The mountains are calling! Mrs O loves Val Thorens, French Alps

View from the top - Le Caron - Val Thorens (by Jim Newton)

It used to be a January tradition, but we figured out recently that in March.. a lot more sun can be found in this delightful ski resort, set in the French Alps, in – you guessed it – La France.

I think that 2012 is our 6th year in Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe – standing proud at 2300m. Part of the 3 Valées, the largest ski domain in Europe, which includes Couchevel and Meribel, you are pretty much guaranteed the best possible snow in the area – and some of the most amazing views.

The hills are alive!

Val Thorens isn’t a huge resort, but has everything we need – fantastic accommodation, great restaurants and great ski-in ski-out access. Oh and have I mentioned great skiing instructors?

L' Oxalys

We have made L’Oxalys our home in the mountains – every year we treat ourselves to a lovely 4-bedroom chalet style apartment, and we always go back for more. One of the things we particularly like are the well-kept and stylish accommodation, the great access to the slopes and.. the private pool, spa and steam room that you can book by the hour – for just you and your closest friends. Can it get better than this?

The private spa room at L'Oxalys

Can it get better than this, I hear you asking? Well, how about a 2-star Michelin meal by the fabulous French chef Jean Sulpice? We splashed out for the 5 course menu – which turned out to be a 9 course menu… let’s just say I wasn’t hungry for a while…

The epic starter trio - Jean Sulpice - L'Oxalys

What else need to do to prepare your next skiing trip to Val Thorens? Get skiing lessons. We met David Mitchell, the only British skiing instructor with ESF last year and went back for more again this year. And of course we already booked for 2013! Besides being extremely skilled as an instructor, he is nice, attentive and extremely patient (which you need to be if you are attempting to get Mrs. O to ski). My 2 hours a day with David have gone a long way and I’m almost better than intermediate – but black runs will need to wait a couple more years!

A much deserved rest

One thing I am totally against of is “drink-driving” and really do not understand how people are actively encouraged to “drink and ski”, which seems even more dangerous than actual skiing. I would really like to see people’s behaviour change, as this phenomenon is really visible on the slopes, namely after lunch.

Great atmosphere (photo by Robin Knight)

We have stopped at 360, one of the busiest bars ont the slopes, and had a great time.. over a diet coke and a sprite. Don’t get me wrong, we sampled some of France’s finest wines (and may I add, the new word I learned – Gewurztraminer – from Alsace) , but without skis on, and I even took a picture of what will always be a memorable Gin & Tonic from our balcony:

A gin with a view

As always, good things come to an end. We had an amazing week with our great friends (thank you!!) and as David said, we now have 51 weeks to rest our legs.

Loved this quirky restaurant in Lyon

Loved this quirky restaurant in Lyon

 

For the second year running, we traded the usual flight to Geneva for Lyon, which has been an incredible surprise. A stunning city with great and very local food (we had lunch at the Café des Federations, a traditional bouchon Lyonnaise) and great shops. Well worth an extra night stay, which we are seriously considering in the future.As they say in France, “a bientot”

x

Mrs O.

PS. As always, a huge thank you to Mira Prostick for helping us book our stay at L’Oxalys. You can contact Mira here.

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