Where to Stay in Méribel: Hotel Le Coucou – opening December 2019
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The Pariente family are delighted to announce the launch of Maisons Pariente, a new luxury collection of boutique five-star hotels in Provence, Saint-Tropez and Méribel. Fashion and property entrepreneur Patrick Pariente and his two daughters, Leslie Kouhana and Kimberley Pariente, are the driving force behind this new venture, which offers guests exclusive escapes to beautiful properties in stunning French destinations.
Maisons Pariente will round off 2019 with the opening of Le Coucou in Méribel in December. Set on the ski slopes, the brand-new hotel will offer 55 guest bedrooms and suites as well as two private chalets, two restaurants and a spa with six treatment rooms and hairdresser, indoor and outdoor pools, hammam and sauna. With two kids’ clubs to suit both toddlers and teens, Le Coucou looks set to be an ideal choice for families looking to hit the slopes. Interior designer Pierre Yovanovitch is working with the Pariente family to bring this exciting new project to life.
Nightly rates at Le Coucou start from 610 Euros on a bed & breakfast basis. To reserve your room at Le Coucou click here.
Book your Eurostar Ski Train as soon as it goes on sale on Wednesday 17th July 2019
It is very civilised arriving to the slopes by train, if you can do it. This is not only for us living in Britain, but whoever is planning to ski in the Alps and might want to also come and stay in London for some days before or after.
As per Daniel Elkan, Snowcarbon Founder, who is always monitoring what is going on with the sale of the Eurostar Ski Train and the combined Eurostar to Paris with connections to the French trains to get to some of the French Ski Resorts, you need to be vigilant, as the Eurostar Ski Train goes on sale at 8am on Wednesday 17th July 2019.
There is a daytime and an overnight Eurostar Ski Train.
The Daytime train travels from London to the French Alps- The first outbound train departs on Saturday 21st 2019 and the final one on Saturday 4th April 2020.
Coming back from the French Alps the first train is on Saturday 28th December 2019 and last inbound daytime train is on Saturday 11th April 2020.
Overnight travel dates are the following:
From London to the French Alps:
First train outbound is on Friday 20th December 2019.
Last train outbound is on Friday 3rd April 2020.
From the French Alps inbound into London:
The first overnight returning train is Saturday 28th December 2019.
The final overnight returning train is on Saturday 11th April 2020.
Following the closure at the end of January of the cable car Cime Caron, the replacement of the load carrier cables has started in May. This gigantic project will cost €6 million and will be finished in November, right on time for the start of the winter season 2019/2020.
Furthermore, two Gazex will be installed under the line of the cable car in order to secure even more the area and allow a faster opening to customers in the mornings.
The water reservoir Lac 2, used for snow making, will be expanded with a capacity going from 88 000m3 to 306 000m3.
Snow guns are added at the top of the blue piste Plateaux in order to improve customer satisfaction on this highly frequented area between the snowpark and the Family Park. In addition, it will facilitate the access to Funitel Grand Fond at the beginning of the season.
Col, the last fixed-grip chairlift of Val Thorens, will have its 25 years “Grande Inspection”. The top of the lift offers stunning views over Glacier de Chavière and Parc de la Vanoise.
Funitel Peclet, situated at the spine of the ski area, will undergo a major check-up, starting this summer with a three-year implementation timeframe.
The descent speed of Cairn and Caron gondolas will be increased. For our non-skiing customers, those two lifts link the summit of Cime Caron from the resort centre.
New lifts and piste for Portes du Soleil for the 2019-20 ski season
Portes du Soleil will be improving its ski area and strengthen the lifts connecting the resorts. SERMA – (Avoriaz Ropeway Operating Company), is launching replacement works for the Léchère chairlift, as well as the construction of a new chairlift and a new red run on Les Cases. The chairlift manufacturer will be from the Bartholet company.
Avoriaz will open a third connection between its ski area and the Swiss resort of Champéry – Les Crosets. This will be made possible with the construction of two new lifts to facilitate the skiing opportunities throughout the Portes du Soleil ski area, composed of 12 resorts with 650 km of linked runs in France and Switzerland.
The first chairlift will replace the current triple chairlift La Léchère with a high-speed detachable sextuple alleviating the uplift of skiers and riders. The new sextuple will carry 2700 skiers per hour in comparison of the 1,800 carried by the actual triple.
The Panoramic Mont Blanc gondola to re-open 15 June
The Panoramic Mont Blanc Gondola has been closed since January 2018, when storm Eleanor laid too much snow on the cables and that cause them breaking and two gondolas falling down on the Glacier du Géant.
The lift connects the Aiguille du Midi (3,842m) in Chamonix, France to Punta Helbronner (3,466m) in Courmayeur, Italy, and the people that ride on the lift can see the marvellous Mer de Glace underneath. The ride takes 30 minutes to cross 5 km and is only opened in summer.
Around February the Compagnie du Mont Blanc found some more faults, but the company was still optimistic to open by the end of May. Now they are announcing its opening on 15 June. Last summer the gondola has to remained closed in order to change its power cable.
