Issue 2 • 2013 Edition • Your personal copy to keep
PAGES BEST OF HOW TO YOUR ENJOY STAY
Eat Well And Party In Style
We let you know the best kept secrets of which bars and restaurants to choose during your stay pages 13, 33 and 35
Going For Gold
ICE, ICE IES THE
Bronze medallist in Telemark Skiing, Jasmin Taylor, talks about her Olympic hopes for 2018 page 19
5 LD - P1 THE CO OUT IN
Discover Le Bistrot Michelin Star Gourmet Restaurant in the heart of Chamonix
151 Avenue de l’Aiguille du Midi
In His Own Words Mickey Bourdillat, Michelin star chef of Le Bistrot p21
Black Jack English RoulEttE FREnch RoulEttE 68 slot MachinEs 10 slot PokER Bar and restaurant
chamonix city centre open everyday dayfrom from 11am to 2am Open every 11am to 2am from 11amtoto3am 3pm Friday, saturday from 11am on on Friday, Saturday
entry to the Casino and restaurant is Free. French law require to be over 18 years old and Id identification, ideally passport You play at your own risk: debt,addiction... Call 0033 (0)9 74 75 13 13 (international charges)
happy hour at the Bar Every day from 5.30pm to 7pm. Buy one get one free on all beers, cocktails and soft drinks
message from andrew This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary! Over the last ten years we have grown to become the largest airport transfer company serving the French Alps. Now we also operate routes in the capital cities of Paris and London and on the Riviera between Nice Airport and Cannes.
Our guaranteed scheduled departures are one of the reasons behind our success. Our passengers tell us time and time again that they love the convenience of choosing their transfer timings at the point of booking, and then knowing that we will be there for them. Making the start and finish of holidays stress free. Building on this success, we have formed partnerships with leading brands: Intersport - giving you the greatest savings on sports equipment rental; Vredestein - transporting you safely on the best quality tyres, and Deep Nature Spas - relaxing you after the day’s activities. Expansion of our airport transfer network continues and we recently announced our new services from Geneva Airport to the winter ski resort of Flaine, and the popular summer destination of Annecy, together with our new route from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Disneyland Paris. These are now available to book online. To celebrate our anniversary we wanted to give something back to our local community. This is why we have chosen to sponsor the Chamonix Women’s Ice Hockey Team. The ‘Chamexpress Rebelles’ are a team that share our philosophy of hard work and team spirit. By providing ongoing financial support for the team, they are now free to concentrate on what they do best - play ice hockey. Read more about the team on page 15. Finally, a big ‘thank you’ on behalf of all our staff for your continued custom; it’s tremendous to think that we will be part of so many holidays this year. We will continue to work hard at making travel between destination airport and holiday resort easy and affordable for everyone. I hope you enjoy your transfer with us today and we look forward to seeing you again very soon. Have a great holiday!
Andrew Martin Managing Director SARL Chamexpress.com Express Airport Transfers (UK) Ltd.
All of our routes and journey details
Fast-track Trails In France - a first-hand experience of trail running in the Alps.
10-13 There’s Something About Chamonix - everything you need to know about Chamonix. What to do, where to eat, drink and party. 15
Ice Ice Ladies - find out about the Chamexpress Rebelles women’s ice hockey team.
16-17 Inspirational Mountain Adventures - discover all there is to know about climbing Mont Blanc, trail running, Haute Route ski tours and Alpine snowshoeing. 19
British Telemark ski racing champion Jasmin Taylor talks about her Olympic hopes.
In His Own Words - Mickey Bourdillat, Michelin star chef of Le Bistrot at the Hotel Le Morgane in Chamonix talks about his influences and passes on a delicious recipe.
The Art of Science and Safety. We chat with the UK Managing Director of Vredestein, Stuart Jackson, on the importance of winter tyres.
27-29 Picturesque Morzine. Keep up to date with what’s on and where so you don’t miss out. 31
Hidden and Tranquil - the mountain villages of Flaine and Les Carroz offer incredible views and skiing.
32-33 Courting Courmayeur - we’re doing it Italian style with these stunning resorts just across the border in Italy. 34-35 Historic Megeve - where to eat and drink in the resorts of Megeve, St Gervais and Les Contamines. 37
The Alps Equation - buying property in the French Alps.
38-39 Romantic Annecy - known as the Venice of the Alps, Annecy has an incredible amount to offer. 40-41 London Calling. The Olympics may be over, but London never sleeps, and our guide to what to do and where to go should give you plenty to discover. 42-43 Parisienne Walkways - ooh la la, the French capital features in our summer service. We give you the capital’s lowdown. Where to go, what to see and most importantly where to eat and drink in this romantic city. 44-45 Hobnobbing in Cannes - our little piece of summer chic. Boats, film festivals and perfect summer days on the French Riviera.
Winter: We are open 19 hours every day from 05:30am until 01:00am from December to April. Summer: 10:00 am. until 7:00pm. every day from May to November.
We appreciate our customers and value your business, so weâ€™re offering FREE, or discounted, transfers to everyone who uses our airport transfer service. Collect 3 points for every transfer booked and get your FREE transfer with 30 points! The more airport transfers you book with us, the greater your discount. Register with us online for your destination and begin building reward points immediately.
By Phone: FR: 0033 (0) 480 96 50 08 FR: 0033 (0) 480 96 50 04 FR: 0033 (0) 450 54 73 72 UK: 0044 (0) 871 218 1200 By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: facebook.com/chamexpress Twitter: @chamexpress
In Person: SARL Chamexpress.com 498 Avenue des Alpages Les Houches 74310 France Express Airport Transfers (UK) Ltd. 450 Bath Road Heathrow London UB7 0EB England
Chamonix to Courmayeur and Verbier Day Trips Now you can enjoy a day skiing in Courmayeur and Verbier with one of our day ski trips! Both resorts are covered on the Mont Blanc Unlimited Ski Pass (Note: for Verbier you must have a minimum of a six day pass). So you can now maximise the use of your pass by visiting them during your stay. Shared Vehicle We have buses departing every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the winter ski season from the following collection points:
Private Vehicle We also have available private transfers to Courmayeur and Verbier which will collect you directly from your accommodation at a time to suit you. Prices are per vehicle:
Les Houches Bellevue Cable Car Tourist Office Hotel Du Bois
To book your seats and avoid disappointment, please telephone our office on
0480 965 008
8 Seat 13 Seat €150 return €230 return €280 return €420 return
Chamonix Cham Sud Bus Station Hotel Alpina McDonalds Courmayeur: €25 per seat return Verbier: €35 per seat return
Seats are subject to availability. Minimum numbers apply on our shared service. Verbier day trip is subject to open road access via the Col de Montets.
Taxi Ad (email 26/11/2012 @ 10:57 in “Issue 2 - Ads” folder)
We offer a convenient 24/7 taxi service throughout the Chamonix Valley and beyond to other resorts, cities, stations and airports in France, Switzerland and Italy. Prices start from just 20€ one-way and are based on a vehicle seating up to 8 passengers. We can provide multiple vehicles for larger groups. We are here to take your call 19 hours-a-day. Our office is open from 05:30am until 01:00am throughout the winter ski season. Remember, you must pre-order your taxi. You cannot hail us in the street. So pick up the phone and call us now! We’ll have one of our taxis with you in minutes!
1 0% O FO
R ALL CHA PASSE MEXPRESS N Just q uote y GERS ou bo r tran oking sfer ref you c erence wh e all to book n
Call us now on: 0450 53 27 55 IMPORTANT - In order to comply with French law, our taxis cannot be hailed in the street and must be pre-booked.
VENEZ DÉCOUVRIR NOTRE NOUVELLE BOUTIQUE À CHAMONIX COME AND VISIT OUR NEW STORE IN CHAMONIX
98, avenue Michel Croz 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc www.timberland.com
et Earthkeepers sont des marques déposées de TBL Licensing LLC ou de ses filiales. © 2012 TBL Licensing LLC. Tous droits réservés. TIMBERLAND SAS – R.C.S. Nanterre B338 067 838 *La Nature Recherche ses Héros
Penny. However, they’re keen hikers, so more prepared than me for this kind of terrain. There’s also Susan, a mountain biker, so everyone is fit, but not necessarily running fit. ‘If you can run 10K, no matter how slowly, and enjoy it, you’ll be fine,’ says our personal trainer and aptly named mountain-running coach, Steph Lightfoot.
‘Be light, fluffy and bouncy, I’m told. ‘Find a relaxed
rhythm and avoid pounding.’ While sounding like a recipe for a successful cake batter, this isn’t a cookery course, but a trail running camp. ‘Shorten your stride, keep your head up and chest forward and you’ll cruise those uphills,’ says our coach and International Mountain Leader, Julia Tregaskis-Allen. ‘And for those tight downhills, think "Michael Schumacher": lean into the corners, using your head to initiate the turn, keep your eyes focused ahead and you’ll avoid obstacles like stones and tree roots.’
We arrive at the charming luxury Chalet Maverick, just outside Chamonix in the pretty village of Les Bossons, where a healthy and hearty lunch is rustled up by Polly, the in-house chef-nutritionist. We tuck into sweet potato and lentil soup, a salad of beans, beetroot and local cheese and fruit with yoghurt. While we wait for lunch to settle, Steph and Julia talk us through everything from nutrition and training to kit and pre-race preparation.
