Day Tripping ‘Up the Alps’

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Here comes the Summer! Well, not quite yet BUT, with the winter season well and truly behind us, we’re starting to look forward to the long sunny days that summer brings here in the Alps. Whilst there’s plenty to do and see here in Les Gets and the surrounding villages, there are also some fab places to visit a bit further afield. We’re looking forward to getting out and about again after our winter hibernation! For anyone visiting the area, here are some of our favourite day trips………


Beach time, a bit of culture and cool beers in Annecy
Less than an hours drive away, we love to visit the stunning city of Annecy where there’s something for everyone on a day out. Annecy (the capital of the Haute Savoie) is situated right on the shore of the lake and there’s a great beach and huge grassy area if you fancy just chilling out, having a swim or taking a pedalo out. For something a bit more cultured, there are lots of boat tours (must book in advance) and the Chateau Museum to visit. On a Sunday, there’s a fab market in the old town – great for grabbing a bargain or just sitting at one of the many restaurants that line the river banks and doing a spot of people watching over lunch!

Annecy is also brilliant for shopping – lots of lovely boutiques alongside firm favourites like Superdry, Benneton and all of the usual ski/mountain gear brands – Annecy is, after all, the home of the Eider brand.

There are loads of bars and cafes to choose from, but for an afternoon bevvy, ‘Beer O’Clock’ is not to be missed – serve yourself from a range of beers, ciders and ales from around the world whilst enjoying a delicious charcuterie and cheese platter!


Messing about in a boat at Lake Geneva
Again, it’s less than an hours drive to the shores of Lake Geneva. Our absolute favourite thing to do is take a boat out on the lake, zoom across to the Swiss side and find ourselves a pretty cove to drop anchor, dive, swim and picnic! On the French side of the lake, and easily accessible by either boat or car are the 2 pretty medieval villages of Yvoire and Nernier. Bedecked with flowers and boasting some lovely architecture, they’re both great to visit for a wander, some window shopping and watching the boats. Yvoire is an absolute must for icecream lovers – ‘Glacier Les Galets’ has a vast selection of homemade icecreams and sorbets in all kinds of flavours (Haribo Smurf is always a favourite with children, whilst the vodka red bull option goes down well with grownups!). There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from here, but we like to grab a delicious takeaway sandwich & frites from ‘Le Pause Gourmande’ and take it down to the harbour front to enjoy the view of the lake.


A hike & a swim at Sixt-Fer-A-Cheval & Verchaix
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If you fancy a good hike in simply breathtaking scenery, then the Cirque du Fer A Cheval close to the village of Sixt is the place to visit (45 min drive from Les Gets). It’s a National Park and will put you in mind of ‘Lord of the Rings’ as you hike along the river and between soaring cliffs and waterfalls. There’s lots of parking and you can hike little or as much as you like, but there’s a wonderful loop up to the ‘Bout du Monde’ (‘World’s End’ :>) that takes about 3 ½ hrs (including picnic break) and is not too challenging (suitable for kids).

After a well earnt cold drink at the bar near the carpark, it’s off to the lovely little ‘Lac Bleu’ at Verchaix for a bit of a chill and a cooling dip. If we have little ones visiting, they’re bound to want to try the adventure park in the trees around the lake, which has high ropes, fun zipwires and a big jump onto a huge airbag – followed of course by an icecream at the café! And finally, if we have any energy left, we really like to pop 5 minutes back towards Samoens and have a couple of games of 10 pin bowling at RiverBowl before we head back up the mountain.


There are of course loads more brilliant day trips within an hour’s drive of Les Gets – just contact us if you’d like to know find out more! Summer catered, B&B or self catered accommodation is available at Chalet Virolet in Les Gets – a great base for your summer holiday!

Festive Fun! – there’s lots going on in Les Gets over Xmas and New Year

We LOVE Xmas and New Year in Les Gets! With snow on the ground, twinkling fairy lights and the air perfumed with vin chaud there’s such a cosy, traditional feel to the village over the festive period. It’s a very special place to celebrate Xmas and welcome in the New Year.

