Published on Nov 18, 2023 at 9:00 a.m.
In Val d’Isère, “Le Prariond”, two seasons, two atmospheres
This is a pure refuge that has chosen to play a lifestyle card. From the Col de l’Iseran, which is accessed by shuttle, past the Notre-Dame-de-Toute-Prudence chapel, you climb for about an hour, on foot (summer) and on ski touring (winter),to reach the Sources de l’Isère glacier by following the river through the Malpet gorges. This is where the Prariond refuge is located, at an altitude of 2,324 m, in the heart of the Vanoise national park. Completely renovated in light wood, ecological and autonomous, it is made up of six dormitories for four to eight places, a common room opening onto the landscape and a beautiful terrace.
Two trails, for experienced hikers, leave from the refuge, one towards the Col de la Lauze, the other towards the Col de la Galise. We are barely two hours from the Italian border. Until March, it is a refuge in its purest form, without guarding. From spring, it transforms its offer to offer a welcome and a catering service. Large bowls of soups, Savoyard crust, polenta, local beers… await the ping guest. We’re not at the hotel yet, but almost.
Refuge de Prariond, 73150 Val d’Isère. Excluding security until March (€12 fee), then €67 per night (dinner and breakfast included). refuge-prariond.vanoise.com
In Chamonix, the “Refuge du Montenvers”, a high-end hotel
The historic Montenvers refuge, perched at an altitude of 1,913 m in the Mont-Blanc mif, holds the promise of a high mountain experience, the one practiced by mountaineers and summit enthusiasts since 1880. In the last century , we could meet Maurice Herzog or Roger Frison-Roche there. A little red cogwheel train – formerly, it was on the back of a mule -, chartered just for customers, sets off the change of scenery.
Completely renovated in 2016 by the Sibuet family, then taken over in October 2019 by Best Mont-Blanc, a group of six mountain establishments, this hotel houses eighteen rooms and a dormitory with old-fashioned charm (fireplaces diverted into libraries, miner’s lamps or even travel and excursion trunks from another era). Two restaurants, including one with a panoramic terrace overlooking the Mer de Glace, give pride of place to Alpine flavors. It will be necessary to recover from a sealskin hike or a ski descent of the Vallée Blanche from the Aiguille du Midi.
“Refuge du Montenvers”, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. From €280 per night for 2 people (breakfast and return train included). www.refugedumontenvers.com
In Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, “Le Trait d’Union”, alpine chalet that can be privatized
Two options for reaching this charming refuge, nestled at an altitude of 1,725 meters in the heart of the Trois Vallées ski area: either by snowshoe, from the small hamlet of Saint-Marcel, close to the Saint-Martin-de resort -Belleville, or on skis using the Biolley slope. Viviane, the owner of the place, knew how to create a link between nature and authenticity. Three cozy bedrooms – including one duplex with a miller’s ladder – which can accommodate eight people, a Nordic bath, a sauna and its panoramic bubble, a simple family kitchen provided by the hostess, everything invites you to relax and settle in. by a fireplace or on the terrace in sunny weather, letting yourself be captivated by the mountain. This has its secrets. The Trait d’Union refuge is one of them.
Le Trait d’Union, refuge du Danchet, 73440 Saint-Martin-en-Belleville, can only be privatized, from €97 per person (minimum 4), for one night. www.letraitdunion-les3vallees.fr