There was little sign of the approaching Autumn, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine but a fresh dusting of snow the previous weekend provided glistening white peaks of the Domes de Miage and Mont Blanc mountains, a sign of winter to come.
The hotel, which re-opens for skiers on 4 December sits right alongside an old two-man chair in the centre of Saint Nicolas, almost a national treasure for the village showing no sign of being updated, as it sits on private land.
In contrast, a little lower down the village, the two-man chair, Chattrix is being replaced with a fast detachable 6- seater chairlift in time for the opening of the season. Local skier, Betony Garner, who often comes over to this area for skiing when the weather’s not so good in her home town, neighbouring Chamonix, said “This chairlift will offer much faster access back into the ski area which links with Megeve. It was always a very slow spot to get out of. This development will be great news for local skiers and for the holiday guests inSaint GervaisandMegeve.”
Director ofL’Armancette, Anne-Cecile Quey adds, “with our new hotel and this chair lift, Saint Nicolas is waking up to the 21st Century but the village will remain a special place to come to as the village is mostly stand-alone chalets and locally owned houses so it will never be too busy. We welcome locals to our in-house bakery, which we have maintained on the site of the former village bakery. For skiers, we will run a shuttle from the hotel to the new fast access chair to enable our guests to easily connect via this new chairlift”.
The 6 man chair will become the fastest access point to the Mont-Joly ski area, which is the highest point of the ski resort at 2353 m, offering 1000m descent from Epaule to Chattrix.
Skiing down the Chattrix blue run, skiers will ski right past three new chalets at Plateau de la Croix, above Saint Nicolas where the ski school meeting point is for guests in the village.
These chalets, also part of the newArmancettegroup, offer ski-in/out access, with the largest chalets – Aster and Carline sleeping up to 14 guests and the smaller chalet, Silene just 8 guests. I hiked up to see the chalets, a 45 minute steep climb up from Saint Nicolas and loved the autumn garden planting with its fruit trees and bushes. Fingers crossed they survive the snowy winter.
From the hotel at 1150m, the views across the valley withLes Contaminesin the distance are stunning and the Domes de Miage peak the highlight, but from these higher chalets there is a direct view to Mont Blanc.
Summer in the French Pyrenees – including the Pyrenees- Atlantiques; the Hautes-Pyrenees; the Haute-Garonne; the Ariege-Pyrenees; the Aude and the Pyrenees-Orientales.
Here are a few highlights of Summer 2019 from each department.
The Ariege Pyrenees is home to the incredible Prehistoric Cave, the Grotte de Niaux which sits within the Parc de la Prehistoire in Tarascon-sur-Ariege. This park, come museum offers workshops, presentations and hands on experiences where visitors can learn to hunt, to paint on walls, to carve flint, to light fire as they did 14,000 years. The newly lit ‘Grand Atelier’ museum space of 2,500m2 showcases the ‘Giants of the Ice Age’. Take a tour in to the Grotte de Niaux and discover the Salon Noir with its preserved paintings. www.sites-touristiques-ariege.co.uk
The Château de Foix – a huge renovation, inside and out over a 6 month project and 8 million+ investment. Inside the castle, the large ceremonial room, the weapons room etc. Every room has been made even more realistic. At the foot of the castle, a brand new 2000m2 museum space has been created. Guests can take workshops to learn how to handle weapons used in war, to forge, to cut stone or to operate huge machinery used in warand construction. www.sites-touristiques-ariege.co.uk
Watersport Fun – Waterski in Mercus
A suspended cable tows eight water- skiers at the same time on a 760m course. Beginners can start with kneel boarding before moving on to classic waterskis, mono-ski or wake-board and then the jumps and tricks. This nautical base also offers: pedalo paddle boats, paddleboards, beach, beach volleyball, children’s games. Open: mid-June to early September, 7days/week from 13h30 to 19h30. Rates: Ski lift 14 € per hour. Pedalo and stand up paddle 12 € New! Paddle XXL: Package of 25 €for 1 to 8 people. www.basenautiquemercus.fr
New Summer Sledging in Guzet
