Blue skies, clover-scented air, snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys…. Could there be a better antidote to the usual 9-5 of life?
If a holiday is meant to be a relaxing switch off from the stresses and strains of daily life, then a summer trip to Verbier fits the bill perfectly. What we really want is to come back home feeling better than we set out: rested, leaner, stronger.
We have been using our small apartment near Medran every summer now for 13 years to explore the beautiful Val de Bagnes and enjoy all Verbier has to offer in the summer months. And, it has to be said, we now consider the summer holidays here to be equal to, if not better than the winter season.
Now we bring our two children, age 5 and 8 and they can experience an outdoor life in the sunshine, splash around in the outdoor pool and catch grasshoppers all day long. Petit Verbier has been an invaluable help to us, providing nannies for anything from a couple of hours to a few weeks. They offer a small free soft play inside Mountain Air which the children enjoy whilst we enjoy a good coffee at Le Bec. There are numerous excellent camps for children from 4 years old, Mountain Relish started by Sandy Miller offers amazing activities for children from den making (including toasting marshmallows), climbing (Verbier now has its own “Go Ape” known as the “Sentier Suspendu”) and visits to local sights such as the home of the St Bernard dogs “Barryland”. There is also a tennis camp, and residential camps such as Altitude and Les Elfs.
For older children, mountain biking has now become a big scene in Verbier. Runs are set up similar to ski runs and are graded by difficulty. Some of the jumps, twists and turns on the black runs are really challenging. For those who are more pedestrian by nature, E-bikes can be hired. With a small motor they allow those of us who want to take the easier routes (up and down) to access the entire mountain.
During the summer, the lifts are made a lot more accessible by the introduction of the VIP pass. VIP, “Verbier Infinite Playground” allows unlimited FREE access to the entire lift system and is normally given gratis from your hotel or the apartment you are renting. It also offers free access to the public swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) and significant discounts at local attractions such as the Foundation Pierre Gianada (well worth a visit to see Rodin, Chagall, Da Vinci) and Barryland.
The village has a lovely relaxed feel in the summer – restaurants are buzzy and Le Caveau in the village centre is always a great place to watch the world go by. Various festivals take place, the largest of which, the Verbier Festival is a world-class classical musical festival. Even for us heathens that don’t know a crotchet from a quaver, it’s quite something to hear the melodious sounds of a cello wafting into your chalet or to get an impromptu tune from a world class Flautist whilst you travel up in the bubble.
The breadth of restaurants is forever expanding and improving. Everyone’s favourite spot, Chez Danny is a mountain paradise in the summer. With swings and deck chairs no-one will hurry you to finish lunch and it is a treat for children to have a fondue up the mountain in the evening. They can play outside in the long warm evenings whilst you settle back to a glass of excellent Dole Blanche (Swiss rose). Carrefour, a firm family favourite, continues to offer the “hot stone”, where you decide the “cuisson” of your beef alongside frites or a rosti. Chanterelle mushrooms abound and you cannot miss the escargot at Le Dahu. Marlenaz’s is a lovely walk up from the village and you can meander along the Bisse (a tiny but beautiful stream that runs around the entire length of the mountain) whilst the children look for wild strawberries.
Temperatures in the summer range from 18-28 degrees Celsius, and there’s normally a cooling breeze even when temperature reach 35 degrees as they did this summer. It’s never too hot to hike in the woods or amble around the village. Added to that, there’s no traffic-jam to park the car at the beach, no sandy towels to unload or queue to get into the latest new restaurant. I’d choose Verbier every summer over any other holiday spot!