Escape to Morzine and experience summer bliss in the French Alps

2020 was a challenging year for all of us, and for many that also meant no holiday at all. As we look ahead to better times, that means planning that first big getaway, reconnecting with loved ones, and making the most of the great outdoors. With its wide-open spaces, fresh mountain air, and abundance of well-being, cultural, and active experiences, the French Alpine resort of Morzine will offer that perfect summer escape.

The UK government’s roadmap cautiously suggests that foreign travel may be possible again from mid-May, and last week the French foreign ministry indicated that travel restrictions for Brits could be eased sooner rather than later. This means we are all hopeful that holidays to France will be back on the cards in the coming months. With UK tourism hotspots booking up fast, the French Alps will make for a tantalising alternative for those itching to get abroad.

Although Morzine is less travelled outside of the ski season, it has just as much to offer in the summer with hundreds of hiking and biking trails set against the spectacular Alpine scenery. There are around 380km of marked trails in the area with varying degrees of technical skill required, as well as 15 mapped road cycling itineraries to explore. In addition, holidaymakers can choose from a range of climbing, trekking and fishing excursions or an array of more transformative experiences, like horse-back rides in the mountains or taking to the skies over the Alps in helicopter or paraglider. Traditional horse-drawn carriage rides through the picturesque town centre, outdoor yoga sessions and gastronomic walking tours are ideal for those wanting to simply relax and unwind, while thrill-seekers can take advantage of the region’s superb canyoning, paragliding, white water rafting and mountain biking.

Local tourism providers have been working hard to ensure that every one that can travel this summer, will have a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Morzine has been awarded the ‘SafeGuard’ label by the Bureau Veritas France, which provides a guarantee that the resort respects the protective sanitary protocols put in place by the authorities and those recommended by the World Health Organisation, while also ensuring appropriate COVID-19 training for village workers. A number of reassuring health and safety measures will be in place throughout the village, allowing holidaymakers to make the most of their time away, but the ski lifts, which during warmer months are used by hikers and bikers, are set to operate at 100% capacity.

What’s new in Morzine

Morzine is home to a great range of accommodation, which caters to just about every taste and budget, with excellent options for families, couples, and groups of friends alike. New for 2021, Chalet La Godille is the latest luxury chalet from More Mountain to open in the resort. Just a two-minute walk from the central bars, restaurants and Super Morzine bubble lift, the high-end property can host up to 12 guests across six bedrooms, each with an en suite and balcony. Spread over four floors, the chalet boasts top quality fixtures and fittings, double height ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and a spectacular glass atrium style staircase. Offering panoramic views of the mountains, style and elegance are the watchwords at this sumptuous holiday home, which also benefits from an impressive south facing terrace and whirlpool.

There is a new wellness activity on offer in Morzine, which draws on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku. Literally meaning ‘forest bathing’, it is a form of natural therapy, which despite the name, does not involve getting into water. Devised by the wilderness expert Simone Simpson, the half-day experience is designed to help participants stimulate their five senses, through special breathing, walking, and listening techniques, while enjoying their forest surroundings. Comparable to a form of meditation, the excursion departs the town centre every Tuesday morning during the summer and instils holidaymakers with the skills they need to practice the art-form anywhere. It is believed that Shinrin-yoku has the power to counter depression, anxiety, and stress, with some even suggesting it can help with blood pressure and sleeplessness. The activity costs €30 per person and can be booked through Morzine Mountain Cooperative, with the price including transport from the village centre, equipment, and light refreshments.

Morzine has long been admired for its superb food offering, but the village is also fast developing a name for its variety of alluring alcoholic beverages. The Ibex and Bec Jaune micro-breweries serve up a refreshing range of Alpine lagers, ales and stouts, while those that prefer a drop of red, a glass of white, or something sparkling, should head to Morzine’s latest drinks venue, WineNot . The bespoke wine cellar opened this year and is the brainchild of Véronique and Thierry Marchand, who run the much-loved local restaurant La Chaudanne. Visitors can choose from more than 400 different types of wine (and 60 spirits), with bottles available from every French wine region, along with some international varieties. The resident sommelier Michael is on hand to provide tastings, guidance on food pairings, and expert advice on the best regional vintages.