Mountains, lakes, rivers and more

These are some of the things we like to do in the summer.

St Jean d’Aulps, Morzine & Les Gets

We can recommend visiting the Abbey in St Jean, which is just at the bottom of our lane. There’s also a climbing rock down there, and a Via Ferrata (hire equipment in Montriond). You can also do rafting and kayaking along the river Dranse, and there is a ranch in St Jean for pony rides down the river.

There is also a big outdoor pool complex (with water slide) in Morzine, a swimming lake (Lac des Ecoles) in Les Gets, and a swimming hole and kayak/paddle board hire at the Lac de Montriond. Morzine and Les Gets are good to visit and have carousels and loads of events in the summer. There’s a massive summer luge in Morzine by the Pleney bubble lift which is good fun (tip: the luges are graded like ski runs. Pick black to go fast!), and there are usually other activities to do, for example, inflatable slides.

You’ll find Les Gorges du Pont du Diable about 10 mins down the road towards Thonon. The river has carved spectacular rock features – but you need to be good with heights.

The Lac de Montriond is always worth a visit, for a walk just around the lake or further up to the Cascade d’Ardent. There are several restaurants at the lake for a drink, an ice cream or lunch.

We love walking in Graydon, a lovely glacial bowl. If you take the road from St Jean towards Morzine, you will see a sign on the right for Essert Romand and Graydon. About 1 km along this road there’s a small lane off on the right, signposted Graydon. This lane gets smaller and goes higher until it ends up in the bowl itself. There are numerous walks from the bowl – the easiest is to walk through the village and up the track on the right, which eventually brings you out at the top of the ski station at La Grande Terche (the St Jean Station). You can see across the valley to our house on the way. There is a tiny church in the bowl, and a bar/restaurant (Buvette du Roc d’Enfer) for refreshments (book ahead on summer weekends!), or a restaurant up at the top of the St Jean bubble (L’Escale Blanche).

There’s also a great walk along the ridge in Seytroux for amazing views – and a lovely bar/restaurant and paddling hole by the river back in town. And the Vallee Verte has numerous itineraries to explore. You can see notes on some of the ones we’ve done in our walking books!

There’s also the Musee de la Musique Mecanique in Les Gets – a treasure trove of organs from shops, fairs and cafes from all over France. If in Les Gets, you can also take the bubble up to the top of Mont Chery, for spectacular views.

For more information,  or are useful – and there’s also a tourist office in St Jean, where you can get lots of brochures, and also check the weather forecast.

Lake Geneva

Thonon, on the shores of Lake Geneva, is very pretty and there is a funicular down to the port. If you go down towards Thonon and then take the road towards Geneva, you see signs to Sciez, which has nice lakeside restaurants for a lazy lunch with fabulous views over the lake. A little further down the road, you’ll see signs to Excenevex – follow these and you get to a proper beach by Lake Geneva, with pedalos and more. If you stick on the road from Thonon to Geneva, you can visit the Museum of Firemen, full of fire equipment from through the ages.

Yvoire (also signposted from the road from Thonon to Geneva) is a great Medieval village, and nice for a wander and an ice cream. For a big day out, head in the other direction from Thonon to the other end of the lake, and visit the Chateau de Chillon. On the way, Evian has a lovely promenade to explore, and a bustline shopping street. A little further afield, Annecy – built around waterside canals – is just over an hour away to the north west.

Mountains and valleys

It’s great fun to go up the mountain! The Goat Village (Les Lindarets) is a lovely lunch stop in the summer. To get there, you head towards Morzine, pass the big Carrefour and into Montriond. The road bears right then left up a hill. At the top of the hill turn left (opposite the Auberge du Mont Rond), signposted Ardent and Les Lindarets. You can either drive all the way up to the goat village, and through it, and then park in the Lindarets bowl (it is signposted) OR you park at Ardent, and get the bubble lift up (if open). The village is full of goats (everywhere! the restaurants have fences and gates to try to keep them out!), and lots of nice places to eat (see winter recommendations!).

From the bowl above the goat village, you can then also get a chair lift up in the summer season to the top of the mountain for great views (and walks). You can also watch people fly on the Fantasticable, which flies over the valley from the top of the Chaux Fleurie lift to the other side of the mountain. Terrifying! Or you can follow the lane up the mountain to Avoriaz for a round of golf, or a stroll up to the top of the hill.

Samoens is also lovely, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can either get there by going through Les Gets and turning left at Taninges, or by taking the famous Col de Joux Plane (finish of the Tour de France 2016). You get to it via the Ave de Joux Plane in Morzine. Samoens has a fabulous botanical garden, which leads you to a ruined castle where you get great views over the valley.There are lots of restaurants around the main square.

If you do go there it’s well worth heading onwards to the end of the valley to visit Sixt Fer-à-Cheval, a spectacular glacial double horseshoe with cliffs towering up to 2 km high. Its only about 10 kms past Samoens. In addition, on the way to Sixt, follow the signs to Cascade du Rouget, and you’ll find a spectacular waterfall and a small restaurant that serves traditional potato beignets (doughnuts) – our neighbour says they are the best she has ever eaten!

Also nice is the Abondance valley, and Chatel – again, nice walks and pretty villages. Abondance is the local cheese and delicious. Jo’s mum visited Abondance as an au pair in her teenage years – a great connection for us with the area!

Geneva itself is also obviously quite near, so you can go and spend a cultural day out there!


There’s obviously lots of serious walking and cycling to do – we have walking/VTT maps and a guide book on the book shelves. You can walk up from the house and over into Abondance in the next valley for a challenge (you’d need to get the bus back though) or just up to the top of the valley (Le Fouyet) and then turn right for a circular stroll. For a more gentle stroll, you can walk along the river to Morzine and beyond – or alternatively, park at the Nyon lift station, and walk up the river from there till you eventually hit the ‘Lac des Mines d’Or’. There are some stunning walks there too, including up to the Col de Cou for a view into Switzerland. Other nice locations for walks are mentioned above (Sixt/Graydon etc).

There’s also a great walking/running circuit from the house – go up to the end of the road, turn left, walk up the hill, and then take the first right to the other side of the valley. Run down there, and then take the first right, which brings you back down to the bridge by the rubbish bins, or keep on going straight to the end of the road, and then turn right, which  brings you out behind the church in central St Jean. Then just head back up the hill to the house. Once round either circuit makes you awesome. A double is amazing.

For cycling, there’s obviously the etape routes over the mountains, and lots of good mountain biking as well. You can hire bikes and equipment in Morzine and there is lots of information on routes and competitive stuff available at the tourist office. Les Gets often hosts the mountain bike world cup, and has amazing biking facilities. And the Tour often passes through Morzine and Les Gets (it is again in 2023) – and even St Jean in 2022!

Eating out

For information on restaurants, please see the winter section!

Les Outteaux

The hamlet of Les Outteaux comprises just six houses on a no-through road. Children are therefore able to happily scoot and run up and down the lane, and there’s also den building and exploring opportunities in the private garden over the road (go down the side of the parking, and descend through the trees to the hidden dell). Scooters and den building materials can be found in the back barn.