French options 2019

Discussion in 'Europe' started by jean clod, May 8, 2018.

  1. jean clod

    jean clod Hard Yards

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    We’ve decided on europe in 2019 and I am looking at France atm . I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of options in Val d’isere or Val Thoren and wanted to get apartment style accomodation.
    I think Val Thoren may offer more choices in apartments but would be interested in opinions or other options .
    The main reason for apartments is we need to self cater as some of the family have to have gluten free . No choice unfortunately .
    Therefore the other requirement is a good range of supermarkets in the village or town and looking at the websites ,again Val Thoren may be a better destination .
    If anyone has any better ideas or choices in Europe we are very flexible on dates or destinations .
    We went to Niseko last year and I found it tough to get GF food choices and restaurants . They were there , but we’re mostly westernised choices ( pizza,burgers etc) or very expensive Japanese options . I’m hoping France may be more GF friendly .
    Thanks
     
  2. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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  3. jean clod

    jean clod Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the link, it would have been handy in Japan for sure . We are pretty skilled about what to eat and not and it is all about eating fresh fruit and veg .
    Hence a good supermarket with fresh veg options , rice , meat , eggs , tinned or even frozen veg will work well .
     
  4. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture
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    Fresh food isn't a problem in France so long as there's a decent supermarket. The fruit and veg aren't as pretty and perfect as here in Oz but the tomatoes taste like tomatoes, not like a glass of water. The cheeses, meats and fish are good, and if you spend more than €5 on a bottle of wine you've overspent.

    Carrefour have supermarkets in pretty much every town and if you can find a big one you can get just about anything. Except sour cream and chicken thigh fillets - we've never seen those in France.
     
  5. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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    You won't find sour cream, but although it isn't the same thing you can substitute with creme fraiche in most cases.
     
  6. jean clod

    jean clod Hard Yards

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    Thanks , that all sounds very good . I think I would substitute fresh natural Yoghurt . The french have some the best In the world from what I remember , and the 5Euro wine sounds good also .

    Its just a matter of finding peak snow time in Europe but will look at some time in February more than likely .
     
  7. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu Addicted

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    There are farmers markets at a number of the big resorts. I have been to the one in Cham. Google ‘Val Thoren farmers market’. The results suggest they run one twice a week at Grand Rue during the ski season. Caveat: I have never skied Val Thoren. If it is anything like the one in Cham you will be well provided.
     
  8. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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  9. LDJ

    LDJ Hard Yards
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    January is a good time if you are looking at Val D or Val Torren both are high, snow sure and quieter in Jan than Feb. Both have excellent skiing, resorts and lots to do there. If you are looking at Val D have a look at Tignes (Part of the same overall ski area) Tignes has awesome skiing and lots of apartments. Will you have a car? Very easy to get great veggie, gluten free or other food in France however the big supermarkets etc are all in the valleys not in or near the ski resorts. If you have car its easy. On the drive from airport stop at Carrefour stock up on awesome food. Job done. If you don't have car its trickier as there are small supermarkets in the ski resorts but think more small IGA (Can't comment on GF with these) and more expensive. You can easily get GF catered chalets with UK tour companies as another option. There are also companies that will deliver groceries to your accom but again very pricey.
     
  10. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture
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    Mid-term break for the French and the Poms is in February and it covers about 3 weeks. It's quite busy at that time and the accommodation is more exe than January or March.

    https://www.schoolholidayseurope.eu/ has the dates for each of the different zones, but next year there are holidays from February 9 till March 10.
     
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  11. jean clod

    jean clod Hard Yards

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    Thanks to all , it's exactly the info I needed . I won't have a car and will probably fly into Geneva and bus it or minivan taxi hire type service to where ever . Whats the cost of Car Hire like in Europe ?
    The smaller IGA types are usually OK but like you say (limited) . When we were in Niseko we used the local bus to Kutchen Town and carrying groceries back was a bit of a pain .
    Tignes sounds interesting LDJ .
     
  12. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture
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    For a rental car, try argus car hire. They trawl all the major car rental companies and often come up cheaper than going direct. It's generally cheaper to hire on the Swiss side of Geneva airport than on the French side.

    If you're going to get a shuttle, the best operators out of Geneva are supposedly Skiidy Gonzales and Getaway Vans. There are a few shonky operators as well so I'd stick to those two.
     
  13. Hyst

    Hyst One of Us
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    I suppose you do know french ski apartments can be rather small.(though newer ones seem better).
    An other option could be to look at gluten free Catered Chalets - there might be a number of them like this possibility:

    http://www.alpineaction.co.uk/special-diets.htm

    I do not know this specific catered chalet.
     
  14. LaNeige

    LaNeige One of Us

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    I'd add Chamonix to the list as it's year round town with a population of around 9000. The accommodation is in the valley and there are lots of supermarket options as well as delicatessens and markets as mentioned above. We've done Cham without a car, but it would have come in handy as it's a bit of PITA to get to each resort (although the buses system does work well). The skiings pretty good to ...
     
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  15. driz

    driz Hard Yards

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    My partner is a coeliac and we don't have too many problems finding gluten-free food in France. Most supermarkets, even the small ones, will at least have some gluten-free crackers and pasta. Bread is usually found with a little effort, but breakfast cereals can be very difficult to find and might require a larger supermarket (or BYO).

