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Posts Tagged ‘French Alps’

The snow is here! Are you ready for Winter 12/13?

October 30, 2012 11:56 am
posted by Sarah

There’s nothing like that moment when the first snowy pictures from the French Alps start appearing every year. Seeing the beautiful French mountains covered in fresh snow only builds the excitement for our ski holidays to France!

And this year we’ve been treated to some really fantastique pictures from some of the top ski resorts and areas, including Les 3 Vallees, Avoriaz, Espace Killy

Here are some of our favourites to whet your appetite for the upcoming winter season:

And if this has got you suitably excited to hit the pistes this season, check out our Early Bird booking offers: up to 20 per cent off accommodation [including the school holidays!] if you book before November 5!

And if you also book your equipment hire, passes and lessons through us you could save up to 45 per cent!

Happy skiing everyone! 

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Après ski cocktail recipes

February 8, 2012 4:20 pm
posted by Rebecca

Nowhere does après ski quite like France!

There’s nothing like a busy day on the piste for working up a thirst.  And there’s definitely nothing quite like that first grande biere or vin chaud for satisfying that hard earned thirst…apart from a cheeky après ski cocktail that is.

Here’s our guide to some of the top tipples you should be tracking down in the French Alps this season, and how to make them at home.

Après Ski

That’s right, what better place to start our mixologist’s guide than with the Après Ski itself.

Make it at home?

25ml  vodka

25ml Pernod

10ml measure green crème de menthe

4 fl oz sparkling lemonade

Shake the vodka, Pernod and crème de menthe with ice, and after that strain into a highball cup with a few of ice cubes inside it. Add the lemonade.  Enjoy with a sprig of peppermint and a piece of lemon.

On the piste? 

For true glitz and glamour head to Courcheval 1850 and the Parisian style cocktail bar, Purple Cafe.

Chartreus’ito

Fancy a local French twist on the Mojito?  Try the Chartreus’ito, substituting rum for the herbal Alpine liqueur. Guaranteed to warm those cockles.

Chartreuse is one of the oldest and most mysterious spirits around…with nearly 400 years of history and the added kudos of being produced by Carthusian monks.  Allegedly only three monks from the order know the secret recipe – each hold one third of the recipe and have taken a vow of silence.  Its origins are said to be as an elixir of life!

Make it at home?

Mix 1/4 lime and sugar in a glass

Add fresh mint leaves and ice cubes

And 50ml Green Chartreuse

Top up with soda

Stir and serve with straws

And what could be better than a sunny day on the slopes?  A Chartreuse Soleil!

1 part Green Chartreuse

6 parts orange juice

Over ice

On the piste? 

You’ll find Chartreuse just about anywhere in the Alps and L’Alpe D’huez is one of the closest resorts to the spirit’s Grenoble home.

Toffee Apple

Meribel and Val d’Isère have become synonymous with toffee vodka.   This can be enjoyed as a fiery shot but why not linger over a long drink such as the Toffee Apple.

Make it at home?

50 ml Toffee Vodka

25 ml apple schnapps

25ml apple juice

12.5ml lemon juice

Over Cubed ice

One spoon of grenadine

Add to shaker Toffee Vodka, apple schnapps, apple juice (the sharper the better) and lemon juice.

Shake and pour into a Collins glass with cubed ice, then add one bar spoon of grenadine to create that marbled look and garnish with a piece of fresh apple.

On the piste?

Head to be Meribel or Val d’Isère, the home of Thunder Toffee Vodka.

St Germain Cocktail

Another local speciality, St Germain is made from elderflowers grown in the French Alps and makes for a very refreshing cocktail.

Make it at home?

Champagne or dry sparkling white wine

25ml St Germain

Topped with club soda

Fill a Collins glass with ice.

First, add St Germain, then champagne, then club soda. Stir well, and garnish with a lemon twist.

On the piste?

Where better to sip a refreshing cocktail than the heart of Paradiski at Plagne Soleil with its sunny climate and spectacular views of Mont Blanc.

