Walking and Hiking
The Grand Massif and Le Vallée Giffre have an astounding 50 mapped walking itineraries for all levels of walkers. The scenery is spectacular with mountains, lakes and river valleys. Lifts open in the summer to take the hard work out of the climbs enabling walkers to enjoy the high mountain tracks. As we are surrounded by beautiful woodland, walking couldn’t be easier as you can start from right outside our door.
Mountain Biking (VTT)
Le Vallée Giffre and the surrounding area offers mountain bikers more than 400 kilometres of outstanding terrain. The winter ski lifts become summer bike lifts and whisk you to the top of the mountains where there are blue, red and black downhill mountain bike runs according to the International Classification. There are 30 mapped itineraries taking you through famous cols, down mountain tracks and through forest paths. For a less demanding ride there are gentler lakeside paths leading up to Sixt Fer à Cheval with its splendid waterfall in the beautiful “Réserve Natural” or simply around the local villages.
‘Ride for the Alps’, a local, British company, offer guided excursions for all abilities, as do the local Bureau de Guide and Tourist Offices in Morillon and Samoens.
This whole area provides a perfect training environment for the competitive cyclist and wonderful scenic routes for the more passive cyclist. The season begins in April and lasts until October. Tours of Le Lac d’Annecy and Le Lac Léman are easy excursions for cyclists. If you enjoy watching competitive cycling, both the Tour de France and the Dauphiné Libéré pass through the valley regularly, along with smaller races.
Put yourself in the shoes of the Tour de France riders and attempt the challenging Col de Joux Plane. If this is not your idea of fun then relax and enjoy the flat valley floor that stretches for miles or the easier inclines of other surrounding routes. Whether you require strenuous or easy mountain roads or lakeside paths there is something for everyone. There are picturesque villages to explore and many great watering holes en route. There are many local clubs that arrange cycling tours and circuits creating a vast array of possibilities.
White Water Rafting and Watersports
Visitors to the mountains are not always aware of the quality and beauty of the Alpine rivers as they are often hidden in deep gorges or seen from above, seemingly inaccessible on road or rail journeys. There are water-based activities in the Haute-Savoie to suit all abilities, from families to adrenaline junkies. Rafting, hydrospeed, canoraft, airboat, kayak, canoeing and canyoning. The season starts in May with rafting companies offering daily excursions through to the end of September. We recommend the following companies; Nunayak Rafting www.nunayak.com and Indiana Rafting www.indiana-rafting.com.
The neighbouring village of Mieussy is the birthplace of parapenting, so the area is exceptional for flying. The sheltered nature of the valley means that you won’t spend your whole holiday waiting for a weather window to jump.
Come and experience a tandem flight where you go down in a two-seater harness with an experienced instructor. It is a great way to see the mountains, is incredibly relaxing, and can be done at any time of the year – you can even keep your skis on in winter. We recommend that you fly with Profeel Parapente at www.parapente-morillon.com.
If you are already qualified and have your own equipment, our region is one of the Meccas of paragliding in France. There are many official take-off and landing sites run by the local municipalities with help from the FFVL (Féderation Française de Vol Libre) from where you can take full advantage of the thermals, riding round the peaks of the Grand Massif.
Climbing, Mountaineering and Via Ferrata (Fixed Route Climbing)
Most famous for Mont Blanc (4807 metres), the Haute-Savoie region also offers other classic peaks such as the Drues, the Aiguille Verte or the Grandes Jorasses. The region offers challenges for mountaineers and climbers of all abilities, though we recommend that novices or newcomers to the Alps are accompanied by a qualified mountain guide.
Via Ferrata is the name commonly used to describe the high-level footpaths found in the Alps that use fixed cables for protection and steel ladders to surmount difficult sections. Although they break just about every rule of aesthetic mountaineering (“Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints” etc), Via Ferrata are very enjoyable and highly popular, and give nearly everyone, adults and children alike, an opportunity to move through spectacular and often extremely exposed alpine scenery with a minimum of equipment.
The Haute-Savoie region is fast becoming a great destination for golfers of all abilities, with easy access by road and low-cost flights making the area very accessible. With some of the finest courses in Europe, you are treated to stunning alpine scenery, cheaper green fees, un-crowded fairways and beautifully maintained greens. At some courses you don’t even require a handicap, making golf open to all. Families are also welcome as there are a host of activities to keep the children occupied! With 10 superb courses in the area you are spoilt for choice, and if you incorporate the Savoie and Ain regions, golf enthusiasts have a total choice of two x 27 holes, twelve x 18 holes, four x 9 holes and one x 6 hole – all within an easy drive from Alps in Style.