    OTOH if you're looking for something catered, you might like to consider Austria. There's a reasonable overlap between 'wellness hotels' and gluten-free/vegetarian/vegan food. We spent a week in Obergurgl at Hotel Olympia in a party of 6 and they catered well to 3 'norms', 1 vegetarian, 1 coeliac, and a coeliac vegetarian. It's probably more expensive than a dubious-employment-practices-Brit-run catered chalet but the food will be better.

    Also Italy is generally very good at catering for gluten free requirements, more so than France in our experience - but this is based mostly on trips to cities rather than the alps (having only skied 1 day in Italy @ Sauze D'Oulx).
     
  16. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture
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    Even in the mega supermarkets in France the only cereal I've found is sugary rubbish. I pack a couple of boxes of Sultana Bran.
     
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  17. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us
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    If you’re going for the season, I wouldn’t choose VT. It’s above tree line and a bit awkward for getting in and out of if you want access to good shopping and produce.
    I’d definitely choose somewhere accessing 3V, but maybe one of the smaller cuter villages like St Martin, Praz or La Tania
     
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  18. driz

    driz Hard Yards

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    Yeah I ended up getting 'Dorset Cereals' muesli, all the French stuff was megasugary. I don't recall seeing any gf cereal options, but they probably exist in larger supermarkets
     
  19. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    I did a month in Le Praz many years ago, was perfect. Now that they have the new chair and snowmaking down to there it's an even better option.
     
  20. Kimski

    Kimski Addicted

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    This is exactly why I’m skiing France last week Jan / first week Feb next year.
     
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  21. rdk

    rdk Hard Yards

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    I stayed in val D'Isere and Les Meniures (below Val Thorens) a couple of years ago and had no problem with finding gluten free food in either restaurants or in the small supermarkets at each resort. Here's the menu from my Val D'Isere hotel - as many GF options as in restaurants here. If thinking about Val Thorens don't discount Les Menuires - easy access to everything in the 3V and noticeably cheaper. Also one day a during a complete whiteout at VT there was still lots of skiing at Les Menuires.
    If staying in Val D'Isere think about the level of your family members - the runs back to resort level are notoriously difficult. Tignes might be a bit better in that respect, and a bit cheaper.
     
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  22. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    Good point. Last time I was there I downloaded the Olympique instead of skiing La Face on blunt powder skis on the last run of our holiday - didn't want to tempt fate.
     
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  23. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old n' Crusty
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    Crepe Val (centre of Val D'isere) does the best buckwheat crepes I've ever eaten. I believe buckwheat is gluten free?!
     
  24. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old n' Crusty
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    Both Vals are great options. You'll have the time of your life. Go as late as you can in Jan but avoid schools hols from 9th Feb onwards.
     
  25. Kash

    Kash Hard Yards

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    We are staying in Meribel (6-13th Jan). How easy is it to access Val Thorens from Meribel, after we've dealt with the admin of kids ski school drop offs?!

    What is everyone's favourite area of the 3 valleys to ski? I'm guess Meribel isn't the place to be on a powder day given its popularity!
     
  26. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old n' Crusty
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    VT for sure. Courchevel is also great on its day
     
  27. Kopite

    Kopite Addicted

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    VT is great and loads of options to buy food. I was there in Feb and the skiing was epic. You can ski there all season and never have two days the same if you get the 3 valleys pass. By French resort prices it's pretty reasonable too. Rue De Soleil is a great street to look at staying on - it's a bit quieter than higher up in the resort, has a couple of supermarkets on it and direct slope access from a number of points.
     
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  28. CIRCA1962

    CIRCA1962 Hard Yards

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    Three lifts will get you to VT via Mottaret. Allow around 3/4 hour including a long run into Val Thorens. You can also go via Les Menuires, but this will take around an hour. Allow plenty of time to ski back, as it can get icy in the afternoon around Mt Vallon. Run home is about 7 km. Courchevel is a little easier to reach (10 minutes on the Saulire express) and great if you only have a morning. La Tania and Saint Martin De Belleville villages are also easy to reach from Meribel and make great lunch destinations .Ski school generally closes for lunch for an hour and a half, but the ESF instructors will take children for a traditional lunch at a local Bistro, for a small extra fee.
     
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  29. rdk

    rdk Hard Yards

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    My favourite run of all is Combe de Caron under the Cime de Caron cable car in Val Thorens. Quite scary at the top then opens up into a beautiful steep, wide black run. In the Meribel valley there are runs left and right off Mont du Vallon that are great - nice couple of hours doing laps on a 800m vertical gondola with zero lift lines. And everyone loves Jerusalem on the ridge between Meribel and Les Menuires that takes you down to St. Martin.
     
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  30. Kash

    Kash Hard Yards

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    Thanks all - some great tips there.

    Really looking forward to riding the expanse, huge vertical and lunches of the euro resorts after 10 years of oz and Japan. VT definitely sounds like the place to go.
     
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  31. Kopite

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    Another vote for Combe de Caron - be prepared for a good workout though, can get a bit mogully. Christine is also a lovely run in VT - long and wide. Hit it early before it gets chopped up. On the Meribel side I loved Combe de Vallon, Mauduit is a great run dropping back in from Courchavelle, though can get a little icy.