Génépi

Génépi is the general term in the Alps for a home-made liquor featuring local mountain flora (the herb, Artemisia).  For a warming aperitif try it mixed with spirits and apple juice for a long drink.

Make it at home?

In a shaker filled with ice, pour:

25ml Génépi

50ml vodka

Apple juice

25ml syrup blue Curacao

Shake for 10 seconds and serve in a tall glass.

Or go for something a little more frisky…

The Powder

25ml Génépi

25ml peach cream

6cl orange juice

25ml cassis liqueur

Place 2 ice cubes in a tumbler and pour the ingredients in the order of the recipe.

On the piste?

You won’t have to search far in Avoriaz to find a bottle of Génépi behind the bar.

Black Forest

The title of this suitably fruity cocktail may remind you of skiing off-piste…

Make it at home?

ke it at home?

25 ml crème de cacao

25 ml cherry liqueur

25 ml cherry brandy

25 ml cream

Shake ingredients together and pour into glass. Add a little more cream on top, then add a cherry to garnish.

On the piste?

For a twist on the traditional recipe, head to Jack’s Bar in Meribel where they serve it with raspberry liqueur, white crème de cacao with hot chocolate and Chantilly cream. Yummmmy!

Hot Bunny

Also known as the Ski Bunny or Snow Bunny, this is ideal when you want a hot chocolate with an edge.

Make it at home?

25ml Triple Sec

1 Cup Hot Chocolate

Top with Whipped cream

Heat mug.  Pour in hot chocolate, add Triple Sec and stir.  Top with whipped cream or marshmallows. Sit by the fire place and enjoy.

On the piste?

You’ll need a Hot Bunny after tackling the slopes of Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens.

French 75

Arguably one of the most sophisticated cocktails, the French 75 is said to have originated at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in 1915, created for returning World War I fighter pilots.  The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm howitzer artillery piece.

Make it at home?

1/2 oz lemon juice

50ml gin

25ml Cointreau

Champagne

Pour the lemon juice or gin and Cointreau into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.

Shake well.

Strain into a chilled Champagne flute.

Carefully add the Champagne.

On the piste?

If you’re going to drink a classy cocktail then where better than Chamonix.  Head somewhere like the Clubhouse for some of the best cocktails around.

Which is your favourite post-piste tipple? Come and tell us on our Facebook page!

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A video guide to skiing at Arc 1950

January 24, 2012 3:47 pm
posted by Sarah

At the heart of the French Alps, Arc 1950 is a car-free resort with a Savoyard flavour which blends itself into the shape of the surrounding mountains…

Ski-out accommodation, views of the magnificent Mont Blanc, relaxing spa, buzzing bars, cosy pubs and restaurants serving the best French cuisine for hungry skiers, and of course – fantastique snow! But don’t just take our word for it, check out what guests at Arc 1950 this season have to say – and recommend!

If this whets your appetite, check out our Pierre & Vacances Premium Residence Le Village complete with a Deep Nature Spa to get those weary post-piste limbs ready for the après-ski!

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French ski resorts to fall in love with

January 6, 2012 12:36 pm
posted by Rebecca

The snow arrived in the nick of time for 2012, but with the dozens of options available, how do you choose which French ski resort to spend your hard earned pennies on this season?

In an attempt to match you up to a resort that you will love, channelling Cilla Black from her Blind Date heydays, we’ve put together three compelling reasons to pick our selection of cool contenders…

Alpe d’Huez – There’s no chance of getting bored in this traditional, historic and lively resort…

