Summer in the French Alps:

Once tried, summer Alpinism is never forgotten. The unspoilt Tarentaise is an authentic experience with warm temperatures and epic scenery. Clear mountain streams and waterfalls tumble down the mountains, verdant meadows accompany tranquil lakes and surging rivers cut through the valleys.

Large areas of the valley are protected for its stunning flora and fauna. Sure-footed ibex and chamois rule the craggy peaks, marmots bask in meadows richly carpeted with wild flowers, while eagles soar above the Vanoise National Park - one of Europe’s oldest and largest protected areas.

As the winter snow melts away, the cols (mountain passes) become accessible giving the valley a completely different dynamic. You can take a delightful, quick drive over le col du Petit St Bernard into Italy's Aosta Valley for breakfast or lunch, and enjoy probably the best views of Mont Blanc.

The working villages flourish in the summer as the main resort towns shut down. Most have a fête - a traditional summer celebration with rather fewer cream teas than the English version and quite a lot more red wine. Sample the local cheeses or génépi liqueur flavoured with wild flowers.

Hike or bike on the extensive trails in the Vanoise National Park or go kayaking or white-water rafting on the Isère River. Climb, ride horses, play tennis or golf. Or if you can’t wait for the first snowfall the glacier at Tignes is skiable all year.

The Tarentaise is a great place for children with lots of safe swimming and adventure parks. A favourite with our kids is Plan d' Eau near Bellentre (between Bourg St Maurice and Aime), which they've nicknamed the Wonderful Place. It's a majestic Alpine lake surrounded by fabulous scenery where the the family can swim, play, sunbathe and barbeque.

In July the Tour de France makes its gruelling way through the mountains of the valley. Test your mettle against the professional riders by following the route or actually compete in one of the many organised races that take place in the valley during summer.

Alps Cycle Tours - Summer Cycling Camps at Chalets Merlo and Pecchio

Alpine Cycle Tours

The renowned Bethel Cycle Club of Connecticut in the United States has been staying at Chalets Merlo and Peccchio for its official cycling camp since summer 2009. The success of these cycle camps has led to Chalets Merlo and Pecchio promoting regular cycle camps for groups and cycling clubs from around the world. Details of these cycle camps can be found on the Alpine Cycle Tours website -

Below are some quotes from the Bethel Cycle guys - read more on their popular blog -

"It has been an awesome week! Yes, I set a record for cycling miles, hours and climbing, but it is much more than that...the scale of the riding in the Alps is so much harder than anything I've ever done. The climbs go on forever and the descents require excellent bike handling, superb balance and courage (not to mention a solid bike and set of wheels). Riding here has absolutely made me a better rider and helps me appreciate even more the challenges faced by Tour de France racers."

"The trip was more than just hard training. It was sharing the experience of being in one of the most beautiful places in the world with my wife and good friends. And also meeting and riding with local cyclists Chris Harrop and Richard and the Bourg St. Maurice cycling club."

bethel cycle camp

"The goal of our trip was to see if this would be a good setting for a cycling camp. And the answer is a resounding yes. Chalet Merlo is a fantastic home base for a camp as you can ride from the front door directly to some of the most famous climbs in the world and then come back to luxurious lodging and great food."

Please also see Bethel Cycle's YouTube video on the cycle camp on this page.