A gentle way to (re)start skiing
Mild temperatures, longer days, pleasant snow... Long live skiing in spring! If you are a beginner, it's the ideal season to put on your skis. Fewer people on the slopes, less waiting at the lifts, cushioned falls in a cottony snow on sectors dedicated to learning... For regular skiers, in resorts open until April, or even early May, the longer days allow you to explore the ski area without hurrying, to try new activities, such as ski touring, for example on the permanent courses of Oz en Oisans or Orcières, in the Southern Alps. And there is nothing to stop you from trying a night in a refuge, with friends or family. From March 8th, the two refuges of Prariond and Fond des Fours in the Vanoise National Park are guarded and welcome ski tourers.
Afterwards, there will always be time to relax on the high altitude terraces and to get a tan before the summer. Cherry on the top? In spring, prices are lower than in winter with a plethora of "good deals". So go for it!
Marvel at the awakening of nature
In the mountains, the awakening of nature in spring is much more than a spectacle, it is a renewal, an emotion that upsets even the most hardened. There is the song of the waterfalls which rises in power as the snow melts, the smell of the damp earth which slowly warms up, the carpet of small flowers - snow anemones, crocuses or daffodils - which illuminate the meadows and the mountain pastures where marmots start whistling again.
We breathe deeply and participate in this rebirth that feels good. Thus, not to be missed in April the daffodil festival in Gérardmer when the Vosges resort puts on its bright yellow coat. Or the first hikes around the Mont Pourri refuge in Peisey-Vallandry in the Alps to observe the return of the migratory birds or on the Sentiers du Baroque which are greening up from Combloux. And also in Beuil-les-Launes, in the heart of the Mercantour National Park, where the blossoming of pansies, forget-me-nots and buttercups precede the fragrant lavender. In Val d'Isère, the guides of the Vanoise National Park are posted on the path of the Pont Saint Charles to meet the walkers to present them the fauna of spring. Ibexes and chamois are within binoculars' reach... and it's magic!
Meet the artisans and their know-how
Once the winter rush is over and before the arrival of summer, the mountains enjoy the peaceful course of daily life. Those who are, and make, the terroir have more time to welcome you, show you around their farms and workshops, offer tastings or initiations. Would you like to discover the thousand flavors produced with passion for generations and especially the good spring cheeses such as Reblochon, Saint-Nectaire or Bleu de Gex? Curious to know more about the mountain know-how?
In March, April or May, a stay in the Vosges, the Alps or the Pyrenees will always be synonymous with meetings. There is Didier, the saddler of Grand Bornand, installed in one of the oldest chalets of the resort-village and who works leather with passion; Sébastien and Sévérine who spin the first merino wool of Dévoluy at the Flouka farm; or the Obertino family, in Métabief in the Jura Mountains, who found bronze bells... A real immersive experience to understand the art of living in altitude, so much more convivial in spring.
Doing good at altitude
Bubbling in a high altitude spa with a view of the peaks, doing outdoor yoga in Valberg, in the Southern Alps or in Les Menuires during the Yogiski Week, daring to take your first outdoor baths, awakening your senses on wellness trails while listening to the snow melt in a waterfall... The mountains in spring have comforting virtues that we can't get enough of. The days stretch, the light changes, the landscapes too. Like the marmots that are slowly waking up, it's time to get out of the winter cocoon and there is no shortage of beautiful places to be pampered. One of the highest perched spas in France: in Val Thorens, the Pure Altitude Spa of the 5* Altapura Hotel stretches its 1000 m² dedicated to well-being at the foot of the slopes. In the spring, the mountain plant treatments do you a world of good!
Fill up on nature activities
In the mountains, the last stick planting usually announces the first pedal stroke... So long live spring, snow-cleared passes, and trails once again accessible for riding a two-wheeler, going for a hike or even setting off for a nature race. Biking, hiking, trail, to each his preference but the French massifs have something to satisfy both experienced and budding athletes. Not everyone can tackle the mythical passes of the Tour de France like the Tourmalet or the Col de la Loze between Méribel and Courchevel! We can be satisfied with mountain bike excursions through the small mountain paths or in the Bike Park set up by the resorts, for example in Les Angles, in the Pyrenees or in Lioran, in Auvergne. You can also start riding your bike again on the small roads of the Jura and Vosges mountains.
Looking for adrenaline? Tyrolean traverse and paragliding will give you wings, while others will take advantage of the melting snow to try white water rafting, kayaking or hydrospeed. It is also the right time to try climbing, via ferrata, accrobranche... In the resorts, the French Ski School (ESF) offers a range of activities to try out from spring onwards (road biathlon, paragliding, mountain biking...), to practice in complete serenity.
Taste the local products on the terrace
Springtime in the mountains is an opportunity to enjoy a grandiose setting to taste some unavoidable specialties. Tartiflette or croziflette (crozet are small pasta from the Alps), raclette, truffade from Auvergne, fondue from Savoy or garbure from the Pyrenees are even more appetizing when savored on the terrace, with an XXL view on the summits. The weather is not so cold anymore but local charcuteries and cheeses from the surrounding farms are still very tasty and remain small pleasures that cannot be refused. So to combine gastronomy and panorama as soon as the sunny days come back, go to Pépé Nicolas, a very cosy mountain farm in the 3 Valleys: we have lunch, we taste and we dine generously of good local products on one of the two terraces. How beautiful the mountain is!
To sit at the terrace of the farm Chez Pépé Nicolas in Val Thorens, in the Alps (External link)
Celebrate the return of the beautiful days
Rock The Pistes Festival in Morzine (March 12-18), Gliss and Fun in Super-Besse (March 25-26), Folie Douce Festival in Courchevel (April 8-9), International Adventure and Discovery Film Festival in Val d'Isère (April 17-20) and La Grande Dernière in Val Thorens (May 6-8)... In all the mountain resorts, winter and spring pass the baton in festive mode with sports events, parades, festivals, concerts and animations. Rendezvous at Peisey-Vallandry on April 19 for Le Printemps de Rosuel, organized with the Vanoise National Park, or at Saint-Lary Soulan, in the Pyrenees, to celebrate the first transhumance and ascent to the mountain pastures at the end of May or beginning of June. So, are you ready for the change of season?