  1. Airboarding – A new(ish) snow sport has arrived en piste. This time on an inflatable grooved sled-like cushion. Airboarding allows you to hurtle down the mountainside head first while lying stomach-down on the board. This, of course, poses a slight hazard to fellow skiers so Alpe d’Huez hosts Airboarding and ‘snow toys’ sessions at the Poutran lift every Friday between 10am and 4.45pm.
  2. Alpe d’Huez Ice cave – Whimsical ice sculptures are carved annually in this cave gallery at 2,700 m. The Alpe d’Huez ice cave was dug into the snow by two high mountain guides, Bruno Gardent and Bernard Lambolez. It is accessible via the Grandes Rousses DMC lift. This year’s themes are ‘The Garden’ and ‘Biodiversity’.
  3. The world’s longest ski run – At 16 kms and with a vertical drop of 1,820, Sarenne is the world’s longest ski run. Once a month during the ski season you can even ski Sarenne by moonlight after a meal atop the Sarenne Glacier.

Where to stay in Alpe d’Huez:

Pierre & Vacances Residence L’Ours Blanc –  The recently refurbished Pierre & Vacances L’Ours Blanc residence is located in the centre of the resort. The pretty wood-decorated building has superb views over the valley of the Massif de l’Oisans providing direct access to ski lifts and the Olympic skating rink.

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Bergers – Less than 100 m from the ski lifts each apartment features a balcony with views over the resort on one side and the Ecrins mountain range on the other. Facilities include a swimming pool and heated relaxation room, sauna and a restaurant.

Val d’Isère – One of the original ski resorts and still one of the best. Challenging skiing with superb nightlife.

  1. It’s high up! It’s a no-brainer really, if you’re after lovely fresh white powder, choose a resort that’s at high altitude – it’s colder up there and there’s more chance of snow. Val d’Isère’s position offers skiing from 1550m-3470m, that’s the height of more than ten Eiffel towers stacked on top of one another.
  2. Olympics standard slopes – The location of the 1993 Olympics men’s downhill race, Val d’Isère provides immediate access to 300 kms of groomed slopes in the Espace Killy ski area, with further opportunities to ski in first class off piste powder AND in neighbouring Paradiski and Three Valleys systems. There’s enough here to challenge even the most experienced skier.
  3. Dick’s Tea Bar – It’s legendary for après ski partying attracting big name DJs, and its Val d’Isère premises have just re-opened for the season with a makeover.

Residence Les Chalets de Solaise, Val d’Isere

Where to stay in Val d’Isère:

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Chalets de Solaise – Self catered apartments with access to the outdoor heated swimming pool and wellness area and located at the heart of Val d’Isère.

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Balcons de Bellevarde –  Typical of the Val d’Isere region with its pretty wooden and stone-clad front, ski apartments facing the slopes and balconies for all-day sunshine.

Belle Plagne – another action packed resort, in fact, if skiing is not your thing you can pack in a week’s worth of snowy fun without ever strapping on a pair of skis!

  1. Adrenaline activities – The bob experience: an exhilarating 19 bends worth of Olympic bobsleigh run, a giant zip slide high wire, an outdoor ice climbing tower, access to four free-style snow parks and snow quad biking. Yo name but a few…
  2. Child friendly – With snow kindergartens, a sledging track and crèche facilities – there’s plenty to occupy the little ones in Belle Plagne while you get on with some serious adrenaline sports.
  3. Keep on trekking – Glacial snow shoe treks, husky teams along with some superb cross country skiing opportunities will help you to explore the region and take in its beauty at a slower pace.

Where to stay in Belle Plagne:

Pierre & Vacances Residence Les Nereides – Located in the heart of the ‘Paradiski’ domain, with easy access to the slopes from the residence. These self catered ski apartments have recently been fully refurbished.

Pierre & Vacances Residence Residence Les ConstellationsSituated directly on the slope, the wooden and stone chalets blend into the snowy backdrop in this peaceful setting.

Flaine – A stylised modernist French mountain resort and the perfect choice for those with young families and ski beginners.

