Apartment in the French Alps for Summer 2022 mountain getaway, with rates as low as just €150 per night for up to 8 people

With boundless sunlight and fresh air, the sparsely populated mountain villages around Praz sur Arly make for a safe and nearby getaway. 

Give yourself a break with the closest you can get to normality at the current time. Our apartment with views of the mountains is housed in the beautiful Chalet Le Chanteret, in the hamlet of Praz-sur-Arly on the outskirts of France’s stylish Megève

It features 3 double bedrooms (all can be singles too) – one en-suite. It can comfortably sleep 6, or up to 8 with the addition of the living-room sofa bed.

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So much to do, safely 

Discover, as we have,  there’s even more to do in the Alps in the Summer than in the Winter! The weather is typically sunny but fresh and never oppressive, with temperature typically in the mid-twenties C.  Explore the stunning scenery and clear air on foot, bike or car. Take part in one of a multitude of sports. Relax in the Sun by one of the many village lakes. Make the weekly market an excuse to visit one of many local towns.

Pretty much everything is still open this Summer, although masks are essential in shops. The closest you’ll get to a crowd is by one of the lakes but even then we found it was easy to set up 3+m away from the nearest group and stay 2m+ away from anyone while swimming.

Explore Local Summer activities>>

A safe getaway you can drive to in half a day

While it’s a world away it’s within easy reach of the UK. Praz sur Arly is set in France’s Mont Blanc valley, famed for being home to the  town of Chamonix and many other Alpine resorts. By air, from the UK for example, it can be reached by a short flight of under 1h30m – to Geneva,  plus a drive of less  than 1h30m.

But last Summer, given the situation,  we tried driving all the way for the first time and, at about 12 hours travelling time it’s perfectly doable – and SAFE! It’s really not much longer door-to-door than fly-drive plus there’s a lot less waiting, switching modes of transport and lugging bags. With Le Shuttle Eurotunnel, you never leave your own car, come close to another person or even need to put on a mask.

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Bustling with Summer Activities

The area is famed for walking, hiking, climbing and increasingly mountain biking (VTT as the French call it) as well as paragliding and even wing-suits – for the very brave. The area’s Number One hot air ballooning operation is also situated in the centre of Praz sur Arly. Lifts are open in most towns and villages to take you up to explore the mountains.

You can visit some of the beautiful towns and villages within easy reach, such as Saint Gervais and Chamonix. Many, like Flumet, Combloux and Les Contamines feature man-made swimming lakes with beaches and watersports. The largest of them is in the nearby Sallanches valley. Stunning Lake Annecy, with its ancient town and extensive activities, is also only 30-40 minutes away.

Watersports in the shadow of the French Alps, Lac Passy, Sallanches

Summer agenda in Praz>>

Shopping, Eating etc.

The centre of Praz town is just 10 mins walk from the apartment and boasts some charming restaurants, bars and shops. Even closer is the sports area, featuring tennis,  basketball, beach volleyball and petanque courts. There’s also mini golf, a climbing wall, a running track and an extensive kids playground. Plus you can take a break with a coffee or a glass of rosé in the charming café.

And, if you long for the high-life, it is also right on your doorstep. The upmarket shopping and restaurant-lined cobbled streets of the centre of Megève are just 5-10 drive. The mountain roads above are also peppered with award winning restaurants in striking setting. The town’s sports centre features an indoor and outdoor pool, plus a skating rink, a luge ride that’s amazing fun and many other activities.

Availability is running out this Summer

The Summer season runs from to June until early September, so please check out the Bookings Calendar for availability and fill in the form to make an enquiry.

Work proceeds on village centre upgrade

The area in the centre of Praz-sur-Arly around the church and tourist office is being re-developed to create a pedestrianised town square with new shops, affordable accommodation and a medical centre. 

With work on the first building – Chalet Sylvand – complete, work on the rest has started in the space on the Albertville side of town previously occupied by two hotels that closed years ago. Apparently 6 of the 7 commercial units have already been claimed, and include a wine bar, creperie and furniture workshop.

A visualisation from how the new development will look from behind the church

 

ground being cleared earlier in the year

Controversy over plans to develop Praz ski front

Locals have started a petition to try and block plans by the Mayor’s office to develop the area around the base of the Cret du Midi ski lift.

The plans – known as ZAC des Varins – would see the addition of new rentable accommodation – including a possible hotel – restaurants; shops, new ticket offices, halls for municipal events, gardens and other facilities for summer activities and so on.

