Posts Tagged ‘ski resorts in France’
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.
That’s right, what better place to start our mixologist’s guide than with the Après Ski itself.
Make it at home?
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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 syrup blue Curacao
Shake for 10 seconds and serve in a tall glass.
Or go for something a little more frisky…
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.
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?
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.
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
Pour the lemon juice or gin and Cointreau into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Strain into a chilled Champagne flute.
Carefully add the Champagne.
On the piste?
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!
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…
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
- 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…
- 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.
- 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 Constellations – Situated 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.
- 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.
- Free lifts – No need for lift passes so you can ski for free!
- 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’Eos – Stone and timber chalets, lit by large bay windows with a warm and elegant interior finish and nestled in a spruce forest.
It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to shorter days, big knits and fresh powder…that’s right, time to start scheming the next ski (or snowboard) trip! And whilst the Alps are lush and fresh and green it won’t be long before they come alive again with the white stuff. To help inspire you here’s the lowdown on top celluloid ski moments.
So whether you’re a James Bond or a Bridget Jones, here’s our guide to the dos and don’ts of skiing like a star. And if you fancy replicating their antics, we reveal the French film locations where the action took place:
1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
It all began back in 1969 with George Lazenby and Diana Rigg.
Check out Bond’s bobble hat and the all-in-one outfits…not sure you’d get away with that these days (unless you’re Italian).
The film location lists for the Bond movies read like Around the World in 80 Days. The ski scenes for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service where mostly shot in the Swiss Alps (and on Mt Blanc), where production was allegedly hampered by weak snowfall. The producers even considered moving to another location in Switzerland, but it was already taken by the production of Downhill Racer. The central resort in the film was the Grandes Rousses ski domain in Alpe D’Huez.
More fab Bond ski moments include Roger Moore’s parachute jump in The Spy Who Loved Me and Pierce Brosnan’s ski off with love-interest Electra in The World is Not Enough. Chamonix stood in for the Caucasus mountains in Brosnan’s chase scene.
2. Downhill Racer
‘How fast must a man go to get from where he’s at’ asks the tagline. Starring a young Robert Redford and Gene Hackman along with bucketfuls of astonishing Alpine photography the film features plenty of thrilling ski action. Shot mostly on location in the Swiss Alps, Megève in France also puts in an appearance. Watch out for Gene Hackman’s top quote, “All you ever had was your skis, and that’s not enough.” Wise words, perhaps a hip flask too??!
A bit of further trivia for you, Megève is the ski resort in the beginning of Charade where Audrey Hepburn’s Regina Lampert meets Cary Grant’s character.
3. Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason
Pink outfit, spectacular bobble hat, grey furry body warmer and ski skills to match, Bridget serves as a reminder to us all that whilst we may think we’re Bond on the slopes we may be more Dr No-good.
4. Better off Dead
This teen romance ends with a ski competition between a young John Cusack and his rival on a treacherous Californian slope called the K-12. Although not an Alpine on-location (the film was mostly shot in Utah) the film has gone down in ski history as a classic thanks to the line “I want my two dollars!” hollered by a persistent paperboy chasing Cusack’s character, Lane Meyer, downhill.
5. Pink Panther
For après ski fashion tips look no further than this classic Peter Sellers ski chalet scene,
Great knitwear, great hairstyles, perfect fireside glamour puss-ing. Don’t forget to practice your dance steps, cha cha cha.
6. Top Ski TV
Some of the greatest ski moments aren’t restricted to the silver screen. From Richard Hammond in Top Gear to the evolution of Ski Sunday, we’d also like to pay homage to some of the best ski TV.
Ski Sunday original
Ski Sunday 2008
But the award for top ski TV moment has to go to Ski Sunday spin off, Alaska: The Arctic Man Ski and Sno-Go Classic when presenters Ed Leigh and Graham Bell took part in the ultimate snow challenge for our televisual delight.
Follow in the snow shoes of our stellar line up with one of the following Alpine packages for the 2010/11 season. Book your ski holiday now and save up to 20%.
- Three Valleys: Book now for next season and save 20% at Résidence Maeva Grand Bois in La Tania. From €360 per week for a studio cabin sleeping four to five.
- Paradiski: Book now for next season and save 20% at Residence Le Mont Soleil in La Plagne. From €472 per week for a studio sleeping four.
- Alpe d’huez: Get two nights free over Christmas and save €111 at Résidence Maeva Horizons d’Huez in the heart of the Grandes Rousses ski area, from €629 for nine nights in a studio cabin sleeping four, from 17 to 26 December.
- Avoriaz: Book now for next season and save 20% at Pierre & Vacances Avoriaz Sépia in Avoriaz 1800. From €720 per week for an apartment sleeping four to five.
As the new ski season beckons, it’s time to air out your woolly hats, blow the dust off your skis and grab a great deal to the slopes.
In the chilly economic climate, the French Alps are still your best bet both for quality resorts and accessibility.
