Eating & Drinking

Apres at the Rhododendrons

La Forêt March 1st, 2009

Another top apres at Les Rhododendrons!
Apres at the Rhododendrons, Les Praz, Chamonix

La Prairie Hotel and café

La Forêt July 1st, 2008

Surely the prettiest setting of any cafe in on the Chamonix Valley floor, the Prairie has been run by the same family for four generations. Set up by a 19th century mountain guide who climbed Mont Blanc 99 times from the front door of the hotel on foot (before the days of lifts), it still offers a warm welcome in simple, traditional rooms, home-made kir and other cordials, crepes, teas and light meals. A wonderful place to take a break from a walk, have a light lunch or an early evening drink, watching the light change on Mont Blanc as you sit under the pergola….

Hôtel La Prairie
53, Chemin Lavousse
74400 Chamonix Mont Blanc, France
+33 4 50 53 19 96‎
(Open Summer only)

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Les Lanchers Hotel, restaurant and bar in Les Praz

La Forêt February 14th, 2008

Les Lanchers hotel, Les Praz

Les Lanchers is a cheerful and relaxed place on the main street of Les Praz, just a stone’s throw from the lift. Outside, it has lovely traditional painted walls with flowers. The rooms are pretty, modern and good value and the restaurant does nice traditional food.

The bar is a laid-back and friendly, ideal for a drink after you come down from Flegere. They also have a large screen satellite TV corner so it’s a useful local spot for watching sport – the TV isn’t in the main bit of the bar so it’s not too intrusive. Nice cocktails, good local beers and a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.
Lanchers Hotel

Hotel Excelsior

La Forêt January 7th, 2008

Terrace at the Excelsior
Although not strictly in Les Praz, I’ve included this as it’s well worth a mention. It’s about ten minutes walk away in the village of Les Tines, and has a lovely garden with a swimming pool, which you can use if you go for lunch. It would be a particularly good place to stay in summer as it’s in a very pretty situation and the garden terrace with the pool looks really gorgeous.

Over the last few years, it seems to have made huge improvements in the food. The menu sounds delicious, and I have heard very good reports from friends that have eaten there. I’ll try it this summer and report back , purely in the interests of research, you understand!

Excelsior website

La Cabane des Praz (the Golf Club restaurant)

La Forêt November 2nd, 2007

Interior and exterior of restaurant
(Photographs © La Cabane 2006-7)

This restaurant is part of the Golf Club - there’s a collection of buildings around it including the Hotel Labrador. A few years ago it burned down, and has now been rebuilt in a very atttactive ‘log cabin’ style – Finlandais as it’s called here. I’ve heard good recommendations of the food, so we went to try it out.

It’s a lovely building, and even in this low season time, they’d made an effort to decorate it seasonally with autumn leaves and pumpkins – including some enormous pumpkins piled around the outside. The interior is very pretty – spacious and warm, and nicely divided up with booths and other seating areas. Decor is modern, upmarket Alpine, and I quite liked the animatronic polar bear which gives a nice hint of frivolity. It’s mercifully free of golfing memorabilia.

We were brought a lovely amuse-bouche of pumpkin soup while looking over the menu, which is in both French and English. Some very nice seasonal choices on it (which are helpfully marked out clearly) included a very wide selection of local game.

The standout starter was a beautifully presented small pumpkin filled with truffled pumpkin soup and containing seared scallops, held steady on a mashed potato base and surrounded by rocket. This was one of the nicest things I’ve eaten in Chamonix – truly delicious.

My main course was, unfortunately, the wrong dish – some salmon that was a bit uneventful. Everyone else’s was excellent – highlights included lamb cooked for seven hours, a game confit, and the lovely side dishes.

Puddings were inventive, tasty and beautifully presented – my shortbread with nougat icecream and figs was really special.

