With twins in tow. The tale of our first family summer holiday in Morzine!
By Ben Marshall of Simply Morzine.
To holiday with twins, or not to holiday with twins? That was the question! Some said we were mad for even thinking of taking our little 10-month-old twin girls abroad to Morzine. That is, Dad (me, Ben), Mum (my wife, Hannah) and our two angels (Bonnie and Darcey). But we thought – ‘why not?!’ So, we packed our bags (with loads of luggage and even more baby things!) and jetted off to Geneva in August. That’s without any grandparents or nanny to lend a helping hand with the little ones. Yep, just the four of us, on a family adventure to the French Alps. And guess what? Even though it was hard work looking after the girls 24/7, the sun shone all week and we all had the best summer holiday ever…
Summer accommodation for young families in Morzine
To explain about our accommodation first. We stayed for a week on a catered basis in Apartment Montagnes. This was ideal for our needs with the babies. We wanted to be sociable, but have our own private space away from the other families staying in the main chalet – which meant any baby noise would be kept amongst ourselves! Plus, we didn’t have to worry about cooking which was a nice treat. We dined privately in the apartment on two evenings (when the girls didn’t settle so well) and when they did, we ate al-fresco on the terrace upstairs with the other Simply Morzine guests and enjoyed the warm summer evenings. The quality of the food served by chef Curtis was just outstanding. It was creative, elegant, wholesome and tasty. During our holiday, there were 5 other families (with children aged between 7 – 16) also staying at the chalet. Everyone just clicked, a great time was had by all and new friends were made.
What’s there to do with babies in Morzine in summer?
I think the secret to the success of our holiday was hiring a double mountain buggy from a sports shop in Morzine. It was great value at around 50€ for the week. We used it all day, every day when out and about, and it meant getting around the mountainous terrain with twin babies who weren’t even walking yet was easy. Plus, it was good for our fitness levels! We wanted to be busy and stimulate Bonnie and Darcey as much as possible – whilst keeping our itinerary simple. So, here’s what we got up to…
Saturday: The weather was beautifully sunny when we arrived in Morzine in the early afternoon. That was after a quick Luton to Geneva flight, followed by a smooth Simply Morzine minibus transfer to Chalet des Montagnes. Easy. We settled into our apartment before taking a relaxing walk around the village centre which is only short stroll from the chalet. Morzine was alive – bustling with street performers, quirky games and activities for the children, stalls and plenty more going on. Later, the twins enjoyed their home-cooked meal, before we all met the other adults and children on holiday at the chalet. We put Bonnie and Darcey to bed, before enjoying drinks and canapés whilst listening to Simply Morzine rep Ollie’s welcome speech. Ollie gave lots of helpful information about the chalet, Morzine, and the seemingly endless list of things to do in the summer – including with 10-month-old twin girls! After supper, we sat outside sipping wine, chatting long into the mild night with the other guests. We started to relax…
Sunday: The twins woke up bright and early and we all enjoyed a relaxing breakfast in the apartment. We decided to join the Simply Morzine guided walk to Lake Montriond – a scenic, slow stroll of around 2 hours before reaching the truly breath-taking mountain lake. The idea behind this walk is clever – giving guests a chance to chat, get to know each other and find their bearings in Morzine. This is one of 10 or so organised activities exclusive to Simply Morzine, and takes place every Sunday during the summer. We’d worked up an appetite by the time we arrived at the lake at around 1pm, when we were welcomed by members of the Simply Morzine team, who’d laid out the most fantastic picnic banquet for everyone to tuck in to. After lunch, we sunbathed, swam, relaxed in the sun and took a gentle walk around the lake. Those with older children hired paddle boards, kayaks and took donkey rides. It was idyllic. Normally, our guests can decide to either be guided along a different walking route back to Morzine, or, be driven home in the Simply Morzine minibus. The return walk isn’t suitable for a buggy, so, knowing the area as I do, I decided to push the twins back to Morzine independently along a different route, whereas Hannah took the less strenuous option and opted for the lift. Back at the chalet we played in the garden before another delightful evening meal upstairs. We collapsed into bed really feeling like we were now on holiday, invigorated but exhausted!
Monday: After another hearty breakfast, we spent a relaxing morning doing very little at the chalet. We sat outside taking it easy in the sunshine – drinking coffee, reading and playing with the twins on the lawn. Even though there’s so much choice of things to do in Morzine in the summer, I think it’s sometimes nice to simply do nothing, to take it easy and enjoy the fresh air. With hindsight, we probably should have done this more during our holiday than we actually did. Midmorning, we casually wandered down to the Morzine swimming pool complex and took the girls for a dip. Entry was free thanks to our Multipass cards (included with all Simply Morzine summer catered holidays). The Morzine pool is a superb, modern facility, boasting an outdoor Olympic 50m pool, separate children’s pools with play things, flume, indoor pools, café, lawns, terraces and more. We stayed for a couple of hours which was enough for the babies (we went in all 4 pools!), but with older children, it would be easy to spend days of your holiday here. The Multipass scheme is fantastic and offers plenty of other free things to do in Morzine – including pedestrian use of the ski lifts (essentially, ‘opening up’ the mountains), tennis, ice skating and rides on the little train that loops around the village to list just a few. So, there’s really no need to spend a fortune on summer activities when you’re on holiday in Morzine.
