2016 Discovery

There are countless ways to get around the mountains, and they don’t all mean breaking a sweat! Have fun strolling along magnificent landscapes with your family, stopping off at interesting places while discovering the local heritage and history. Themed walking and hiking routes are all the rage and one of this summer’s major trends.

Fun and educational trails for families

Children, but not just children (!), need a reason to go for a walk. Here are a few examples of fun, easy walks that are just the right length for families:

- In Métabief (Jura), you can hire a rucksack and set off on the trail of Séverin the gnome.

- In Méribel (Northern Alps), a fun animal spotting game livens up the discovery trail: “We’re here, even if you can’t see us”.

- In Plagne Montalbert (Northern Alps), you’ll come across unusual characters (Merlin, imps, elves, fairies, trolls, witches, magical cauldrons, Pegasus…) along an “enchanted Alpine pasture” trail themed around magical fairy worlds.

- In Le Dévoluy Valley (Southern Alps), “Altaïr and the musical forest” boasts games and family quests on a trail featuring musical instruments and creations.

- In Valberg (Southern Alps), the ‘Planetary Path’ is accessible to families with children who are good walkers, letting them set off in search of the planets, astronomy and mythology with a 1/1,000,000 scale reproduction of the solar system. A number of resorts also boast botanical and animal-themed trails.

Nature trails that give you a sense of scale

The mountains offer a total change of scenery, even more so in summer than in winter. Why not try:

- Megève (Northern Alps): a new nature trail showcasing the Calvaire sector’s rich ecology.

- In Peyragudes (Pyrenees): a museography trail has been created alongside the Clarabide gorges, offering the chance for walkers to enjoy an accessible breath-taking high-mountain landscape.

Historical trails for curious minds

It’s a given that walking around an area helps you to get to know it better. Being able to discover the secrets of its history and heritage at the same time is the cherry on the cake. Here’s a selection:

- In Peisey Nancroix (Northern Alps): the Monts d’Argent site boasts a museography trail explaining the history of silver-lead mining and the major role it has played in the valley’s history.

- In La Bresse (Vosges): the textiles and industrial landscape discovery trail offers different routes that enable you to connect the history and the future of Les Vosges’ textile industry.

- In Méaudre (Isère): as you move between the markers along the Lauzes trail, discover the human and natural heritage that makes the village what it is today.

- In Combloux (Northern Alps): the Granite trail winds through a forest where you can still see enormous glacial boulders deposited around 15,000 years ago.

- In Isola 2000 (Southern Alps), chestnut growing was until recently the main source of income. This trail takes you through the heart of chestnut country.

- In Vars (Southern Alps): ‘Les Baroulades’... this word, a clever combination of the slang term ‘baruler’ (to wander) and the word ‘balader (to go for a walk), is an invitation to walk around learning about Vars using the “Baroulades” app, available on tablets and smartphones.

Art trails for body and mind 

- In Le Grand-Bornand (Northern Alps), contemporary art is ‘udderly’ accessible with the ‘Art Vache’ (Cow Art) trail, the only one like it in the world with dozens of artworks on permanent display throughout the village.

- In Praz de Lys (Northern Alps), contemporary artworks are on display throughout the “Art and Nature” trail.

The Lac Blanc path (Vosges) is another fun resort trail, perfect for discovering… barefoot!

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