That afternoon, we head up a very steep hill to the
The trail running camp run by Tracks & Trails in
Chamonix is the perfect antidote to pounding the urban jungle. I’m here right at the end of the ski season, as the valleys melt from white to green. I want to get off the beaten track and make my running more technically challenging, but I find it intimidating to do alone when I’m not sure where I’m going. I’m also getting more susceptible to injury, so varying the terrain will help prevent this.
We’re a small group of four, and surprisingly the
others haven’t done much running. ‘The most I’ve run is 20 minutes,’ says Eric, who’s here with his wife
Coupeau Cross, with its awesome views of Mont Blanc, for a session on running with poles, which are great for taking the strain off the uphills and stabilising your descent. After the run we head to Steph’s gym in Les Houches, for a stretch class and fitness test. Then it’s back to the chalet for a scenic dip in the Jacuzzi in the garden, a nutritious three-course dinner and an early night.
The next morning, I’m feeling surprisingly fresh. Julia
takes us through some navigation skills after breakfast, where we learn how to plan our own routes; then we take the train to Vallorcine to begin a long run back to Chamonix.
We start by running through snow patches at the Col des Montets which, at 1,461 metres, is higher than Ben Nevis. It’s hard work, so I’m relieved to reach the ‘petit’
What To Expect
We aim to get the most out of the mountain environment in the Alps; whether it’s the achievement of reaching a summit, the thrill of seeing wildlife, discovering the beauty of the alpine flowers or simply sunbathing in a meadow surrounded by high peaks. • • • • •
Trail run in the Alps with Mountain Professionals Healthy, balanced BUT delicious food Accommodation in a luxury mountain chalet Learn how to plan, navigate your own routes Expert advice on: nutrition, equipment, clothing, racing, training and keeping safe • Core and flexibility classes • Complete Fitness Test • A Sports Leg Massage
balcons, which become clear of snow from 1,300m. We run past stunning hanging glaciers, through alpine meadows, and aromatic pine forests, stopping to refuel after about an hour. I’m actually still feeling quite strong on the ‘home run’ back into Chamonix town centre. After two-and-a-half hours on our feet, we’ve completed a steady 16km on a variety of trails. Everyone’s amazed how far we’ve run – and with such ease.
Relax, then run over six days with Tracks & Trails. Trips include full board accommodation in a luxury mountain chalet in Chamonix, France. For more information, prices and departure dates, visit the Tracks & Trails website at www.tracks-and-trails.com
Now I know how to continue exploring and improving my fitness, I’m looking forward to many more off-road adventures!
Chamonix also lends its name to the whole Valley, which encompasses 16 villages and hamlets. Together it is one of the oldest and most popular ski resorts in France. Not only is the Valley popular among skiers, but it provides a huge draw for lovers of more extreme alpine activities, such as rock/ice climbing, canyoning, and extreme skiing.
Chamonix town is a hotbed of entertainment, boasting firstclass restaurants to suit nearly every taste imaginable, along with a variety of bars and clubs, and a casino and cinema. While the primary draw to the region is skiing, after a long day, when your feet are ready to give up the ghost, the town’s facilities really come into their own, with a range of pools and spas to help you relax and unwind, and a number of more forgiving pastimes, such as bowling. Some new additions, away from the rigors of the slopes, include the 5 Star Hotel MontBlanc Chamonix which is due to open in 2013, and, for the retail focused,there are several new shops including a Volcom store and a Mammut shop.
Chamonix was the site of the very first Winter Olympic Games, held between January 25th and February 5th in 1924. It was originally called Originally called Semaine Internationale des Sports d’Hiver (“International Winter Sports Week”)
This year, the town is preparing to celebrate 120 years of skiing, and, thanks to a number of developments and exciting activities, this winter looks set to be better than ever. The huge 15 x 9m ‘Big Air’ airbag that was so popular last year will be making a return this season at BreventFlegere. Not only that but Flegere will also be playing host to a speed zone, in which regular skiers will be able to pitch themselves against the clock, or, if they are feeling especially competitive, other Chamonix speedfiends! Families haven’t been forgotten, however, with new toboggan slopes, a luge, and winter Accropark to keep the kids happy. Even in the summer months, Chamonix is a hive of activity, as mountaineers and mountain bikers flock in to take advantage of the hundreds of kilometres of trails and mountain faces. These trails provide the opportunity for not only excitement, but more sedate activities, such as hiking, with the spectacular views making it a gift for photographers, especially.
property development property development e : email@example.com e : info@gnrconstruction. and project management 80 10 66 80 00 10 66 00 and project management t : +33 (0)6 t : +33 (0)6 w: www.gnrconstruction.eu ininthe Chamonix Valley w: www.gnrconstruction. the Chamonix Valley 10
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Resting quietly at the head of the Argentière valley, and at the base of Les Grands-Montets, the picturesque village of Argentière is the ideal getaway for those looking for a more laid-back base from which to launch their assault on the pistes. If you do decide you want to indulge in a lively night out, then Chamonix is only a short journey away using the Chamexpress in-valley taxi service. However, the town does also have a number of cosy restaurants of its own. This quaint village has the benefit of lying alongside the tracks of the scenic Mont Blanc Express railway, and is ideally located for the ski and hiking areas of Les Grands-Montets and Le Tour. Both are easily accessed by the free public bus.
In the summer months, Les Houches comes alive in a different way, its lofty slopes smothered in alpine flowers, and a constant lure for walkers, mountain bikers and nature Argentière is the starting point for lovers, who can take advantage of the miles of the Telepherique du Lognon well-marked footpaths and trails. It’s the start cable car up to Les Grands of the famous Tour du Mont-Blanc and also the Montets (3,295m) start of the easier Gouter Route for climbing up Mont-Blanc. If walking or climbing isn’t your thing - you are, presumably, reading this on one of our comfortable transfers, after all - then after a good hike, ride back down the mountainside in one of the oldest mountain railways in the Alps - the Tramway du Mont Blanc - and watch the world go by from the cosy confines of a cafe while you recover.
While it is true that all of the hamlets, towns, and resorts in the Chamonix valley are brimming over with charm, Les Houches has to be a strong contender for the crown, in our book. Tucked away at the foot of Mont Blanc, this pretty village offers stunning panoramic views from its slopes over the Haute-Savoie, making it perfect for couples and families who want a quiet base for their holiday. This rustic village, with its snow-dusted chalets and rooftops, offers a taste of genuine alpine charm and has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Its ski slopes cater to all abilities (whether you like to come down a slope in dashing style, or on your backside in a miniature avalanche), and it also offers a range of other outdoor pursuits, such as snowboarding and snowshoeing. The Les Houches ski area has now increased its snow making capacity from 75m3 per hour to a whopping 280m3, ensuring snow cover even in lean periods.
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Cybergraph Chamonix • photo : Ludovic DiOrio
BOOK SPA & MASSAGE CHAMONIX
SPA . CH AMONIX
& +33 4 50 53 57 15
CHAMONIX AVORIAZ - VAL D’ISERE - ARC 1950 - PARIS - DEAUVILLE - BORA BORA
we explore the best that Chamonix has to offer and leave no stone unturned...
You’re going to be spoiled for choice as Chamonix offers more variety than is normal in most French ski resorts. But, as always, you need to steer clear of the tourist traps to get the best value deal and entertainment for your evening out. It’s a large town and you have to know where to go. So, here are our top tips:
Le Vert photo © Chamonet.com
Recommended Bars... The Monkey photo © Chamonet.com
The Monkey Cham Sud
1615 – 1630: POWER PINTS (Kronenbourg) 1630 – 1800: 241 Beer, Wine & Soda (by the glass) 2000 – 2200: 241 Cocktails and Longdrinks
The Derapage Place Balmat (central square)
A hidden gem tucked away underground just off the main town square
Le Jekyll photo © Chamonet.com
Le Jekyll Route Des Pelerins
Just outside of town, Le Vert offers a free shuttle service from the Casino in the main town square. It has great food, a lively atmosphere and some great event nights with international DJs.
Located just round the corner from the bowling alley, Le Jekyll offers comedy nights, live sports, ribs night as well as great food.
The Kitsch Inn Bellevue Lift, Les Houches
The MBC Opposite the Sports Centre
If you’ve never been to a micro brewery before, it’s not exactly a bar or a restaurant, but a combination of the two with a bit of a homemade feel to it.
Late and Lively... Mix Bar photo © Chamonet.com
L’Impossible photo © Chamonet.com
Right at the bottom of the piste in Les Houches this great bar offers daily après ski with live music every day from 4-7pm.
Organic Italian restaurant near the bus station/bowling alley. With authentic organic Italian fare and a great atmosphere in beautiful surroundings book up for a fabulous evening here.
Mix Bar Rue Des Moulins
With live DJs pumping out the latest dance music, this is where to be seen.
No Escape Bar/Alpes Angels
The four-star Morgane hotel’s restaurant is run by chef Mickey Bourdillat who received a Michelin star at just 37. The ‘plat du jour’ is always excellent value.
Open from 11pm-7am this is the Alpes only exotic club. Frequented by the stars visiting Chamonix.
Le Maison Carrier
Le Garage Chamonix Sud
The sister restaurant of the Albert Premier. A great venue for those special occasions whilst you’re in town.
