As soon as the snow disappeared, early May, we discovered the delights of walking in Portes du Soleil. Part of Massif du Chablais mountain range with amazing views across Haute Savoie region from many of the peaks it’s a very rewarding place for walking.
Of course you have wonderful views during the winter too but in spring and summer the valleys and peaks are transformed by nature. Verdant and welcoming from the valley floor to the rocky peaks where miraculously crocuses forced their way through the fading patches of snow.
During May and June, the wonderfully peaceful ‘inter-season’ Adam and I enjoyed a variety of walks from our home in Portes du Soleil. Some walking out to conquer particular peaks and others simply a nice circuit along the rolling hills of the lower slopes.
Everywhere is well sign posted so, as long as you have an idea of where you want to head to, it’s easy to find walk in Portes du Soleil without a map.
Pointe de Nantaux was particularly daunting and rewarding at the same time. The sign at the bottom ‘KMV’ (kilometre vertical) should have given away that this would not be the easiest of walks .
We spotted Chamois (mountain goats) on the way up and the peace and tranquility, that we had all to ourselves (even on a bank holiday), at the summit was spellbinding.
Walking the descent was harder on the legs though easier on the lungs than the ascent and the scenery, with views across Portes du Soleil, absolutely breathtaking.
Another must conquer peak when walking in Portes du Soleil is Pointe de Ressachaux. We set off reasonably early suspecting it was a 5-6 hour walk to the summit and back. It was Sunday so, after the several cups of coffee required, 10.30am wasn’t a bad achievement!
As we huffed and puffed up and up through the forest we were embarrassed and just a little demotivated to be cheerily greeted by a group of pot-bellied, grey haired ‘ramblers’ striding down towards us at 11.30am.
In my halting French I asked were they returning from the summit already? ‘Bien sûr! Bonne Montée!’ they called over their shoulders as they disappeared over a crest and down through the forest.
A few corners later some very kind, and fit, person had made a welcome bench from a fallen tree…
As we thought about the French group, probably enjoying a menu du jour very soon, we re-energised ourselves for the rest of the climb with a few figs and carried on – up – with the thought of the tasty cheese baguette in our rucksacks for lunch at the summit spurring us on.
What a picnic spot! So far my favourite during walking in Portes du Soleil.
Walking in Portes du Soleil is not all about ‘up’, high peaks and tough climbs.
We’ve had great days wandering in the valley and found virtually flat walks with friends and family by the river…
and around Morzine town using the suspension foot-bridge to avoid ups and downs.
The advantage of staying close to town is that there are always plenty of places for refreshments in the sunshine…
and if you do fancy exploring and walking a little higher in Portes du Soleil you can always take the lift up.
My favourite, relaxing rather than challenging, walking in Portes du Soleil has got to be around Lac du Montriond. A flat walk with spectacular views in every direction and a bar at either end!