Guest Notes for Episode 464: In Love with the French Alps

Categories: Active Vacations in France, Lyon Area

Robin and Raymond Chamonix Trip Report

Who was traveling? Ages?

  • Robin 54, Raymond 57

Date of trip?

  • February 16-26, 2023

What do you think we should name the episode? What’s a good theme for our conversation?

  • In love with the French Alps.

Where did your trip start and where did it end? Where did you stop along the way?

  • From our home near New York’s Adirondack Mountains we flew in and out of Geneva, just an hour’s drive from Chamonix.
  • Chamonix was our home for the entire trip. We made a day trip to Courmayeur and another to Cervinia where we snowboarded to and from Zermatt.

Rank your favorite activities and places on this trip (list at least 10)


  1. Parapante off of Le Bré
  2. Snowboarding Vallee Blanche
  3. Street music in Chamonix: Poil O’Brass Band
  4. Aiguille du midi
  5. Dinner and conversation with Chef Chris at Bivouac
  6. Gondola ride home with boys in ski school at Le Bré
  7. Cheese, baguette and wine in apartment.
  8. Snowboarding Zermatt
  9. PBJ and bubbly on veranda.
  10. Snowboarding at Grande Montet


  • Parapente **
  • Vallée Blanche with Nasir **
  • Through the fogs to Il rifugio Maison Vieille di Giacomo **
  • Cervinia to Zermatt and back by snowboard **
  • Aguille du midi **
    • Step into the void
  • Poil O’Brass Band *
  • Snowboardjoring back to car. *
  • Cog train back to Chamonix. *

Did you stay at hotels or apartments? Please list them and write a sentence or two of what you liked and didn’t like about each.

  • VRBO apartment.
    • Loved the location in the heart of Chamonix. Walking distance to nearly everything.
    • With a view.
    • Management company provided so many great recommendations.
    • Washer/dryer was key. Beats a hotel.
    • A very good value.

Did you have favorite restaurants? Please list them and say what city they were in.


  • Bivouac – Chamonix
  • Omeletterie La Poele – Chamonix
  • Rifugio Maison Vieille di Giacomo – Courmayeur
  • Farmerhaus – Zermatt
  • Josephines – Chamonix
  • La Calèche – Chamonix
  • Munchie – Chamonix
  • Moo Bar – Chamonix


  • La Calèche – Chamonix
  • Joséphine’s – Chamonix
  • Omeletterie La Poele – Chamonix
  • Il rifugio Maison Vieille di Giacomo – Courmayeur
  • Farmerhaus – Zermatt

What were your favorite foods on this trip?


  • Bleu du Val d’Aillon from Le Refuge Payot – Chamonix
  • Fondu in Zermatt – Farmerhaus – Zermatt
  • Oysters on the half shell with a jug of wine, followed by scallops and Croque-Monsieur- Josephine’s – Chamonix
  • Omelettes at Omeletterie La Poele – Chamonix
  • Anchovy and caper pizza at Rifugio Maison Vieille – Courmayeur


  • Raclette at La Calèche – Chamonix.
  • Anything at Le Fournil Chamoniard – Chamonix
  • Croque-Monsieur- Josephine’s – Chamonix

How did you get around? Trains? Car rental? Metros? Walk?

  • Mostly on foot.
  • Rental car, trams, snowboards and tourist train down from the mer de Glace.

What did you learn about France on this trip?


  • The French do not have cues. Ski lift lines are a free-for-all.
  • Expected more people to be smoking.
  • People were very personable.


  • The meal times are very rigid.

Did you make any mistakes on this trip?


  • We didn’t have a plan for our short grocery trip to Annecy so we spent time circling around instead of sightseeing or grocery shopping.


  • We ate peanut butter and jelly.

Is there something you didn’t like very much and wouldn’t recommend?

  • No

What tips do you want to share with other visitors?


  • Eat out. The food is great and a good value. You can cook French recipes once you get home.
  • Don’t bother with the preset dinner times. Preset times require reservations, waiting in line to get in, being part of a crowd and getting less than stellar service. It’s much more relaxed if you eat earlier, plus, you’re not famished by waiting so late.
  • Wine is cheap. Order the house wine.
  • Adventure trip insurance was cheap and gave us peace of mind.


  • Don’t do the high thrills package on the parapente if you’re over thirty.
  • If we stayed in a hotel, we wouldn’t have had a washer/dryer and a boot dryer which are necessary for skiers/snowboarders.

Overall was your trip restful or stressful?

  • It wasn’t stressful yet we weren’t looking to rest. We were looking for a fun exploration. Here’s my adjectives.
    • Adventurous
    • Relaxing
    • Pleasurable

How did the podcast and other trip reports help you prepare for your trip?

  • I liked all the little tips about travel, tolls, money, tipping, dining, French customs, etc.

Feel free to add anything else you think would be helpful to prepare for our conversation.

  • We travel at bit for snowboarding and there is no place like this. This year we visited twenty resorts in four states and four countries and nothing else comes close to Chamonix.

Robin and Raymond are in love with the French Alps

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Categories: Active Vacations in France, Lyon Area