A great place to finish off those late nights dancing to the latest tunes.
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the best place in town dedicated to entertainment • Bar & Snacks • Ten Pin Bowling • 8 lanes • Automatic scoring • Glow in the dark animation • Bumper system for kids • 17 billiard tables • 8 pool • US pool • snooker • pyramid • French billiard • Arcade games • Indoor minigolf
OPEN DAILY 5pm - 2am
Visit us on Facebook http://on.fb.me/11L36Jc
INDIAN RESTAURANT AND TAKE-AWAY
on bad weather days from 2pm
Open every day 12-3pm and 7 ‘til midnight Discounts available on lunch menu Fully licensed restaurant
196 Avenue de Courmayeur Chamonix sud (near hôtel “Les Aiglons”) Reservations + 33 4 50 53 74 37 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.bowling-chamonix.com
Telelphone: 0033 (0)450 54 63 96 or 0033 (0) 610 61 45 27 653 Avenue des Alpages Les Houches
Ice Hockey is one of the fastest, most exciting team sport in the world. The ski resorts of Haute Savoie are its heartland in France. Every week during winter the ice rinks of Chamonix, Morzine, Megève and St Gervais ring out to the cowbells, horns and drums of the passionate local supporters. For a cool night out with a difference, consider heading down to the local patinoire (ice rink). Your host in the valley will have details of match times or check out the local team QR code below. Why not come out and support our very own Chamexpress Rebelles, the local women’s championship team. The team is called the Chamexpress Rebelles; look out for the picture of their goalie on the back of one of our minibuses. It consists of women from all over Haute Savoie (Chamonix, La Clusaz, Megève, Annecy and Morzine) and is one of only 15 womens’ competition teams in France. They currently play in the Championship Excellence, the french womens’ second division. Captain Cecile Mora is delighted with the sponsorship, "We are so excited to have such a useful and dynamic sponsor as Chamexpress. It has already allowed us to afford extra ice time for practising and will help enormously with our long journeys to places like Colmar and Montpelier for our away matches". Womens’ ice hockey has a long and proud history in Chamonix. Way back in the 1930s, long before ice hockey was regarded as a suitable sport for a lady, local girl Ida Chappot (nee Claret) was captain of a Chamonix women’s team called the Edelweiss, which even travelled to England to represent France and play an international match against a GB select. Ida came from a famous family of hockey players and two of her brothers and both her sons represented France internationally. Many local Chamoniards still fondly remember Madame Chappot and the toy and joke shop she used to run. In 2012, her entire family was honoured by being promoted to the French Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame (FFHG Temple de la Renommé). After a hiatus of many years, women’s ice hockey returned to Chamonix ten years ago and has been growing in popularity ever since. The revival was inspired by Agnes Balmat, one of the Chamexpress Rebelles. The women’s game is not quite as violent as the men’s version, as it is supposed to be free of physical contact. But it is played with the same passion and intensity and the slightly slower speed means that you can actually follow what is going on!
SUPPORT THE REBE LLES Megeve
s Pralognan Sun 25 Nov 18.30 versu
s Colmar Sun 16 Dec 09.30 versu
s Montpelier Sat 2 Feb 18.00 versu
s Grenoble Sun 10 Feb 18.30 versu
Climb Mont Blanc 4810m Thereâ€™s no escaping the unmistakeable profile of Mont Blanc on the skyline, wherever you are in the Northern Alps, be it mountain biking in Morzine, drinking wine in the Aosta Valley, or flying in to Geneva. This is how the dream starts for many, as the lure of this Alpine giant proves magnetic, and plans for an ascent are made over dinner with friends or on the ski pistes.
There are two classic routes to the summit, the more popular is the Gouter route which starts in Les Houches at the Niddâ€™Aigle. It ascends past the Tete Rousse hut to the highest guardianned hut on the mountain, the Refuge du Gouter. From this new hut, the ascent is made over the Dome du Gouter, and along the sharp snow ridge to reach the summit, the roof of Europe. Chamonix Trail Running The growth of interest in Trail Running can hardly go unnoticed, with the profile of events such as the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc or Tor des Geants, gaining mythical status and oversubscribing within minutes of registrations opening. Whilst it is a dream for many runners to complete one of these 100 mile events, running over the mountains, trail running is an easily accessible sport. Unlike skiing, climbing, or mountain biking, you donâ€™t need any expensive equipment to get into this sport. If you are a keen runner, and happy on between 10km and half marathon distances, you are definitely fit enough to give this fascinating sport a go. All you need are your trainers, shorts, t-shirt, and a small running pack. Add to that a love of the outdoors, and you are ready for lift off.
Mont Blanc is technically not difficult, though it provides a tough physical challenge, and it is highly recommended that you are at least half marathon fit before attempting the peak. The huts on the mountain are open from early June until late September each year, so that is the classic season for ascents on foot. Exceptionally strong skiers tackle the mountain in Spring each year. To allow you to acclimatise, a week long programme of training is recommended, as this also provides more weather windows for you to take advantage from for your summit bid. All reputable operators, such as Icicle Mountaineering, provide expert IFMGA Mountain Guides to lead you, and have a stock of the technical equipment for hire, such as boots, crampons, ice axes and harness.
Icicle operate trail running camps through the summer season in the Alps, and for the brave they have launched winter camps too. You are led by an expert ultra-trail runner, who will have competed in some of the greatest trail races on the planet. They will introduce you to a wide range of terrains and landscapes to run in, to coach you on specific techniques and skills.
The main focus that you are taught to be a successful trail runner, is a high level of efficiency in your movement to conserve energy, and also a mental attitude to break down all the ascents into more manageable chunks. During the week, you’ll run on sections of the Chamonix Marathon course, and the legendary UTMB ultra-trail route. Haute Route Ski Tour Piste skiers will have at some stage seen others putting skins on under their skis, and doing the unimaginable; skiing uphill. While this may seem like a lot of hard work, and unnecessary when there are ski lifts around, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. How hard is it to get fresh tracks on or near the piste, and how great would it be to ski away from the crowds?
There are many variations that are possible along the tour, but all the classic sections are shared. The most popular route is from Chamonix to Champex, through Verbier and onwards to Zermatt. A mountain guide can take up to six clients in a group, so you are assured of a nice intimate group size, and the key season for this ski tour is between early March and mid April. Alpine Showshoeing If you like walking in the mountains in the summer months, and are a bit frustrated not to be able to walk as much as you’d like in the winter months, then snowshoeing is the answer. It’s no surprise that this is the fastest growing winter sport, and after a few minutes of expert instruction, you can start to explore the snowy forests, and rolling alpages and mountains of the Alps. Forget images of old style snowshoes looking like tennis rackets strapped to your boots. Modern snowshoes are made of lightweight technical moulded plastics, with snowboard style ratchet bindings, and mini-crampons beneath the deck to stop you slipping. You wear your normal hill walking clothing, and get fitted snowshoes and avalanche beacons, and off you go. Many opt to sign up for a week long course in France, Switzerland or Italy, to be led by a UIMLA snowshoe guide. They will coach you on the techniques to develop your confidence and stability on snowshoes quickly, and lead you to the best viewpoints, catering for the prevailing snow conditions and also avalanche risk. To go with an expert, you are maximising your safety and learning.
That’s the magic of ski touring, and whilst the uphill is work, the technology of modern touring kit is so good that the equipment is efficient and light, but still gives good performance on the off piste descents. The holy grail of European ski touring is the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. This tour is completed in one week, and you stay in mountain huts each night on the route. Before contemplating skiing the Haute Route, you should have between two weeks, and one full season off piste experience, as well as between a couple of days and a week of touring experience. You’ll be skiing with a rucksack of around 35 litres capacity, to carry your clothing and some safety kit, so before planning undertaking this ski tour, it’s worth getting used to skiing with a pack.
Snowshoeing appeals to a wide range of people, and gives access to terrain that only good skiers could contemplate, with only a few days practise. There is the opportunity to stay in mountain huts for the more adventurous, or to return to a comfortable valley base for those who like their creature comforts that bit more. All of the snowshoe courses at Icicle have all the equipment provided. Icicle: ‘inspirational mountain adventures’ Icicle offers all these inspirational mountain adventures, as well as courses and trips to climb, trek and ski in the Alps and mountains around the world. They have an office in Windermere in the English Lake District, and an Alpine course base in Chamonix. You can contact them on 0845 058 98 78, or by e-mail at email@example.com. You can also scan the QR code with your mobile device.
Chamexpress doesn’t only offer first class transfers, but our dedicated, family-run company believes in supporting the regions in which we work, and, perhaps more importantly, upcoming young athletes who are striving to become top Winter sports athletes. One such rising star is British Telemark ski racing champion Jasmin Taylor.
Tell us about yourself, Jasmin I am British Champion in Telemark ski racing and I compete for Great Britain on the FIS World Cup circuit. Last season, (2011/12) I became the first ever British Telemark skier to win a world-class medal in the sport whilst competing in the World Junior Championships in Espot, Spain. I took the bronze medal in the duel sprint. So, what is Telemark skiing? A Telemark ski race comprises of three elements: a giant slalom (flagged course), a jump (with a clearance line of up to 30 metres), a skating section (so we ski the entire race with cross country ski poles), and a giant banked turn, which is used as the transition stage between the giant slalom and the skate. There are three disciplines: classic (one run, which is normally about three minutes long), sprint (two runs, each lasting around a minute), and the duel sprint (two identical courses where you compete head-to-head) - this is my favourite!
