With the Foreign Office now advising against visiting all, or parts of, nearly 60 countries, why not stay closer to home and spend summer in Alpe d’Huez grand domaine, in the French Alps, instead?
Comprising five lift- linked resorts: Vaujany, Auris-en-Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Villard Reculas and Alpe d’Huez, it is ideal for a trouble-free activity-holiday for all the family.
The mountains are a brilliant action-packed alternative to the beach, and the grand domaine offers via ferrata, cycling, hiking, horse riding, paragliding and numerous water sports amongst others.
Plus, with return flights and accommodation costing less than £200 pp per week, Alpe d’Huez grand domaine is excellent value too.
Families, find out what’s in store below:
NEW: Via Ferrata
Climb the Massif des Grandes Rousses above Vaujany in a series of brand new Via Ferrata routes. Begin at the edge of La Fare waterfall, which flows down the rock face throughout the summer. Beginners can edge along the walkways that wind along the wooded slopes of the rock face accompanied by a professional guide. And those with experience can clamber up vertical passages alongside the cascading water. This is a free activity, and all the climbing equipment can be hired locally. (Minimum age 14.) For more information, visit vaujany.com.
With 264 kilometres of mountain-biking tracks conveniently accessed by nine cable-car lifts, cycling in Alpe d’Huez grand domaine could not be easier, or more exciting. Keen families can check out the Oisans Col Series, a free event which takes place every Tuesday morning. Here, anyone with two wheels (and road-cycling experience) can explore the mountain cols in Oisans at their own pace, without having to worry about cars. Alternatively, Oz-en-Oisans and Vaujanay are also home to the Kids Park, which is ideal for beginners (free access, no minimum age), and the new Pump Track: combining a series of banked bends, cavities and bumps on an exciting mountain-bike track, perfect for perfecting those handling techniques (free access, no minimum age). Or, parents and children might like to join in with the ‘Biking Afternoon Package’. Each Sunday, budding mountain bikers can discover the trails around Alpe d’Huez led by a qualified Moniteurs Cyclists Francais instructor (minimum age 10). Price is from €31 / £24 pp including mountain bike, knee protection, helmet, two lift passes (for each ascent) and instructor. For more information, visit alpedhuezbike.com or oz-en-oisans.com.
Alpe d’Huez grand domaine offers 250 miles of marked routes, from pushchair-friendly strolls to more challenging treks. Eager walkers can tackle the prestigious peaks in the Massif des Grandes Rousses or in the Ecrins National Park, whereas those after a leisurely experience can saunter to one of the 12 lakes for a relaxing picnic, and make the most of the panoramic views. In Auris en Oisans, families can sign up to the discovery walk: equipped with binoculars, look out for chamois and marmots without disturbing them (hire binoculars from €10 / £8 pp for half-a-day). The same activity is also available in Vaujany for free. Mountain guides can be arranged for those after a specific experience (cost on request), but anyone can enjoy the plethora of flora and fauna in across the mountains. For more information, visit alpedhuez.com.
X-Fly adrenalin park
Situated in the heart of Alpe d’Huez grand domaine, X-Fly is ideal for thrill seekers wanting an active-day out. Soar through the air on the two giant zip wires (both 400 metres long), free-fall onto a huge air bag from heights of four or eight metres, climb up the nine-metre tower before abseiling back down, or leap off the top on a BMX bike and try some crazy stunts before landing on a giant inflatable mattress (minimum age six). Alternatively, younger children can lose themselves in the vertical maze (minimum age three, maximum age six). For more information, visit xfly-alpeduez.fr.
Oz forest recreation park
Families who are fans of Go Ape, can spend a day in the Oz forest recreation park, which has a bouncy castle, trampoline, a giant zip wire (300 metres long), ideal for a fun (and competitive) time. At lunchtime, enjoy a picnic at one of the many tables in the forest, or relax in the reception centre. Entrance costs from €5 / £4pp (minimum age three). For more information, visit oz-en-oisans.com.
As well as being home to the world-renowned Poutran International Equestrian Training Centre (international horse riding and training centre), Alpe d’Huez is a wonderful place to ride just for fun. The scenery is spectacular and riders can cover much more terrain on horseback compared to walking. There are numerous programmes available at the Centre Equestre, which are ideal for all abilities. Complete beginners can sign up for a starter lesson (minimum age three) and more confident riders can enjoy trekking through the countryside or even a spot of dressage. Courses cost from €10 / £8 pp. For more information, visit alpeduez.com.
Zip up a lifejacket, clip on a helmet and jump into a kayak, canoe or raft (minimum age 10) and enjoy a thrilling white-water river descent. All these activities, and more, can be found at the Veneon Aux Vives Watersports centre, located between Venosc and St Christophe, in the Ecrins National Park Glacier, not far from Alpe d’Huez. For those wanting a more exhilarating ride, hydro-speeding is on offer too. Here, eager participants can cling onto a large float (a little like a body board) and surf down the rapids (minimum age 10). Water sports cost from €32 / £25 pp, including wetsuit, safety helmet and flippers (if needed). Towel and swim wear not provided. For more information, visit alpeduez.com.
For families who fancy a more traditional time in the French Alps, Villard Reculas offers an assortment of options. Sign up to a spot of Frisgolf (a cleverly mixed practice of frisbee and golf), challenge others to a game of volleyball or a tennis match, and join the locals in a friendly game of boules. Plus, the village also organises workshops, treasure hunts and games for children throughout the summer. For more information visit villard-reculas.com.
NEW: Spa de la Fare
After an active week, parents can treat themselves to a day at the brand-new Spa de la Fare in Vaujany. Inside, make the most of the pool, spa, whirlpool, sauna, Jacuzzi and a selection of massages and treatments. During the summer, Spa de la Fare is open from 10.30 to 19.30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 10.30 to 19.30 and again from 20.30 to 22.30 on Wednesday. Entrance to the spa costs from €10 / £8 pp. For more information, visit vaujany.com.
For more information on Alpe d’Huez grand domaine and what’s on this summer season visit: www.alpedhuez.com.