We left the pool and jumped on the Funicular, which takes people from down in the Morzine valley (where the pool and tennis courts are), up to the Super Morzine lift (the stairs would have been too much with the twins!). At the end of the road (on Route de la Plagne) is the delightful Patisserie La Bonbonnière. This place is well worth a visit, especially during the summer. We picked up a (light-ish!) lunch of salad, quiche, French bread pizza and sandwiches, before again using our Multipass to head up the Super Morzine gondola.
At an altitude of around 1500m and after a quick wander around at the summit, we found a shaded spot in the forest to sit down and enjoy our lunch.
Afterwards, we headed back down the lift to the village, where we met members of the Simply Morzine staff for a cool drink in the sun on the decking at la Chaudanne bar. Afterwards, we walked back to the chalet just in time for the twins’ dinner at 17:30. It had been a long and memorable day in the fresh alpine air. Bliss!
Tuesday: Today we again made full use of our Multipass cards. This time, to travel free of charge on the public bus to Morzine’s neighbouring village of Les Gets, which is only a short 10-minute journey (It was easy to get the buggy on the bus).
It’s worth mentioning here that it is possible to ride the buses further afield – to a host of traditional French villages towards Thonon and Lake Geneva. Some of these include Montriond, St Jean d’Aulps, Seytroux, Le Biot amongst others. Anyway, we only made it as far as Les Gets with the twins, which I’d best describe as a pretty and charming old farming village. Although slightly smaller than Morzine, there’s lots going on in Les Gets and it’s well worth a visit during the summer. We went for coffee, browsed the shops and had a picnic in the village square, sitting under a tree in the shade.
We returned to Morzine in mid-afternoon and spent the rest of the day whiling time away exploring the stunning Parc des Dereches. Here we followed the forest by the River Dranse, stopping to sit by the water to watch older children climb the adventure park high in the trees. The twins loved visiting the animals in the mini farm and staring at the bigger kids taking horse riding lessons. We followed the windy trails, over bridges and through what seemed like secret paths, saying hello to other families with young children as we passed. This area of Morzine feels magical in the summer and is a paradise for families with young children such as ourselves.
Back at the chalet and with the twins fast asleep, we spent the evening enjoying the famous Simply Morzine summer BBQ. Feasting on pulled pork, chicken kebabs, tiger prawns, salads and other delights from chef Curtis, this had to be one of the highlights of the whole week. After the meal, headed up by rep Ollie, it was then time for the ‘main event’ – the Simply Morzine table tennis tournament! Ollie encouraged everyone to get involved and organised 2 knock out competitions. First up was the children’s go, whilst the parents sipped coffee. The kids had a ball and when that was out of the way, the adults took centre stage! Under the chalet ‘floodlights’, everyone was laughing and joking that the stakes were high and the pressure was on! After 4 tough, first to 11-point matches, and a grand final in front of the ‘large’ crowd (around 17 people) it was all over – and the winner was crowned. And guess who took the title? Yes, I’m not ashamed to say – it was me! Hooray! As everyone cheered their Simply Morzine champion, Ollie presented my prize – a 5€ voucher to use at the chalet honesty bar. Thanks Ollie! After all the excitement, it took me a while to get to sleep that night!
Wednesday: Today would be best described as a day seeing things we’d never normally get to see – most certainly not on holiday anywhere other than Morzine. It began at the market.
On each Wednesday morning in the summer, the well-known Morzine market is held in the village centre. This is a traditional French affair with a whole host of interesting wares for sale – in fact almost everything you can think off.
The twins were fascinated at the hustle and bustle, at the sounds, the smells and the sheer ‘Frenchness’ of the whole event. We pushed Bonnie and Darcey around what felt like a maze for maybe an hour and they loved every second. The only things we bought were a whole cooked chicken and a loaf of French bread for our lunch.
We wandered back the short distance to Chalet des Montagnes, before a member of the Simply Morzine team kindly drove us to the place many talk about when it comes to summer holidays in Morzine – the famous ‘goat village’ in Les Lindarets. Put simply, this is a small and pretty ‘chocolate-box’ chalet hamlet, that’s, well, full of goats! Here you’ll find, goats, goats and more goats! (and a beautiful mountain backdrop). It may not smell great, but the goat village is unique and buzzing with people (and of course, hundreds of goats roaming the streets!).
