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“The Alps are a deep land where the sky, tired of being blue, has lain down on the mountains.” The origin of the quote seems to have been lost somewhere between the Grandes Jorasses and the Mer de Glace, along a mountain path lined with saxifrage and veronica. But who could disagree while contemplating the majesty of Mont Blanc? Stretching skyward for 4,810 meters (15,781 ft.), the highest peak of the Alps reigns in glory over the landscape, with the Aiguille du Midi and the Dent du Géant on one side and the Dôme du Goûter on the other, the glaciers at their feet. One cannot help but be overwhelmed by the beauty of the scene and the power of the mountains.
The legendary peak looms over the towns of Megève and Chamonix, whose names are synonymous with clean air, winter sports and Savoyard specialties. Mont Blanc is the lord of an immense domain with names that inspire reverie: the Aravis Range, home to well-preserved old villages like La Clusaz with its splendid 17th-century chapels, the Chartreuse Mountains bristling with beech and fir forests… Whether explored on foot, skis or snowshoes, the mountains cast their spell. Gliding through white powder between snow-laden pines on the slopes of the Espace Killy in Val d’Isère, or Les Trois Vallées between Courchevel, Méribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens, skiers enjoy a setting unlike any other in the world. And in springtime, hikers take in the spectacle of pastures scattered with flowers, surprised here and there by a glimpse of a furry marmot. The villages offer the delicate craftsmanship of the wood carvers, a skill once cultivated to pass the long winter evenings, and the delectable flavors of the mountain cheeses: Beaufort d’Alpage with its floral aromas, the pungent Tomme de Savoie, Reblochon with its subtle hint of hazelnut.
The Alpine lakes are as spectacular as the peaks around them. On the shores of Lac du Bourget, France’s largest glacial lake, Aix les Bains proffers its Belle Époque charm. From the lookout point in La Chambotte, the lake reveals its sinuous contours, marked by cliffs plunging down to the water’s edge, where coots and purple herons thrive. To the north, beyond Lake Annecy, Lake Geneva sprawls in a crescent between the Alps and the Jura. As vast as an inland sea, at times battered by fierce storms, it straddles France and Switzerland - just as the Mont Blanc range is shared among France, Switzerland and Italy. But, in the words of the legendary mountain climber Walter Bonatti, “The mountains belong to no one.”
Restaurant and hotel on a lake. Surrounded by protective mountains, the water of Lake Annecy is reputed to be the purest in the world, inspiring Paul Cézanne’s splendid painting of the same name. It’s hard to imagine a more perfect place. The restaurant and terrace of Auberge du Père Bise are beautifully located in the bay of Talloires, facing this pristine lake, which reflects the restaurant’s glimmering lights. The comfortable and stylish rooms all have a view of the lake. Chef Sophie Bise handles her products with an artistic touch creating dishes that are as lovely to look at as they are to taste, based, more particularly, on fish from Lake Annecy. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. In the heart of the French Alps, overlooking the village of Megève, the Chalet du Mont d'Arbois is a unique place steeped in history, with a mix of warm elegance and discreet luxury in the pure tradition of the Rothschild family. The authentic Savoy architecture of the three chalets, located a stone’s throw from the starting point for the Mont-Blanc Évasion ski slopes and the Mont d’Arbois golf course in summer as well as its gourmet cuisine guarantee successful stays. At the Chalet du Mont d’Arbois well-being means that you can enjoy the hot tubs, benefit from the spa and its broad range of beauty treatments and swim indoors and outdoors in the pool. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. Overlooking Lake Annecy and facing the Bauge Mountains, Le Clos des Sens is a discrete historic manor built in 1866. Between contemporary preciosity, a rustic touch and true authenticity, the table setting continually dialogues with the works of art, setting the scene for the culinary creations of Laurent Petit. The chef's cuisine, lakeside vegetarian that is 100% local, is an ode to the three lakes of Savoy: Léman, Annecy and Bourget. The lounge-fireplace design, the beautiful terrace with old chestnut trees, as well as the swimming pond that borders a remarkable garden of herbs, lend themselves to dreaming. As for the spacious rooms, they distinguish themselves by their strong character. