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A holiday to the French Alps in summer means fresher air, and limitless possibilities for adventure.

Photo: OT Serre Chevalier Vallée Briançon

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We’re just going to come out and say it: as a summer holiday destination, the mountains beat the beach every time. The scenery is more beautiful, the range of activities on offer is more varied, and even the air you breathe feels different. It’s fresher up in the mountains, and if you’re looking for an escape from the hot, hustle and bustle of summer city life—a concern that’s becoming increasingly pressing as the planet warms—there are few better places to get away to than Serre Chevalier Briançon.

Where is Serre Chevalier Briançon?

Serre Chevalier Briançon is the name given to a collection of villages in the Guisane Valley which, together with the city of Briançon, make up one of France's biggest and best-known ski resorts. The four different communes, or municipalities, which make up the ski resort, are Briançon, Chantemerle - Saint-Chaffrey, Villeneuve-La Salle Les Alpes and Le Monêtier les Bains.

All four communes sit at around 1,200m above sea level, which makes them an ideal place for a summer holiday—cool and fresh feeling. Meanwhile, the nearby Ecrins National Park is home to some of the most stunning alpine scenery anywhere in Europe.

Photo: OT Serre Chevalier Vallée Briançon

What can you expect from a summer holiday in Serre Chevalier Briançon?

While the four communes of Serre Chevalier Briançon might have first joined forces to offer great skiing in winter, the Serre Chevalier resort area also makes for an incredible summer holiday destination. From the excellent food and delicious regional wine to the comfortable accommodation, and relaxing thermal spa complexes, many of the things that make winter skiing holidays in France special can also be appreciated in summer.


Best of all are the summer activities on offer. The ski area in Serre Chevalier Briançon might offer off piste skiing in winter, but with mountain biking, rock climbing via ferratas, white water rafting, road cycling, and more, summer is arguably a better time to visit. Be sure to pack your walking boots too, because the hiking in and around the valley is incredible—and the Ecrins National Park offers some of the best walking holidays in France.

Especially if you're travelling with the family, a summer holiday in the Alps is an unforgettable experience — and Serre Chevalier Briançon is one of the best places to enjoy it.

Photo: OT Serre Chevalier Vallée Briançon

What summer activities can you enjoy in Serre Chevalier Briançon?

Serre Chevalier Briançon is famous in winter for its large, lift-accessible ski area. In summer, the same cable cars and chairlifts whisk hikers and mountain bikers up to heights of 2,500m, into the heart of a vast network of walking paths, and trails for enduro and bike park riders alike. If you prefer the lycra-clad kind of riding, Serre Chevalier Briançon has you covered too—the infamous Col du Galibier, famously one of the toughest challenges on the Tour de France, is just up the road in one direction; the Col du Granon, another fearsome climb, is a short ride out of town the other way. 

You can go white water rafting on the river, or try kayaking down some of its trickier rapids. You can tackle one of the multiple via ferratas which snake between the high alpine peaks, or go rock climbing on any number of bolted sport climbing routes. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry—there are classes on offer, even for kids as young as four. If you fancy a swim (or a sunbathe), why not head to the Baignade Bio, a natural pool surrounded by wooden platforms, with fountains, a games area and even a beach volleyball court? The backdrop beats the actual beach hands down. 

Photo: Mathis Decroux

What About Rest and Relaxation in Serre Chevalier Briançon?

Of course, a summer holiday can’t be go-go-go all the time. Thankfully Serre Chevalier Briançon offers plenty of more relaxing distractions too. The natural hot springs of the Grands Bains du Monêtier, which spout from the ground at temperatures of up to 44 degrees celsius, have been known for their healing properties since Roman times.

In 1786, Louis XVI ordered the construction of royal baths here, and today a modern spa complex, built in 1999, offers everything you could want from a wellness centre: multiple indoor and outdoor pools, heated to different temperatures; jacuzzis and massage pools; saunas, hammams and salons offering every kind of therapeutic treatment, and even a “musical cave” where chilled sounds help you relax. 

Photo: OT Serre Chevalier Vallée Briançon

One of the best things about the Serre Chevalier Briançon area is the city of Briançon itself.  A bustling town of over 10,000 people, connected to the nearby villages by lift, it boasts an ancient historic centre, and a rich cultural scene. The Vauban fortifications around the town, built in the early 1700s, are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site and are well worth a visit for history buffs. If you’re a gourmand, there are several local restaurants featured in the Michelin guide, as well as vineyards, craft breweries and genepi distilleries to explore. And if you like music, there are multiple events and open air concerts throughout the year. 

Perhaps best of all, as the highest city in France, the air in Briançon is always cool and refreshing (as it is in the neighbouring villages) making Serre Chevalier Briançon the perfect place to escape from sticky sleepless nights, or crowded beaches this summer. 

Serre Chevalier Briançon in Numbers

12 Mountain lakes

750km Mountain bike trails

21 degrees - Average daytime temperature in July & August

4 Separate towns and villages make up the resort

1 UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Briançon

For more information about everything Serre Chevalier Briançon has to offer active summer visitors, go to


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