With the holiday season fast approaching, we’ve been checking out what Les Gets has planned to entertain visitors to the village both on and off the slopes:

Pere Noel – From 18th to 30th December, Father Christmas lives in Les Gets! Visitors can take the petit train to the Enchanted Forest, where lots of cheeky Elves will provide a warm welcome and introduce you to Santa. This is a magical experience – even the Grinch can’t help but feel Christmassy after a visit to Santa!

Santa’s Torchlit Descent – on XMAS EVE, Santa will come down from his enchanted forest to wave goodbye before he sets off on his rounds. This is our absolute favourite ‘animation’ of the year and the reason why we always try to have Xmas Eve off! The spectacle starts at sundown with a torchlit descent by the ESF instructors. Then, the bottom of the Chavannes is lit up as the comedy Elves descend by sledge. Santa will then ski down to the village, before taking the button lift up to his sleigh! It’s a thoroughly unique experience and draws a big crowd – we recommend watching it from L’Apres Ski bar with a hot apple cider in hand :> This event is always followed by……

Fireworks – Les Gets really knows how to do an amazing firework display and the best ones are always on XMAS EVE and NEW YEARS EVE, just after sundown so everyone can enjoy them.

The Milka Cow! Every afternoon in the holidays, the Milka Cow will be showing off her ski skills on the Chavannes. If you want some free chocolates, all you have to do is catch him :>

Craft activities – The village square by the ice rink will regularly host participation craft activities during the festive period, including decoration making, face painting and wood carving. On Tuesdays, you can also play traditional wooden games such a skittles and shuffle puck.

Treasure Hunts in the Indian Village – Every Friday and Saturday this children’s ski area on the Chavannes hosts a treasure hunt, to reach the end you’ll need to get your face painted, negotiate slalom gates, duck under obstacles and do some sweet jumps. It’s fun for all the family – designed for little ones to enjoy, so everything is pint sized and therefore hilariously difficult for grown ups!

In addition to all of the above, throughout the 2 weeks of holidays, there’ll be regular street performances (singing / dancing / magic) and also ice sculpting demonstrations. And of course, there’s always the ice rink which will be pumping out festive tunes.

So, lots to keep everyone entertained after a day on the slopes – come and join us!

Jen & Craig

 

Things to do in Les Gets if you don’t ski…

Did you know that there are lots of ways to enjoy the snowy mountains in and around Les Gets that don’t involve skiing or boarding? If you do have non skiers in your group, there’s plenty to keep them entertained, so here are a few ideas:

  • Snowshoeing – a great way to see the mountain and enjoy the same piste-side restaurants and stunning views as your skiing friends! Hire some shoes and poles in the village, pick up a map from the Tourist Office and choose your route, which can be as easy or as challenging as you like. If you don’t fancy a big hike up hill, then use the Chavannes or Mont Chery telecabines to get you up the mountain and go from there. If you want to go off the beaten track, you can join a guided group, well worth it as your local guide will get you away from the crowds and you’ll be guaranteed some amazing scenery. Check out ESF or Caroline Hale (who also provides a flask of hot chocolate :> )
  • Pisted Walks – if you don’t fancy snowshoeing but still want to get out on the mountain, then there are some great pisted tracks on both sides of the village. One of our favourites is the Mont Chery – Mont Caly loop. Take the Mont Chery telecabine up the hill and start from there (if it’s a clear day you’ll get a magnificent view across to Mont Blanc). It’s an easy, gently undulating walk and you can perhaps stop half way at the Chevrelles restaurant on Mont Caly for lunch or a drink.
  • Sledging – not just for kids! As we reminded ourselves this weekend, sledging is fun whatever your age :> There are 5 designated sledging areas around the Chavannes side of the village, the longest being at the bottom of the Perrieres (100m woohoo!). These are roped off areas, safely away from skiiers & boarders. Sledges can usually be borrowed from your accommodation or if not, hired from any ski shop in the village – just don’t forget to wear you helmet!
  • Ice Skating – the ice rink is situated in the centre of the village – for a few euros you can hire skates and spend some time practicing your moves (accompanied of course by some classic euro-pop tunes :>)
  • Relax! – Les Gets has 3 spas offering massage and beauty treatments to help you relax, unwind and get into ‘holiday mode’. 2 of the spas also have jacuzzi’s and saunas, so if you like, you can really make a day of it. More info at Sereni Cimes, Les Gets Luxury Spa, Clair Moment

