29th January – 5th February
Sunday 29th January – Flight to Grenoble
Jan and I set off at last to the mountains for our annual fix of mountain air!
We usually fly to Geneva so flying to Grenoble was different from the beginning……
Everything was fine with the flight, arrival and baggage/ski claim and we met up with our travel company rep’ easily too, so we were soon on our way to Meribel.
Photos taken en route from the coach
We arrived at our chalet approximately two hours later after a good transfer on the coach. Coincidentally the chalet was called Chalet La Grange, the same name as our house here in Normandie!! It was in the pretty hamlet of Chandon, a ten minute bus ride to Chaudanne in the centre of Meribel, from where we were able to take any lift we wanted to go to Courchevel or Val Thorens or simply to stay in Meribel. The choice was vast, endless, in fact it would have been very difficult for us to manage to ski all of the 370 miles of ski slopes during the week!! We gave it good try though!!
There were 12 of us in the chalet and there was a mix of ages. There was a group of 6 young folk all from London and whose jobs ranged from one lawyer to working for a publishing house, namely Bloomsbury of Harry Potter fame! I think they were surprised that us oldies knew all about Harry Potter having read all seven books!
They were a delightful bunch of young people with lively minds, it did us good to keep up with them and all their banter! They were very much into board games and introduced us to ‘Bananagrams’ which is a bit like scrabble but with no points. Two to eight people can play and the aim is to be able to create an individual ‘scrabble’ with the 21 chips you start with, the only skill required is to be able to spell or make anagrams! Very exciting and great fun too!
The other folk comprised two brothers John and Mike from the home counties and a married couple, Simon and Libby from Shropshire and of course us! We seemed to share the same sense of humour with Simon and Libby and were able to ski with them on several of the days during the week. At the end of one day we found the route back to the chalet from Chaudanne which was only just skiable due to the lack of snow!
Right – Jan, Simon and Libby at the bus stop in Chandon
We made it back to Chandon from Chaudanne – just!
Les Trois Vallées
Meribel is one of the three resorts comprising Les Trois Vallées in the Tarentaise Valley, Savoie département of France and is partly in the Vanoise National Park. The two other resorts are Courchevel and Val Thorens, both of which we skied to during our week in the mountains. It is all very beautiful with some stunning scenery as I hope the photos in this post will demonstrate.
The beautiful vistas taken in awe!
Jan had been very keen for me to ski with her in The Three Valleys for some time having been there before many years ago. However, I think that she was amazed by the amount of development that has taken place in the interim?
One of best days skiing was when we went over to Courchevel! It was stunning, the ski conditions were pretty good and we were out all day and still didn’t see it all so we went back there on another day, we could have returned each day to discover more runs and beauty!
What a day!
La Folie Douce!
Translated as – Sweet Madness, these famous apres ski bars epitomise the superb atmosphere in the mountains for fun-seekers of all ages to enjoy this unique mix of high-altitude clubbing! I’m not sure whether means how ‘high’ up the mountains you are or how ‘high’ you are when dancing on the tables? Anyway Jan and I couldn’t resist, well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it! We skied down to this famous après-ski bar after our superb day in Courchevel. It was as exciting as it’s reputation suggests and of course we had to partake of at least one ‘vin chaud’!
La Folie Douce in Meribel!
These famous bars are to be found also in Val d’Isère, Megève, Val Thorens and Alpe D’Huez.
By the time I arrived at the top, 3,200 m, it felt like being on top of the world! Having thought that I was acclimatised after a few days on the slopes I soon realised that I was kidding myself, needing more than one stop to catch my breath on the way down!!
A breathtaking day with chalet pals Simon and Libby!
Saturday 4th February – Our last day?
It always amazes me how quickly the week disappears? As in many places in the alps this season, the snow conditions could have been better but they they were good enough for us to enjoy our annual ski trip. HOWEVER would you believe it, this is what we woke up to on our last day…..?
Chandon in the snow!
It snowed heavily for two or three hours and so we had to wait to ski! We took a trip to the very small spa town of Brides-les-Bains at the bottom of the valley. There wasn’t much there to see but the Gondola ride down provided some lovely views as the weather cleared through. We did venture out onto the slopes when we got back but even though they looked very inviting the reality turned out to be very different. It was very cold and windy and most of the top lifts were closed due to the wind. We tried but hey ho we had some great skiing during the week!
Time to pack, say our farewells to new friends made in the chalet and to return home after a great week, we had lots of laughs and look forward to the next time!