The Guzet Express is one of the longest luge rides in Europe at 1.6 km with a vertical drop of 357 meters. The departure is at 1,700 meters above sea level after a superb ascent by chairlift. A great fun toboggan mounted on metal rail.https://couserans-pyrenees.fr/luge-guzet-express/
On Your Bike: Tour de France – 21 July
The Tour will get the best mountain views as it crosses the Ariege Pyrenees on ‘the road of the castles’ on 21st July 2019. Riders will leave Limoux to join the mountains of Foix Au Prat D’albis. Located 1200 m above sea level, this site of pastoralism, hiking and paragliding, the Prat d’Albis will for the fisrt time, host this Great Loop. Local organizers are committed to preserving the natural site. Montségur, Roquefixade, Miglos, Montreal de Sos will be the backdrop to this 15th stage. https://www.pyrenees-ariegeoises.com/en/diary/le-tour-de-france-arrive-au-prat-d-albis-a-foix-1302296
Skyvall, is a new gondola, part of a 30 million euro development, linking Loudenvielle in the Louron Valley to the mountain village of Peyragudes. Peyragudes resort sits at 1,600 meters for biking and hiking in summer and ski in/out village in winter. This 3 km link with a 650 m vertical drop is part of a plan to create a year round destination and reduce CO2 pollution on the road up to Peyragudes. Also new for December 2019 is the opening of a 4* Residence alongside the base of the new lift. http://www.vallee-du-louron.com/
Enjoy a wonderful off grid experience under the stars from just 100 euros per night for a Bubble sleeping 2 people with mini fridge, eco shower and facilities, bedding, and stunning views of the French Pyrenees being 650m above sea level. Enjoy breakfast on the 65m2 terrace.The closest market village of Argeles Gazost has a weekly market in the town centre for fresh supplies. www.moontain-bubble.com
Pyrenees Cyclin’Trip – Follow in the footsteps of the Tour de France racers, cycling to your heart’s content in complete safety on the cyclist-only mountain passes in the Hautes-Pyrenees on this new bike event which takes place from 30 July – 2 August and covers 108km of ascent. The legendary mountain passes will be closed to motorised traffic and reserved for cyclists in the morning, with no charges, no restrictions, no registration, no rankings and no start or finish.
MONDAY 30th JULY: COLS DE PEYRESOURDE, DE VAL LOURON-AZET, COL DU PORTET
TUESDAY 31st JULY: COL D’ASPIN/ WEDNESDAY 1st AUGUST: COL DU TOURMALET, MONTÉE DE LUZ ARDIDEN
THURSDAY 2nd AUGUST: MONTÉE DU HAUTACAM, COL DE COURADUQUE
FRIDAY 3rd AUGUST: COLS DES BORDÈRES, DU SOULOR, D’AUBISQUE
Experience a Pyrenees Road Trip -The Hautes-Pyrenees, France in association with Huesca, Spain, has introduced a series of 3, 4 or 7 day Road Trip itineraries taking in some of the most iconic landmarks in the Pyrenees as well as routes linking the French and Spanish borders. The Family specific itinerary includes some of the best of family activities in the Hautes-Pyrenees. http://www.pyrenees-trip.uk/offre/fiche/family-trip/SEJMIP065V5021BB
At 2877m of altitude, for 140 years the Pic du Midi has been at centre of astronomy, space research and also holds the highest planetarium in Europe. With its 12m ‘Pontoon in the sky’ it offers one of the most beautiful views of the Pyrénées and guests can descent by mountain bike in the summer or stay for a night near the stars and enjoy a meal in the new restaurant ‘Le 2877’. In winter the descent rivals the best in the Alps for freeride and off piste. www.picdumidi.com
Discover the Félix Trombe /Henne Morte cave network, one of the great French networks of underground caves, in the Massif de Arbas in Haute Garonne. Explore over 116km tunnels underground –Easy access for families to the caves with www.cocktailaventure.fr
One yurt and a donkey: If you are looking for a holiday in the mountains, combining comfort and hiking, stay in a yurt camp and hike every day with your own donkey. In addition to escape in to nature, with your donkey, have time and freedom to go down to the village to shop, brush and feed the donkey, feed etc. Ideal for families with young children. Local donkeys are used from one day to several day trips. Donkeys accompany you along your route to carry your belongings and / or children in case of fatigue. Cost from 50 euros per night and per day with a donkey hike. They are also instrumental in the breeding and reintroduction of donkeys in the Pyrenees. www.lafermedoulanbat.fr
By air – Take the 500m cable car which runs from the town of from Luchon to Superbagneres and enjoy the new restaurant inside the chapel. Whilst there take a parapent for the ultimate view of the Pyrenees.