An expert skier killed by an avalanche in the Aiguilles rouges and a snowboarder died on the Alpes Maritimes.
A deadly avalanche occurred in the Aiguilles-rouges massif, Haute-Savoie, this Saturday, May 18, 2019. A 33-year-old skier, apparently very experienced, was found dead at 2500 meters altitude.
A skier of high level was killed Saturday, May 18, 2019 in the massif of Aiguilles rouges (Haute-Savoie). It was carried away, it seems, by an avalanche while it came down a corridor “rather steep”, one learned this Sunday near the platoon of gendarmerie of high mountain of Chamonix. He was climbing the North East couloir of Aiguille de Mesure (at 2812 meters) trying to descend the same way when the avalanche occurred. This skier was alone at the time of the avalanche.
The mountain rescue did a preliminary helicopter search and found an ice axe and a ski, before locating the victim, aged 33, partially under the snow 500 meters below at the foot of the needle of Praz-Torrent (2,573 m altitude).
Our Route des Grandes Alpes to cross from France into Italy
This past summer we went to have a holiday in the mountains. From Chamonix we were off onto Courmayeur. But it was a Saturday – what is considered here in the mountains as a Samedi Noir or Sabato Nero, meaning very long queues to cross the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
This past summer was ridiculously hot – even in the mountains – with the temperature being 31 C in Chamonix in the morning – imagine staying a couple of hours in line to cross the Mont Blanc Tunnel did not seem too much fun at the time.
I’ve asked the evening before some friends I have in Chamonix on how other way we could go – and how about taking the Petit St Bernard Pass. Arnaud Jamson, the deputy director of the Chamonix Tourism Office suggested me to go all around and stop in Megève for lunch, then go to the Lac du Roselend and from there go up to La Rosière to cross into La Thuile through the Petit St Bernard. This is a typical road for motorcyclists and bikers alike – many of these roads have been used by the Tour de France!
As I have a memory of a mosquito, I’ve asked at the hotel’s reception where I could get a good map, and I was told to go into the main street in Chamonix. There is a wonderful books and magazine store – that I could stayed for hours just looking around, where I bought the IGN Map of Route des Grandes Alpes. I love maps and this one was a great addition to my collection.
The Southern French Alps are the Best Part of the French Alps for Summer Activities.
As summer arrives in the Alps, the snow melts away revealing a spectacularly lush and colourful landscape with green pastures carpeted with alpine flowers teaming with butterflies, set against a backdrop of gnarly cliffs and glaciers with raging rivers and waterfalls cascading down to the valleys.
For outdoor lovers, the mountains also transform into a veritable adventure playground with everything from paragliding to rafting on offer!
Adrenalin junkies will love sliding down the natural toboggans, abseiling down waterfalls and jumping into clear alpine pools canyoning , testing out their head for heights on a via ferrata or even going underground caving or to do a via souterrata (underground via ferrata).
Nature lovers will adore walking in the mountains and staying in one of the many high mountain refuges amongst the chamois and marmots with the howls of wolves now a relatively common experience, especially in the Southern French Alps.
Families will have fun rafting together on the roller coaster rapids, rock climbing and swimming in the beautiful Alpine lakes.
Bikers will appreciate the summer lift access to well designed single track descents and roadies will get high on endorphins from summiting a Tour de France mountain pass!
Work is underway to open the Petit St Bernard Pass – up to 7 meters of snow.
LA THUILE – The abundant snowfall on the Piccolo San Bernardo hill, at 2,200 meters above sea level, has led to the formation of a thick layer of snow along the highway that leads to the border crossing with the territory of Savoy, in France. In some sections the snow accumulations reach 7 meters in height. The reopening of the pass is scheduled for the end of May.
ANAS is at work at the Colle del piccolo San Bernardo (Petit St Bernard’s pass) for its reopening. The abundant rainfall on the Piccolo San Bernardo hill, at 2,200 meters, has led to the formation of a thick layer of snow along the highway that leads to the border crossing with the territory of Savoy, in France. In some sections the accumulations reach 7 meters in height.
“The activities are carried out with turbine blades able to cut the compact front, collecting and channelling the snow which is then ejected at a distance of several meters from the roadway using the ejector pipes”.
Val d’Isère and other ski resorts in the Savoie region of France are launching a show of solidarity with UK Remain supporters.
They are staging a special event as the last Eurostar train, before the rescheduled Brexit departure date, leaves Bourg-Saint-Maurice for London early next month.
Some 48% of skiers who visit Val d’Isère each winter come from the UK and locals fear that, at least in the short term, the Brexit chaos may have a significant effect on future bookings.
French hoteliers, ski instructors, shopkeepers, and seasonaires who make their living from the ski industry are planning a raucous send-off for holidaymakers boarding the final direct train of the season as it leaves the station for St Pancras at 9.30am on April 6 2019.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice is the station for nearby resorts that include Val d’Isère, Tignes, Les Arcs and La Plagne.