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10 reasons why you should prefer the Southern French Alpes in summer

The Southern Alpes can be enjoyed during all seasons! Summer is the other season not to be missed when the temperatures become milder and the white snow becomes more discreet in favor of the green of the meadows and valleys. The fauna takes its rights and comes to meet the cyclists or the walkers. The flora blossoms, letting all its shimmering colors burst forth, for the greatest pleasure of the eyes.

Discover 10 reasons why you should come to this protected area in summer!

Published on 13 April 2022

1. Wide open spaces, here we come!

Mountains, holm oak and larch trees as far as the eye can see – far from the madding crowd… the Southern French Alpes cover 40% of the territory of the Région Sud and are home to only 8% of the population. Seven natural parks, including the Mercantour and Ecrins national parks and two UNESCO Geoparks, protect their natural beauty.

2. Sunny days and cool nights

Sundials are everywhere, proof that the weather is good in the Southern French Alpes! Even if the sun’s rays are gentle in the daytime, the nights are cool and you get a good night’s rest because there’s no pollution. Just perfect!

3. Dive in!

Swimming, rafting, canyoning, sailing or a siesta beside a stream: there’s water everywhere, from the glaciers to the Massif des Écrins and the Durance or Verdon rivers. It gurgles away in the fountains and supplies a myriad of bodies of water. There are 26 main lakes – including the lagoon-coloured Lac de Sainte-Croix, the Lac d’Allos, the largest high mountain lake in Europe, and the inland sea of the Lac de Serre-Ponçon.

4. Make friends

With a smile, whether they’re camping on a campsite or in a camper van, in a bed & breakfast or a three-star hotel. The region has adopted the motto of its Villages d’Alpinisme: “Moins mais mieux” (less but better). Here, gentle and sustainable tourism respects the mountain world and the rhythm of nature.

5. Move over for organic

Oreilles d’âne, tourtons, pissaladière, pommes givrées… the local specialities are as delightful as their names! And healthy, too: the Southern French Alpes host the most organic départements in France…

6. A change of scene just a bike ride away

In the Gapençais or the Champsaur, the Ubaye or the Embrunais, the Queyras or the Préalpes d’Azur, the ever-changing landscapes are perfect for moving around: hiking, cycling or in a van. Get your inspiration from our road trips.

7. Finding your village

You probably know Mont-Dauphin, Orpierre, Entrevaux or Colmars-les-Alpes… But what about Belvédère, Seyne-les-Alpes or Roure? Whatever the label, the most beautiful village will be the one you choose.

8. Star-filled nights

It’s worth taking the time to gaze up at the night sky… There are around ten observatories in the Southern French Alpes and several territories which are “Réserve Internationale de Ciel Etoilé” (International Dark Sky Reserves).

9. Exceptional wildlife

It’s a long hike to get up close to Saxifraga oppositifolia (purple mountain saxifrage), the plant which grows at the highest altitude in France. The region where the Alpine ranges and the Mediterranean area meet is home to unique biodiversity.

10. Going for a gentle ride

The Région Sud encourages gentle mobility. The southern French Alpes are well-covered, even from Paris with the night train to Briançon and Oulx. The ZOU ! regional transport network has set up around 200 regular bus lines and 500 TER a day. And as for the little trains such as the Chemins de Fer de Provence from Nice to Digne, they’ll leave you with great memories of your holidays!