In addition, the village has a bowling alley, cinema and of course lots of fab shops, café’s and restaurants – it’s very easy to while away an afternoon in a cosy café with a good book and a glass of wine!

So whether you can’t ski, don’t ski or won’t ski, Les Gets still makes a brilliant winter holiday choice – come and see!

Jen & Craig

 

Short Breaks in Les Gets – how to maximise your slope time!

With the first snow of the season hitting the village this week, the enquiries are pouring in for the coming season. At Chalet Virolet we’ve always catered for short breaks and demand for a 3 or 4 night get away is increasing year by year. Ladies groups, gents groups or families wanting to ski outside of the school holidays can enjoy the full chalet / ski experience whilst minimising time off work. Did you know that on a 3 night stay in Les Gets you can actually fit in 3 ½ days of skiing? Here’s how we recommend our guests do it……

DAY 1:

  1. 6am – Take an early flight! Easyjet flights from the UK start at around 6am – this of course means a VERY early alarm call, but it’ll all be worth it when you’re lunching on the mountain!
  2. 9am – Let Skiidy Gonzales whizz you up the hill! The flight time to Geneva is around 1hr 30 mins, so allowing for the 1hr time difference, you’ll be landing before 9am. If you book a great local transfer company, such as Skiidy Gonzales to bring you up the hill, you’ll be in Les Gets by late morning (driving time is 1h 15 mins).
  3. 11am – Quick change and pick up kit. In most chalets and hotels your room will not be available until 4pm, so it’s important to choose somewhere where they will give you space to get your salopettes on and store your luggage for the day. If you’re staying at Chalet Virolet, we’ll of course do this and then, following a swift cuppa we’ll walk to Desire Sports in the village with you to get your kit hire sorted.
  4. 12 noon – You’re on your first lift! And the mountain is your oyster! Whether you decide to hit the Chavannes side first (5hr pass is 30 euros) or sample our ‘locals mountain’ Mont Chery (19 euro pass) you can get in a full afternoon of skiing (and of course a spot of lunch with a view).
  5. 5pm – Apres, chalet & bed. Time to ski down to the village, drop your kit back at Desire Sports for the night and make your way back to your chalet (perhaps with a few Apres drinks enroute?) If you’re staying at Chalet Virolet, we’d recommend that, once you’ve unpacked, you enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub and an invigorating steam before dinner! Following a delicious 3 course meal with carefully selected wine, it’ll be time to hit the hay. A long day, but well worth it and you’re sure to sleep like a log after all that mountain air….

DAYS 2 & 3

Just ski! There’s plenty of skiing to keep you entertained in Les Gets/Morzine. If you’re feeling more adventurous though you can of course ski further and experience Avoriaz and the rest of the Portes du Soleil, including the notorious Swiss Wall.If you’ve chosen to stay at Chalet Virolet, we can advise on ski passes (to make sure you get the most economical option) and of course chat you through runs & routes to make sure you get the most out of your time here.

