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Autumn and spring in the French Alps

Forget winter and summer. Spring and autumn are the best times in the Alps
I came to the Alps for the winters and I’m not alone. It’s the snow covered peaks, the wonderful skiing, the cosying up to the fire that people fall in love with. But a common discussion amongst people who’ve spent a lot of time in the mountains, especially in areas like St Gervais, is how much their focus has changed. 

The spring and the autumn have become the favourite times of year for many who have the privilege of calling the Alps their first or second home.  

Surprisingly the reasons seem to be similar for us all. The scenery in those intervening seasons is absolutely stunning. As nature turns from winter to summer, and summer to winter the periods in between are beautiful. You really appreciate the daily changes that nature is making. If you have a camera it’s difficult to know when to stop taking pictures. The spring brings a bluey hue, a freshness, and the greens are unbelievable. The autumn shifts to that warm light, the reds, browns and yellows. A photographer’s paradise. 
It’s quiet. The hoards have left, and getting out and into that scenery is amazing. You really feel like it’s just you and nature. In the spring you can walk up to (and beyond if you’re dedicated) the snow line, not see a soul and simply enjoy being there. Returning back to town has its own special rewards too. St Gervais is a French working town, not a purpose built ski resort, so ”out of season” it remains alive. Quieter, French, and still alive. So those in the know get to embrace ‘La Vie Francaise’, something that it’s much harder to do during peak season, when the British, the Dutch, the Belgians and everyone else is in town. 

As a father of two I feel a pang of guilt mentioning this next ‘bonus’, so this might not be for everyone, but another common theme during these discussions is the appreciation of the absence of crying children, youngsters bashing into the backs of chairs in restaurants and parents shouting at their ‘adorable’ offspring. For the tourist this has a secondary benefit. Coming in the spring or autumn is cheap as it’s during school term times. Properties are the cheapest to rent and owners can be very flexible with arrival and departure dates, flights and car hire are cheaper, and you can get a lane to yourself in the swimming pool. 

If you’re without children, looking for a bargain and want the best of what the Alps has to offer it is well worth considering an ‘out of season’ break.