Stunning views of Lake Oô , Lake Espiau, Perdiguère peak, Port of Venasque. Local guide Thomas Charlès will fly with you in a 30 minute flight, let you have a try at steering and give yourself an adrenalin fix. Suitable from 5years+. To book: +33 06 17 39 61 45
Medieval city of Saint Bertrand de Comminges Discover the beautiful, hill top ancient Roman city, still being discovered by archaeologists. Take the guest train up to the peak and explore the old narrow streets, look out over the valley from the remains of the Roman amphitheatre. Situated on the Way of St James (Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route), the UNESCO Sainte Marie cathedral dominates the village, with its Roman and Gothic styles alongside the pretty 15th Century village houses. https://www.hautegaronnetourisme.com/ete/saint-bertrand-de-comminges-un-site-des-siecles
The Little Yellow Train ‘Le Train Jaune’ runs for 63km on a narrow guage railway from Villefranche-de-Conflent to the Spanish border at Latour de Carol, the highest railway station in France. Enjoy a journey through the Pyrenees and marvel at the engineering, over viaducts, across mountain gorges, and mostly in the original carriages introduced in the early 1900s. The line rises through dramatic scenery from an altitude of 427 metres at its lower terminus at Villefranche de Conflent, to a summit at Bolquère Eyne, at an altitude of 1592 metres (5226 ft) above sea level. From £12 one wayhttps://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/le-train-jaune-0
There are seven mountain resorts across the mountain range in the Pyrenees –Orientale: Cambre d’Aze, Font- Romeu Pyrenees 2000, Les Angles, Porte Puymorens, Formiguères, La Quillane and La Station Nordique du Capcir, situated between 1500 and 2700m. In winter they form the ski areas of the Catalan Pyrenees and in the summer a haven for bikers, walkers and guests who want to discover the mountains of the southern Pyrenees. There are more than 60 lakes between 1800 and 2500 m above sea level (1485ha of water) including the lakes of: Lanoux, Bouillouses, Puyvalador, Matemale, Vinça, Caramany and Villeneuve de la Raho. https://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/
The Abbey of Saint Martin du Canigou is perched high up on a rocky pinnacle in the heart of the massif of Mt. Canigou. This Romanesque Abbey, built in 1009, over a thousand years old, is at the end of a 1600m long path which starts in the village of Casteil and winds up 300m. Enjoy spectacular views and a spiritual experience. https://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/abbaye-saint-martin-du-canigo
Odeillo, the largest solar oven in the world, built in 1969 by Felix Trombe, consisting of a field of 10,000 mirrors, mounted on terraces on the surrounding hillside, which bounce the sun’s rays onto a large concave mirror. The solar energy can produce temperatures in excess of 3200 degrees Centigrade, unique in the world. The location was chosen due to the air quality and the fact that the region boasts approximately 300 sunny days per year. https://anglophone-direct.com/mont-louisfont-romeu-odeillo-via/
St Thomas, Llo Baths and Dorres thermal baths- As with all the destinations in the French Pyrenees, spas play a hugely important role. In the Pyrenees-Orientale the thermal water of St Thomas is one of the hottest in
the Pyrenees. Discover the three pools and the vast stone amphitheatre with breath-taking views of the mountains! Jacuzzis, steam rooms, massage jets. Rich in sulphur and minerals, the waters of the Llo Baths are known for treating rheumatism and preventing stress. Immerse yourself in one of the three pools and discover the pleasure and pleasure of outdoor baths. Inside, the two pools and the spa area offer a fitness trail and equipment to relieve sore muscles. Relax in the small pool around Dorres at 1450 m altitude with Cambre d’Azeand Puigmal as a backdrop. https://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/experience/bains-deaux-chaudes-sulfureuses
The Aude stretches from the Mediterranean to the mountains of the French Pyrenees.
