Friday, January 27, 2017

Vaujany, French Alps: Lunching and People Watching on the Piste at Les Airelles

I usually take a day off skiing during wintersport holiday but this does not mean I stay away from the pistes. In fact I love visiting them on foot with my normal snow boots and not with ski boots and skis!

By the way, in Europe we call slopes pistes here.

Restaurant Les Airelles

This is my view on the piste whilst lunching. I can see skiers and snowboarders passing through and coming down the pistes from the Les Airelles terrace. 

One of things I look forward to is being able to hop from one mountain restaurant terrace to another, both skiing and on foot. And I just love people watching from the outdoor terrace as well! Not just any kind of people watching though, but skiers and snowboarders watching. It is very entertaining.

In Vaujany, on the Montfrais terrain you will find 3 cafe restaurant terraces and all three are situated on different altitudes with approximately 500 metres distance from each other. The first restaurant you will encounter from the piste if you are coming from l'Alpette is Restaurant Les Airelles which has the biggest and perhaps the best outdoor terrace on Montfrais. The restaurant looks out to 3 pistes. Great for watching the skiers and snowboarders pass by and come down the mountain.

I passed by this restaurant the day before this scheduled lunch whilst skiing with the Dutchman and I told myself that I will have lunch here the next day.

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This was actually a very late lunch because before coming here I was hanging out at a different restaurant terrace in a nearby mountain. With cable cars, travelling from one mountain to another is made easy and relatively fast. Fact: It is quicker for us to reach Alpe d'Huez from Vaujany skiing and snowboarding than with the car which will take us approximately 45 minutes through a winding route.

For lunch I decided on some local chevre cheese, myrtille jam and a green salad, paired with some French bread and a local house (red) wine.

January is still low season for wintersport holiday so the pistes here at Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine Ski Resort which Vaujany is a part of are not that busy yet, although in the weekends it can get a bit crowded because of locals coming over for a weekend ski. Because this is France, the terrace scene is also a bit quiet (compared to Austria for example).

And lo and behold, guess who I saw come gliding down the piste as I sit on the terrace to people watch? The Dutchman, haha! I quickly recognised his body frame, his ski jacket and the way he snowboards. It was a good thing that he saw me waving my hands on the air. It was almost the end of the day so he joined me, and then we went back together to our apartment chalet via the Montfrais gondola-lifts.

To get here at Les Airelles, take the Montfrais gondola-lift in Vaujany and get out at the top, then take the glass tube ramp escalator and walk uphill for a few metres. You can also ski down from l'Alpette on the Chalets and Les Travers pistes as well.

Most ski lifts usually close between 16:00 and 16:30, while the bigger ones are open until 17:00. The lift here at Montfrais closes at 16:30 I believe but I have seen them working past 17:00?

The glass tube ramp escalator at Montfrais, Vaujany. Many beginners use this to go up the slope for practice runs but this is the best way to reach Les Airelles if you are on foot.

Restaurant Les Airelles
Restaurant Les Airelles

The view of my late lunch on the piste.

Lunch Cheese salad Les Airelles

Green salad dressed with sweet balsamic vinegar, local chevre (goat) cheese, myrtille jam and crushed walnuts. Then paired with French bread and local red wine.

The sign means PICNIC IS NOT ALLOWED here at the terrace. You must buy food at the restaurant of course.

The right slope (Etourneaux) was very horrible today, it was super icy with almost no snow. Dutchman fell down on his bum real hard here whereas I almost fell down twice! I hate icy pistes.

After lunching I settled nicely in one of the sun loungers with my red wine. There were barely anybody here at the terrace. I gather the peak season must be different.

Restaurant Les Airelles

Pictures of the mountain restaurant taken on a different day from the piste. This was on the 2nd day of the holiday when we skied down from l'Alpette and came across the restaurant and took this picture.

Restaurant Les Airelles Terrace

Travel Period: January 2017
Destination: Montfrais, Vaujany (Isere - Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes), France

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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