Overall it was a lovely evening. Personally, I slightly prefer the food at the Eden, as it’s a little lighter, but La Cabane definitely has the edge in terms of decor, it’s really very pretty inside – the warmth of the wood keeps the spacious interior cosy. It’s quite a smart place, though relaxed, and perfect for a special occasion, or a romantic dinner.

www.restaurant-lacabane.com

Hike to Buvette des Mottets from Les Praz de Chamonix

La Forêt September 2nd, 2007



Buvette des Mottets, Chamonix, originally uploaded by chaletlaforet.

This little buvette is in a gorgeous spot on the way up to Montenvers – in front of the buvette itself, there are tables shaded with parasols and behind is a little glade of silver birches around a pond where dragonflies zip to and fro over the profusion of flowers.

On a clear still day, it’s a super place to watch the paragliders fly over the Dru, whilst the Mer de Glace creaks and crackles below. The food’s very nice too. We shared a lovely croute – bread soaked in a creamy white wine sauce, with mushrooms (or ham), and then baked with cheese. The owners are very friendly and helpful too.

You can get there a variety of ways, it’s signed from the Petit Balcon Nord. The walk up from Les Praz is really worth doing, taking you through an astonishing variety of Alpine enviroments, from bare glacier-riven red iron rocks, where tiny flowers bloom in the cracks, to lush ferny, mossy forest. You can also get there via the train up to Montenvers and walk down.

Usually open mid-June -September. Tel +33(0)6 14 19 36 77

Chalet Floria

La Forêt June 14th, 2007

Chalet Floria

The Terrace at Chalet Floria, Chamonix

You can see the beautiful flowered terrace of Chalet Floria high above Les Praz. If you’re feeling energetic, you can hike up there from the village – it’s well signposted and will take about an hour, winding up through the fragrant pine forests and wonderful scenery.

Otherwise, you can let the Flégère lift whisk you up to the top, and have a more relaxing walk down to it.

Once there you can take in the astounding views whilst having a drink or lunch in the riot of flowers – over 4000 plants cover the chalet and terrace, and butterflies flutter around as you eat. The menu isn’t extensive (not surprising, given the location!) but the food is very nice and reasonably priced. The friendly owners both speak English (Madame speaks it perfectly) and have a fascinating book of photos to flip through, showing the chalet over the years.
Opens from the end of April until the end of October.
Take a look at this lovely photo of the Chalet Floria’s terrace and view on Chamonix.com

Auberge La Bagna

La Forêt May 9th, 2007

Auberge La Bagna
(Summer only)
La Bagna has friendly new management for summer 2008 (Fans of former proprietor Alain Peru’s cooking needn’t worry, as he has opened a restaurant in Chamonix-sud). The converted farmhouse is once again the typical French Alpine gite that it was before, with lots of charm. They serve a good breakfast, ice creams in the afternoon, and plan to have a weekly barbecue, which should be excellent – look out for the sign outside for when the grilling will start!

The terrace is a good place for families as there’s plenty of room beside it for kids to play.
They also offer bed and breakfast accomodation.

Auberge La Bagna

Hotel Eden

La Forêt April 14th, 2007

Hotel Eden
An excellent hotel, British and Swedish run. It’s very reasonably priced with bright, modern, unfussy interiors. They now have apartments on offer as well, which I haven’t stayed in but look very nice. In summer, the terrace bar is a good spot for a glass of wine.

The restaurant is one of the best in Chamonix – fresh, modern food, beautifully presented, and the maître d’ is superb – he’s been there for decades and really knows his stuff. There’s usually a good choice for veggies too.
Hotel Eden

Le Sarpé Restaurant

La Forêt April 14th, 2007

Flowers at Le Sarpe Restaurant, Les Praz de Chamonix

Le Sarpé is a brilliant restaurant – it’s moved on from just traditional Savoyarde cooking – which it still does very well. Now, it serves fine adventurous French cooking in charming, atmospheric, traditional surroundings. It’s in Les Bois, tucked away in a quiet old street just a pleasant ten minute walk through the woods from Les Praz. There’s a pretty private garden out the back for warm summer nights.

Le Sarpé
30, Passage des Mottets
Les Bois
74400 Chamonix Mont-Blanc
Tel : +33(0)450532931

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