Wide view from chairlift of Les Saisies village with mountain-bikers

Summer in Les Saisies

Friendly family active summer holidays

Les Saisies is in the underrated Espace Diamant ski area, between Mont-Blanc and the Beaufortain.

In summer the mountainsides are a haven for walkers and Alpine wildlife, while mountain-bikers have specially-constructed marked trails plus two high-speed chair-lifts adapted to carry bikes.

Low view of chalet-style boutiques and apartments in village centre of Les Saisies

The village

Enjoying a sunny, south-facing setting at around 1600m between the Val d’Arly and the Beaufortain, Les Saisies is a living, working community, whatever the season. The legendary Route des Grandes Alpes runs through the heart of the village, but attracts leisurely bikers and scenic tourers, rather than HGVs.

The refreshing friendliness we appreciated during our ski visits are just as evident here in summer, when the sun shines, the mountains are dotted with grazing cattle rather than skiers, and things are a little more relaxed.

Despite some carefully-controlled expansion in recent years, the village remains relatively low-impact, and the range of shops and services should avoid any need to shop elsewhere, leaving you free to make the most of the activities. Accommodation-wise, there’s plenty of choice in the village itself, while the best views (and premium services) are just off the road up to Bisanne 1500 at Le Hameau du Beaufortain.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

See our Recommendations below for suggestions.

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Two mountain bikers on track above Les Saisies with Mont-Blanc

Summer Activities

Walking/Hiking:

17 marked trails totalling over 100km.

There are waymarked footpaths and itineraries (easy to difficult) from Les Saisies, plus longer trails in the Beaufortain and Val d’Arly. Fun itineraries for families using GPS, plus games and quizzes.

Mountain Biking & Road Cycling:

Varied dedicated mountain-biking trails totalling around 140km.

12 cross-country routes, 9 descents, 1 Leisure Park plus the Espace Diamant Tour (38km)

Road cyclists can tackle the Route des Crêtes, the Col des Saisies and other epic climbs nearby which have featured in the Tour de France – the distance on offer being limited only on their fitness level.

Activities There

Attractions Walking Cycling Activities

Activities Information

Tourist Office

Les Saisies Tourist Office

316 avenue des Jeux Olympiques
73620 Les Saisies
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 38 90 30
www.lessaisies.com


Places to visit

Seen, tried and tested.Beaufort Cheese Co-operative

Avenue du Capitaine Bulle
73270 Beaufort-sur-Doron
Tel: 0033 (0)4 79 38 33 62
Visit website

Low view of chalet-style facade of laiterie cooperative, Beaufort in summer.

See the production of Beaufort cheese (mornings 0900-1200hrs )from the gallery in this modern visitor centre. Although only in French, the exhibition is fully interactive, highly informative and well worth a visit before you go to the shop and buy local cheese and other products at the best prices.

Open throughout the year (closed Bank Holidays and Sundays in winter), times vary. Entry free.


Things to do

Seen, tried and tested.Mountain-biking

Interior of mountain bike hire shop with visitors

Hire mountain bikes and explore the area on marked trails (easy to difficult). Read about our experience on Family Cycling Holidays in the Alps


Seen, tried and tested.Hiking

Footpath signs, Les Saisies

Situated between the Val d’Arly and the Beaufortain, there are some wonderful trails for walkers with truly spectacular scenery including the snow-tipped Mont-Blanc. There are signed paths for all levels and with a free village shuttle or scheduled bus services around the Beaufortain, you can always hop on for a ride back. See our feature on Walking from Les Saisies

For long-distance walkers, see our feature on the Beaufortain Walking Tour, which passes through Les Saisies.


Seen, tried and tested.Mountain Twister

Les Périots
73620 Les Saisies
Phone : +33 (0)4 79 38 95 21

Mountain Twister, Les Saisies

Sledding on rails for 750 metres and up to 8 metres above ground. Great fun for all ages.


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icon-smileyYes please...