Villeneuve-Minervois, is the indisputable mecca of truffle production. Guests visiting the truffle museum, can fully immerse themselves in the history, harvesting and landscape of the truffle. Discover all the secrets of the ‘Black Diamond’. Organised by the Association des Trufficulteurs Audois, truffle markets take place on Saturday mornings, once a month, from December to February. Truffles are harvested in the three Aude communes, including Moussoulens and Villeneuve-Minervois. www.maisondelatruffedoccitanie.com
Wine is hugely important to the Aude, the richness of the soil and mixed climate offers the perfect wine growing climate. Look out for: AOP Cabardes, AOP Malepere,La Blanquette et le Crémant de Limoux, AOP Minervois, AOP Fitou, AOP Corbières et Boutenac. Take a wine tour of Corbieres and Fitou vineyards in a 2CV: www.vin4heurestour.fr
Mountain Bike the Black Mountain: The Black Mountain, southern balcony of the Cevennes is a mountain range located at the southwestern end of the The Massif Central. It separates the departments of Tarn, Hérault, Aude and Haute-Garonne. From the foot of the ‘Montagne Noire’ through the scrubland to the first forests of the mountain, enjoy a range of mountain bike trails. Through gorges dug in the limestone or shales, enjoy incredible views of the chain of Pyrenees. At the end of the trail wind through the “Capitelles”, shepherd’s shelters built in dry stone. www.audetourisme.com
Hike in in Haute Vallée de l’Aude, along the Aude River which gave its name to the department and offers North to South, from Limoux to Axat, a mix of landscapes between the vineyard hills and the Pyrenean mountains. At the foot of the Pyrenees, when hiking, discover the authentic villages of the Haute Valley of the Aude, incredible landscapes: gorges, golden vineyards, the forest shade, and green rolling hills. Hiking on the trails of the Pyrenees Audoises guests will discover breathtaking views with, for example, the Pic de l’Ourtiset or the Forêt d’En Malo, rich historical heritage with the Château de Puilaurens and Chateau de Puivert, passing through the Labyrinthe Vert or la Route des Sapins. www.audetourisme.com
The Train d’Artouste is the highest train in Europe at an altitude of 2000 metres with beautiful landscapes and an exceptional panorama. The ascent by telecabin gradually reveals the Ossau Mountain and the territory of the Pyrénées National Park. The journey on board the train gives a breathtaking view on the Soussouéou Valley before discovering the outstanding Artouste Lake.This 10km route was originally built in 1924, a service cable car was built on the sides of the peak of the sagette and then a single 50 cm railway track. With a purely industrial intention, the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer used the narrow gauge track to transport men and equipment for the construction site of the Artouste Lake dam. Over 8 years dam and pipe network was built. Now, Artouste Lake is a water reserve of 24 million m2 of. Since 1932, the Artouste site has been open to the public and the train transports thousands of passengers every summer. Departure from Fabrège, 15 min telecabine, then 55-minute train ride to the arrival station. The Artouste Lake is 20 minute walk from the station. www.ossau-pyrenees.com
Climb the Pyrenean Cols: Col d’Aubisque, Col de Marie Blanque or Col du Pourtalet, three mythical cols from the Tour de France – measure yourself against the cycling legends of the TdF : Froome, Contador, Quintana, Hinaud, Indurain, Jalabert, Virenque. Enjoy three different routes, each followed by a visit to the “Spa Montagne”, where recovery massage and spa facilities are offered. Accommodation provided by “Green Bike Pyrenees” in Louvie Jouzon: safe storage for bikes, bike workshop with tools, nutritional breakfast, cycling local routes with advice and local maps to consult on site, relaxation terrace. From 319 euros B&B 3 nights Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