They would occupy the area around the lift, including where the current ski school buildings are, snow-plough garage, the car park and – sadly – where K-bane is (perhaps the reason we heard 21/22 is their last season 😥) 

Car parking space would be relocated further from the slopes and the Piou Piou nursery ski school moved close to the “baby” slopes. 

The drive for the development seems to be primarily to boost tourism by increasing the availability of accommodation that can be rented. Most accommodation in the town is privately owned and occupation during the season is very low compared to other resorts in the area. Most of the original hotels in the town have been redeveloped into private accommodation in the last decade.

The thrust of the argument against the development is that it has not taken the needs of locals – and families – into account and that it will change the nature of the area, being inappropriate for a town of this size. However, other towns of similar size in the Espace Diamant- such as Notre Dames de Bellecombe – already have well-developed areas at the base of their main pistes and this has always been a strange omission for Praz-sur-Arly. 

The proposal was first raised by the Mayor in 2018 and a public enquiry, gathering opinion, closed this month. It’s not yet clear when works might begin.

Praz to get it’s own lake!

Praz-sur-Arly is to join the French-mountain-village-with-a-lake club, with plans to complete the build by late 2022 and open for swimming in Summer 2023.

From the photo above it appears to be located on the other side of the river to the Les Belles games area, with a footbridge to connect it. 

Work started clearing the land in Nov 2021 (photos here).

All the other amazing lakes in the area can be found here.

Winter Tyres or Snow Chains Now Mandatory

France has introduced a new law making it mandatory for cars driving on roads in mountainous regions to be either 1) fitted with winter tyres; 2) fitted with compliant all season tyres or 3) carry snow chains.  Roads where this is required will be marked with the above sign. 

The law came into force on 1st Nov 2021 but it’s understood that no one will be fined within the first year – if you’re stopped you should be let off with a warning.

If you’re hiring a car you should check if it comes with winter tyres – otherwise you should hire snow chains. This change in the law does favour hiring on the Swiss side in Geneva, rather than the French sector – even though prices can be significantly higher. Cars from the Swiss side usually come with winter tyres as standard (plus the Vignette sticker for driving on Swiss motorways – saving £30). 

Of course you can hire snow chains but have you ever tried to put these on with frozen fingers, at the edge of a narrow mountain path with snow coming down and cars slipping around you. And on several occasions I’ve booked them they were not there at pick up. Or worse, I was once given the wrong size and struggled getting them on if awful conditions before abandoning the car (and family) to find a garage. Plus if you buy locally you usually have to dump them as they are very specific to the tyre size.

I have now invested in a set of universal snow chains that fit a wide range of tyre sizes like these. I’ve used them a couple of times on rentals. They are not as good as snow chains but definitely improve traction . And they are a lot easier to put on. Whether they are compliant with the new law I don’t know but we’ve never been stopped with them on.  

 

“The Espace Diamant is AMAZING! The snow was much better than what we’ve got in Chamonix”

Nice to stumble on this review of our ski area on the Snow Heads forum by someone who has discovered this hidden gem…

The Espace Diamant is AMAZING! The snow was much better than what we’ve got in Chamonix, there was soft stuff off piste all over the place (albeit tracked out). The off piste skiing looks incredible and we barely scratched the surface. Wide fields of sub 30 degree slopes within easy reach of lifts in virtually every area, we were gobsmacked.

On every lift we were constantly nudging each other, “look at that! it looks awesome” We all agreed we’d have to come back on a powder day (if we get any…) this season. The piste skiing is great as well, even if the runs are fairly short lived and we got plenty of mileage in with some nice fast and steep reds and blacks that came as a surprise. 192km of piste over the area which is plenty for the majority of skiers. The Ballasta lift was a favourite and you could just lap the runs and then the powder off this for a couple of hours on its own, similarly the Chamois over in Bisanne.

The view over the Beaufortain are stunning and its so nice to get something different than the looming monsters of Chamonix. We had lunch overlooking Les Carrets which was very pretty and we’re looking for Chalets to do an overnighter around here sometime soon. It felt good to actually travel around the mountains and get some different views as well.

It isn’t the easiest area to navigate and the paper piste map can sometimes be misleading when it comes to positions of lifts and runs. There are large maps next to almost every lift showing the local area which we found useful.

100% going back this season at some point.