The French hills are alive with the sound of the tourist industry gearing up for opening in around seven weeks time with all the optimism of Julie Andrews skipping over the hilltop meadows. And with no mention of the pandemic war...
Two press packs have pinged into our Style Altitude inbox, this week, both singing the praises of summer in the mountains for 2020 like Jule Andrews skipping over the hilltop meadows.
Yes the French hills are alive with the sound of the tourist industry gearing up for opening in around seven weeks time.
The digital press packs from Les Arcs and Serre Chevalier, both extol the virtues of a summer holiday in the mountains this July and August. Now, as Style Altitude HQ is in Serre Che, where we are during winter and beyond since the resort closed and lockdown started on 17th March, we can only agree. The fresh mountain air and scope for outdoor exercise is probably the healthiest environment on the planet. Just what the doctor ordered for everyone who's been cooped up during the global pandemic.
There is no mention of the 'c' word
But - and that's a big but - will it be holiday business as normal for France and the rest of Europe from July? Will there be flights? Will hotels and restaurants open?
A browse through the press brochures would make you assume, yes. Les Arcs confidently states opening from 4th July to 29th August, the brochure featuring mountain activities including swimming in the new outdoor pool area and, also, events such as trail races, MTB night relay and music festivals.
Like Basil Fawlty not mentioning the war, there is a distinct avoidance of referencing the global pandemic war. Don't mention the 'c' word as in coronavirus appears to be the command for the tourist industry although the blurb from Les Arcs does state: 'Climate change, health crisis, economic upheaval, changes in work methods and a new family structure… We are living through a time where everything is changing and we, too, must reinvent ourselves'.
Serre Chevalier's press pack, featuring a Julie Andrews-esq figure dressed in folksy Alpine dirndl and apron on a sunny green hill (main image) also doesn't actually mention the 'elephant in the room' because, let's face it the word, 'coronavirus' would bring a downer to the positive prose and the idyllic image it's portraying. But there is a nod to lockdown; 'After weeks of confinement, let's all aspire to one thing: the great outdoors'. So, yes, they do use the 'c' word as in 'confinement' but you can hear the copywriter whispering, 'I think I got away with it!
Breaking away from your daily life
Instead of the 'c' word, it seems we have the 'r' word. Les Arcs enjoys the alliteration of Reunion, Rupture, Recharging and Responsibility. Rupture? It's a strange 'r' to use but it's not actually about rupturing yourself mountain biking but about 'breaking away from your daily life of the past few months, your habits and cares'.
Serre Chevalier also repeats the 'r' word, reunion, with the slogan, Nos Retrouvailles (Our Reunion). Yes, it's Vera Lynn not Julie Andrews who is actually the theme tune to summer in the mountains 2020 where it's all about reuniting and We'll Meet Again.
What other incentives do you need to come out to the mountains for the summer? Well, there are offers for booking early from Les Arcs with 20 percent off their 'Hero' activities before the end of May.
Full refunds for summer and autumn reservations
Serre Chevalier goes further with a promise that they will give full refunds for summer and autumn reservations up to 15 days before arrival 'whatever the reason for cancellation' Meanwhile, Club Med in Serre Chevalier is offering holidays from 6th July with savings of up to €700 per person with credits for 18 months if holidays are prevented due to Covid-19.
So it seems that keep 'calm' and 'carry' on are the 'c' words to describe the summer holiday situation here in the French mountains.
And here's an 'o' word, optimism...
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