The underground world of La Verna: In Pierre-Saint-Martin, this underground cave, discovered in 1953 is the third largest in the world open to the public. Mecca for geologists, this limestone cave and the natural vaults of the hall offer huge dimensions: 250 meters in diameter and 190 meters in height, an area of 5 hectares. Follow a 660m tunnel before discovering the cave. Torchlit only to preserve its environment. www.laverna.fr
Horse Riding on the Bénou Plateau where there are walks and hikes for everyone: donkeys, ponies, larger horses for all abilities. By the Bious-Artigues Lake, at the foot of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau take a ride through the heart of the Pyrenees National Park. Lakeside walks, longer 1-2hour hikes or the whole day(towards the Ayous Lakes) or even stay overnight by bivouac and enjoy a few days of horse riding. http://travel-ossau-pyrenees.com/summer-activities.html
The thermal water of Salies-de-Béarn is 10 times saltier than sea water. In a beautiful listed building in the Moorish Hispano style, the thermal spa of Salies-de-Bearn offers a brand new concept. www.thermes-de-salies.com
TheLondon Landmarks Half Marathon [LLHM] ballotopens this week and if you are up for a run which takes in some of the capital’s finest sights, has entertainment on every corner, and is a perfect half pre-April marathon then get entering the ballot!
Well I don’t know much about the London marathon, I’ve never run one, but I have watched a fair few of them and running up towards Tower Bridge in the LLHM, knowing I was fit enough to make it up the incline and ready to switch back round and back under the tunnel I felt as if I could run a marathon ..no problem.
Forward one mile -ish coming out of the tunnel, in which they blasted dance music with the DJ just outside, I realised if I wanted to make a PB, doesnt everyone, I’d have to get a wriggle on. The last 2+miles weren’t pretty but I made that PB by about 1minute. So my fastest half marathon is now 2 hrs 5 minutes!
Wind back 8 weeks and I’d been offered a place in the London Landmark Half, only my second half marathon, ever! The first was great, albeit wet and with a chest infection, the Royal Parks Half, so when I was offered the chance to run in London again I grabbed the opportunity.
I called on my old ski friends at Profeet to help me with some shoe advice. I had bought a pair of running shoes locally the previous summer but knew I’d need something waterproof for February and March training and my current Gortex trail shoes I felt would be a bit heavy for running. I was also nervous about another wet run and wanted to get some expert advice. With my old shoes in tow, I headed to Profeet for a ‘run analysis’ and also for advice regarding my trainers.
Running on the tread mill in the Profeet store was a revelation. I ran with my current Brookes run shoe, super comfortable, quite a thick sole and then Anna suggested I try a waterproof ‘On Running’ and see if there would be much difference. With a couple of small tips from Anna’s: lift the legs a bit more, try and stay a bit more upright to ease the pelvic tilt showing on the screen analysis and the On shoe came out clearly the better option for me, plus Anna had found one with a waterproof coating. I didn’t need any persuading to buy this shoe as I knew I needed a light, waterproof option.
Running in the snow in February was a breeze in this shoe, grippy, waterproof, I actually really enjoyed it. On race day, I was quite nervous and it was actually quite hot so then I was worried that the shoe may get too sweaty but with some much entertainment around the 13 miles, my feet felt great. I should probably have concentrated more on pace and less on high fiving all the charity supporters and boogieing along to the many bands that lined the course. Note to self for next time!
