What could be better than summertime to recharge your batteries in perfect peace and quiet on the mountain roads in the French Alps? Ibex, chamois and marmots have replaced the skiers and accompany adventurers in search of fresh, mountain air along the River Durance. Grab your travel log and take off for five days of bliss in the vallée de Blanche Serre-Ponçon!
La vallée de Briançon
Le lac de Serre-Ponçon
Day 1Up to the heights in the vallée de Briançon
The family piles into the car and they can’t wait to drive along the mountain roads along the Durance to reach the Vallée de Briançon. When you get to Serre-Chevalier, next to the Ecrins National Park, surrender to the beauty of the soothing natural surroundings, the larches and a magnificent lake – at last, the holidays have started! The lovely weather and thrills are there for you on your very first day, on a Mountain Kart: the kids, who always have their feet on the tricks, love to defy their parents. Designed especially for the mountains, this 3-wheeled non-motorised machine with a braking system has everything you need for a hyper-fun outing. Time for lunch on the large sunny terrace of the Le Chazelay restaurant, at the foot of the Casse du Bœuf chairlift. It’s also the headquarters of the party-goers who love to meet up there on DJ set evenings. After an intense day, what could be better than a comfortable bed in a room with a view of the mountains? The 3-star Langley Hôtel La Vieille Ferme is just what you need and is a favourite with its rustic and warm atmosphere.
Day 2Rise to the challenge and enjoy yourself in the open air in the Pays des Écrins
In the Pays des Ecrins, at a height of over 4,000 metres, you’re reaching the highest point in the Hautes-Alpes. This is the season where, when the snow melts, the most beautiful landscapes crossed by the white waters of the Durance unfold. The Guillestrois Queyras is a good place to switch off and is very attractive with its authentic villages which are part and parcel of this sunny range. Visit the silver mine in l’Argentière la Bessée in the Écrins National Park, and go back in time to the 10th century, in the heart of an extraordinary subterranean world! The adventure takes you in the footsteps of the miners of yesteryear and gives you a challenge: it’s up to you to get yourself out of the escape game as fast as possible. So you’ve worked up an appetite solving all these puzzles and now it’s off to Les Terrasses du Pêcheur in Réotier for freshly caught fish in a heavenly natural setting. And after having spent a pleasant time and listened to some advice on fish farming, it’s time to go to your charming room in La Maison du Guil, a completely restored former 16th-century priory in the hamlet of La Font d’Eygliers.
Day 3Breathtaking panoramas over the waters of the Durance
In a pretty natural setting where the blue waters of the lake blend with the green of the mountains, set off on a family hike from Serre-Ponçon to the magnificent Baie Saint-Michel – ideal for this new day. Charge your batteries with the incredible view of the solitary island of La Chapelle Saint-Michel which is an invitation to escape. You loved the Mountain Kart? Here’s another activity even more fun to try: tubing with Nautic B on the beach of the Baie Saint-Michel. Who’ll be the first to fall off? One last tumble in the water and then it’s time to eat in the l’Amarina restaurant where a delicious, copious meal awaits you. There’s something for everyone, from meat to seafood lovers. Their grills and fresh mussels are exquisite and delicious wines are recommended to go with your well-filled dish. And when you’ve had your fill, one of the comfortable beds in the Bed & Breakfast L’Air du Temps guarantees a gentle awakening with the panoramic view of the 3,000 hectares of the turquoise waters of the great Serre-Ponçon lake.
Day 4The adventure continues to the Val d'Avance
At first sight, the Serre-Ponçondam doesn’t appear to hide any secrets, but you can stop off at the Muséoscope du Lac to discover the story of how it was built and the flooding of villages. An attractive and fun sound and sight trail reveals this significant episode of the valley. You will also learn that the Serre-Ponçon dam is nearly 5.5 times as big as the Great Pyramid of Egypt. And because holidays are also an opportunity to be pampered and to look after yourself, go for pleasure and usefulness in the heated swimming pool of the Bed & Breakfast La Méridienne before a pleasant sunbathe. You’ll get a great welcome in this peaceful haven near Gap in the little hamlet of Le Blanchet. Prolong the pleasure with an idyllic dinner in a lounge ambience at the L’Ourson restaurant in Orcières. Mountain speciality lovers will definitely want to sample the “Berthoud” cheese bake, “Poêlon de l’ourson” casserole or duck magret skewers with sea buckthorn…
Day 5Arrival in Gap, the destination de tous les possibles
Today’s the last day, so make the most of it with, as a starter, a canoeing excursion on the Durance in the wild. Here in Gap, gliders, parachutists and hot-air ballons have taken over the aerodrome. At 735 metres, the town of Gap is the starting point for all the great mountain experiences. With their Alpine pastures, waterfalls and torrents, the landscapes are perfect for exceptional aerial and aeronautical outings. A few kilometres from the town centre, the Domaine de Charance, the former summer residence of the bishops of Gap, now houses the Conservatoire Botanique National Alpin and the Maison du Parc National des Écrins. The Italianate and the English gardens are an invitation to a dreamy stroll. And to end this unforgettable week, the restaurant La Gourmandine in Tallard promises a feast worthy of the most discerning foodies. Its bistro-gourmet cuisine with local accents gives pride of place to noble products such as truffles, scallops and foie gras. And after your meal, it’s sweet dreams in the silky sheets of the Bed & Breakfast Une Pause au vert in Châteauvieux, where you’ll appreciate your breakfast and a real rural break in its vast landscaped garden!