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. The Château des Avenières, nestled in lush green countryside on the Salève hillside, with panoramic views of Mont Blanc and Lake Annecy, is the work of an American lady who, at the beginning of the 20th century, built it in honour of her late sister and her husband, a Hindu astronomer, who gave it its very special character: a chapel with a golden mosaic where the Zodiac, the Kabbalah and Egyptian tarot combine in the midst of French-style gardens... Today the estate also boasts a kitchen garden which supplies fresh herbs and vegetables to the restaurant where you can savour sophisticated cuisine inspired by the Savoy terroir. An utterly heavenly spot - for the stay of your dreams. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the mountains. On the Megève heights, three-stars Chef and MOF (Best Craftsman of France) Emmanuel Renaut offers imaginative, colourful, timeless cuisine with a mountain flavour. He boldly injects colour, bitterness or acidity where they were not found before, to make each dish original and surprising. His cuisine reflects the scenery, with its soft, undulating parts, interrupted like a divine surprise by endless summits. Walk in the mountains with Emmanuel Renaut to discover mushrooms, flowers and wildlife. The hotel has several chalets which associate functionality with design in a cosy and relaxed atmosphere and a loft-type style. The treatments in the spa are inspired by the mountain: Megève pine trees, flowers and water ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the mountains. At the foot of Mont Blanc, Pierre Carrier, Perrine and Pierre Maillet have taken over this hotel, devoted to fine dining, founded in 1903 by “great grandfather Carrier”. The rooms in the main hotel or the chalets in the garden offer both modern and warm comfort. On the one hand, there is the superb menu at the Albert Ier with its recipes influenced by the Piedmont and Liguria and, on the other, the Maison Carrier with its specialities to be enjoyed in the atmosphere of an old farmhouse or with a view of the majestic beauty of Mont Blanc. The indoor/outdoor swimming pool also boasts vistas of the eternal snows. An equally stunning and delicious address. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the mountains. In an idyllic setting in the heart of the ski region of Trois Vallées, La Bouitte has opened its doors to a sublime and timeless mountain since 1976. René and Maxime Meilleur, father and son, have built with their hands a unique chalet, an ode to Savoy living. Comforting and pure, their cuisine is the perfect balance between simplicity and elegance, delivering a chiselled and mischievous interpretation of the region's best products. The wine list is immense and the evenings for oenophiles are not to be missed by those who love wine. The lounges and rooms, delicious cocoons sculpted in wood, and especially the very caring family atmosphere make La Bouitte a residence of incomparable charm. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. The beauty of the alpine surroundings of the Aravis ski slopes, the creativity of its cuisine and the way every guest’s expectations are listened to turn this chalet with its elegant design into an exceptional destination in the heart of the village of La Clusaz. After a vigorous day on the slopes, relax in the superb Cristal Spa where, in addition to the fantastic treatments, guests can enjoy the hammam, sauna and pool. Gourmets will adore Le 5 restaurant, which offers dishes made from responsibly sourced local and regional products. After dinner, cap the night off with a cigar in the English-style smoking room before retiring to a rustic but refined guest room. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the mountains. The immaculate façades are as white as driven snow. This typically Savoyard chalet at the foot of the ski slopes exudes discreet elegance with its traditional décor and no-one is left unmoved by the warm welcome of a family who are passionate about their profession. The large spa takes you on a veritable sensory journey, and the high point of the Chabichou is the memorable opportunity it provides to sample the sophisticated gourmet cuisine of two Chefs: Michel Rochedy and Stéphane Buron. It showcases fine ingredients such as Bresse pigeon and creates subtle pairings of flavours such as caramelised pork belly and verbena and creamy truffled polenta. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on a lake. This fine early 20th-century mansion on the banks of Lake Annecy is a rhapsody of blue and gold: the blue of the façade and the lake viewed from the terrace meets the golden yellow of the wood cladding the walls and the sun that shines into the guestrooms through the large picture windows. This house offers an intimate setting with a warm, cosy ambiance. And all around is resplendent nature, as celebrated by the Chef's cuisine. Since 2010, Yoann Conte, following in the footsteps of Marc Veyrat, has drawn his inspiration from the passing seasons and their plants to reinterpret local cuisine, serving, for example, fish from the lake with fresh herbs and alpine flowers. ... Learn moreless