That and a few more weeks to train and maybe next time I’ll get to 2 hrs or less. Time to sign up!
TheLLHM 2020Ballot opens Tuesday 18th June at midday and is open for a week, closing on midday Tuesday 25th June (ballot winners notified Thursday 27 June).
LLHM 2019, which is organised bybaby charity Tommy’sfor the benefit of the whole charity sector, raised over £7.2 million for good causes, making the total sum raised for charity since the inaugural event two years ago £12 million.
London Landmarks Half Marathonshowcases some of London’s most iconic and amazing landmarks such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye It also unearths and promotes the hidden highlights of the city, with an emphasis on historical and cultural landmarks and facts. The event attracts thousands of spectators who enjoy the live music, dancers, cheer stations and historical figures who line the route.
The Fisher family was desperate to find a last minute deal. With school holidays due to start, what were the options?
This year, the Fisher family ski holiday was on hold, while we waited for news on heart surgery for one of our grandparents.
Moreover with older teens on board, and the added issue of restrictions on taking children out of school, our family ski trip was soon restricted to a very narrow peak-holiday window.
So, this year we were going for a last minute holiday deal, very last minute.
NHS waiting lists had eventually given us a date of early February, with a 7-10 day recovery period, suffice to say, the op went well and we had the all clear to leave the grandparents ‘home-alone’.
Thus a hasty last minute ski booking to make.
We had been keeping an eye on availability.
Among the limited choice that was still available and within the family budget we could see a choice of two – a chalet in Grimentz, a Swiss ski resort I had skied before from the Zinal side, or a chalet in Alpe d’Huez withZenith Holidays.
The prices were comparable, the ski areas vastly different, however it was the flights & transfers that became the deciding factor.
Grenoble flights were still available at an affordable price and with Zenith Holiday bookings, a minibus transfer was a welcome option for a small extra fee.
Via Geneva, the flight would give us just 30 minutes to catch the last ongoing Swiss train – way too stressful with 3 children in tow.
I must have stayed in Alpe d’Huez around 18 years ago and was keen to return.
Zenith still had a chalet in the old part of town available and with the flights booked, transfers confirmed…. our holiday was booked!
We had a mad dash to get the ski kit out of the loft and packed.
There were the usual hiccups in resort, where we realised, that the older teen’s ski pants were way too short and way too tight.
Thankfully, Intersport, where we rented our skis, had some reasonably priced ski pants that we bought (compared to the chic, expensive Sun Valley store opposite with ski pants starting from 275 euros).
It was difficult to know if they’d keep the boy dry if it rained, but with wall-to-wall sunshine forecast, in the end they were perfect.
Alpe d’Huez ticked all the boxes for us.
Each morning we made an effort to get out of the chalet early to avoid the peak time queues, and once on the mountain, it was easy to find the less busy sectors.
On another day we tried out the luge with the fun new VR head kits which we all loved.
Alpine coaster luge
One day we challenged ourselves to ski from the highest point at 3,330m to each end of the ‘Grand Domaine’.
Our challenge started with the Sarenne.
Well we actually started just below the top as the youngest wasn’t quite up to the steep black section off the Pic Blanc cable car, but from the top of lift Marmottes 3 there is an easier blue which evolves in to the long winding black run.
Pic Blanc cable car
Spectacular views of the Grandest Rousse mountains accompany you down the 16km run ending in the Sarenne Gorge.
Then from Auris with clear views over to Les 2 Alpes, we zigzagged our way over to Vaujany and the furthest Montfrais chair and all the way back via Oz and on to the Signal sector.
Down to Villard Reculas then back up and down to the gorgeous old bubble lift at 1450m which brings you up from the original old village at Huez, almost straight to our chalet.
