This was our first trip to France as a family. My personal first trip to French Alps, which I always wanted to visit. But why St Sorlin d’Arves? To be completely honest I have never even heard of this place. Well… when I mentioned to Mr Sting that it would be nice to have proper alpine holidays, he immediately thought of Alpe d’Huez. Mr Sting watches Tour de France every year, so it is natural that this place came to his mind. After watching TdF with him (every year!), seeing the footage of this race, with all those beautiful views they show on TV, I had to agree that this is a great direction.
This was back in 2018 when I started to search for the accommodation options near Alpe d’Huez but many were just too expensive or not the most suitable for our family needs. I cannot remember what kind of criteria I have been using then. I think, now after being on extremely expensive holidays in Switzerland, I probably would easily book something within 30 min of searching the internet. Nonetheless, after few days of checking different places around this region I have found this lovely apartment in this little village called St Sorlin d’Arves. It looked perfect. Price was good, location was good – close to hiking trails in the high parts of Apls but at the same time it looked like it is not as popular and crowded as Alpe d’Huez. We wanted to avoid big number of people, our Flower is not keen on crowds, he gets better with time but then we did not want to risk him being in distress, this was family holidays after all. Obviously then, I did not know that those two places are actually not that close to each other. Probably around one hour and a half drive. In addition, they are even located in two different department. Oh how little i knew then…
I had lots of worries before this trip. My first was the language. I am very lucky to be fluent in two languages, I can communicate on simple levels in few other European languages but French is the language I have not had much contact before this holiday. Second worry was the fact that we really have a small car. We were just about to drive across the Europe in this little vehicle, for two weeks! I don’t really know are we just so stupid or brave, or both. Whole journey from North of England through the Bournemouth, English Channel, Normandy and literally across the France deserves for a separate post. The last and worry was our Flower’s autism. He struggles with changes and big crowds, on the other hand he always liked to travel in the car. We have decided to simply just play along.
As I have mentioned I will save the story of the road trip for a different post. However I have to mention that once when we have drove from North to South of France and the road clearly was heading towards the alps we could feel more and more excited as well as more and more tired. Mr Sting is particularly grumpy when he is tired. Our SAT NAV directed us to set of minor roads which started to get quite narrow and steep. The bends on them were particularly sharp. The Tour de France commentators usually call that type of a roads a “hairpins”. Despite being tired Mr Sting managed to made a joke about the bend on the road being so sharp that you are able to see the back of your own car on them… Old Polish joke, kids loved it!
St Sorlin d’Arves tuned out to be little peaceful village. Located in the region of Savoie. I can imagine it gets quite busy during the winter. With its access to 136 ski slopes, it is a very attractive option for ski/snowboard lovers. However, there is a lot to do in summer time too. St Sorlin gives a chance to try a proper alpine hikes. There are many hiking trails to choose, from easy to difficult. The place is well prepared for tourists with great Information Centre. Plenty of activities to choose from, for all of the family. The most of permanent inhabitants are either employed in hospitality services or farming. You could see cows or sheep nearly everywhere you went. What we like the most is the colour of the sky. When somebody describes the colour by saying “sky blue”. This was the proper sky blue sky. This probably came to our mind as we live in North of England where we rarely get the “sky blue” sky. Waking up on the morning to this blue sky, the sound of the cowbells and flow mountain stream made us feel like we are in a very special place. A place where we do not really want to leave.
The local cuisine contributed to the “never want to leave” feeling. Local dish Raclette and Crozets are absolutely delicious. Locally produced cheese and saucisson always fresh, never from a plastic packet. And obviously wine. Just look at the pictures, there is no need for me to write anything else.
Overall, St Sorlin d’Arves is a great direction for summer family holidays. You have to love active holidays. Even if you are a little lazy or tired after lots of walking you can hire a bike or electric scooter and still enjoy the views from higher parts of the mountains. You can book a paragliding experience or simply enjoy the Geocaching. An outdoor swimming pool, looking more like a pond, is accessible for everyone. Some evenings they organise live music performance or some swim competitions. It is definitely worth visiting!
Here is the link (paid) to the apartments we have stayed in St Sorlin d’Arves.