Just because the sport isn’t Olympic doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be! There are enough nations now competing with a mixture of athletes on the podium. At one stage it was just Norwegians (who invented the sport in their town "Telemark", hence the name) who were on the podium, but the sport has come a long way in recent years and I believe it will soon gain status. Everyone is under the impression that the Olympics is the highest level of sporting competition, and in one aspect – the media - it is! In another aspect, however, it’s not – the world championships are. This is because from each nation you can only have a certain number of athletes. It’s highly possible, especially in skiing, that 12 Austrians could be better than the first four athletes from Great Britain, but only four from each country would be taken, meaning a higher placing for us British just because not everyone is there! However, there is far more media interest around the Olympics (and Ski-Sunday) as it is only once every four years and, therefore, I want my sport included. A Thank You to Chamexpress... Chamexpress have recently sponsored me as an athlete! They are the best transfer company by far in the Chamonix Valley and I wouldn’t travel to Chamonix with anyone else - they are always on time and make travelling effortless! All of their staff are very friendly and it’s always a joy to ‘pop in’ and say hello to everyone in the office. Andrew Martin, MD of Chamexpress, has been such a great support and I would like to thank him and his staff for everything they have done for me. If you would like to find out more or contact Jasmin then you can do so via Twitter at www.twitter.com/jasmintaylor or through her website www.taylorjasmin.com. Chamexpress would like to thank Jasmin for her kind words and for taking the time to talk to us, and wish her every success in the future. We fully expect that if Telemark skiing becomes accepted as an Olympic sport, this young ski star will be one of the brightest lights in the Olympic firmament.
Any Olympic hopes? Telemark skiing is not yet an Olympic sport, but we are pushing for it! If the sport ever makes it, it will gain Olympic status in either 2018 or 2022, by which time I will be 24 and 28, meaning I would be at my physical peak.
vanille SeatBelt manIac
ered SeatBelt ÂŤOnce upOn a tIme, I dIScOv d cOmpletelyÂť nge and my lIfe cha Made in Chamonix Mont-Blanc, the French Messenger bags are not just the best bags ever, they are my new lifestyle. Perfectly adjusted for my life, I can take it to go shopping, to work or sport.
With a SeatBelt on my back, I simply always feel good.
In his own words...
Michelin star chef of Le Bistrot at the Hotel Le Morgane, Chamonix
When did you decide to become a chef and why? I am originally from Burgundy and have dreamed of being a chef since my childhood. My mother’s cooking inspired me a lot, I would try to recreate all the flavours of her stews and the traditional tastes of her sauces. I studied at the Hotel School in Nogent-sur-Seine, and at the age of 17 made it to the final of the best apprentice-chef in France. I had also experienced this appetite for success and passion for excellence from my time as a promising young footballer training with AJ Auxerre. For me, customer satisfaction in my restaurant is equivalent to pleasing the crowd in a football stadium.
Who was your biggest influence?
Without hesitation: Pierre Carrier at the two Michelin stars restaurant "Le Hameau Albert 1er" in Chamonix, alongside whom I spent more than 16 years. I arrived as a young apprentice in the kitchen of this iconic chef and was caught up in his passion for the mountains. He is my spiritual father in the kitchen. He was looking for help in the kitchen and at the time I was seventeen years old. After three or four years, I became chef and we earned the second star together. He taught me the mountain spirit, how to stay humble and respect the produce and the terroir.
When and how did you get your Michelin star?
After sixteen years spent working with the master, I wanted my cooking to be recognised in its own right, so I opened le Bistrot, named with a wink at the grand pomp of haute gastronomy. In 2007, three years after its opening, the restaurant earned its first star. When we opened we wanted to do something a bit different for Chamonix. A place without tableclothes or anything, where everything is in the cooking. And although the restaurant has adjusted its format since obtaining the star, it retains the simplicity and warmth which is so important to me. A place where you feel welcomed like a friend.
From the Chef’s table... Reblochon spring rolls Ingredients (to serve 4 people) • 1 egg yolk • 1 reblochon cheese • 4 sheets of filo pastry • 8 tablespoons acacia honey • 3 tablespoons white vinegar • 1 tablespoon soya sauce • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce • 3 drops of Tabasco • 4 lettuce leaves
Préparation Step 1: Spring rolls – separate each spring roll sheet into three equal triangles. Paint them with the egg yolk. Fold round a slice of reblochon. Step 2 : Sauce – mix the honey, vinegar, soya sauce, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Step 3 : Fry the spring rolls in a non-stick pan in peanut oil, drain them on a paper towel. Step 4 : Wash the lettuce leaves, roll the spring rolls in a lettuce leaf and dip in the sauce.
What is your favorite dish?
There are so many! But if forced to choose, I have a weakness for Mont Blanc snails with polenta espumade.
151 Avenue de l’Aiguille du Midi * Chamonix 74400 * France Telephone 04 50 53 57 64
Do you have to fit winter tyres in sets of four? I must stress that fitting winter tyres to the drive wheels only, is not an option. Today’s more advanced vehicles means that the vehicle requires and compensates for handling and braking on all four corners. Having winter tyres on only two wheels versus four can cause significant handling issues and should never be done.
Chamexpress has joined forces with highly respected European premium tyre manufacturer, Vredestein, to maximise your safety whilst travelling with us. We have fitted winter tyres to all our vehicles for the past few winters and have found them to be highly effective in challenging Alpine road conditions. But what are winter tyres, what are the benefits of fitting them and with much of the UK experiencing temperatures of below 7° Celsius between November and March each year, should you consider fitting them to your car back home?
Do winter tyres reach operating temperatures quicker in cold conditions than all year round tyres? Because the winter tyre is designed to work at lower temperatures and the all season is a combination tyre, the winter tyre will reach operating temperature very quickly. The section of the all season designed for winter conditions, will do the same. The summer section of the tyre may take slightly longer, so allow for that in your driving style.
We ask Vredestein UK Managing Director and Chairman of Tyresafe, Stuart Jackson, to explain: What exactly are winter tyres? Winter tyres are specially developed to give optimum performance in temperatures of 7° and below. Why do we need that? Because below that temperature a summer or ‘standard’ tyre’s compound changes and becomes less able to handle the road conditions. Imagine taking a piece of rubber and putting it in the freezer, it would stiffen, be less pliable and wouldn’t be able to adapt to changing road conditions. In simple terms, this is what happens to your tyres. We use more natural rubber instead of synthetic materials to make the winter tyres which avoids that. In addition, we design additional varied grooves in the tyre tread which we call ‘sipes’. These little grooves are placed around the circumference of the tyre tread. They naturally deform when the tyres rotates and create a form of ‘toothed’ effect. This creates extra grip and natural cleaning properties for the tyres to allow the movement of snow and ice build up, where necessary, improved grip in wet conditions – especially at lower temperatures and greatly improved braking performance. Are they the same as M+S (Mud and Snow) tyres? No. A dedicated winter tyre carries a snow peak marking on the sidewall. This indicates that it has been designed specifically for the purpose, giving better grip (all round – not just on the drive wheels), better braking performance and better ability to compensate for changes in road conditions and temperature change. Do they only benefit while driving on snow? Absolutely not. We have a dedicated tyre designed, the ‘Snowtrac’, to give optimal performance in snow. We don’t have snow on the ground all winter round, but what we do have is a combination of wet weather and cold weather. The condition that has the greatest effect is low temperature. You may also hear the tyres referred to as ‘cold weather tyres’ for that reason.
How often should tyre pressure be checked and is it necessary to adjust for driving in snow conditions? We recommend you get into the habit of checking the pressure and carrying out a visual check for noticeable damage, and/or foreign objects in the tyre, at least once per month. You should always use the recommended tyre pressures in line with manufacturers’ recommendations and should also consider changing the pressures if you regularly carry a number of passengers or additional weight. In these circumstances, the tyre pressure usually needs to be increased. A winter tyre requires more tread depth, so always be mindful of that. On a final note, please remember that tyres are a safety critical item. Without them, your vehicle simply wouldn’t go anywhere!! That is how important they are and yet they are so easily overlooked. When you drive any vehicle, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is fit for purpose, not someone else’s; be it tyre dealer, husband, friend or whoever. You would never willingly put your life or that of your friends or family at risk, so look after your tyres and they will look after you. Having taken the trouble to get the right equipment for skiing and snowboarding this winter – it makes sense to get the right equipment for winter motoring. For further information, please visit: www.vredestein.co.uk
Vredestein Top performance
Winter Tyres Vredestein has an extensive and balanced range of winter
tyres that emerged as winners in various European tests.
With products such as the Snowtrac 3, Wintrac xtreme,
Wintrac 4 xtreme, Comtrac Winter, Comtrac All Season, Arctrac and the recently introduced Nextreme SUV, Vredestein offers a wide range of winter tyres for a large variety of vehicles. This includes cars and luxury SUVs to
light commercial vehicles. In addition, Vredestein is the only brand in the world to offer winter tyres for the Premium Styling concept: tyres in the 25-series and/or with speed
code Y (suitable for speeds up to 186 mph (300 km/h) for high-performance cars. So no compromises need to be
made in the winter interms of wheel size or speed code. This means the original high-end image of the car remains intact in the winter.