DAY 4

  • 10am – Check out time. Check out is usually 10am, so choose accommodation where you can store your luggage during the day and where they’ll give you somewhere to change at the end of the day.
  • 10:15 – You’re skiing again! It’s your last day on the slopes, a chance to revisit your favourite pistes and haunts and breathe in more of that fantastic mountain air!
  • 17:00 – Almost home time. Ski down, drop your kit, final Apres drink and back to the chalet for a quick change and to collect your luggage.
  • 19:30 – Back to the airport. Again, we recommend Skiidy Gonzales who will collect you from your accommodation and get you back to Geneva safely, whatever the weather.
  • 21:00 – Fly home :> The last Easyjet flight leaves Geneva at around 21:30 – meaning you can enjoy a full day’s skiing and still be back in the UK before midnight! 

    If you’d like to try a short break at Chalet Virolet, get in touch! Prices start at 300 euros per person for a 3 night stay, including bed, breakfast and 3 course dinners with wine. Email us at info@upthealps.com or check out our latest deals and availability on our Facebook page – UptheAlps

What makes a perfect day in Les Gets?

We are super excited to see that the first snow fall of the season could be arriving at the end of this week! It brings us that bit closer to the season and we’re starting to look forward to some cracking days on the slopes.

Our time off during the winter is limited, so we always try to make the most of these precious days.

Here’s our guide to a perfect ski day in Les Gets:

  1. Following a warming bowl of porridge at Chalet Virolet, we’ll head into the village (the 10 minute walk warms up the legs nicely), grab our kit from Desire Sports (the proprietor Cedric will always offer a homemade Schnapps!) and hitch an early ride on the Chavannes Express.
  2. From the top of this 6 man chairlift, it’s a quick ski down into the Les Gets bowl where we’ll spend a couple of hours enjoying some beautiful, peaceful runs accessed from the Rosta, Ranfolly and Grains D’Or chairs. Our favourite piste is the ‘Melezes’ down to the Perrieres Express – a long, wide well groomed run through the trees and usually very quiet, perfect for honing your technique!
  3. Next it’s time for elevenses! So we’ll head up the Nauchets Express and down the Chevrelles piste to the Cortenaz restaurant for frites and a Coke to recharge the batteries.
  4. The next few hours will be spent skiing around the Morzine side of the mountain – taking the Telesiege des Tetes is a must as the view from the top is stunning. On this side, the blue Lievre run down towards Morzine is very pretty.
  5. Time for a late lunch! So, back over on the Les Gets side (via another favourite piste the ‘Ambresalles’), we’ll head up the Rosta chairlift for a bite to eat at the Rosset’Taz restaurant. They serve really good, fast food (burgers as big as our head :>) and the view from their terrace is gorgeous.
  6. After another few runs, we’ll ski back down to the village, drop our kit with Cedric and share a Vin Chaud with him before returning to the Chalet for a quick power nap.
  7. At Apero time, we’ll head to Barbylone or l’Apreskibar for a drink with friends (both bars often have live bands in the early evening) and of course call into Bar Bush for a quick snifter before dinner.
  8. If we’re treating ourselves, dinner will be at La Pela – a gorgeous restaurant with fantastic service and amazing steaks. Their dessert of the day is always a treat – a real work of art. Alternatively it’ll be a take away kebab from ‘412’ and home to catch up on some TV!

All topped off of course by a fantastic night’s sleep (on account of the mountain air of course – not the drinks :>)

We can’t wait!!

Jen & Craig

What happens in October?

Lots of our guests ask what it’s like here in Les Gets during the interseason. Well it’s certainly different in the village once the holidaymakers have gone home. At the end of September pretty much all of the shops in the village close up and all but a few bars and restaurants too (thankfully Bar Bush remains open for October!). So, with not much going on, October is a good time to start preparing for the coming season – odd jobs, stock checks and more interestingly menu prep. We’ll be busy scouring the recipe books for inspiration and deciding which of our previous season’s dishes to keep or replace – more to come on this in our next blog! We’ll also be starting the arduous task of selecting our wines for the season – much tasting needs to be done to ensure we select only the best for our guests :>

It’s not all work work work though – with the weather cold but sunny this week, we’ve done some fantastic walks on the mountain – our favourite being around the ridge of the Les Gets bowl – I think Fidji enjoyed it too!

Jen & Craig