Salut one and all.
Just a quick hello from Chamonix on this most romantic of days, to offer up a few suggestions as to what you might be doing here in Chamonix for Valentine’s Day (assuming you haven’t just been on a romantic weekend to Rome – to coincide with the Italy v England Six Nations encounter!!!).
Well, if a week’s skiing with your beau isn’t romantic enough, there’s more than enough to please all tastes and all budgets. For those of you who want a good-value, post ski Spa, why not pop into the Hotel Aiglons (http://www.aiglons.com/fr/) which has a great selection of massages and treatments at very competitve prices, and which often include use of the outdoor pool, sauna, steam-room and hot-tub. For those of you with more time on your hands, (and a bigger budget) the world-reknowned spa in Pre St Didier, Italy (http://termedipre.it/en/) is just 45mins drive away. We know the Italians do glamour and beauty like no other, so you can rest assured that your loved one will be pampered to their heart’s content.
Staying in-valley, (and closer to my heart!), food is on most people’s minds on Valentine’s Day but which are the most romantic locations to treat or be treated in? On the piste in Les Houches is the fabled Les Vielles Luges, ( http://www.lesvieillesluges.com/accueil_en.php), a beautiful converted stone barn, with food, interior charm and views to die for. But for those hardened skiers who stop for nothing and have to eat a little later, thanks to Chamonix’s size, their are restaurants aplenty.
For a younger, more vibrant clientel, why not try the Swedish owned and run Munchies on the Rue du Moulin, which serves a delicious menu inspired by world/Asian fusion, and then pop into the Mix Bar opposite, (http://www.mixchamonix.com/), to dance the night away?
For a more tradtional Alpine environment, try Le Cabane, a luxurious log-cabin sitting on the edge of Chamonix’s golf course. http://www.restaurant-cabane.com/en in Les Praz. Start with an ‘apero’ by the huge fire before moving to your table under the soaring, exposed beams of the cabin’s vaulted roof, and choose from a variety of Savoyard/French classics.
But for the most romantic of you, consider booking an over-night stay in the Cantates log cabin, part of the supremely sumptious Chalets des Phillippes in Le Lavancher (http://www.chaletsphilippe.com/index.php/en/luxury-hotel-chamonix-chalets/les-cantates.html). A 2-person cabin, with it’s own dining room and spa, perched on a plateau and with extraordinary views of the valley…to die for.
And when there is talk of food and spoiling each other on Valentine’s Day, one must not forget the valley’s most celebrated restaurant, the Albert 1er http://www.hameaualbert.fr/. A two Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Chamonix, the restaurant creates the most magical food in wonderfully elegant surroundings. Start with a Martini in the Quartz bar beafore sampling the delicacies created by Head Chef, Pierre Maillet, using locally sourced (some from their own gardens) seasonal produce. The best the valley has to offer, so it should come as no suprise that as such it is frequented by royalty, celebrities and gastronomes alike.
If however, fine-dining isn’t your thing, (and maybe you avoided your normal visit to North America because of the lack of snow), fear not. Wing’s, gargantuan burgers, nachos and beer brewed on-site are the order of the day at Chamonix’s only Micro Brewery, the Canadian owned and run, Micro Brewery of Chamonix or to locals, the MBC (http://www.mbchx.com/). Huge portions, great food and a superb atmposhere often accompanied by live music. But it’s a Cham favourite so gets busy, and therefore don’t assume this will be one for a private night between the two of you!! And if you really want to top-off the North American evening, don’t just rely on their big-screen for Hockey; after you have finished sharing your plate of nachos (about as romantic as you could get), consider popping over to the ice-rink opposite to watch the hockey live and support one of France’s best Ice Hockey teams, http://www.chamonixhockey.com/.
Some of you no doubt by now will be screaming at the computer that you’re not staying in Chamonix. So what else does the valley have to offer? For those of you in Argentiere, the restaurant of the moment is La Remise, which despite only being open for six months, has already gained a stellar reputation http://www.laremise.eu/www.laremise.eu/portail_remise_restaurant_argentiere_chamonix.html. Booking is a must if you want to sample the wondefully imaginative food. After you are finsihed, head back to Argentiere and enjoy beers and music in the Savoy Bar on the high street. But if you are after a one-stop-shop with beers, food and fun all under one roof, the Rusticana (or Rusty if you’re really in the know) has to be your first choice…
For those at the Les Houches end of the valley, (and assuming you haven’t been distracted by the Vieilles Luges at lunch-time), you could do no better than the cool, chic, Delice. http://le-delice.eu/. More the sort of restaurant you might find in a urban environment, the Delice (and its’ sister the Kitsch Inn), brings a fashioable edge to Les Houches and offers you superb food accompanied by great live music. Party ’til late in both, or else head to the Slalom bar (http://www.hotelslalom.net/fr/location.html) for the last few hours of Valentine’s night.
Finally, for those of you who prefer to stay away from the crowds and have a night-in ‘a deux’, Cha Cha Cha (http://chachacha74.blogspot.com/) can offer you a great selection of wines and champagne to make you giddy and the Richard Patisserie will make sure you have all the delectable little treats you could wish for to pop into each other’s mouths!!
Whatever your budget, whatever your style, there is simply no excuse not to get all gushy and romantic on the 14th February in the Chamonix Valley.
Happy Valentine’s Day and hopefully you’ll be trying out one or two of the restaurants and bars mentioned next year.