POSTCARD FROM SERRE CHE
12th January 2019 | James Cove, Serre Chevalier
Last modified on July 6th, 2021
Do people send postcards anymore? Well, we do & this one comes from Serre Chevalier in the southern French Alps. UPDATED
There is only one word to describe the ski area in the southern French Alps: authentic.
It oozes Gallic charm and mountain history.
Oh, and its skiing and snowboarding is pretty good too.
And this week, the first week after the Xmas and New Year holidays, the slopes are deserted.
Here, on a rather windy day, are the current piste conditions this week:
And if you can’t hear over the high winds…
I report that there was a very small amount of fresh snow overnight with a slight rise in temperature, but more importantly the air became much drier.
They are only there for the skiing and out of season are pretty desolate and soulless affairs.
Serre Chevalier is the polar opposite.
It is actually a collection of 14 ancient towns and hamlets spread along the valley from the city of Briancon.
Worth visiting for the architecture alone.
There are the main ones of Chantemerle, Villeneuve, Le Monetier and, of course, Braincon
It is France at its finest.
I am staying at the village furthest up the valley at the 4* Le Monetier Hotel, that has recently undergone a re-fit:
It kind of sums up the whole of Serre Chevalier in my opinion as it is a clever and exciting mix of old and modern.
Like the village of Monetier with its rustic natural thermal springs in town.
This week I’ve been covering the current weather in this part of the Alps in a separate story on PlanetSKI.
Le Monetier is perhaps the quietest of the villages and gives access to some of the best and most advanced skiing.
It is world famous for its tree skiing
Chantemerle is good for mixed groups and families.
It has something for everyone and the fabulous Luc Alphand black run
Villeneuve is another traditional and authentic village and has some of the best apreas ski and bars of the area.
Head there if partying is your thing.
And then the alpine city of Briancon.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is stunningly beautiful with all the amenites a city offers.
With a ski lift in town.
What I love about the area is its genuine and authentic mix of old and modern.
You can have lunch in a traditional and basic mountain restaurant.
Or eat with a 21st C=century service on offer.
Think Deliveroo on skis.
You pre-order your food online and these guys bring it to you on the slopes.
We opted for BBQ food that we could cook oursleves at one of two BBQ areas on the slopes:
And, of course, I cooked it British-style:
As I said in the first video report in this story the area is often overlooked as us British head to the mega-resorts of the northern French Alps.
BIG mistake in my view.
Serre Chevalier is an absolute gem.
An authentic gem.
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