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The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer

May 27, 2024
2024-05-27
Do you know what's a fairly unique place to visit during summer? The French Alps! While the rest of the world heads south for the season—think the French Riviera, Greek Islands, etc.—why not go north to cool off? Most people go to the French Alps during winter to partake in chic Après-Ski and all that jazz. That's good and all but going here in summer instead is an entirely different experience. Go to Lake Annecy, for example, and enjoy the beautiful scenery without any snow. There's also Briançon and its many stunning castles and churches. As for Chambéry? Well, it's the best place to let out your inner foodie this summer!

The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer


Lake Annecy

Let's start this list with Lake Annecy, arguably the perfect summer destination in the French Alps. The lake itself is the best spot to stay active. You can camp near the lake, hike up the forests nearby, and of course, do all sorts of water sports too. Go kayaking, paddle-boarding, and even swimming. It's the cleanest lake in the region and the water's temperature is just right during summer. You can even set up a picnic by the shores of the lake and you won't freeze to death as you lounge around in your swimsuit.
The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Briançon

Briançon is the more typical fortified French countryside town in the Alps. Located at an altitude of 1,326 meters in the Hautes-Alpes department, it's one of the cooler destinations on this list. But just because it's colder than most here, it doesn't mean you can't go out and have some fun. On the contrary, the natural wonders surrounding Briançon are perfect for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and more. The town itself is a history buff's paradise too, with places like Place d’Armes, the Citadel of Vauban, and the Church of the Cordeliers to look forward to.
The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ MOSSOT


Chambéry

With the snow-capped mountains nearby, Chambéry is the quintessential ski resort town in France. The best slopes are nearby while the city itself has a lot of great hotspots for après ski. But what about during summer? Is there anything you can expect if you go here during the hot season? Yes, there is! As the capital city of the country's Savoie department, Chambéry is the best place to try the region's local dishes and delicacies. From popular restaurants to open markets, any foodie worth their salt will want to travel here!
The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Florian Pépellin


Chamonix

One of the best things to do in the French Alps is to go to Chamonix and gaze upon the natural glory of Mont-Blanc, the most famous snow-capped mountain in the country. Naturally, you do this in winter, specifically on your ski holiday. But around summertime, Chamonix becomes a flower-filled town worth exploring. The commune's fabulous flora adds a rosy glow to an already picturesque place, perfect for making content for a travel inspo Instagram account. If you're fairly active yourself, the surrounding forests are also suitable for camping, mountain biking, and more. What's not to love?
The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Saint-Véran

With its wooden cabins and classic well, Saint-Véran transports you back in time. Suddenly, you're in Medieval France, a time when things were simpler if you were a fair distance away from religious wars and royal court intrigue. The countryside appeal is at an all-time high here, even if there are a few French luxury homes you can rent nearby. But around summertime, when the green meadows are in full view, this is the perfect place to enjoy France's more underrated natural wonders. Moreover, the town also has some of the most beautiful wineries in France, which means it's time to bring out the cheese and enjoy some local bottles!
The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer
Source: Flickr.com/ thierry llansades


Ubaye Valley

One look at the Ubaye Valley and you'll instantly know why it's one of the best spots to spend summer in the French Alps. Technically speaking, it's not an alpine town like the other places on this list. There are no communes and settlements that will make you comfortable here. But if you're a true-blue adventurer, you wouldn't care about it. Instead, you'll focus all your time hiking up the magnificent mountains of the valley. Find a nice spot, set up camp, and enjoy the great outdoors here. It will be an experience you will never forget!
The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer
Source: Flickr.com/ Eric Allix Rogers


Yvoire

If you truly prefer to go to an Alpine town this summer, consider going to Yvoire too. It's a charming coastal Medieval town department of Haute-Savoie, right by Lake Geneva and surrounded by the area's famous mountainous scenery. Its picture-perfect surroundings will charm your pants off, especially if you're the type who loves the old-world appeal of the French Alps. The town itself has never let go of its Medieval ambiance, from the grand châteaux to the cobbled streets. And if you want some summer fun, you can always spend time at the beach by Lake Geneva, cooling down with a nice swim.
The Coolest French Alpine Towns to Visit in Summer
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Krzysztof Golik

Do you know what's a great place to escape to when summer arrives in France? The French Alps! Trade in the usual beaches and coastal towns with scenic lakes and charming mountain communes with lots of cool fresh air!



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