I had a March wedding, and we thought it was a perfect excuse to head to the French Alps on our honeymoon for a bit of late-season skiing.
We decided to fly to the French Alps from Southampton to Grenoble with Flybe, a simple flight in under 2 hours. It was then a short transfer from Grenoble Airport to Alpe d’Huez - the whole of the Isere area is easy to access and one of the reasons we opted for this resort. We arrived at our accommodation, self-catering apartments Le Cristal de l’Alpe, in the late afternoon which gave us enough time to collect our ski hire from the adjacent SkiSet ski hire shop and report to the ski school to confirm our meeting point for the following day.
We settled into the apartment before heading out for a glass of wine and a bite to eat. We had a very well-equipped 1-bedroom apartment in the 4* luxury Le Cristal de l’Alpe which was situated in the heart of the resort. Bars and restaurants were on our door-step and it was easy to get to the slopes via the nearby Telecentre lift. Our apartment was on the top floor and we had views of the pistes from our balcony. We enjoyed the blend of modern and traditional and it was a very comfortable base for our week in Alpe d’Huez.
We opted for morning group ski school lessons with ESF to help us improve our technique. This worked really well as it got us up and about in the mornings and then we could carry on skiing in the afternoons if we still had enough energy! The comradery of the lessons was great and we all enjoyed a bit of banter with our instructor Yves.
We really enjoyed the skiing in Alpe d’Huez, with a great variety of runs both close to the resort and further afield. As we visited outside of school holidays, much of the slopes were pretty deserted. We also headed over to the slopes around Auris-en-Oisans one day which provided a lovely change of scenery, with quiet slopes amid the trees.
Lunch was usually either a slope-side picnic or a bite at one of the mountain restaurants. We were lucky with the weather as it was sunny for the majority of the week so it was perfect for sitting out. Our favourite mountain restaurant was La Plage des Neiges which has a sunny terrace overlooking the pistes. A stay in Alpe d’Huez couldn’t be complete without a visit to the infamous La Folie Douce. We headed there on a bluebird afternoon and enjoyed lunch and a few drinks with stunning views and a live cabaret – what more could we ask for?!
We had some delicious evening meals, we ate out more than we had intended to simply because the restaurants all looked so lovely and we wanted to try as many as possible. We particularly enjoyed the restaurant directly opposite our accommodation which was called Au Dahu Grille. There we enjoyed a delightful raclette which attracted quite some attention from some of our fellow (British!) diners who had not tried it before. The meal was topped off with a complimentary genepi (for Le Cristal de l’Alpe guests) which is a traditional liqueur with a bit of a kick – don’t mind if we do!
For traditional Savoyard dishes, we also dined at Le Pomme de Pin (for tasty tartiflette) and Au Grenier (for scrumptious fondue). For a change on our last night, we ate at Smithy’s Tavern which serves reasonably priced Tex-Mex meals (big portions!) in a traditional tavern setting. We also took advantage of the resort’s takeaway ‘Chicken Roll’ one evening. The home-made pizzas were particularly yummy and reasonably priced. Overall a good mix of restaurants to cater to different budgets. They did get quite busy so it is worth booking.
Aside from skiing and eating (our main activities!), we also went on a husky sled ride. This was great fun and was a nice change of pace for one late afternoon. We booked through Second Souffle and it was €35 for 30 minutes which we felt was plenty long enough. It felt like an adventure being led through the Nordic pedestrian area and it was great to see these amazing creatures in action up close.
We did get some relaxing in – well I did at the residence spa while the husband went to the onsite gym. The indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room were a great way of unwinding after a busy day on the slopes.
All in all, we had an absolutely fantastic and memorable week and are already plotting our return to Alpe d'Huez!