By Dave Gordon
Can you imagine it – in a single day, trekking through the French Alps, eating the food of your dreams, chilling by an outdoor heated pool, and feeling your body float from a professional massage?
That’d be a vacation of a lifetime, right?
The Alps region, most known for its stunning snow-capped mountain views and world famous ski hills, is quickly becoming the ‘it’ place for those wanting to get away from it all, year-round.
It’s an all in one prime location, where you can get the heart pumping with an array of outdoor activities, get in some thrill-seeking adventures, or simply take in the fresh mountain air.
Begin your journey in Geneva, Switzerland, and spend a day in Place du Bourg-de-Four, the city’s oldest area. Enchanting are the maze of winding streets, lined with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants. Cap it off with Carouge, the 18th century Italian village, quite a sight to see the architecture. (As a point of interest, the Italian cities of Turin, and Milan, are two and four hour drives away, respectively. Suffice it to say, the architecture and history are in every possible corner.).
Annecy, France, about an hour away, has been dubbed the “Venice of the Alps.” What’s fascinating about this alpine town is not just the cobblestone streets, farmer’s markets and clear-blue lake that stretches as far as the eye can see. But the clean air and sheer natural beauty makes this a hidden gem. If you’re into fun in the water, various lake activities are available, such as paddleboarding, scuba or even yacht rentals. (Why indulge in these activities in this particular area, you ask? Think about the view of the Alps in the background!)
Just an hour and a half away is Bourg Saint Maurice, France, a new hotspot for vacationers looking for a full package of activity and to get away from it all.
Club Med in Dec. 2018 opened a resort in the area, Arcs Panorama, overlooking the stunning snow-capped French Alps in every direction. Though the nearest town is a twenty minute drive away, you don’t feel the seclusion, because all the amenities you could possibly want are right there, in the resort, including an endless array of buffets for all kinds of diets and cravings.
Those from Brazil, Israel, Russia, France, and Switzerland are already in great numbers availing themselves of the Alp ski hills, as well as summer activities. There’s so much to do, it’d be tough to stay less than a few days.
Take in a hike in the pristine forest with the cool mountain air, hop on an electric bike or mountain bike and zip down the trails, or ride through the rapids on a white water rafting excursion. Or even enjoy a scenic tour on horseback.
The highlight for many is paragliding – floating a mile and a half in the air, over the trees, and seeing the snow-capped peaks up close and at eye level. (Yes, just like in those James Bond films!)
Then again, not everything needs to be heart-thumping. For the R&R seeker, there are Zen alternatives, like yoga, heated indoor and outdoor pools, a whirlpool bath, or an oil massage or two. Imagine yourself being pampered by a different kind of massage for each day.
As the French say… ooh la la!
For a night time fun, each evening there’s a different party or show, ranging from live bands of varying genres (such as flamenco, classical, rock, hiphop and salsa), to dance parties and musicals.
Geneva, Annecy, and Bourg Saint Maurice are the holiday trilogy that must be added to anyone’s bucket list.