, a dreamy but very real setting for a family challenge. Your mission, if you accept it, is to track down Léo, the brother of Téo, Chamrousse's mascot... Smartphone in hand, go fishing for clues in the resort of the Belledonne massif, in Isère, to solve the riddles and complete the investigation in less than 4 hours (3 hours for the cleverest). A life-size escape game between 1650m and 1750m for a breath of fresh air.

The adventure continues at nightfall with a short climbing session supervised by Chamrousse Aventures to reach accommodation that is unusual to say the least : a tent clinging to the cliff called Portaledge... A magical night suspended in the void, contemplating and listening to mountain nightlife far from the hustle and bustle of the city. We'd love to stay one more night!

Escape Game in Chamrousse, in the Belledonne Massif (External link)
Exploring the Isère in summer (Alpes IsHere) (External link)

Surfing and flying between lake and mountains in the Southern Alps

For a sensational holiday, head to Lac de Serre-Ponçon, a stretch of the Mediterranean in the heart of the Southern Alps, where water sports and sustainable activities are all the rage in summer, starting with e-surfing and e-foiling, electrically-powered boards guided by a remote control... Try it out with the hire company E-surfer.
To admire the lake from above, take the chairlift up to the summit of the Pic Vert, at an altitude of 2,200 m, from the resort of Les Orres. The view is idyllic and panoramic. You can sit on the terrace of the adjoining restaurant to quench your thirst and replenish your vitamins before plunging down into the valley on a "super" Tyrolean traverse (Speedline). One minute and 30 seconds in direct communion with nature and the mountains at over 140km/h... To recover from your emotions, treat yourself to a tasting session of alpine flavours. 100% local beer for some (Lou Pica Paouto), home-made jams (Les Gaillardises) for others.

As for accommodation, you'll be sleeping on the lake in toues cabanées accessible by boat and powered by solar energy. There's no risk of getting seasick - we're (well) in the mountains!

Surfing on Lake Serre-Ponçon with E-Surfer (External link)
Tyrolean traverse from the summit of Les Orres (External link)
Sleeping in a toue (Toues Cabanées du Lac) (External link)
Exploring the Hautes-Alpes in summer (purealpes) (External link)

Yoga and unusual meditations, a summer to recharge your batteries in Oisans

Just an 8-minute cable car ride from the 2 Alpes ski resort in the Isère region, well known to mountain bikers and 4-season skiers, Venosc has all the makings of an authentic mountain village. A haven of peace at the gateway to the Ecrins National Park, where you can recharge your batteries. A temple to relaxation nestled in the peaceful hamlet of La Danchère, Le Lauvitel Lodge offers regenerating well-being activities: morning yoga on the terrace, a Reiki session or Thai massage, organic meals, sensory hikes to reconnect with the elements in the forest or beside a stream...

To extend the experience, the Bois et Sens workshop combines meditative practice with the making of wooden spoons, giving you the chance to discover the craftspeople on the Route des savoir-faire de l'Oisans. Those with less manual skills can try mineral meditation in Auris or with a horse in Le Bourg d'Oisans. Between two energising sessions, try a refreshing dip in the Oz canyon or a lesson in stand-up paddling on Lac du Verney. Missing the altitude? Choose a yoga class at the top of Alpe d'Huez. And there's no longer any need to tackle the legendary hairpin bends so beloved of the Tour de France riders. The last 10 kilometres are now covered by ski lifts.

Wellness break at Lauvitel Lodge, near Les Deux-Alpes (External link)
Meditation and sculpture, Bois et Sens workshop in the village of Vénosc (External link)
Exploring the Oisans massif in Isère (External link)

Up close to the stars and chamois in Savoie

It's star season. If you don't want to miss out on the chance to witness the celestial spectacle offered up by nature every summer, follow a mountain guide with a passion for the stars and you're guaranteed to be in the front row. In Les Gets, Haute-Savoie, Emilie organises hike-bivouacs, a timeless evening that begins with a good walk (1h to 3h) to reach the campsite, followed by an aperitif based on plants gathered along the way, followed by a natural meal over a wood fire, punctuated by tales and legends. Between stargazing and a cocoon of comfort (terrace and private jacuzzi), the transparent Bubbles at Les Mines d'Or, in Morzine, are a good compromise for a romantic night in the mountains. Just the thing for sweet dreams...

From the Maurienne to the Vanoise, via the Chablais, nature lovers will be privileged witnesses to another unexpected spectacle, that of wild fauna in concert and on the move. At Praz-de-Lys Sommand, Rando Observation offers naturalist outings where you can watch and listen without disturbing marmots, chamois, ibex or the bearded vulture, the bone-crushing vultures that are making a remarkable comeback in the Alps.

Hiking and bivouacking in Les Gets (External link)
Wildlife watching with Rando Observation (Praz-de-Lys Sommand) (External link)
Bulles Mines d'Or, starry night in Morzine (External link)
Exploring Savoie and Haute-Savoie in summer (External link)

Workshop visits in the Ecrins National Park

Summer is the ideal time to discover the skills that have made the valleys and mountaineering villages of the Ecrins National Park famous. In Saint-Laurent-du-Cros, near Gap, you can visit the new ILaké glass workshop-boutique, which produces top-of-the-range tableware for top chefs including Alain Ducasse, and vases with plant motifs made from recycled wine bottles. There are also courses on designing your own lemonade set. A few kilometres further on, Oleaflor makes natural cosmetics from wild or organically-grown plants. Of course, you can also design your own products.

For food and accommodation, holidaymakers on a mission to disconnect will find their corner of paradise just 20 minutes from Briançon. Right next to the icefalls, Le Mahana has all the makings of an eco-responsible cosy nest: organic latex mattresses, wood-fired cooker, larch wood bath. The owners even collect their guests from the station (free of charge)! The only constraint is that you have to collect the eggs from the henhouse in the morning.

Ilaké, glassmaking workshops (External link)
Oléaflor, natural cosmetics workshops (External link)
Gîte Le Mahana (External link)
Parc national des Ecrins (External link)

Getting to the Alps