Sunday, February 03, 2019

Wintersport Holiday: Walk and Dinner in Lanslebourg, French Alps

On our third evening in the Alps, we decided to have dinner outside in Lanslebourg village.

Lanslebourg village in Mont Cenis (Val Cenis).

The tiramisu that saved the evening's dinner.

It's a Monday evening and many Mondays in the restaurant world is a rest day with kitchens closed for the whole day and evening. Last year we went out for dinner on a Monday evening in Les Champs, the small village between Lanslebourg and Lanslevillard, and the restaurant I had in mind was closed. There was another restaurant nearby with the tartiflette in their menu, something that I was craving for that particular evening. That restaurant saved our night.

Well, I have a few restaurants in mind (thanks to Tripadvisor) so I am confident we will not be walking the chilly 2 kilometers to Lanslebourg for nothing.

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Behind the directional signs, you can see the main square of the village which is beside the modern auditorium.

The Val Cenis ski resort consists of 3 main villages, Lanslevillard, Lanslebourg, Termignon and a small one, Les Champs (our home base). Lanslevillard, Les Champs and Lanslebourg are within walkable distance from each other. From Lanslevillard to Les Champ is approximately 1-kilometer distance and from Les Champs to Lanslebourg is 2 kilometers. Termignon is the farthest and you need a car to get there, or the bus, or better yet, take the skis through the mountains, which we did last year and this year as well.

I have chosen to have our dinner in Lanslebourg village because we haven't been here really, apart from passing through the village with the car and having a quick peek on the piste after a ski run down the slopes.

The walk from Les Champs was about 25 minutes and Dutchman and I like this because it's nice to go out in the evening for a fresh little walk. It's peaceful in the Alps. What is nice about this walk is that there is a lighted pedestrian pavement that runs parallel the main road and river. It is scenic, in a way that you see the mountains and the chalets on the valley.

Very few people were outside and Dutchman and I do not mind the almost no human traffic existence. Compared to popular ski resorts (especially in Austria), it would be unthinkable to go to a restaurant without a reservation. The apres ski in pubs and bars will for sure stretch to dinner hours. That's not happening in the French Alps though unless you go to Val Thorens and Chamonix perhaps, but surely not in Val Cenis.

A casual bar-restaurant with a bakery. I love French delicacies.

The Espace Baroque Maurriene (with the tower clock) is now a museum. The lighted building on the right is the village's city hall.

The first restaurant I had in mind was the Le Vieille Poste and the second one was La Vanoise. The Le Vieille Poste is a restaurant of a hotel and I noticed that it was full so we walked further to La Vanoise where there was only one couple dining. For a second I thought of going back to Le Vieille Poste but my inner conscience nagged and scolded me.

Why should we not give our business to this restaurant that only has one diner (a couple) for the evening? Why should we give it to the other that is almost full? Easy decision made.

La Vanoise restaurant is located at the beginning of the village.

The restaurant is nicely decorated inside, in wood finish, in very typical Savoyard mountain style. We were quickly served with what we ordered, the cheese fondue. There was a little miscommunication that transpired because I thought the charcuterie was included in the price. Dutchman didn't want the charcuterie so we let go of it. I also argued that we just bought a pack of dried saucissons which we will be eating every day anyway.

This restaurant doesn't have an English menu so we have to rely on our rusty French skills. Dutchman and I are still baffled until now how many French establishments have not yet adapted to foreigners. It does not hurt to provide an English or Deutsch menu when your business is partly dependent on other European guests, right?

I look a bit sleepy here. We've just had a long spa session at the wellness center.

The restaurant has a cosy alpine-style interior design.

The fondue we chose was a 1-type of cheese. We normally take the mixed cheese aka 3 or 4-cheeses but I let Dutchman chose this time and he picked the 1-type cheese. Wrong decision, haha. I didn't really like the taste much. The fondue reminded me of the one time I experimented back home where I ended up eating the melted rubbery cheese alone because Dutchman got so sick that night (he had the flu), he had to sleep in early.

Wow, it's amazing to be able to recollect the taste of the fondue that evening in the restaurant here. The taste was so powerful like it was wired in my brains and got stuck in my taste buds. It destroyed my appetite.

Luckily, I enjoyed the salad, the balsamic dressing was lovely. I couldn't get enough, I wanted to steal the Dutchman's share but he was so fast to devour them all. I was tempted to ask for more though. But restaurants do not really do salad replenishment. They aren't bread you know.

But we managed to make things up by ordering this so delicious tiramisu dessert to go with our coffee. I went to heaven with the tiramisu. This was so very good.

In the new house, I will start experimenting making desserts, such as this. Mascarpone is love.

Fondue and salad with delicious balsamic dressing.

The fondue this time was not my thing.

Thankfully, the dinner was saved by this delicious tiramisu (below) and an espresso. Dutchman always order his capuccino.

We were the last ones to leave the restaurant. Good thing for the restaurant, another couple arrived. Not sure if that really made the difference on a break-even evening but perhaps they really do more business during the peak season.

One thing to highlight about La Vanoise is their unique toilet. It's a mini cave and it's quite cool!

Make sure to visit the toilet if dining at La Vanoise.

So Dutchman and I were back on the streets of Lanslebourg walking the 2-kilometer path back to our chalet apartment in Les Champs.

I have to give some credit to the village.

The main street, Rue des Jardins is nicely decorated with winter lights street canopy. They are very popular in Europe, even here in the Netherlands during the winter season. The museum that resembles a church with the clock tower is also very well lighted which is really a beauty to see in the village. The city hall's facade was adorned with a massive carpet of lights. Impressive.

On the main street are retail shops selling winter sports clothing and accessories, sporting goods and more. We do wonder if many people actually buy onsite at alpine ski villages their ski/board equipment and clothing because for us and for many people we know, we bring our own stuff. Not to mention that the prices here are much higher than in the cities.

Except for the colour, I like that bomber style ski jacket.

The auditorium of Lanslebourg.

We also pondered on if we would like to live here, something Dutchman and I would always ask ourselves when visiting a place. We were not so sure what to think about it really. I guess we will just have to keep those thoughts to ourselves for now.

More soon of this winter sport holiday.

Lighted pavement on the route to Les Champs and Lanslevillard.

Travel Period: January 2019
Destination: Lanslebourg - Val Cenis, Savoie (Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes), France

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