  • Friendly biking/outdoor activity centre amid stunning scenery.
  • Attractive, year-round village community.
  • Lots of accommodation for most budgets.
  • Free village shuttle bus and low-cost buses with bike racks from neighbouring valleys.
  • Helpful, friendly lift staff.
  • Short drive from Albertville and budget flights into Geneva.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • The lift over towards Mont Bisanne doesn’t operate in summer.
  • Village night-life is restrained.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • Bring your own bikes if you can, as hire charges can mount up.
  • Buy a local map if you intend walking or cycling long distances.
Jump to Insight

Jump to Insight


Practical Information

Getting there

By car
Autoroute A40: exit at Sallanches and follow signs in the direction of Megève, then Les Saisies. Autoroute A43: exit at Albertville and follow directions for Beaufortain and Hauteluce/Les Saisies.

For Dover-Calais ferry travel, other cross-channel routes, offers and bookings visit P&O Ferries

By air
The nearest airport for summer visits is Geneva, which is served by SwissAir and by EasyJet from throughout the UK.

By train
TGV Paris - Albertville (3h40), with a regular bus service from the station to Les Saisies during the main summer season.

Book your TGV fast train from Paris (and Eurostar’s direct ski train to the French Alps) with Voyages SNCF UK.


Where to stay

Tried and testedLe Hameau du Beaufortain

Route du Mont Bisanne
73270 Hauteluce
Tel: 0033 (0)4 79 10 46 70

High view of village and mountains through trees from ski apartments in summer

MGM Résidence l’Hameau du Beaufortain has a quiet woodland setting away from the busy village centre, and is made up of a collection of seven traditional style chalets. The spacious, comfortable apartments all have a fully-equipped kitchenette, satellite TV, phone (payable) and free WiFi access. On our summer visit we stayed in a three-bedroom mezzanine apartment which would sleep 8 using the sofabed. There were balconies off two bedrooms and the main lounge, all with panoramic views. We loved dining outside with a view of Mont-Blanc, and the lounge dining area was spacious enough for a family to relax together.

There’s an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi and spa treatment centre with an outdoor terrace and plenty of sun-loungers. There’s also an on-site épicerie where you can purchase essentials, order bread and pastries for breakfast, or expertly-prepared meals and pizzas to eat in your chalet.

The main village is a few minutes’ drive away but pedestrians can walk to the village via an easy footpath which you can join from the résidence. The free village shuttle bus (which carries bikes) stops at the entrance to the résidence and circulates between Les Saisies, Bisanne and Hauteluce during the main holiday season.

Bikes can be securely stowed inside the covered car park, (car parking payable) and can be hired by the day in the village.

Enquiries and bookings:
Peak Retreats , 0844 576 0170 (UK), reservations@peakretreats.co.uk


Food and Drink

Tried and testedLe Télémark

Le Cernix
73590 Crest-Voland
Tel: +33 (0)4 79 31 82 91

Restaurant with large terrace and mountain views offering a simple lunchtime menu or daily specials. We enjoyed freshly-made omelettes with tasty fillings, goat’s cheese and walnut salad and the plat du jour or you can select one of their Savoyard specialities.


Tried and testedFromagerie des Saisies

55 place Jean Berthod
73620 Les Saisies
Tel: +33(0)4 79 38 90 39

Visit the dairy and see how the Beaufort cheese is made. The shop on the ground floor is packed with delicious cheeses, saucissons and other local products.



Insight: Les Saisies

High view of Les Saisies village centre with mountainside in summer

Summer in Les Saisies

Returning in summer to an area which you last saw during a ski trip is always an intriguing prospect, but Les Saisies is somewhere we already know in different seasons. If like us you’ve already driven the Route des Grandes Alpes then after rolling over the Col des Saisies you’ll have caught your first glimpse of the centre of the village basking in the sunshine and surrounded by lush grassy landscapes dotted with dairy cattle grazing contentedly amid Alpine wildflowers. It’s the kind of imagery, in fact, you’ll find in jigsaws, calendars and postcards, so coming face-to-face with the real thing can all feel rather surreal.

