18th February 2023 | Marie Taylor, Chamonix.
As a Canadian living in the UK, I’m on a mission to ski all of Europe’s big resorts. I’ve stayed in hotels in Zermatt, chalets in Les3Vallees. Now its self-catering in Chamonix. Read on to find out about the self-catering experience. NEW
We chose a Pierre & Vacances self-catered apartment right in the centre of town – the Premium Residence La Ginabelle with great access to everything you need for a wonderful stay.
Our trip started off Saturday morning by flying into Geneva airport and picking up our rental car from the French side of the airport where it was considerably cheaper than renting a car from the Swiss side.
We quickly popped all of our gear into the car and hit the road for the 1-hour drive to Chamonix.
After picking up our Mont Blanc Unlimited pass and putting our skis on, we set off for a quick afternoon ski before checking into the apartment.
Another advantage of travelling independently, rather than with a tour operator – you can squeeze in a cheeky ski on arrival day.
After the ski day, we popped to Les Pèlerins, just over a 5 minute drive from Les Houches to pick up some groceries to get set up for our self catered apartment.
We were advised by a Chamonix local that grocery shopping in Les Pèlerins is significantly cheaper than the shops in the centre of Chamonix.
The first grocery shop is usually the biggest, where a bit of meal planning is required.
Our top tips when staying in self-catered apartments is to get set up for breakfasts for the week, and pick up some snacks and drinks to keep in the apartment.
Then as the week goes on it’s easier to grab dinner items as you decide if you’ll be eating dinner in or out at a restaurant.
I always view it as the money that I’m saving by having breakfasts in the apartment in the morning, it can go towards a nicer meal for dinner when there’s more time to enjoy it.
As for breakfasts, my go-to is always porridge.
It keeps you full throughout the morning, it’s cheap and very quick & easy to prepare.
For toppings, I picked up some bananas and honey.
If you are a big tea drinker, I’d recommend packing tea bags from home as you’ll be sure to be drinking your favourite tea and it avoids you having to buy an entire box of tea bags with the majority getting thrown into the bin at the end of your trip.
When it came to checking into our apartment after skiing and shopping, it was a breeze.
There’s underground parking, which is convenient and great to not have to brush off snow in the morning.
It’s also in prime location right near the train station if you don’t rent a vehicle to get to each ski area.
And it’s within a 5-minute walking distance to a couple of Intersport locations to pick up ski rentals if required.
With ski lockers available in the building we dropped our ski gear and then made our way up to check into our apartment.
The apartment had two cosy bedrooms and two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, large dining table and living room area with a pull out couch & TV.
Plus a good size balcony with table and chairs which was perfect for having a drink as the sun set after the ski day.
Provided in the room were some local biscuits and everything that was needed for cleaning in the kitchen; dishwasher tablets, dish soap, sponge, tea towels, etc.
We also received a free Carte d’hôte which gives great access to Chamonix for tourists.
The best advantage of the card is free travel on buses and trains throughout the valley – all the way from Servoz through to Vallorcine, giving you free travel to all the ski areas.
It also gives you discounted access to the town swimming pool and museums.
When it came to lunch & dinner meals, we mixed it up whether we ate in or out.
We took a packed lunch up the mountains some days, or ate in a restaurant.
As we spent each day on the ski hill, there were some days where we would pick up a baguette and some meat and cheese from the grocery store and pack it in our backpacks to eat on the mountain.
We made sure to pack a nice lunch and some extra chocolate bars on the day we headed out with a Chamonix mountain guide.
What a day that was:
Then in the evening you can mix it up – eating in or eating out.
For a few dinners where we cooked in the apartment, there were many shops nearby where we grabbed ingredients for easy meals such as a spaghetti bolognese.
The kitchen in the apartment was fully equipped with everything you need, with plenty of utensils, plates, cups, casserole dishes, pots, pans, etc. and also all appliances with an oven, stove, microwave, large fridge with a freezer, toaster, and coffee machine.
When we did go out for meals, everything was within easy walking distance, being able to get to many restaurants and bars within less than 10-minutes.
Usually, we’d first head out for a drink or two before dinner, the local we came to love was Elevation 1904.
They were also showing all of the Six Nations games, so we found ourselves there a couple of times – shame about the result for England in its game against Scotland.
A favourite restaurant of ours was an Italian establishment, Casa Valerio.
It’s won awards for its pizzas and has been in Chamonix for many years.
Another restaurant we treated ourselves to was Le Chaudron – with delicious french cuisine and an extensive wine list.
A few other recommendations we had from a Chamonix local were:
· Big Mountain bar has 2 for 1 pizzas on Tuesday.
· Moo bar – salad buffet and choice of 3 mains for lunch. Very good value.
· Same goes for Bistrot de Sports – lunchtime menu du jour good value.
· Poco Loco burger (in centre of town) probably one of the cheapest dinner options.
· Many places have happy hours. Try Beckett and Wilde.
Now, as for comfort in the apartment block, there’s everything you need to feel cosy and at home.
One added bonus as part of the Premium Residence La Ginabelle was there was a swimming pool, sauna, Turkish hammam, and fitness area.
We took full advantage of the sauna and hammam after a few hard days of skiing which was very relaxing.
It’s great as you’re able to book it in advance so you have both the sauna and hammam rooms completely for your own group to relax in without any strangers.
We had an absolute blast exploring Chamonix – staying in Pierre & Vacances self-catered apartment made it possible to do it in a flexible, yet very comfortable way with all the amenities needed.
And the skiing?
Chamonix lived up to expectations.
And then some more.
Pierre & Vacances
Marie & Alex were staying in a Pierre & Vacances self-catering apartment in Chamonix
For more information about Pierre & Vacances call 0870 0267 145 or visit www.pierreetvacances.com
A seven-night self-catered stay at Pierre & Vacances’ Residence La Ginabelle in Chamonix, in a one bedroom apartment sleeping up to four, arriving 02 April, is priced from £927.33 per apartment.
Tourist board – www.chamonix.com
Pierre & Vacances offer pre-booked lift passes with 5% discount.
Intersport have over 700 ski hire shops across the alps, renting award-winning skis and snowboards.
Why rent in resort?
Because you can save money on the airline baggage fee, have less to carry to resort, have up-to-date equipment that’s serviced every rental by qualified professionals.
Swap and change your skis and equipment as conditions demand, and get your feet accurately measured with the Boot Doctor scanning machine – guaranteed comfy, new boots.
Average rental is €8 per day including skis, helmet, poles and boots.
Book via www.intersportrent.com