Winter and summer tyres differ essentially in two main areas: the profile and the composition of the rubber. The rubber composition of the tread of a winter tyre is softer at
lower temperatures than the rubber of summer tyres. This means the profile blocks are more flexible and the tyres
generate more grip on the road. Thanks to the sipes that run across the tread, the tyre grips more easily on a snowy or icy surface.
A Top performance
Vredestein winter tyres will give you a perfect grip on wet, snowy or icy roads at temperatures below 7º C (45º F). The
special sipes provide excellent traction on snowy surfaces, ‘gripping’ into the snow. Snow and mud is effortlessly
shaken off from the tread. Due to the silicabase mix, the rubber remains soft and flexible and offers maximum grip even at low temperatures.
In addition to the standard M+S-coding, winter tyres can also be provided with a special snowflake symbol. This is
a standard defined by the industry which indicates that a winter tyre complies with the requirements of the special winter test. Winter tyres are awarded this symbol when they
successfully complete a prescribed test on a snowy surface. All Vredestein winter tyres have passed this testing method with ease and have the snowflake symbol in addition to the usual M+S coding.
Welcome to Chamonix and to the Official ‘Hopon, Hop-off’ Sightseeing Tour. We provide you with more than just a great way to travel around the Valley, The Official Tour is THE essential introduction to Chamonix. We invite you to experience the magnificent sights, scenery and attractions of the Chamonix Valley in safety and comfort aboard our open-top sightseeing buses. With our distinctive buses, friendly staff and a multi-lingual commentary in 8 languages, sightseeing has never been so much fun! After boarding our open-top bus at one of 25 stops enjoy the 360 degree panoramic views. You can hopoff as much as you like to visit the many different attractions along the route, stay as long as your wish and, when you are ready, hop back on to continue the tour. Alternatively, you can choose to stay on-board for the whole of the tour duration. Because we use smaller 32 seat buses, we can go where no other regular bus can go! Getting you closer to all the main tourist attractions. And if it rains, our buses are fitted with a ‘state-of-the-art’ sliding, electric glass canopy to keep you dry and warm. We’re committed to protecting these beautiful mountains for future generations. That‘s why we’re keeping our carbon footprint as low as possible by ensuring our buses are fitted with the latest Euro 5 low-émission engines. By enjoying our ‘Hopon, Hop-off’ Sightseeing Tour, rather than driving a car, you too will be contributing to a greener future for the Chamonix Valley.
Chamonix Ville Parc Loisir Montenvers Railway Musee Alpin Musee des Cristaux Aiguille du Midi Lac Gaillands Cloches & Sonnettes Devouassoud Teleseige des Bossons La Ferme a Payot Statue Christ Roi Arbre Adventure
Parc Merlet Eglise Musee Montagnard Telepherique Bellevue Telepherique Prarion Lac Prarion Mini Adventure Mont Blanc Escalade Elevage des Saint-Bernard Atelier Les Racines Escalade Servoz Gorges de la Diosaz Servoz Ville
Tour Schedule Our buses operate daily throughout the summer from May to October.
Tour Frequency Every 30 minutes from 09:00 am through â€˜til 7:00pm.
7 Easy Ways to book... 1. On the bus at any of our stops 2. From your hotel reception or chalet/apartment owner 3. At our Tourist Information Points, or any uniformed staff 4. Travel Agencies and Tourist Information Offices 5. Online at our website: www.ChamonixSightseeing.com 6. At Geneva Airport: From the Chamexpress Representative 7. Our main office: 498 Avenue des Alpages, Les Houches.
Morzine is a traditional market town and commune in the heart of the Portes du Soleil in the Haute-Savoie region of the Rhône-Alps. It has staved off some of the more ugly advances of the modern world, and has successfully maintained its authentic alpine charm and Savoyard character, while still offering the modern traveller the service they would expect.
In the summer, the slopes are transformed and become waymarked trails for hiking and mountain biking, and the town also features other pursuits for the active and adrenalin oriented, such as golf, mountaineering, and caving.
In 1181, Morzine (Latin: Morgenes, or “border area”) was a grange of Aulps Abbey, a Cistercian monastery 7 km away. In the Middle Ages, The town’s many restaurants, bars, granges were agricultural centres from which the monks exploited their landscape as and cafes offer the chance to relax well as co-ordinated farming and and unwind after a day on the slopes, industrial work. or to just enjoy some downtime, and
The town has a gorgeous spread of chalets straddling a river gorge, and is partially surrounded by lush wooded slopes, which add to the air of tranquillity and provide ample opportunities for adventure and exploration.
are the perfect places to people watch and enjoy the breathtaking surroundings of this alpine retreat.
In the winter months, the Portes du Soleil’s 650km of ski slopes are a top destination for skiers of all ages and abilities, in particular beginners and the less experienced, including families, who take advantage of the intermediate terrain. In addition to skiing, those seeking thrills of a more unusual kind are well served by the range of activities on offer, from heliskiing and ice-diving, to snowshoeing and Segway driving.
Above and right: Morzine’s mountain location boasts beautiful vistas all year round.
Built high on an escarpment above the town of Morzine, Avoriaz is a popular mountain resort and one of the top snowboarding destinations in the world. It has been designed to blend in with the mountains, and retains a quiet feel, despite being a station on the main circuit of Les Portes du Soleil, one of the largest skiing areas in the world. Avoriaz is very much a family-friendly destination, and, thanks to the fact that cars are banned, children can go sledging in the heart of the village in complete safety – even the taxis are horse-drawn sleighs.
Aside from the obvious winter and summer pursuits, perhaps the biggest attraction is the Aquariaz waterpark. This stunning aquatic paradise contrasts a tropical feel with the snowy mountains outside, with lush vegetation and rocks set amongst pools, pipes, and water playhouses. In addition, the park boasts a hot spa, climbing walls, and massage facilities in which to unwind and work the knots and strains out of your muscles.
The Morzine – Avoriaz slopes only need a limited amount of snow cover before they can be skied, on account of the underlying pasture land and shale.
Trekking, mountain biking and golf help round out the summer sports, but, of course, for those who don’t want to wear themselves out or get wet at the Aquariaz, the town has a number of the usual facilities for visitors to enjoy, such as nightclubs, restaurants, and a cinema. Arguably the best way of relaxing is a hot drink in one of the quiet restaurants or cafes while you watch the world go by and soak in the beautiful setting.
Call us now to book ski lessons
0033 450749858 www.thesnowinstitute.com
Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.morzexpress.com
Les Gets is perched at the western edge of the Portes du Soleil ski area, offering a quiet location, with beautiful panoramic views, and is the ideal destination for families. The stone and wood chalets speak of an effort to preserve and celebrate the town’s historic and cultural heritage and lend the place the feel of a haven from the coarser, more frenetic ‘modern’ world beyond the snow-bound slopes.
Children are well catered for in the skiing department, with le Grand Cry – an area of the mountain that is ‘children only’. It features several runs, which are themed around ‘trappers and indians’, and there are weekly treasure hunts to keep the miniature humans busy and make the adults jealous.
The ski area consists of mainly blue and red runs for those with little to no experience, up to a moderate level, but if your group does have a few more experienced skiers, then ‘The Bowl’ may be worth a visit. It hosts a number of black runs, including the Yeti, and is easily accessible thanks to the ski and chairlifts that all feed into the area.
The child-friendly nature of Les Gets continues in the town, with wooden games set out in the streets and street performers and a carousel providing more distractions (for locals and adults as much as anyone!).
professional & reliable
childcare Enjoy the slopes or the local cuisine, secure in the knowledge that your little ones are being looked after and having a great time.
• • • • • •
Adrenaline junkies may also be interested in the impressive snowpark on Mt Chery, which features kickers, spines, rails, and boxes to keep the adventurous happy if the plentiful ski runs in the area don’t appeal. Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.morzexpress.com
cooking arts and crafts face painting sledge rides snowman building treasure hunts
0033 616 12 28 80 www.cheekymonkeysmorzine.com 29
Cybergraph Chamonix • photo : Ludovic DiOrio
BOOK SPA & MASSAGE AVORIAZ
SPA . AVORI AZ
& +33 4 50 84 53 07
AVORIAZ CHAMONIX - VAL D’ISERE - ARC 1950 - PARIS - DEAUVILLE - BORA BORA 30
Flaine is tucked discreetly away in the Haute-Savoie region of France, close to Geneva and the Mont-Blanc. Created in the 1960s, Flaine is a modern, car-free resort, known affectionately as the "big snowy bowl" on account of it having one of the best snow records in the Alps.
pumping, however, then Flaine also offers helicopter flights, paragliding, snowmobiling, and an ice driving school for those who want to play James Bond for an hour. More sedate pastimes, suitable for the whole family, include dog-sledding trips, indoor climbing, and bowling, in addition to the ice rink, cinema, and even a library - they really have thought of everything! In the evenings, there is, of course, a healthy nightlife to be enjoyed, from the usual clubs and lively pubs, to a wide variety of restaurants, with great local cuisine. Of course, the summer months allow hikers to take to the trails and enjoy the stunning alpine views. Keen walkers can take a lift to the Les Grandes Platières, which gives access to the Désert de Platé - an extensive limestone pavement, whose routes wind past ravines, fissures, and rocky outcrops dusted with flowers, not to mention the sort of views that give pause to the very soul.