“The last time we saw the village of Hauteluce was rather fleetingly, after skiing down to the Chozal chairlift from Les Saisies…”
Summer visitors outside sports shop in Les Saisies
View of pizzeria terrace with parasols and summer flowers

It’s real enough, though, to the people who live and work here, like French former Alpine Ski Champion Franck Piccard, whose four World Cup victories included in a gold medal in the Men’s Super-G at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Franck was born and grew up in the village and despite having seen the world during his professional career, eventually returned and now happily runs both an hotel and a ski shop.

Tourism here was firmly focused on the winter sports visitors until the revolution in mountain accommodation, combined with the growth in activity holidays, began to attract summer visitors, too.

Now increasing numbers of walkers and particularly mountain-bikers come here to find perfect peace (and a few challenges) on the grassy (and not too steep) mountainsides. Road cyclists inspired by the Tour de France also come to ride the Route des Crêtes and to take on the challenges of some of the classic climbs from le Tour which are located nearby.

Our own fitness levels aren’t quite up to that, but during our stay we certainly get out and walk. In the company of mountain guide Mark Tennent from Simply Savoie we explore some of the marked paths to be found above Les Saisies, as we recount here.

High view of village and mountains through trees from ski apartments in summer
View of cattle in high mountain pastures above Les Saisies

We also make a point of following a marked route down to one of our favourite locations in the Beaufortain. The last time we saw the village of Hauteluce was rather fleetingly, after skiing down to the Chozal chairlift from Les Saisies.

The first part of the path down is among near-silent pine and larch forest, after which we’re on a quite gentle mountainside dotted and traditional chalets whose vibrant floral displays briefly upstage the hypnotic views of the valley spread before us. Providing the soundtrack is the constant metallic clank of bells (‘clarines’) from the local Tarine and Abondance cattle grazing on the lush grass.

When we reach the village it’s as charming as we remembered it, and we’re not the only ones who feel that way, judging by how far things have moved upmarket recently. It’s well worth exploring, and if time is tight you can do as we do and take a return bus ride, rather than retracing the footpath, this time with a steady climb.

Having got walking out of our system, we take a couple of mountain-bikes, ride the Légette chairlift up to 1860m and spend some time enjoying some downhill trails. Sticking to blue- and green-graded routes gives us time to look around, enjoy the scenery and travel (with a lunch-break en-route) over to the upper end of the village.

View of walker on footpath leaving forest
Lift operator loading mountain bike onto chairlift at Les Saisies

Not that the mountain-bike terrain is all above the village. We still recall the wild, away-from-it-all cruise on the long, partly-wooded piste we’d skied over to the smaller family resort of Crest Voland during our Espace Diamant ski tour. We fall in love with it all over again when we ride it on two wheels, this time with a lunch stop in the village of Le Cernix.

Getting back to Les Saisies from Crest Voland without the expected long climb turns out to be simple enough thanks to a minibus shuttle service (with a bike-rack trailer) thoughtfully provided for weary riders (though a free service, booking at the Tourist Office is advisable). It’s an interesting ride, and longer than we’d realised, showing once again how good skis and bikes can be for covering distance on more direct off-road routes.

There’s one more activity we’re planning to try while in Les Saisies. The Mountain Twister is a tracked luge at the upper end of the village, where it snakes its way down the mountainside, flashing over the heads of startled skiers or mountain-bikers, according to the season. As expected, it’s a blast.

So is Les Saisies – both in winter and in summer. If the premium high-mountain experience and sophistication of Chamonix isn’t for you, then you might just find that the friendliness, value and down-to-earth sense of fun on offer here is just what you’re looking for, especially if you have a young family and want to encourage them to discover the natural world.

You can read in more detail (and with more images) about our mountain-biking experiences in and around Les Saisies here. MountainPassions heart

Two mountain bikers on forest trail near Les Saisies

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