Adventure awaits in the French Alps, one of the world’s most glorious mountain ranges.
Crystal-clear air, soaring peaks and pristine powder make for an amazing setting for any holiday – and there’s plenty to do.
Cure your Covid wanderlust
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. After having spent so many months in the confines of our homes, many of us are craving the outdoors and the opportunity to get out into nature.
And while the pandemic doesn’t look to be going anywhere any time soon, a snow holiday is a great way to get out into nature.
The ideal time to plan a snow holiday in the French Alps is between December and April, and getting to France is as easy as a direct flight with Air France.
It’s also worthwhile noting that everyone from hotels and resorts to travel operators playing their part to ensure ski season is done so responsibly during a pandemic.
We chatted to the Club Med team who shared four (of the many) reasons why the French Alps is amazing for an active winter holiday – for couples, families or individuals:
Experience something different
Going on holiday is as much about experiencing exciting new things and places, as it is about relaxing and recharging – and a snow vacation is as ‘different’ a break as South Africans can take.
With snow not often sighted in the country – at least, at depths that invite skiing or snowboarding – there’s a sense of romance attached to launching yourself out of your comfort zone and attempting to find your feet on particularly unfamiliar ground.
For families, the magic that comes with experiencing a real-life snow-filled winter wonderland over the Christmas holidays – with Santa arriving on a sleigh – is a present the entire family will remember!
The way the sifting snow blankets soaring peaks and softens the sound of nature adds an element of magic to the excitement of exploring a new country, and there are few more inspiring adventure-filled destinations than the French Alps.
A foodie adventure
Part of exploring any new destination is the opportunity to try foods that you wouldn’t find at home – there’s plenty of adventure to be had in trying to decipher foreign-language menus and different cuisines, if you’re not clued-in.
You’ll likely find some amazing new tastes when you try food that’s been part of the local culture for centuries, which you can take home with you.
Think warming Glühwein, cheesy Fondue and raclette, a mesmerising array of flavourful sausages, gloriously decadent Tartiflette (a layered, gratinated combination of potato, cream, white wine, onion, bacon and cheese) and feather-light French pastries.
A big part of what makes Club Med so amazing is that all meals are included in your package that you pay for upfront, meaning you can try the very best French cuisine in the resort – without having to worry about what it will cost you.
At a time when the Euro is not particularly favourable for price-conscious South Africans, an all-inclusive option like Club Med, where meals and drinks are covered, is a godsend as you can be sure of no unexpected bills at the end of your stay!
Learn to ski, snowboard or snowshoe
There’s a moment – after plenty of toppling over and dusting snow off the seat of your waterproof pants – where gliding across the pristine powder just ‘clicks’.
You’ll need a few things to reach this point, though:
- Leave your dignity in your room,
- Shelve your ego for long enough to listen to your instructor, and
- Fully embrace a sense of adventure.
The French Alps are a great place to learn how to ski or snowboard – or brush up on long-forgotten skills.
The instructors all hail from the internationally-renowned ski school ESF (Ecole Française de Ski) and wield expertise and a sense of humour in equal measure to cater for all levels of ability. If they can teach a four-year-old how to ski – and they do, remarkably quickly – they’ll teach you, too.
So much to do for all holiday preferences
For non-skiers, a holiday in the Alps is full of options to enjoy some thrills, relaxation and culture. If you are looking for some adventure, hop on a sleigh or snowmobile and take your turn on the slopes.
Or head out to the local village market to sample some local delicacies that you can bring home for your own pleasure. If you are longing for relaxation, marvel at the beauty of snow-capped mountains as you chill in an outdoor jacuzzi, be pampered with a massage at a world-class spa or put your feet up and enjoy a good book in front of roaring fire with a delicious mug of cinnamon chocolate!
If you aren’t certain about where to start in terms of picking the place in the French Alps that’s best for you, Club Med has a really handy ski-comparison tool that you can make use of to help you find the best destination for you.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.