Just a couple of hours’ flight away from the UK, the French Alps offer a vast choice of resorts catering for absolute beginners, intermediates and pros.
Here’s our guide to the top ten most affordable ski resorts in France…
Best for: Families
Perching above Morzine, Avoriaz, is one of the greenest resorts in Europe and provides state of the art facilities and easy accessible routes, making it perfect for families. The resort is also pedestrianised and central to the Portes du Soleil ski area. The resort itself is huge and therefore suits every type of skier, from kids to grannies. Dads wanting to show off with sons can also pass on snowboarding skills by paying a visit to “The Stash” which is a dedicated freestyle-area.
Pierre & Vacances Balcons du Solieil is a great base for young families visiting Avoriaz this winter. It’s apartments have recently been refurbished and are of a high quality, making them great apartments to retire to after a days-worth of skiing. There is also lots of on-site entertainment for the kids, including a childrens area, ice skating rink, cinema and bowling alley.
Hot deal: Pierre & Vacances Avoriaz Les Balcons du Soleil is located 300 m from the slopes, the ski lifts and shops and offers fully-equipped apartments with mountain-view balconies. A week in a one-bedroom apartment for up to four people, costs from just 558 Euros.
Best for: experienced skiers
Chamonix is a much-loved ski resort due to the variety of outdoor activities you can participate in here. The summit of Mont Blanc is the third most visited natural site in the world and the mountains hosts activities such as ice climbing, alpine mountaineering and extreme skiing. There is all sorts of terrain, but this is the perfect destination for the expert winter sports enthusiast and the adventurous. Chamonix is famous for its cable car up to Aiguille du Midi as well as the panoramic restaurant at the top station of the Brévent cable car, which boasts impressive views of the Mont Blanc Massif.
Hot deal: The Residence Maeva La Riviera is located in the district of Chamonix Sud, 300 m from the Aiguille du Midi cable car and five minutes from the resort centre.
Studio apartments for up to four cost from just 244 Euros for seven nights.
3. Plagne 1800
Best for: Intermediates
La Plagne is a group of high altitude resorts and village resorts, all linked together at an altitude of between 1,250m and 2,100m. This means there are some fantastic routes for skiers, but the quaint exterior facades of cabins means the resort has a lovely rustic, high quality feel. Because of the attractive little wooden slated-roofed houses, standing in the middle of a pine and larch forest, the resort has earned itself the nickname of “La Charmante”
Hot deal: The Résidence Maeva Plagne Lauzea renovated residence on the edge of the forest, this property is just 300 meters from the Plagne and Paradski ski lifts. Arranged to look like a Savoie village, and is very picturesque.
Hot Deal Stay at Residence Maeva Plagne Lauze for 6 nights in a studio which sleeps a family of four from just 290 euros.
Best for: Intermediates
Valloire offers the combination of an old mountain village mixed with modern architecture. Valloire is the best known of the Maurienne valley resorts and its narrow streets, bustling shops and various restaurants makes it a charming location for your winter holiday. The slopes spread widely across three sunny sectors and are particularly good for intermediates. 70% of the Valloire/Valmeinier ski area is above 2000m and it offers 150 km of slopes.
Hot deal: The Pierre & Vacances Chalets Valoria at Valloire is located on the heights, overlooking the valley and the resort. A high standard residence built in a style typical of the region, these spacious apartments are located 300m away from the ski lifts.
Studios for up to four cost from only 279 Euros per week.
Best for: Snowboarders
Serre Chevalier is one of the major ski resorts in France. Located in the Haute-Alpes region, Serre Chevalier is a large valley between the Lautaret and Briançon passes. Its 13 villages and hamlets, which blend tradition and modernity, are scattered across the valley with its large skiing areas covering 250km. The resort also offers a wide range of activities for the whole family, and with its large natural terrain is also considered one of the best snowboarding destinations in France. Serre Chevalier lies at the foot of the most beautiful peaks of the Ecrins National Park and boasts approximately 300 days of sunshine a year.
Hot deal: Pierre & Vacances Résidence L’Alpaga, situated in the mountain village of Villeneuve, has comfortable, spacious apartments close to the shops and ski lifts.
Studio apartments for up to four people costs from 378 Euros for a week’s ski holiday.
Best for: Skiers of all abilities
The little known Isola 2000 is a ski resort in the southern region of the French Alps that offers great skiing for all levels. This modern resort’s altitude is at 2000 metres and pisted runs reach the height of 2610 metres on the summit of Sistron where, on a clear day, it is possible to see the Mediterranean sea.
Isola 2000 has an excellent snow record too. Snowboarding is popular in Isola and there are plenty of ‘board-friendly’ lifts and a dedicated snowboard park. There are lots of shops, bars, clubs, restaurants and supermarkets adjacent to the
slopes and there are numerous cafes and restaurants should you wish to take a break and bask in the Mediterranean sun.
