After several memorable French Alps holidays during the winter ski season you may believe you know the stunning area around Méribel well enough, but until you have visited this beautiful region in the lush, green summer months you’ve only seen half the picture. |
A summer French Alps holiday can be just as rewarding as a winter visit: you can still enjoy the spectacular scenery, the fresh air and wide open spaces, but in summer you will discover a new landscape of mountain meadows and green pine forests.
One of the most beautiful places to explore is the unspoilt Plan de Tuéda Nature Reserve in the Méribel-Mottaret region, on the edge of the Vanoise National Park. Stretching over 2,700 acres, the reserve is protected, allowing natural flora and fauna to thrive.
Take Your Hiking Boots
The Plan de Tuéda Nature Reserve is a protected area of natural beauty so all cars must be left at the Plan Ravet car park. Hiking is the only way to explore this beautiful, unspoilt area which runs from Lake Tuéda on one side to the Gebroulaz Glacier on the other.
Follow the Doron stream as it makes its journey from the glacier down to numerous mountain lakes and you’ll discover some rare Alpine flora and fauna including the protected Twinflower and the famous Black Grouse.
Places to Relax and Drink in the View
The many marked mountain paths will lead you through the Nature Reserve so that you can explore its different environments from moors and grassland to forests of rare Alpine pines. Then, having worked up an appetite, stop off at the Le Lac de Tuéda Restaurant for a traditional Savoyard meal of fondue, raclette or pierrade overlooking the stunning Alpine lake.
For the even more adventurous, why not seek out the Refuge du Saut, a small wooden cabin for hikers set right in the heart of the Plan de Tuéda Nature Reserve. At 2,126 meters, the Refuge is open from mid-June to mid-September offering a catered lunch for weary walkers and even the chance to stay over night in the 25-bed dormitory. This is truly an idyllic refuge, set in the middle of nowhere for a select number of guests willing to take on the challenge of the two hour hike from Tuéda car park!
Flora and Fauna
Boasting over 100 species of Alpine flora along its marked botanical trails, visitors can see the rare Cembro pines and twinflowers growing in their natural environment. Growing amongst the Alpine moss and flowering in July with pretty pink-white flowers, the twinflower is an ancient remnant from the Ice Age, now only found in the Savoy region.
Fauna likely to be observed includes the threatened Black Grouse which often lives at the edges of the Park’s forests. Other Alpine wildlife includes marmots who like to bathe in the sun when it’s warm, ibex and chamois. Bird watchers should keep their eyes peeled for the golden eagles which nest further up the mountains in the Vanoise National Park.
How to Get There
If you are taking a French Alps holiday in Méribel and want to visit the Plan de Tuéda Nature Reserve by car you will need to head south towards Route Albert Gacon and take the D90 to Route du Châtelet. From there take the Chemin de Tuéda to the Plan Ravet car park.
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for a French Alps holiday in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.
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