Holiday-makers opt for the cool air of the French mountains

Occupancy could exceed 50% in July and August with reservations rising with the very hot weather

An idyllic mountain cabin in the Alps
As much as 85% of gîtes in Savoie are already full in July, and this is set to rise to 95% in August
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More and more people in France are choosing the mountains for their holidays this summer as temperatures soar, new figures show.

The national association of mountain mayors, l'Association nationale des maires des stations de montagne (ANMSM) has said that it is expecting at least 48% occupancy in July and August.

Jean-Luc Boch, president of the association and mayor of La Plagne-Tarentaise (Savoie), told BFMTV: “We should even reach 50% easily.”

In the Alps, the Agence Savoie-Mont-Blanc has said that its current occupation level is at 45% (for the month of July), and expected to remain relatively stable at 44% for August in most mountain stations in the two Savoie departments.

In the middle of June 2021, 37% of beds were booked up in mountain resorts, although this could have been partly due to the Covid pandemic.

Last-minute reservations, due to the good weather, may also push up stays, especially in August. These represent almost half of the stays of the season (June to September). In summer, half of the tourists who go to Savoie reserve their visit less than a month before their arrival.

It comes as the industry seeks to recover after a difficult few years due to the pandemic, and as the forecast promises continued high temperatures and sunny weather, which appears to increase the popularity of the mountains even more.

Read more: MAP: French ski slopes begin to reopen after Covid closure losses

Reservations nearly always rise when a heatwave is forecast with the mountain regions tending to remain cooler even during hotter weather elsewhere.

Jean-Paul Tournier, director of Gîtes de France in Savoie, said: "Calls and bookings have doubled in the last few days.” He added that 85% of gîtes in the department are already full in July, which is set to rise to 95% in August.

In contrast to the winter, when mountain resorts suffered seriously from the closure of ski lifts and the loss of foreign customers, they are often seen as a cool haven in the summer (and even were during the pandemic).

However, it is difficult to say how the rising cost of living could influence mountain trends, experts suggest, although mountain holidays are often cheaper than their seaside equivalents, Mr Tournier said.

Hotel prices especially are cheaper for the same facilities, he added.

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