Old bubbles from Huez
We even managed to go night skiing to really extend the ski day!
Alpe d’Huez glowing from signal night ski
That posed a little problem, but then, Zenith Holidays literally came to our rescue.
As we went back out to catch the bucket lift up to night skiing on Signal, we discovered it had just closed – and there was no sign of the nightbus.
All week the Zenith rep, Maddie, had been saying, “if you need me, just call me”.
So we did… and she came to scoop us up.
It was an easy ski back to the chalet – we were so grateful for her minibus ride and not having to walk the 20 minutes up to the nightski area.
During our stay, Alpe d’Huez hosted Tomorrowland, a huge new Alps festival and the stages and marquees were going up around the village.
Tomorrowland stage under construction
In Alpe d’Huez some of the lifts have been upgraded.
Many older wires and 130 redundant pylons have been removed.
The mid weekESF showwas spectacular and probably one of the best I have seen.
When, and if the link to Les 2 Alpes goes ahead the ski area will rival the best in the Alps.
Vanessa in Alpe d’Huez
Chalet Maya – Zenith Holidays
Zenith Holidays offers a week in Alpe d’Huez in Chalet Maya from £503pp chalet board.
What makes it so great for Families:St Martin is a small traditional village which links up to the huge 3 Valleys ski area. This quiet corner of the vast ski area is perfect for families who want to stay away from busy slopes and the louder busier villages. Lovely chalets, plenty of apartments and easy to use ski lifts in the centre of the village.
Why you need to visit:Pretty, old French farming village which offers dog sledge rides
Ski Schools:ESF, New Generation
Resort Name:Arc 1950
Location:In the French Alps, in the Tarentaise Valley, above Bourg St Maurice
Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days):247 euros Les Arcs area
Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days):198 euros
Nearest Airport:Geneva or Lyon
Transfer Times: Geneva 2hrs 40, Lyon 2 hrs 35
What makes it so great for Families:This cocoon of a village sits at 1950m as its name suggests and all the properties are ski in-ski out. The newest village in the French Alps, it makes for a wonderful family base. There is also a special programme of activities for children – a crèche for babies & the Cariboo Club for the slightly older kids. All the buildings have access to a pool and hot tub so it’s not just about the skiing and there is a great spa in the resort too.
Why you need to visit:Safe, pretty and a unique village atmosphere
Ski Schools:Spirit 1950
Ski Hire:Precision Ski
Resort Name:La Clusaz
Location:In the Aravis mountains, France, just 30 minutes from Lake Annecy so ideal for a lakes and mountains stay or a short break.
Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days):175 euro
Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days):123.50 euro
Transfer Times:1 hr Geneva, 1.30 Lyon
What makes it so great for Families:This resort has the French ‘Famille Plus’ label and is a great choice for families being just a short transfer from the airports. The village is authentic France with plenty to do off the slopes as well as on. Aquacentre, bowling alley, horse and cart rides, ice drive, ice rink and more. So pretty and unspoilt. Plenty of accommodation options from self-catering apartments to luxury catered chalets and new hotels, e.g the brand new 4* Le St Alban Hotel and Spa.
Why you need to visit:Home of Reblechon cheese, easy to access ski slopes for all abilities.
Resort Name:St Lary (short for Saint Lary Soulan)
Adult Lift Pass Costs (5 days):156 euro
Child Lift Pass Costs (5 Days 5-11 yrs):136 euro
Nearest Airport:Toulouse 1 hr 45 and Tarbes-Lourdes 1 hr 5 min
What makes it so great for Families:Off the beaten track this is a great destination for families in the French Pyrenees. One bubble lift takes you from the village in the valley to the beginner area at Pla d’Adet. Stay in the town for a great relaxed vibe with Spanish and French influences as so close to the Spanish border.
Why you need to visit:Get away from the crowds and try something different, as well as having Famille Plus status and a thermal spa Sensoria which children love with its jets and caves.