I’ve been such a lucky one the last few weeks. Travelling to the French Alps, being invited by friends for a lovely ski holiday and stay in a beautiful, warm and cosy chalet in the snowy mountains of Courchevel. Courchevel is located as one of the villages in Les 3 Valleés, the biggest ski areas in the world. With about 159 ski lifts and more than 300 slopes (green, blue, red and black) it is difficult to get bored here. On the slopes you’ll find everywhere the most lovely restaurants for coffee break, hot chocolate and cream, lunch and French style wining and dining. And because the area is so big you could easily do day tours for example towards Méribel, La Tania, Val Thorens or Saint Martin de Belleville. Today I’ll share a few of my favourite things of being in the mountains for a winter holiday.
Of course the main reason of a winter holiday in French Alps: Skiing. Being outside the whole day, with fresh snow and blue skies and sunshine, skiing with friends from one village to another. The feeling you are on top of world when you arrive with the lift on top of the mountain is great. The feeling while skiing downhill, wind in your hair, making nice turns and control your speed constantly, improve your skiing skills and just have fun with your friends is so só nice. I love skiing and already look forward to next time on skies. Would it be Tiffendell (South Africa) this Cape Winter, or should I wait a bit longer for the next European winter in the mountains of France, Austria, Swiss or Italy?
Snow and views in general
Apart from skiing it is already a great thing to be in the mountains, to enjoy the winter white wonderland, snow, cold weather, beautiful sunsets or sunrises, tobogganing (a bit dangerous if you ask me), long walks through snow on snow boots, playing in snow, building snow mans, the fact that you can enjoy an enormous outside fridge for all the white wines and bubbly. The fact that you actually have to be careful for too low temperatures during the night what will break your bottles of wine. Being in the snow, enjoying the mountains and views in general; it is a great thing. Being back in a sizzling hot Franschhoek after a proper winter holiday is so so strange. I do miss the snow every now and then.
French food and wine
You can say about the French what you want; They might not always be the cleanest, most welcoming, friendly and good-English speaking people in the world, they know how to make wine! And how to prepare tasty food! Madeleines, tartiflettes, cheese or meat fondue, foie gras on toast, casserolette de morilles, steak tartare, French fries, Croque-Monsieurs, omelettes, the best hot chocolate (‘chocolate chaud’) you ever tasted, pates, côte de boeuf and I can go on and on and on. Not to forget about the French wines. As much as I love South African wines, sometimes it is just nice to drink real French wines. The wines are in general a bit lighter and lower in alcohol percentage and in sulphites. Besides that I found them sometimes just a bit more elegant, and more complex.
Beautiful mountain chalet with jacuzzi, steam-bath, fireplace
What is nicer after a long day of skiing to come ‘home’ into a beautiful chalet where you can enjoy a cup of warm tea, hot steam bath, jacuzzi and afterwards dress comfortable and relax at the fireplace? The chalet we’ve been invited in by our friends was big, all wood and cosy and comfy. I loved it all!
Friends to share all this fun with
What is life without good friends? Well, I’m not sure, but definitely not a fun as with friends! We had a great time together. Holidays with groups, families and friends can be difficult or awkward. When one likes to tell others what’s the best way to open a new pack of butter, that it is not healthy to drink you coffee with both sugar and milk, that 10 o’clock is late to get up in the morning…. Also, it can be a ‘problem’ if one wants to do everything together. The whole day. So not necessary. Let it go and give each other space and… relax. We had the most relaxed group of friends and everybody did what they felt like, we did things together but also separated. And we had such fun in the evenings. It was great.
The days I had this year in the snow in France were in all aspects great. Since we are back I’ve been thinking every day about this holiday and truly miss the snow, skiing, food & wine (!) and the fun we had. Today it’s about 34 degrees in Franschhoek and I’m already dreaming about a next icy cold skiing holiday.