The site was discovered in 1959 by geophysicist Eric Boissonnas and Swiss architect Gérard Chervaz, who at once saw its potential. They went on to successfully bid to create a resort that was the epitome of fine architectural design (if you like high rise concrete built apartments!)
Flaine’s ski runs have unusual, themed names. Blues are named after metals and jewels, reds after devilish beings, blacks after stars, and greens after trees.
Where they most definitely did succeed was integrating the resort seamlessly with its surroundings, nestling into the mountain while disturbing as little of the natural environment as possible. It does seem to blend with the mountain’s contours, helped by the fact that even the colour of the concrete is similar to the surrounding rocks. Flaine’s tranquillity is virtually unbeatable, with the different levels of the resort built so that they can’t be seen from one another, enhancing the feeling of privacy. It is a popular destination for families who are keen to take advantage of not only the peaceful surroundings and wealth of ski runs, but the wide range of other activities on offer. The Grand Massif, of which Flaine is a part, is one of the largest ski areas in the French Alps, boasting around 141 carefully maintained ski runs, which cater to a range of abilities, with green, blue, red, and black grade runs. If you prefer something a little more unorthodox to get the adrenalin
Les Carroz is linked to the nearby ski resort of Flaine and is an up and coming destination, thanks to its location, perched on its own sunny plateau in the Haute-Savoie region. Up until the 1930s, Les Carroz was still a small farming hamlet, and, over the years, has been slowly transformed to become the popular, picture-book destination that it is today. Aside from the skiing and alpine walks, this appealing village resort draws in visitors with its traditional mountain feel, striving, as it does, to maintain an authentic air, while providing the facilities that travellers to the region have come to expect. Keeping true to its roots as a farming community, there is a farmers’ market at Navillod Farm on the first Friday of every month, which is ideal for those on a self-catering trip, or who simply want to enjoy some of the rustic alpine charm that makes the quaint village so appealing.
Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.flainexpress.com
courmayeur Courmayeur Part of the Mont Blanc massif chain Courmayeur offers winter sports enthusiasts that combination of alpine experience and Italian charm that most of us find so irresistible. Nestled in the heart of the Aosta Valley it is a great all round resort with some amazing off-piste on the Italian side of Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc). With some fantastic mountain restaurants and beautiful tree lined pistes a few days here won’t disappoint! And if a few days skiing in Courmayeur is not enough within twenty minutes drive or a five euro, thirty minute bus journey the two fantastic resorts of La Thuile and Pila are on offer. Ski Pila provides excellent off-piste opportunities and open bowl terrain.
For the romantic in all of us, Courmayeur has a patron saint – St.Valentine. February 14th is the Saint’s day and while one should never need an excuse to ski in Italy, this Saint’s day may be the reason to book a winter trip with your significant other.
For the more adventurous traveller, it’s possible to make arrangements to try the more extreme heliskiing.
The highest lift serviced area here is on the Cresta D’Arp at 2,755 metres with the town itself sitting at 1,224 metres, the ski area has 4,000 feet of vertical drop in a variety red and black runs ideal for intermediate skiers and boarders. Courmayeur boasts twenty four lifts and 36 kilometres of ski runs and 15 miles of cross country terrain.
Courmayeur boasts an excellent range of guest accommodation on offer, from luxury hotels through to bed and breakfasts and centrally located apartments, either in the centre itself or the neighbouring villages of Dolonne or Entreves. Italy has always been about fashion and food, and Courmayeur is no exception. The beautiful and pedestrianised main shopping street of Via Roma offers some fantastic shopping and restaurants.
Mountain Restaurant/Bar Alpetta DELICIOUS AFFORDABLE HOME MADE FOOD: PASTA, SOUPS, LOCAL SPECIALITIES, GOURMET HAMBURGERS...
Chiecco Baby Run, Plan Checrouit, Courmayeur 32
Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.aostaexpress.com
"reliable snow, uncrowded pistes... and heli-skiing"
Nestled high in the mountains at an altitude of 1441 metres with a beautiful blend of old world charm mixed with purpose built apartments La Thuile is something of a contradiction. Originally a mining town it now a boasts a fantastic ski area of over 150km of marked runs linked to La Rosiere in France. La Thuile offers excellent skiing and snowboarding for intermediates and is a firm favourite with families offering extensive snow sure easy slopes. With around 30 restaurants and bars, a late-night disco and several shops, there is enough going on to keep the most demanding amused. For those with a penchant for soaking in the natural beauty of the surrounding vistas, a quick gondola trip up the mountain provides great photo opportunities and the chance for lunch with a view.
The European Downhill Cup is back in La Thuile for 2013. Having played host several times in the past, it was once again selected and will see some of the world’s best athletes competing.
American Bar is the place where locals and tourists meet. From après-ski until late night with good music, friendly staff, lots of beers and a wide range of food opportunities. Live sports events are played on the big screen and live concerts throughout the winter make this a place on the unmissable list for Courmayeur.
Le Privé cocktail bar. Upstairs from the American Bar which opens in the evening just in time for the "aperitivo" offers great service, a large cocktail list and is open until 2 in the morning. Bar Roma. In an old-world atmosphere enjoy mixed drinks, wine and beer with substantial snacks provided for free! (6:30 to 8:30pm).
The resort of La Thuile is a draw for the active holiday-goer, featuring a sports centre with a climbing wall and a gym, and the town itself even has a natural ice rink. Venture down to the bottom on the gondola and you’ll find the Planibel complex where you can enjoy their swimming pool an sauna.
Have dinner at…
The Cadran Solaire. Excellent, seasonal Aosta Valley fare served in an atmospheric setting dating back in part to the 16th century.
Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.aostaexpress.com
The idyllic winter wonderland of Megève with its cobbled, pedestrianised streets, horses and carts, and stunning shops is perhaps how some would envisage a perfect alpine ski resort. Steeped in charming buildings and Michelin star restaurants, this lavish chic resort is popular with wealthy international businessmen and famous actors from across the globe. The focal point of Megève is the central square surrounded by beautiful 18th century buildings, a fine medieval church and the Aallard department store where the world’s first ski trousers were tailored. Offering a great selection of classic French restaurants and cozy bars it’s a great venue for those laid back ski holidays. Famous for the thermal baths at the foot of the town and the Tramway du Mont Blanc featured in the film "Malabar Princess" rising to 2372 In August 2010, a lake under the glacier at an metres, both are great attractions altitude of 3200 metres had to be pumped dry for those "rest days". The top of Mont to prevent a possible flood. A nineteenthcentury flood caused by a lake under Blanc is actually in St. Gervais! the same glacier broke through and tearing down the mountain killed 175 people.
It has a fantastic intermediate ski area with 445km of piste at your disposal; the only downside is the areas altitude with the majority of the skiing lying between 1100m and 2400m. Its proximity to Mont Blanc and its underlying grassy terrain however means that the resort doesn’t struggle to keep all the areas open both on and off piste. Chalets on Mont D’Arbois are rumoured to have garages with a capacity for 14 vehicles that when empty turn into private nightclubs or the floor retracts to reveal an indoor pool! Megève is a town of the big bucks, the only ski resort in France with a Michelin star restaurant at the top of the mountain. But you do not have to spend a fortune to enjoy what Megève has to offer, there are plenty of reasonable cafes and bars to suit all budgets.
This beautiful, bustling market town is popular with British families seeking an authentic French town away from the purpose built high-rise resorts of the 1960s. The ski area, connected to Megève, is huge and perfect for intermediate skiers wanting a resort that offers mile upon mile of piste to thrash. Facing Mont Blanc, the views from the ski area are stunning and, at just under an hour from Geneva Airport, it is also a perfect weekend getaway.
Often mentioned in hushed whispers by people that know and love the place, the little-known and off-the-beaten-track town of Les Contamines offers on and off-piste heaven and amazing snow conditions when neighbouring areas can be suffering from lack of snow. Lying at the end of the Contamines Valley, it has no passing visitors which is maybe one reason it keeps its level of little known rustic charm. With a ski area of 120km and a vertical drop of 1300 metres and most of its slopes facing north this is a hidden gem.
Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.megevexpress.com
we explore the best that Megève has to offer and leave no stone unturned...
Seasoned traveller or first time skier, if you’re staying here then you are in for a treat. The choice of food and entertainment is as wonderful as the skiing. Dinner can be done early or late, but reservations are pretty much the rule. There’s a lively après-ski with a good choice of bars and clubs. Here are our favourites for a great night out:
Recommended Restaurants and Cafés... L’Alpette Megève
This low-lit cosy chalet restaurant is on the mountain at the top of the Alpette lift. Its gastro standards are as high as its altitude. Try the brilliant burgers and leave room for dessert.
Pur St Gervais
A funky Café/Bar right in the heart of St. Gervais. Drop in, grab a cocktail and soak up the electro jazz rhythms playing in the background.
Le Lodge Park Chemin du Petit Darbon
Cosy atmosphere in the spirit of a trappers lodge, inventive tastes from around the World’s cuisine and regional dishes. Specialities: Wok of Gambas Sautés in Sake, and Crab and Avocado in Carapace.
Le Chalet des Jumeaux Route du Mont d’Arbois
Savoyard and brasserie style, piano bar with a musical atmosphere. Old wood decor with a mountain ambiance.
