The French Alps are most commonly associated with winter holidays and skiing. But they are also a wonderful place to visit in the summer for a camping holiday. The Alps stretch from the South of France to Slovenia, stretching over 750 miles and over six countries! Mont Blanc is the Alps’ iconic highest peak at 4,808 metres high but there’s plenty to do in the region that won’t require mountaineering gear!
During the summer months, the French Alps are full of beautiful and diverse landscapes with sunny days and warm breezes to enjoy. The Alps are an outdoor playground for families, with a huge variety of activities to enjoy.
Camping in the French Alps is full of fast-paced activities for families. Undiscovered Alps offer a huge amount of adrenaline filled pursuits from kayaking on the Severaisse River to tubing and mountain hiking. Or take a drive to the man-made Lac de Serre-Ponçon – one of the largest artificial lakes in Western Europe. The lake is a real playground for families – why not try being dragged around the lake by a speedboat on banana shaped inflatables? And near Megève you can try your hand at white-water rafting.
Back on dry land, take a visit to Jungle Laye in the small ski resort of Laye. This adventure park is ideal for active children, with high ropes, cargo nets and a lot of zipwires to be enjoyed.
For keen hikers, a visit to the Ecrins National Park is a must where you can tackle the climb to Refuge du Tourond at an altitude of 1, 712 metres. The walk takes around two hours. Or take a visit to the Abondance Valley, which offers some of the best mountain biking in the Alps. For a more gentle view of the Alps head to Chamonix, where you can pick up the Aiguille du Midi cable car, offering fantastic views of Mont Blanc. And after all these activities, why not take a thermal bath in Aix-les-Bains?
The beautiful town of Annecy is well worth a visit. The town’s medieval quarter weaves around the Thiou River, which flows out into Lake Annecy – one of the most beautiful in the region. Annecy has two historic churches, the 15th century Church of Saint-Maurice and the 16th century Cathedral of Saint-Pierre. On an islet in the river is the 12th century Palais de I’Isle which is now a museum. Grenoble is another town where you should consider spending some time. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is one of the most important museums in France, with artists from Monet, Matisse, Renoir, Picasso, Goya and through to Rubens represented. The Palais de Justice (Law Courts) date back to the 15th century and the town is well known for its beautiful gardens surrounding the Isère River.
You can take the Eurostar from London to Paris or Lyon and then use the excellent French TGV train system to travel on with. Alternatively, the region is served by four airports – Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery with direct flights from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and many other large cities in the UK. Easyjet, British Airways and Flybe are just some of the airlines that serve the region. Finally, if you want to take your car the Eurotunnel is the quickest way onto the continent.
Family friendly campsites
Ardeche, Vogue, Domaine du Cros d'Auzon
Nestled on the banks of the Ardèche River, near to the beautiful village of Saint-Martin d'Ardèche, is the lovely Camping Domaine du Cros d'Auzon campsite. There's a fantastic heated indoor pool, children's playground, tennis, boules, volleyball and table tennis facilities and various clubs for children aged 4 and up. You'll also find a TV area, bar and snack bar on site.
Drome, Chatillon en Diois, Lac Bleu
Located between the stunning Vercors Massif mountains and the Provençal hills, Camping le Lac Bleu is the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway. The site has plenty of space for the kids to run around in and there's a children's club to help keep them entertained. Enjoy the lovely outdoor pool, play boules or table tennis and enjoy shows and live music in the evenings. There's also direct access to a beautiful lake for fishing and canoeing.
Haute-Savoie, Doussard, Ravoire
Camping Ravoire is situated less than a mile from the shores of the beautiful Lake Annecy and has glorious views of the mountains. On site is a wonderful pool complex with an outdoor pool, covered pool, children's pool and waterslides as well as boules, table tennis, a playground and a games room. There's also a snack bar and bar to keep the family refreshed! Active families can hire bikes and explore the cycle path that runs by the campsite, or try their hand at canoeing, sailing, windsurfing or paragliding at the lake.
Ardeche, Largorce-Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Domaine de Chaussy
In the heart of the stunning Ardèche Valley, Domaine de Chaussy campsite is a welcoming place for all the family. There's a fantastic pool complex, with multiple pools, slides and plenty of space to relax in. Adults will love the wellness centre, with spa treatments, a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. There are two children's clubs - one for 5-13 year olds and another for teenagers, plus plenty of space to play volleyball and football. You can hire a bike on site to explore the local area and canoeing, kayaking and quad-biking are all available nearby.
Haute-Savoie, Thonon les bains, Saint Disdille
Camping Saint Disdille is located just 3 minutes walk from the beach on the shore of Lake Geneva, where you can swim to your heart's content and enjoy a range of water sports. There's a superb onsite playground to keep the youngsters busy, as well as boules, archery, table tennis and a tennis court. And there are plenty of shows and live music, as well as a children's club available. Bike hire is available at the campsite so you can explore the local area further.
Ardeche, Ruoms, Grand'Terre
Camping Grand'Terre is located just 200 metres from the Ardèche River, where you can swim, fish or just relax on the banks. The campsite has partnered with a local company to offer canoe and kayak trips through the Ardèche Gorges, with departures from the campsite's beach. On site is a lovely swimming pool, tennis courts and a children's club in high season. You can join in with sports tournaments and enjoy evening entertainment. Why not hire a bike on site to explore the stunning local area?
Haute-Savoie, Doussard, la Ferme de la Serraz
La Ferme de la Serraz campsite is located close to the beautiful Lake Annecy and is a beautiful site surrounded by superb mountain scenery. There are two swimming pools with one just for toddlers, a children's playground, TV and games room and a snack bar. Spend time soaking up the amazing panoramic views from the pool terrace, or explore the local area and gorgeous countryside on foot or by bike. There's also a lakeside beach located just under a mile from the site where you can swim, take boat trips and undertake a wide choice of water sports.
Les Rives de Condrieu campsite overlooks the beautiful Rhône River and is surrounded by lush vegetation. There's a fantastic pool complex with two pools, a paddling pool and water slides. The campsite also has a multi-sports ground, mini golf course, boules and table tennis as well as a kids club, entertainment and a bar. You can hire a bike and explore the ViaRhôna cycle path or try your hand at fishing, boating or windsurfing on the river.
Ardèche, Ruoms, Le Petit Bois (Ardèche)
Campsite Le Petit Bois is nestled on the Ardèche river banks, near the medieval town of Ruoms, in the heart of Ardèche. The campsite has a peaceful setting and great facilities including a swimming pool, children's pool, sports ground, playground and table tennis. Make sure to explore the local region and try out some activities on the river, such as canyoning, rock climbing and canoeing, before returning to the site for a great meal at the restaurant and bar.