This summer, why not leave the sand and sea behind and go on an adventure holiday in Alpe d’Huez grand domaine, the French Alps?
With a great number of fun activities for all ages, this is the perfect destination for an extra special family break.
Comprising five lift-linked resorts – Vaujany, Auris-en-Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Villard Reculas and Alpe d’Huez – it is an ideal location for a trouble-free and exciting holiday for all fitness levels.
So, what does this natural wonderland offer this summer? Let’s find out!
Hosting one of the most famous stages of the Tour de France, Alpe d’Huez is a must for any passionate cyclist. The 21-bend climb to Alpe d’Huez is completed by an estimated 1,000 cyclists each day during the summer. If you’re serious about your cycling, the area offers a wide range of competitions, including the first Haute Route Alpe d’Huez. Taking place from the 12-14 July, the three-day event captures some of the most legendary routes in the cycling world. If you don’t want to compete and prefer a casual ride, there’s the Oisans Col Series: taking place every Tuesday it allows riders to climb major routes at no cost, and with no worries about traffic. There’s even fine food offered at the top as a reward. All ages can take part, as long as they can ride a bike well.
If you prefer cycling on the more adventurous side, Alpe d’Huez boasts one of the greatest mountain biking sites in Europe. From the 3-9 July, 1,400 mountain bikers from 20 nations descend on the resorts of Alpe d’Huez for Megavalanche. Billed as the biggest downhill bike race in the world, you’d be mad to miss it!
Best feet forward
If hiking’s more your bag, Alpe d’Huez has you covered. The area offers trails for all, from experienced hikers to complete novices. You can even do mountaineering too. No matter what you choose, you’re guaranteed a great hike and breath-taking views.
Up and away
If you’d rather a sport with a bit more adrenaline, there are many rock climbing opportunities, both indoor and outdoor. Lessons are available, but you can still use the courses in your own free time.
Plus, with an internationally renowned equestrian centre on your doorstep, a trot through the mountains on horses isn’t out of reach.
Life at your own pace
There are many more fun activities to pick from: model aircraft flying, seven-a-side football and fishing. But, if you simply want to kick back and relax, you can go for a quick dip in one of the pools, or book yourself in for a massage at one of the many spas in Alpe d’Huez.
With circa 7,000 cyclists gathering to ascend the highest col passes in France, La Marmotte Grandfondo Alpes is one of the world’s greatest cycling spectacles.
The Enduro d’Oz, which takes place in conjunction with Megalanche on the 2 July, allows riders to get closer to the action by taking part in a race down a new track.
Or sign up to La Montee d’Oz, a weekly timed ascent from the village of Oz to the resort, a climb of roughly 630 metres altitude. It is free of charge and you can ride a bike or even run.
Cycling can build up a big appetite, so why not sign up to the La Nocturne Cyclo Gourmande? Taking place on 22 July, pedal from Oz village to Oz resort on a car-free route at night, with gourmet food for the ascent and a pasta party and concert on arrival.
Roll up, roll up!
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hands (and legs!) at the circus this is your chance to learn the ropes: everything from balancing acts to juggling. Roll up on Tuesday nights for what’s piqued to be the greatest show on earth, taking place in the resort and on Thursdays at the gourmet night market at Oz village. www.oz-en-oisans.com
Now you see it!
From circus fun to magical mayhem, the Magical Surprises of Oz is a spectacular show that also offers poetry and a whole lot of comedy. It will kick off a week-long celebration of all things magical from 11-18 August.
Ready, steady, go!
The Trophée des Montagnes de Canicross is world famous among athletes and their canine friends. From 5-7 August there will be several scenic and challenging routes to choose from for runners and their dashing dogs.
In the best possible taste
If you love sampling local food the Night Market is perfect for adventurous appetites and tingling taste buds. Every Thursday evening local producers and craftsmen from Oisans, Isère and Rhône Alpes gather together to share with you their knowledge and products.
A warm welcome
Every Sunday throughout the summer season, the local Tourist Office team host a Welcome Drink, where you can receive a full rundown of all the exciting events that are taking place in the resort and happening in the near future.
Les Olympiades, which takes place every second Wednesday from 12 July, encourages competitions between willing teams in an amazing variety of sporting events. Minimum age six, free to enter
Big on biking
Families can hone their skills in The Collet bike park and newbies will love the Children’s Club. The cable railway can whisk more experienced riders to the marvellous Massif des Grandes Rousses, which showcases a number of exciting trails
La Collet is a wonderland of activities for the children and the young at heart. Why not try tennis or bowls or even archery or frisbee-golf?
High on hiking
There are guided tours at least once a week, which means visitors can explore routes around the village and magnificent Massif des Grandes Rousses. At a height of 3,330 m, the Pic Blanc offers fantastic views of Mont Blanc. And don’t forget to look out for chamois or whistling marmots.
For the more adventurous, the via ferrata starts at the La Fare waterfall of La Fare and has routes on the Massif for beginners and seasoned climbers.
The 8 July marks the opening of the summer season in Auris-en-Oisans, with a fantastic range of activities for all ages: choose from mountain biking, swimming, archery, hiking, pony trekking and mini-golf. Brand new this year are the electric mountain bikes, which can be rented for just €2 every Wednesday morning at the tourist office.
Meanwhile, 6 August sees the start of the fourth L’Alpe d’Auris – Cycle Race, setting off from Bourg d’Oisans at 9:30 am, competitors power up the 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez, then Sarenne’s collar, down into the valley of Le Freney d’Oisans and back up into Auris. Pedal power at its best!
Expand your horizons
What better way to kick start the holidays than with the huge fireworks and dance party at the city hall on 14 July?
Hiking to happiness on the Oisans Trail
For the first year, Villard Reculas, Auris, Alpe d’Huez and Vaujany have organised a long-distance trail for solo hikers and teams. The participants can be cheered through the village on the Oisans trail tour from 6am to 8am on 22 July. To enter it costs is 56 € PP and 79.6 km. For more details please visit www.auris-en-oisans.fr Register here
In shoes or on saddle?
On 23 July, the very first Bike and Run d’Auris will take place. This brand-new event will see runners and mountain bikers team up and take on a tough 13.5 km mountain loop. Fancy dress is encouraged and registrations can be made at the Place des Orgières from 8 am, ahead of the 9:30 am start.
More teams of two get together from 11-14 August, but this time it’s runners with their furry friends as Auris welcomes the last stage of Trophée des Montagnes.
Let’s get the parties started!
On Friday 4 August, Auris celebrates summer in style. The all-day party offers live shows, craft market, games, tombolas and an assortment of local delicacies for a family-friendly day of fun in the Place Des Orgières.
Meanwhile, on 15 August, there will be competition of petanque, a shooting gallery, tombolas, a snack bar and a refreshment room for a day of themed activities.
Munch on the move
Food lovers have good reason to cherish this region and on 17 August gastronomes can join a food-themed walk “Balade Gourmand”. This guided tour starts at 11 am (with an aperitif) before guests stroll at leisure through the hamlets of Auris, visiting locals and restaurants for culinary tales and tasty titbits.
Orgières welcomes the Eden Circus on 23 August– enter the dazzling world of clowns and conjurers, acrobats and animals.