The Trappers Bar
Cosy ambiance in the spirit of a New England hunting lodge, the Trappers Bar is like stepping into a traveller’s album, with log tables and relaxing tanned leather armchairs, in a wood architecture characterised by a balance between shapes and serenity.
The magic of champagne bubbles in an atmosphere steeped in history, exceptional champagnes and fine delicacies; elegance and refinement. Later in the evening, you’ll no doubt return to share a drink at the Champagne bar with someone you met the day before on the slopes.
Flocons de Sel
This restaurant has a celebrated, and creative, chef in the kitchen, and a decor based on pine-panelled interiors and high French doors.
Les Enfants Terribles
This restaurant is part of the Hotel Mont-Blanc. The restaurant has a slightly theatrical theme to the decor and a quirky atmosphere (in a good way) with staff who strike the right balance between fun, informality, and service.
Late and Lively...
Jazz Club Les 5 Rues Passage de Cinq Rues
Just off the main square, this club looks like a members-only affair you’ll never gain entry to, but loiter by the unprepossessing wooden door after 10pm and you will get in, for drinks accompanied by laid-back jazz and blues.
Palo Alto Rue de la Poste
This late-night staple in Megève attracts a young crowd and stays open until 5am, for dancing ‘til dawn.
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ESTATE AGENCY - BUY, SELL or RENT Chamonix 04 50 43 72 62 | St Gervais 04 50 78 35 10
LOCATION DE MATÉRIEL SKI & SNOWBOARD Vente dʼaccessoires - Fartage Affûtage - Consigne
2 points de location Saint-Gervais village Le Bettex 1400 m
Point de Vente Tramway du Mt-Blanc, Ski pass Prarion-les Houches, Vallée de Chamonix (Mt-Blanc Unlimited - Vallée Blanche).
Mountain Restaurant/Bar Alpetta DELICIOUS AFFORDABLE HOME MADE FOOD: PASTA, SOUPS, LOCAL SPECIALITIES, GOURMET HAMBURGERS...
Chiecco Baby Run, Plan Checrouit, Courmayeur 36
Le Bettex : Tél. 04 50 93 11 04 Saint-Gervais : Tél. 04 50 55 81 42 www.loca-ski.fr
It is, however, worth considering that within less than the average transfer time to Chamonix, Megeve or St Gervais, there are so many more properties, wonderful villages, and small resorts available. As the average transfer time with Chamexpress from Geneva Airport to these locations is 65 minutes, it means that each second that ticks by could be another several thousand on top of your purchase price, and a few more square metres tossed out the window.
If geometry and mathematics were my thing,
and I really understood quadratic equations, the following might make as much sense to me as it does to you ‘square of the hypotenuse’ and ‘A is to B’ types: If Geneva (A), Chamonix (B) and Megeve (C) form an isosceles triangle and you had X days in which to choose where to plant your pole, how would you do it? Part B to this question: If price is directly related to the proximity to A, B or C, explain how variables such as exchange rates (D), budget (E), and your must-haves (F) affect the way in which you are willing to pull the triangle. If you are numerically-challenged or not actually looking for property, then please make the highest-scoring Scrabble word using the above capitalised letters - answers on a postcard please - but if your thoughts are currently "do I rent it out or keep it for myself?", "will it have a decent kitchen?", or "will friends and family come out of the woodwork as soon as they hear that I am buying a place in the Alps?", then read on.
If you are reading this on your transfer from Geneva Airport you may right now be passing THE property for you, but the price is going up as you read this, and living space is getting smaller. At ChaletDoctor, we have many properties for sale in the Geneva triangle, and specialise in listening to you to find the right one. Rest assured - in, out, or near resort, we can find it for you, but don’t be surprised if we make you think by throwing in the odd curve-ball here and there as these are quite often a popular choice for our clients. And here is one such curve-ball: Midway between Geneva Airport and Chamonix is a practical holiday home in a small Savoyarde ski resort with a growing year-round appeal. This four bedroomed property is currently owned by a ten-times Everest summiter; it has a very manageable garden, rustic charm and is conveniently located for the mountains. If you pay the asking price I may even persuade the owner to whisk you to the top of the world. I should also point out that it’s the same price as a one bedroom apartment in Chamonix, but don’t tell my partner agents that I said so.
Before finding the property where I have now lived for the past eight years, contacting agents was a proverbial minefield. Even back then, there were few to choose from and it was both frustrating and futile having to meet a different agent for each property, assuming any had responded to my enquiries in the first place. It quite often seemed that they’d simply send everything they had on their books and if there was anything which met my criteria, it would invariably have sold only moments before calling to arrange a viewing. With no Google Street View, it was near-impossible to get a feel for properties in areas I had never heard of, and you can forget about any honest feedback from agents beyond the ubiquitous "for-mee-dab-ble". Oh how I wished that someone somewhere would have an array of pre-selected property that met my needs, and this leads me on to yet another maths-type question: How far would you be willing to travel to have your dream home here in the Alps, and what would you compromise on? Quite often, the price of a no-cat-swinging apartment is the same as a larger property a short distance away. Would that make a difference to you? It did for me. But if it is "The Three Ls" that do it for you, and your arms are longer than your pockets, then dig deep and be content in the knowledge that what you buy will be at the centre of everything and a mere hop will take you to fabulous skiing, clubs and restaurants.
For more information and advice visit www.ChaletDoctors.com or contact Miles on firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call on 0033 (0) 633 96 50 66
a smorgasbord of alleys, galleries, hidden courtyards and delightful nooks waiting to be discovered Annecy is known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’ for good reason, being steeped in history and filled with canals, flowers, and cartloads of charm. It is one of the oldest inhabited sites in the Northern Alps, and is perched on the shore of one of the purest lakes in the world, which was formed around 18,000 years ago when the great Alpine glaciers began to melt.
The lake offers endless possibilities for enjoyment, from serene walks to vigorous water sports – the sky is pretty much the limit. If you want to soak up the scenery then a lake cruise or sightseeing tour is ideal, and a great way to discover hidden gems, and learn the layout of the area and some of its history. If, however, you’d rather be more active, then wakesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and pedal boat trips are just few of the ways you can get up close and personal with the lake – some more so than others! If simple sailing, or messing about in a pedal boat is a little tame for you, then Essaonia - Rivières du Monde have the perfect solution, offering a broad range of extreme aquatic activities to get the blood pumping, such as white water rafting, kayaking, hydrospeed, canorafting and sea kayaking trips.
The crystal waters and picturesque town are overlooked by the Tournette Mountain with its armchair-shaped summit, and surrounded by wooded slopes, offering a breathtaking setting that conjures an intense air of tranquillity that is hard to rival.
Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.annecyexpress.com
Those wishing to experience a taste (literally) of Alpine traditions should keep a keen eye on Annecy’s many markets, held at various times throughout the month – anything from once a month, to every week. They offer a wide range of fare, from a mouth-watering selection of food at the Place de la Mandallaz, to clothing, jewellery, and furniture at the Creators’ Market. There is even an antiques and art market on the last Saturday of every month for those who enjoy antiquing or simply browsing through the pieces on offer in search of a unique treasure to take away.
The Annecy International Animated Film Festival has been held in the town since 1960
Of course, while an army may march on its stomach, a flock of visitors fortified by the sharp alpine air could give them a run for their money, which is why
For many, a trip to somewhere like Annecy is more about relaxation and exploration than throwing themselves into sports (and the lake!), and this is where Annecy comes into its own, with many places of historical interest in and around the town. Popular sights and monuments include The Castle – a historical symbol of Annecy, which has been well restored after being acquired in the fifties, The Old town hall, the Visitation Basilica, and the Conservatory of Art and History, which was built in the 17th century. Should the mood to explore further afield grab you, then the Cascade d’Angon is well worth visiting, and is set in truly beautiful surroundings, much like the Secret Garden. This intriguing place was created in 1980 and is a smorgasbord of alleys, galleries, hidden courtyards and delightful nooks waiting to be discovered. The gardens show off a range of diverse themes, blending different materials, flora and fauna, to create a truly unique and oddly whimsical place.
Annecy plays host to some stunning eateries and restaurants, serving up traditional mountain cuisine. It is the perfect chance to savour some of the area’s specialities, such as fish, fresh from the lake, cheese, or the ever delectable chocolate for which the region is well known. A gastronome’s delight, an extreme sport fan’s perfect retreat, and the ideal haven for the traveller seeking relaxation in an awe-inspiring setting – Annecy is many things to many people, and this pictureperfect town deserves every accolade with which it has been bestowed.
