The picturesque mountains of France play home to a plethora of world-class events throughout the year, both for participants and spectators. This summer alone has a wide choice events for hardcore cyclists, runners, families, foodies and music-lovers, who’ll all find a great activity to punctuate their holidays.
Here, we’ve rounded up this season’s selection of unmissable events taking place in the French mountains over the coming months. Tempted?
- Reblochon Festival, La Clusaz, 9 August 2015: A festival celebrating local craftsmanship, the history of local farming and of course the famous cheese, Reblochon. All things local are celebrated with folk dancing, traditional bread making and a grand parade through the village.
- Pyro Symphonie Live, Courchevel, 28 July 2015: The Bryansk Governor’s Symphony Orchestra will play Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Verdi’s Aida at nightfall by the lake in Courchevel Le Praz, in perfect synchronisation with a stunning fireworks display, courtesy of Pendora Pyrotechnie, winners of the International Pyrotechnic Art Festival. A feast for the eyes and ears.
- Montée Impossible, La Bresse, 19 July 2015: A motorcycling event that’s equal parts spectacular and insane. Watched by a huge crowd, riders come from all over the world and attempt to ride their custom bikes to the summit of an almost impossibly steep hill, often with calamitous results…
- 6000D (The Race of Giants), La Plagne, 23-25 July 2015: This legendary trail running festival enters its 26th year. The main event is a gruelling 63km route with 4000m of elevation gain. There are six other events open to various different age groups and categories.
- Megavalanche, Alpe d’Huez, 6th-12 July 2015: Departing from Le Pic Blanc (3300 m) and finishing at Allemont (720 m) the legendary Megavalanche is the longest – and quite possibly craziest – downhill MTB race in the world. It features 1400 participants, from the carnage of the men’s race through the fun kids, friends and family events.
- Alpine Battle, Les Gets, 13 July 2015: Team orienteering race on mountain-bikes. Equipped with a map, GPS and bike, teams must check off as many checkpoints as possible over two days. Advanced and Leisure categories mean the event is open to anyone.
- Haute Route Pyrénées, 15-21 August 2015: The Haute Route Pyrenees is a cycle race open to anybody, with stages on seven consecutive days, taking in some of the most challenging climbs in the Pyrenees. The idyllic town of Saint Lary Soulan, host town on day five, will provide much-needed respite!
- Tour de France: The mountain stages of world’s biggest annual sporting event are the most gruelling and of course most spectacular. It will pass the following locations:
- Pyrenees (Stages 10-12), 14-16 July 2015: Also visit the picturesque thermal spa villages of Barèges and Cauterets, as well as the stunning observatory atop the 2877m Pic du Midi du Bigorre.
- Massif Central (Stages 13-15), 17-19 July 2015: While in the area, the gorgeous Gorges du Tarn limestone canyon is a mecca for canoeing, canyoning, rafting and rock climbing.
- Alps (Stages 17-20), 22-25 July 2015: Also visit Briançon, with its surrounding military forts is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and France’s highest city. Pra Loup and Valloire are both ‘Famille Plus’ resorts, meaning they are especially well-adapted to the needs of families with children. The latter hosts the 4th International Giant Straw and Hay Sculptures competition (7-12 July), the results of which will be on display when the Tour passes through.
- Morzine Loves Kids, Morzine, 25-31 July 2015: Morzine offers an exceptional week designed for children. Every day, you’ll be able to enjoy free events and shows (street performances, workshops, games, cinema…). Even better, kids stay free in hotels, and parents can take advantage of a minimum of 20% discount in self-catered accommodation.
- Au Bonheur des Mômes, Le Grand Bornand, 23-28 August 2015: 100,000 young festival-goers; 90 entertainment-companies, 450 acts (half of which are free) across theatre, mime, puppets, dance and other circus acts. Au Bonheur des Mômes is the biggest cultural event for young audiences in Europe. One of the main themes for 2015 is to focus on the values of the outdoors over excessive use of electronic devices!