  1. Paradise for beginners and kids – Flaine’s wide snowy boulevards are perfect for beginners and those with less skiing experience and there’s plenty of free activities and family focused fun on offer too. Excellent ski schools are also available for anyone who is slightly less confident on two skis, and there’s even a week dedicated to children from 4-13 April 2012.
  2. Free lifts – No need for lift passes so you can ski for free!
  3. Modernist architecture and art – It’s not to everyone’s taste but if you have a penchant for Bauhaus, architect Marcel Breuer’s buildings won’t disappoint. And there’s plenty of art to see too including a sculpture park containing works by Jean Dubuffet, Pablo Picasso and Victor Vasarely. The cultural centre, Art de Flaine, also hosts exhibitions of contemporary art.

Where to stay in Flaine:

Pierre & Vacances Residence La Foret – A residence with easy access to slopes and in the heart of the resort.

Pierre & Vacances Premium Residence Les Terrasses d’EosStone and timber chalets, lit by large bay windows with a warm and elegant interior finish and nestled in a spruce forest.

 

 

 

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A Summer Break in the Village Arc 1950

August 22, 2011 3:31 pm
posted by Rebecca

In this post, Paul Harvey experiences summer in the Alps as a guest of Pierre & Vacances at the Le Village Arc 1950 Premium Residence:

We, stayed at five star Pierre & Vacances Premium Le Village Residence located in the centre of the car-free village of Arc 1950 (metres), under the gaze of Mont Blanc. More about the superb apartment in this Residence and what a five star package offers, a bit later…

The village is delightful –  built of stone and timber under stone roofing slabs. We thought it nicer than Arc 2000 above us for sure. Good to get to the mountains for a summer break, which I haven’t done for many years. Very relaxing to be back in vast Alpine meadows with the unmistakable cow bells to be heard over seemingly huge areas. No other nasty sounds to break an otherwise silent scape. The landscape is green wherever you look, broken by the occasional white patch from 2500 metres upwards.

We drove to the resort, crossing the channel with SeaFrance to get into the French mood as soon as we left Dover, then straight down to Troyes on those amazing French roads in four hours (not one set of roadworks). Troyes made a perfect stoping point. A delightful town to explore in more depth time allowing,  Champagne country of course…Allow for about £100 in toll fees in total for the trip by the way.

Taking the car is a good move – with the Alpine weather being what it is, with the occasional threat of low cloud and rain, you can drive off to find sunshine somewhere else on the mountain, explore Arcs 1650 and 1850, or go down to Bourg -St – Maurice and browse the shops. The market is a good one on a Saturday.

We didn’t take kids, but clearly this resort appealed to many young families with a healthy outlook! Great walking country, gentle and serious.  Our images show how stunning the views can be once the sun shines, making these clearly defined walking routes very enjoyable. Mountain biking being another option of course..very tempting!

The 1950 village had a programme of activities organised with P&V, so if you found yourself back in the village in the afternoon, you could be playing golf, tennis, archery, biking etc . Well organisd, with many prizes to be won!

Going back to the apartment was something we really looked forward to. It had a very comfortable, open plan kitchen, dinning and lounge area, alpine wood decor with the large bedroom in a similar style, views to the mountains with our own balcony also justified the five star stamp. The bathroom was also spacious. We enjoyed self-catering here as you can imagine with all the amazing local produce available. The kitchen was well stocked with all the mod cons, and everything you could need in terms of cutlery, china etc..

We also rated the pool and  related facilities, and we were spoilt for choice! In our building we had a small heated outdoor pool, with a great steam room and sauna, and with a quick dash over to the opposite Pierre & Vacances Premier building, we enjoyed the larger indoor /outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna, gym. Quite an experience swimming outside and peering  up to the mountain peaks above you!

You then realise just how relaxing this type of holiday is, and for a moment I imagined being in this superb Pierre & Vacances Premium Residence in the Winter, with the region opening up to 425 kms of slopes, doorstep skiing right up to the apartment building, fires burning in the reception bar areas, with even some apartments having their own fireplaces I believe!

I will be back…

To find out more about the Pierre & Vacances Premium Residence Le Village Arc 1950  and other accommodation in the same area visit – the Pierre & Vacances website: Pierreetvacances.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

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