Book your transfer from Geneva Airport at www.annecyexpress.com
london calling Nestled on the banks of the River Thames, London is the capital of England and a leading global city, long considered to be one of the world’s ‘culture centres’. It isn’t hard to see why this bustling metropolitan city is one of the most visited in the world, serving up, as it does, a delicious blend of art, fashion, music, theatre, and history. Rising above the skyline, the breathtaking historic architecture at its heart is punctuated by cutting-edge modern design, from the iconic London Eye, to the glassy 30 St Mary Axe, known to Londoners as ‘The Gherkin’.
what to do and where to go
The city is one of contradiction. The grand, almost imposing weight of history, from the very bricks and mortar, to the artwork, literature, and lingering musical tones in London’s theatres, cathedrals, and halls is comforting, awe-inspiring and almost sobering. Meanwhile, the modern buildings and busy commerce areas inject the city with an adrenalin that is hard to shake off. That these two radically different notes can exist in harmony mirrors the diversity of the city’s populace and the wonders it has to offer. London may not be the world’s biggest city, but it doesn’t have to be – size doesn’t matter, after all - as it packs in an extraordinary amount to see and enjoy. If you like soaking in architecture or museum hopping, then you’ll be pleased to know that the majority of the city’s museums and galleries are free to the public. These include the world famous British Museum, housing some of the greatest treasures of the ancient world, and the National Gallery on the fringe of Trafalgar Square, home to exquisite pieces such as Constable’s ‘The Hay Wain’ and Van Gogh’s’ Sunflowers’, The London Eye, perched on London’s alongside works by Turner, Monet, and South Bank (pictured right), is only the Da Vinci. Similarly, The Imperial War 20th tallest structure in London. Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The tallest is newly built The Natural History Museum, and the Tate skyscraper, The Shard. Britain are all free to the public.
Tottenham Court Road, should you fancy haggling over the latest tech. If you like your shopping to be a littlemore down to earth and authentic, however, then London boasts some truly wonderful markets, many of which date back hundreds of years, such as Camden, Spitalfields , and Covent Garden to name but a few. These provide everything from foodie delights to odds and curiosities, to vintage clothing by the cartload - the perfect place to pick up something unique (after all, you can’t frame our service, no matter how good it is).
If you enjoy men in shorts, or are possessed of a sporty The ‘to do’ list of any London visitor is likely to be a nature, then you’ll no doubt appreciate London’s long one, and the Tower of London, Madame strong sports heritage. The iconic Wembley Tussauds, and Buckingham Palace all pull Stadium, rebuilt in 2007, is home to the FA in millions of enthralled visitors a year, Cup Final and other key sporting events. but just wandering London’s heart can Perhaps London’s proudest moment, see many simpler treasures unveiled. however, was when, in 2012, it became Tree lined avenues, quiet squares, and the first city to host the summer beautiful buildings are all there to be Olympic games three times – events discovered, and on a summer’s day which saw the host nation scoop the London’s parks are full of those soaking greatest number of medals the country up the heat in some welcome downtime had seen since 1908. The historic Tower Bridge is still raised from the bustle of the city. They make around twenty times every week to allow tall ships, cruise liners, and ideal places to walk off lunch, picnic with other large vessels to pass the family, or to enjoy unwinding with a good underneath. book in the shade of a tree. For those who like nothing more than flexing their credit cards, and who can bear to tear themselves away from our dedicated services for a moment, Oxford Street is a hot destination, with a rich variety of retail names, and the vast shopping mecca of Selfridges. A stone’s throw away are the elegant boutiques of Bond Street and the electronic haven of Book your transfer from Heathrow Airport at www.myhotelexpress.com
The Pont Neuf bridge, constructed in 1604, was the first to have unrestricted views of the Seine below
Sprawling decadently on the banks of the River Seine, and one of largest cities in Europe, Paris certainly needs little introduction. It remains one of the most visited cities in the world for good reason, boasting something for everyone, and is instantly recognisable from its famous skyline, pierced by the dominant, but romantic, spire of the Eiffel Tower.
Over time, Paris has become world renowned as a cultural hub for the arts and media, and is an inexorable magnet for art lovers, fashionistas, foodies, and movie stars who sustain France’s vibrant film, fashion and art industries, making them the envy of the world.
Building on its strong cultural heritage, Paris is home to some of the finest works of art in the world, none more so than the Mona Lisa, safely ensconced in the Louvre. This fortress turned palace and museum receives over eight million visitors a year, so if you want a glimpse of the world’s most enigmatic smile, be warned, you’ll need a very early start and sharp elbows to beat the crowds. Just be prepared, she is smaller than you think!
Visitors to Paris are truly spoiled for choice, with the Paris Opera and ballet a draw for the more culturally minded, and the stunning parks - such as Tuileries Garden - nestled along the banks of the Seine are the perfect destinations for those lazy, Parisian afternoons. Of course, if the tourist hotspots of the Champs Elysees, Arc De Triomphe, and the giddy heights of the Eiffel Tower aren’t for you, then a long walk through the city’s quieter districts can be the perfect way to while away your time, drinking in the breathtaking blend The Mona Lisa is now ho of historic and modern architecture, glass at the Louvre, and sampling the many delights of the of vandalism attem boutiques and patisseries hidden among Thankfully, she has r the winding streets. undamaged, and, f
500 years old, is good h
It isn’t just the arts, however, that make the city famous, but the food. Rich, beautifully indulgent and exciting, French and Parisian cuisine is famous, and no trip to the city would be complete without dining out in one of the many thousands of first-class restaurants and bistros.
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For those seeking something a little different, however, the historic Montmartre district, traditionally home to Paris’s thriving art community, is a must-see. Over the years, the roster of artists who have kept studios or worked in the area reads like a who’s who of art, including famous names such as Dali, Monet, Mondrian, Picasso, and Van Gogh. Of course, the exotic district, known for its burlesque and cabaret shows, has been made equally, if not more, famous in recent years by Hollywood, thanks to films such as Moulin Rouge – the real home of which is actually in the nearby, former red-light district of Pigalle.
Located just 20 miles from the centre of Paris, Disneyland Paris is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. The resort comprises two theme parks and a number of hotels, with an entertainment complex, golf courses (including children’s facilities), and even a railway station.
Disneyland Park itself is, understandably, the main attraction and is split into five themed worlds: Main Street, U.S.A, Frontierland, oused behind bulletproof Adventureland, Fantasyland, thanks to a number Discoveryland, each packed with a riot mpts over the years. remained relatively of magical attractions and rides to keep for a painting over the kids and the young at heart utterly s in remarkably spellbound.
The second park is the newer Walt Disney Studios Park, which is themed around a Hollywood movie studio, complete with four ‘movie lots’, boasting rides, attractions and entertainment, with an exciting showbusiness feel. When you need to eat, unwind, and enjoy yourself, The Disney Village is the place to head, especially as it stays open after the main parks close. This entertainment district is chock full of restaurants and activities such as bowling, movies, and an impressive IMAX cinema, but perhaps most impressive is the PanoraMagique Balloon, which can carry up to 30 passengers over 100 metres into the sky for dazzling views.
Cannes is one of the most well known
and popular resorts of the French Riviera, with its Mediterranean climate offering blissfully long, warm summers, making it a top destination for visitors the world over. Perhaps more famous than the glorious weather, however, is the annual Cannes Film Festival, held every May, turning the resort into a Mecca for the movie mighty who flock to Cannes for the prestigious festivities.
from the film ties, Cannes is a magnet for thousands of visitors every year who flood in from the mighty cruise ships that touch on the port, and those who enjoy a taste of luxury, with its upmarket bars, restaurants, and boutiques complimenting the range of elegant waterfront hotels and sleepy apartments.This keen attention is understandable, as, aside from the stunning beaches, there is much to do, whether it is shopping, or simply enjoying any number of outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking in the nearby hills, or golf, horse riding, tennis, and water-sports.
fact, the influence of the film industry on the city is a strong one, manifesting itself in wonderfully surprising ways. One of the most eye-catching of these is the series of over fifteen painted walls, featuring famous faces from the silver screen, including Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Superman, and Marilyn Monroe. Finding them all is a great way of exploring the city - just pack your walking shoes!
Those stunning beaches arenâ€™t all they seem... Cannes spends 650,000 Euros each year to reclaim 25,000 cubic metres of sand from the sea. Remember that when youâ€™re sunning yourself!
Book your transfer from Nice Airport at www.cannexpress.com
the serenity of the area makes it ideal for those seeking a more sedate and relaxing break, and the number of churches and beautiful villas, tucked away in the extensive greenery of the city, make it ripe for exploration. One of the most popular areas, of course, is the waterfront avenue of La Croisette, with its wide pavements,shaded by palm trees, offering a wealth of pleasant boutiques and cafes - perfect for watching the world go by while enjoying a cocktail or cool drink!
you like to enjoy more than just the sun, however, there are a number of museums and visitor hotspots to be savoured, most notably Ile Sainte-Marguerite, prison of the mysterious and tragic ‘Man In The Iron Mask’, made famous by the book of the same name by Alexandre Dumas. Today, visitors can see the cell in which he spent a portion of his life, and enjoy the views from the Fort of St Marguerite, now known as the Museum of the Sea, which itself houses some fascinating discoveries from ancient shipwrecks around the island.
1 Which of these movies has NOT won the Cannes Palme d’Or?
Quiz Answers Question 1: B | Question 2: C | Question 3: B
A Barton Fink B Do the Right Thing C Taxi Driver D MASH
2 Which British pop band stormed the festival in 1997 to promote a film they had yet to actually make?
A Boyzone B All Saints C The Spice Girls D Blur
3 Which prominent French president once claimed that the festival was too expensive to be staged every year?
A Jacques Chirac B Francois Mitterand C George Pompidou D Charles De Gaulle Book your transfer from Nice Airport at www.cannexpress.com
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Published on Dec 13, 2012
Discover things to do and places to see in all of the resorts that the French Alps have to offer, as well as the best places to eat and drin...