Let’s Bubble in Pays de Gex

Make a road trip this summer and head to France. You can travel at your own pace and bubble with your own household, all with minimal social mixing. On top of that, fuel is the cheapest it’s been for a decade. 

The  Pays de Gex community is a group of 26 French communes extending from the heart of the Jura Massif mountains to the meadows that line the Swiss border. It offers a natural holiday destination, close to Geneva, with fresh mountain air at an affordable price. Facing Mont Blanc, appreciate stunning views across Lake Geneva and in the summer months, take a ramble along the tops of the Haut-Jura in the centre of the national reserve. Discover 2,000 years of history at Fort L’Ecluse, a strategic passage between the Alps and the Jura ever since ancient Rome became a place of wonder. Explore Ferney and its castle: Voltaire the philosopher left his mark here and they even named the town after him: Ferney Voltaire. And science wizards will enjoy the home of the Large Hadron Collider, CERN, is located here. 

Bubblicious: Want to get into the glamping spirit? In the depths of the Haut Jura national park it is possible to become a bubble family (as per the governments Covid-19 advice) and reserve transparent bubbles, wooden pods, a yurt or a wigwam lodge. Surrounded by the calming oasis of greenery and nature, it’s the perfect spot to get away from it all. Part of a larger camp site, there is an onsite bistro offering a gourmet menu and a very friendly atmosphere. A bubble breakfast is delivered daily in a basket for an enjoyable, secluded feast. One night’s B&B is priced from £75 pp (£150 total) for two people sharing www.lesgeorennes.com  

House Party: Celebrate the end of lockdown in style by taking friends and family on a French escape. And where better than in a palatial holiday pad? Gather the clan at this beautiful, sleek modern barn in the village of Saint-Genis-Pouilly (Pays de Gex) only 15 minutes from Geneva. Visit the charming villages around Lake Geneva, take a cruise on the sparkling lake or head into the mountains to admire the views. The house can accommodate up to 12 people in four ensuite bedrooms, whilst the open-plan sleeping area, located on the mezzanine, is very popular with children. The house comprises two secure gardens, playroom, a home cinema, a games room, a fitness suite, and the terrace is home to a hot tub with a swimming area. A week’s self-catering is priced from £250 pp (£3,000 total) for 12 people sharing www.emnitan.com

5-star Estate: Located in an enchanting setting at the core of the Haut Jura Regional Park, the 5-star Relais & Châteaux 98-acre private estate is a perfect getaway in every season. In summer, it’s an oasis of tranquillity celebrated on the terrace and at the resorts nautical base. The establishment was recently transformed under the direction of architect Cristina Gherardi Benardeau. A great figure of design associated with the glamorous interiors of Christian Dior boutiques; the Italian excels in the art of refinement with extra soul. The 31 suites of Relais & Châteaux each have a terrace and a balcony, while the four Junior Suites take the experience even further by integrating a private jacuzzi. 20 new rooms opened this spring (2020) and have increased this luxurious resort’s capacity. As a nod to the Swedish owner, a Scandinavian wind blows through the new building where ‘less is more’. The wood panelling and raw materials offer a perfect calming sensation.

Jiva Hill Resort, located in the private estate encourages pampering with its abundant well-being offer. Guests can make the most of a sauna, a hammam, two swimming pools, one of which is outside (heated) with massage jets, a solarium, a state-of-the-art fitness room including a sports-coaching service and a Nordic spa. The journey continues at the Carita © spa to relieve tensions or to simply relax. At the Jiva Hill Resort, special attention is paid to children, who are also distinguished guests and often banned from the wellness realm of a hotel. A treatment card is specially dedicated to the little ones: mini stopover ‘Frimoussette’ with chocolate wrap, face ritual ‘Toudou’ or a manicure ‘Doigts de Fée Clochette’. It is all about the art and the way of initiating them into the virtues of taking care of themselves in a playful and engaging spirit.

Residents can also take part in many sporting pleasures by bike or helicopter and enjoy the nautical base (wakeboard and water skiing) and outdoor activities in the nearby resorts. Golfers will be in paradise with the sophisticated nine-hole course and 18 tee boxes, passable all year round. For neophytes, this is an ideal opportunity to discover this sport, especially with the driving range of 240 metres with targets and fairway bunkers. A two-night stay at the 5* Hotel on B&B is priced from £205 pp (£410 total)) for two people sharing www.jivahill.com  

Mountain Chic: The four-star Chalet-Hotel La Mainaz Restaurant & Resort is perched in the hills at an altitude of 1,250 m and is 35 minutes from Geneva Airport in the small mountain village of Gex. This Alpine-inspired hotel and restaurant is a haven of peace with 22 comfortable rooms and suites decorated down to the tiniest detail. Facing Lake Geneva and Mont-Blanc, the hotel also offers a unique gourmet cuisine in the Haut Jura with its friendly bistro, cosy bar and panoramic terrace. Book a table at the stylish La Table de la Mainaz for a meal with a view. La Table de la Mainaz takes glorious Jurassien produce, including local trout from the lake, cheeses and herbs, and gives it a sophisticated spin. Nestled in the heart of spectacular mountains and idyllic landscapes, athletes and nature lovers will enjoy a range of exciting outdoor activities from the hotel’s doorstep. One night’s B&B is priced from £127.50 pp (£255 total) for two people sharing www.la-mainaz.com

Les Lumières de Genève is a charming family run bed and breakfast nestled in the hills of Pays de Gex. The local stone style is typical of the village of Grilly and easily accessible with a short 20 minute transfer from Geneva.  Relax in one of the five, spacious luxury suites – named after the local areas: Jura, Leman and Divonne – with views directly to Mont Blanc. Choose between Queen or King-size beds and a delightful small living room or practical office area. One night’s B&B is priced from £66.50 pp (£133 total) for two people sharing www.lumieresdegeneve.com

The French nature and mountain destination is in the process of becoming the first whole area to obtain the COVID-FREE independent label. In addition, two of its popular hotels are the first hotels in France to obtain the COVID-FREE label.