Hot deal: The Pierre & Vacances Les Terrasses d’Azur residence in Isola 200 is in perfect keeping with the resort’s natural environment of pines and larches. It overlooks the resort and is close to the ski runs and shops. The apartments are very comfortable and have a panoramic view over the skiing area and the Chastillon valley. Studio apartments that sleep up to four people, cost from just 441 Euros per week
Best for: Families
Les Carroz d’Araches is an expansive, sunny and traditional resort with plenty of terrain to suit everyone. It has the lived-in feel of a real French village and its array of pavement cafes and restaurants around the main square offers a homely and lively atmosphere.
The resort caters particularly well for families, offering excellent facilities for children so is perfect for a family ski holiday. There are good woodland runs immediately above the village for bad-weather days, with a scenic setting to enjoy when the sun shines.
Hot deal: Residences MGM Les Fermes du Soleil is a luxury 4-star residence, just a stone’s throw from the centre. Each apartment is designed to offer you maximum comfort with large bay windows giving exceptional views over the village, the valley or the skating rink. The closest ski lifts, 800m from the residence, are accessible via a free shuttle bus.
One-bedroom apartments for 3-4 people cost from 630 Euros per week.
Best for: Intermediates and families
Flaine is a high-altitude resort sharing a big, broad area of varied slopes with more rustic alternatives. Flaine is a resort proud of its Modernist and artistic design, which is a dramatic contrast to the natural landscape of the French Alps. As well as the architecture, several large public art works adorn the base of the resort, including a Picasso.
Loved by many, due to the extent of its ski area and range of runs, this is a resort ideal for intermediate skiers as well as being one of the most family-orientated ski resorts in Europe.
Hot deal: Pierre & Vacances Terrasses d’Eos residence is a brand new addition to our ski residences for the 2009/10 ski season. Built in 2008 by Intrawest, this top-of-range residence is located in a new, entirely car-free hamlet of Flaine Montsoleil and features 145 comfortable apartments.
The two buildings that make up the residence have direct access to the pistes and chairlifts, providing you with a direct link to the Flaine and Grand Massif ski areas. One-bedroom apartments cost from just 572 Euros for seven nights and sleep up to four people.
A great choice for first-timers and families, Valmorel is a purpose-built French ski resort comprising several small satellite villages in the Grande Domaine. Valmorel and St Francois Longchamps together offer 165km of marked pistes.
Valmorel’s resort centre is car-free and it also scores top marks for families as most of its pistes cater for beginners and intermediates, and there are plenty of designated practice areas. The ski area is on your doorstep which means you can literally ski to your door – another big plus if you’re skiing with kids. While it is great for families, those who also want lively après-ski should go elsewhere as there are only a handful of restaurants and bars.
Hot deal: Pierre & Vacances is offering seven nights in a studio apartment at the Résidence Maeva Planchamp et Mottet in Valmorel from just 405 Euro.
Best for: thrill seekers and skiers of all levels.
Home to La Sarenne, which at 16km is Europe’s longest ski run, Alpe d’Huez is often thought to be the sole preserve of ski pros and adrenalin junkies. While the infamous ‘Tunnel’ run remains a must do ride for experienced skiers, the resort also has a good choice of gentler runs for beginners. The best of the less challenging slopes are found on the outskirts of the resort and there are plenty of blues and reds for intermediates.
Situated in a large sunny bowl, Alpe d’Huez is known as the ‘l’Isle au Soleil’ (‘The Sunny Island’) thanks to its high levels of sunshine throughout the year. This resort is a great choice if you’re travelling in a group which has mixed abilities – leave the pros to La Sarenne while the novices play it safe.
Hot deal: Situated in Les Bergers district of Alpe d’Huez, the Pierre & Vacances Les Bergers residence has comfortable apartments and a heated outdoor swimming pool.
Seven nights in a studio that sleep 3-4 costs just 405 Euros.
All P&V residences featured are ski in/ ski out and are self-catering apartments with fully equipped kitchens and cooking facilities.
To make your Euro go even further, Pierre and Vacances have launched major price falls on their ski accommodation today, to ensure their customers can beat the euro when booking ski holidays this winter.
Customers can save up to 35 percent off all ski resorts throughout the winter season. This means, if you book fast enough you could be saving a third and spend just 55€ for a weeks accommodation! And it gets better…this major ski discount can be used on all dates throughout the winter ski season including the school holidays, Christmas and New Year.
The Eurobuster deal can also be combined with any other Pierre & Vacances deal currently on offer, including the 20% early booking discount, leading to further on your winter ski holiday.
Simply type in the promo code: 8258 when visiting PV-Holidays. You can also find out more information by visiting the offer page here
Don’t forget too, there is only one week left on the Pierre & Vacances early booking discount offer. Of cour
se, the Euro buster will still run, but don’t forget to bag your additional discount too. Find out more about the early booking discount offer
Visit www.pv-holidays.com for further information and all the latest deals.