Best of summer images
  • Gittamelon

  • The beautiful Bladder Campion (Silene Vulgaris)

  • View toward Gittamelon

  • The path up to La Gittaz

  • A Crepis (Hawks Beard), possibly Jacquini

  • The edge of Les Priots in La Vallee des Encombres

  • A Six-Spot Burnet moth

  • The view of Le Chatelard from St Martin

  • A Small Blue butterfly

  • A Copper butterfly, possible the Purpled Edged

  • A mountain cornflower (Centaurea montana)

  • Fairy's Thimble (Campanula cochleariifolia)

  • Le Chatelard

  • Meadow Clary (Salvia Pratensis)

  • Alpine Lovage

  • View from the tunnel by La Ferme de la Choumette

  • Biolley in the sumer

  • A Ringlet butterfly

  • The chapel in Gittamelon

  • A Marbled White butterfly (Melanargia galathea)

  • Power lines

  • A verge in St Martin

It is hard to believe that anything could be as beautiful as the Three Valleys in winter,  and yet the Belleville valley in the summer is at least its equal.   Higher up the valley the terrain gets rockier and harsher, but around St Martin it is velvety emerald everywhere you look, with stop-in-your-tracks views around every corner.

I wasn’t expecting the flowers and butterflies either.  Take the road up to La Sauce on a sunny afternoon and it will be awash with sunbathing butterflies. Alternatively, take one of the local hiking trails, say up Les Encombres valley, and enjoy the flowers and the Sound of Music meadows.  And that’s to ignore the Tolkienesque views, the waterfalls, abandoned villages, and ancient Savoyarde farm houses.

Off-road biking is known as VTT in France, short for vélo tout terrain.  VTT is one of the growth holiday activities in the Three Valleys.  The trick is that you take your bike up on the ski lifts, then cycle down.  You can come down on the relatively easy gravel tracks used by cars, or take paths designed specifically for a VTT bike.    For anyone happy cycling over ‘humps and bumps’ it is unbelievable fun – ‘permanent smile’ fun.

There are few holiday destinations that have not been over-exposed in the last twenty years.  The Belleville valley in summer is surely one.