The mountain pastures outside Le Grand Bornard throb with life: cross country skiers, explorers on snowshoes, kids on sledges, farmers working the land, horses wandering within fences and people walking in line on the side of the street. The colours of the wind jackets, the reverberation of the snow, the echo of a laugh, the sound of a river: we drive along route de Lormay taking in the peacefulness and happiness of the surroundings. Chalet 1864 appears against a still background. It’s the last building of the valley. From outside, it’s a traditional wooden farm like many others in this area. Inside, it’s the triumph of alpine hospitality. 1864 is the year when the farm was built, in true Savoyard style. These same walls of wood and stone that one day were home to a family of farmers and their pastoral routine, today host guests looking for quiet, simplicity and discreet luxury. Our suite was called “Aravis” after the mountain range surrounding the valley: two bedrooms, a spacious living room with fireplace, two bathrooms and a balcony from where you can admire Mount Percée and gaze at the stars. Any moment is good to light a candle that smells of cedar or the woods, sit on the sofa and look at a photographic book, enjoy an aperitif of chèvre chaud and rosemary sitting on the terrace with a blanket on your lap. Dinner is excellent and romantic. At breakfast they serve a wide selection of authentic local delicacies. The spa is at the top of a hill, a temple for the senses. From here, the glare of sunlight reflecting off the snow prevents from looking at the panorama. With the eyes closed it’s easy to imagine the white of the snow turning into green, fields covered in flowers, the smell of freshly cut grass and hay and the silhouette of a deer among pine trees. We make ourselves a promise: when summer comes to this valley and to these mountains, we will be back.
Words and pictures Meraviglia Paper.