It seemed that the twins especially enjoyed the vibrant sound from the bells the goats wear – and most definitely, this is a place not to be missed during your family summer holiday in Morzine. We ate our lunch in a meadow next to the ski lifts, before heading up the windy roads (ski runs in winter!) to the futuristic, high altitude ski resort of Avoriaz, which sits at the top of the cliffs and stares commandingly down over Morzine. At the heart of the vast Portes du Soleil ski area, Avoriaz is distinctive, with huge, high-rise wooden-clad apartment blocks built in strange jagged shapes, supposedly in an attempt to make them blend in with the dramatic rocky landscape when viewed from afar. Avoriaz is traffic-free and we thought felt like a little like a ghost town – the complete opposite of Morzine with its friendly atmosphere and summer hubbub. There’s an indoor waterpark in Avoriaz, called Aquariaz, which is said to be one of the best pools for miles around. We didn’t get time to go there this time, but we will for certain next summer. Back in Morzine and as Wednesday evening is the Simply Morzine staff’s day off, no evening meal was served at the chalet. Instead, I popped into the village and picked up a pizza takeaway which we enjoyed in the apartment. It was another brilliant day.
Thursday: This morning I got up bright and early and got the twins changed and dressed myself (quite the rarity!) as Hannah had a lie in. So, off the 3 of us went with the mountain buggy for a run/hike. I headed along to the main Pleney lift and joined the ‘Retour de Nants’ ski run. Running the ‘wrong way’, if you like, UP this tree-lined blue ski run, I pushed the twins 3kms up the mountain, past the Simply Morzine chalets and all the way to Les Fys chairlift (towards the Nyon ski area). I was exhausted at the end and so enjoyed drinking what seemed like gallons of ice-cool mountain water straight from the spring. It was so refreshing and I felt great. The twins and I then wandered back down the quiet grass verge at the roadside to Chalet des Montagnes, just as Hannah was enjoying her breakfast.
Shortly afterwards, we popped next door to Simply Morzine’s Chalet-Hotel la Chaumiere, where we had a swim in the heated pool – a great sun trap in the summer.
After the twins had their nap, we used our Multipass cards to ride the Pleney bubble (the main lift in the centre of Morzine). From here, we took a long, peaceful walk through meadows and deeper into the hills, taking time to admire the stunning backdrop over Morzine, enjoying the distant sound of cowbells. This was the most delightful afternoon, following the gentle trails and signposted routes in the warm alpine sun. I’d say this was the ideal family holiday activity, which again, cost absolutely nothing. We took the bubble back down and hopped on the little train that loops around the village. The twins loved it all!
Friday: We knew it would be hard to match the things we’d been doing all week in Morzine, but wanted to end our holiday with something special. So today, we took advantage of a Simply Morzine excursion and went on a day trip to the stunningly-beautiful Lake Annecy, which is less than an hour and a half drive from Morzine.
With the sun shining (as it had done all week), we strolled around the crystal-clear lake overlooking the mountains and then towards the small city of Annecy itself. We explored the canals and winding cobblestone streets, spending the day people-watching and admiring the architecture. I can’t recommend a trip to Annecy highly enough – it is a beautiful place to visit.
We arrived back in Morzine and put Bonnie and Darcey to bed just in time for another sumptuous evening meal. At the end of a balmy long summer evening, we said a fond farewell to our new friends we’d got to know so well during the week and swapped contact details. We headed to bed happy, but sorry to be leaving. We had an early start in the morning to catch our 10:30 flight.
Family summer holidays with young children in the French Alps
We had the perfect first-ever holiday with our new family. I can honestly say that Morzine was ideal for our needs – even with twin babies in tow, then aged at the tender age of only 10 months. The sun shone brightly all week and it was hot (proper shorts and t shirt weather) but not too hot for the babies, who we kept in the shade during the middle of the day. We had so much fun and will treasure the memories forever. As I hope you’ve seen from this blog, Morzine in summer offered so much to keep us happy and occupy the twins. As a family, we never ran out of things to do and our catered chalet accommodation was perfect. Looking back, we only spent one morning doing nothing, when we could have perhaps spent more time like this. Then there’s the list of the things we didn’t get a chance to do, for example spending a day at the Les Gets lake, visiting the crashing Nyon waterfall, exploring the stunning Vallee de la Manche, heading deep into The Devil’s Bridge Gorges (in French, Les Gorges du Pont du Diable) and everything else. And if you’d like to find out more about things to do in Morzine with small children, there’s even a page about it on our website here.
Family fun in the Alps
Morzine is picturesque in summer and exudes classic alpine charm. From first-hand experience, I believe it’s the ideal family summer holiday destination – whatever the ages of your children. I hope Bonnie and Darcey grow up to love Morzine as much as Hannah and I do. We’ll be back on our family holiday this summer for sure – and no doubt it won’t be too long until we get them on skis in the winter!
If you’re interested in a summer holiday in Morzine with the family please get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0044(0)1664 568902. I’m ready and waiting to chat and hopefully will be able to help your family to enjoy a summer alpine holiday to remember – just as mine did!
Thanks for reading,