The perfect location to escape the heat, the crowds, reconnect with nature and explore the lesser known areas of the Chamonix valley as a family
Last w/e Mummy in the Mountains and family were be invited to spend a w/e at the Résidence & Spa Vallorcine Mont-Blanc .
We had already been charmed by the magic of Vallorcine in the winter, and I have to say the summer is just as good, if not better. There is something special about mountains in the summer and the variety of activies on offer.
The Residence is based in a tiny hamlet, surrounded by forests, meadows with a profusion of wildflowers, butterflies streams, nature reserves…all with the backdrop of the impressive summits of the Mont Blanc mountain range.
We arrived late on the Friday (after work) stopping via Chamonix to watch the Speed climbing competition and eat the rather delicious hot dogs from CoolCats. Given our late arrival the reception left us clear indications on how to access our apartment, the car park etc. Everything was smooth and easy and the girls were delighted with our apartment. My youngest particularly loving the number of hearts in the decoration!!
The Residence boasts 53 fully equipped apartments, as well as fantastic facilities meaning you can spend proper quality family time together. –a wellness centre with a heated pool, a spa, a playroom (helpfully positioned just next to the breakfast area), a mini golf, a mini park with swings/slides etc. a tea-room…
DAY 1: TRAIN TO SWITZERLAND + ZOO + OUTDOOR POOL
After a leisurely breakfast in the breakfast area in the lobby (pre booked, perfectly laid out with something for everyone), we got a train opposite the Residence to nearby Switzerland to the Marecottes Zoo & Pool.
The train journey itself is beautiful, clutching the sides of the mountains from the French to the Swiss Alps through the most delightful little train stations.
On a practical note it took approx. 30 mins and was very punctual 😉
HIGHEST ALPINE ZOO IN EUROPE
The zoo is the highest in Europe, at 1100 meters altitude, surrounded by fir and larch forests. Over 35,000 m2, you can discover most types of Alpine fauna in their natural environment, such as black bears (parent & child), wolves, lynx, marmots, foxes, owls, deer, chamois, ibex, wild boar and many other animals. Unlike Merlet, (given the nature of the different animals) they are enclosed in large enclosures. Needless to say, the girls loved it…There is also the added entertainment of a few cheeky goats roaming free…
ALPINE POOL CARVED INTO THE ROCKS
Next to the the zoo, there is an alpine pool nestled in the rocks.
The pool is stunning and in complete harmony with the surrounding alpine nature. A considerable 70 meters long, it is stated that is has solar power heating, but it felt fresh to us 😉…it didn’t stop us from having a swim.
There is also a restaurant on site…we opted to share a few pizzas on the grass overlooking the pool.
After our train trip home, the girls tried their luck at mini golf. The pros at Evian Masters need not worry just yet…there is not much competition from the Curt crew!!
Before dinner the Residence had organised a little surprise for us… (well for myself & my middle mountain girl). Much to our delight we were offered a duo Mother/daughter massage to test.
KIDS SPA – My seven-year-old experienced her first proper massage and …loved it! (Ohhh noooo… what have let ourselves in for, not sure about starting them young on this 😉)
The Spa by leading French Spa company –Cinq Mondes also features a Kid’s Spa (7-16) with TOOfruit organic products. TOOfruit is the first Dermatological and organic hygiene and skincare brand dedicated to kids, founded by two ex-Loreal colleagues! Observing the difference in skin in children they decided to create a product adapted to their needs and desires, combined with the desire to install good reflexes concerning hygiene and care that they will then keep during their whole life.
At seven years of age this was her first ever professional massage and she absolutely loved it. (Gulp) Her first words afterwards were “can we do one again tomorrow”!! It was a great mother-daughter moment too, as my middle daughter rarely gets to do things first (the joys of being a middle child). She loved every second and given it is only 20 minutes long it’s the perfect introduction…
LOCAL RESTAURANT – Le CAFÉ COMPTOIR
On our last trip to Vallorcine, we had pre-booked dinner in a little restaurant 5 mins walk away from the Residence, we enjoyed it so much we did the same thing this time. The owners rather impressively recognised us too (18 months on). We love the location in the unspoilt village, the peaceful setting, with its real, relaxed, family-friendly – it’s simply beautiful. I am glad to say the food is still delicious, good value for money, the service still fab, the deco authentically stylish with the most beautiful dried flowers everywhere…and the kid’s menus perfect too. The kids made friends with some other clients too and played “loup glacé” happily in front of the restaurant whilst we finished dinner and one too many glasses of wine…Perfect.
DAY 2: POOL + LEISURELY LUNCH + HIKE TO BERARD WATERFALL
My girls love swimming and we had promised them we’d go the pool at the residence. The pool area is great, huge with several sun loungers spaced around the pool, overlooking the mountains… We also had the place to ourselves.
We decided to have lunch at the Hotel du Buet…The location is lovely. Their garden is beautiful, surrounded by wildflowers and nature with a little play area for the kids to run off steam. Ours, however, weren’t running off any steam. Our youngest mountain girl literally collapsed, falling asleep in her seat before her lunch came …The food is nothing special, simple brasserie style but the location makes up for it.
HIKE TO BERARD WATERFALL
It is a mere 15 minutes’ walk from Buet to the waterfall winding up through meadows and the forest. We left our “sleeping beauty” with Daddy in the Mountains for a post lunch siesta and set off to discover the waterfall. Our slightly reluctant rambler (middle mountain girl) was soon chasing butterflies (rather impressively catching them too) and enjoying herself. I haven’t seen as many butterflies in a long time.
The waterfall is pretty impressive and easily accessible with sturdy metal steps and a walkway enabling you to get up close.
Just above the waterfall is the cutest little chalet too, a “buvette”, where we rewarded our middle mountain girl with ice cream before heading back down!
It was too short!!! There is sooo much to do in and around the area for active families, with kids of all ages (The girls didn’t even get to go on the ponies 😉).
The Residence is fantastic, super child friendly and is a brilliant base to do lots of different things in the surrounding area. The hamlet of Vallorcine is just gorgeous and the area is surrounded by exquisite natural beauty. We loved spending time together as a family and the bonus of Grandad joining us during the days from Chamonix.
Please note: With the accommodation you also get complimentary train passes to and from Chamonix-Servoz…. meaning day trips to and from Chamonix etc. is super easy too, you don’t even need to take the car. We really wanted to do that too. Next time…my eldest is already begging us to go back with her!
Residence & Spa Vallorcine Mont-Blanc
Thank you for an AMAZING w/e again