Les Gets is one of the prettiest villages in the Alps – chic and stylish – both in the town and on the mountain. This is a fantastic place; not just to ski, but to relax with family and friends. The pistes run right back to the heart of the village where bars and restaurants meet the slopes, making this an ideal location for family ski holidays.
Les Gets is part of the vast Portes du Soleil, the world’s largest ski area with more than 650km of pistes spanning 12 traditional mountain villages across both France and Switzerland. There is skiing for all abilities, be that young first timers or adventurous skiers looking to test themselves on tough slopes. Those not skiing will also enjoy Les Gets – many of the best mountain restaurants can be reached on foot allowing you to meet up with your group for lunch. The scenery is beautiful, with an abundance of stunning snow shoe walks or spots to simply take in the incredible views.
Les Gets is a beautiful alpine village dating back to the 12th century as a traditional farming community. Pretty chalets and cobbled streets nestle on a high mountain pass with great views. It’s a spectacular natural location and a real trap for both sunshine and snow! The main village itself is incredibly chic, long popular with both local and international visitors. You’ll find all manner of shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars to explore at your leisure.
Les Gets forms part of the Portes du Soleil, one of the largest linked ski areas in the world comprising 12 interconnected ski resorts across Switzerland and France offering:
- Chic, attractive, traditional village atmosphere
- Skiing for all abilities and great for families
- Beautiful walks and activities for non-skiers
- Part of the Portes du Soleil – the worlds largest ski area
- Fantastic mountain restaurants
Live Like A Local
There is a hidden door, a secret place, an untold secret. That is the essence of travel, that journey of discovery when you uncover a gem, stumble upon the unique; when you truly manage to live like the locals. If you are looking for the authentic here are a few places to start.
FOR PEOPLE WATCHING IN LES GETS VILLAGE
Les Notes Gourmandes
Les Notes Gourmandes, come winter, come summer, has the best people watching location in Les Gets village. In the centre of town with views up the mountain, from 8.30am you can enjoy coffee on the sunny terrace and watch the world go by. Better still, it’s located across from the village square so in winter it is the perfect place to watch families and children play on the ice rink. In summer there are numerous activities such as a kids cycle track. For afternoons there are cocktails and lots of crepes to choose from so this is a great central village stop off and a wonderful morning suntrap.
THE BEST HOT CHOCOLATE
Altitude Lodge, Les Gets-Chavannes Plateau
Altitude is just left of the two drag lifts on the Les Gets plateau. It is an unassuming chalet from the outside, modern and stark on the inside. But look beyond this. The hot chocolates (thick, like the Italians make it) are served in their own little carafe so you can pour it yourself, directly into your glass, that is already filled with marshmallows and cream. On the side you’ll enjoy a small brownie, perhaps another marshmallow or two. This is hot chocolate heaven. Enjoy, then back on your skis.
THE OTHER BEST HOT CHOCOLATE
La Grande Ourse, Mont Chèry
On Mont Chèry you have to go to La Grande Ourse. Their hot chocolate deserves an Instagram. Our recommendation, say yes to ALL available toppings. Just go early, or late,as they get very busy and you might find yourself waiting for service.
FOR A MOUNTAIN CAKE FIX
La Paika is without question one of the best and most popular restaurants in the entire region. It features heavily in any resort guide, or press review. Come winter or summer, for incredible mountain dining, drinks, mountain BBQs, the best views, you name it, they do it and they are the best. But we can’t even get past the front door. Because inside there is a cake display, two tables worth of the freshest most delicious cakes, homemade, fresh baked, cakes of every kind, everywhere. If you can get past them and look at the menu inside, you will enjoy the most wonderful mountain feast. We have never got further than an espresso and a huge slice of cake while sitting on the sunny terrace.
FOR HIGH ALTITUDE COFFEE WITH A MONT BLANC VIEW
Le Relais Panoramique (pedestrian access)
Located at the top of the Mont Chèry chair lift is this unassuming restaurant that serves coffees from first lifts, has an indoor picnic area (as the french say) for anyone bringing up their own lunch, a low fuss canteen, and a restaurant. Their terrace is always sunny with incredible views across to the Mont Blanc, and the front side of the terrace allows you to watch skiers descending Mont Chèry’s pistes. We recommend the sunny terrace as a great meeting place for your whole group, non-skiers alike, and a perfect early morning coffee spot. If you decide to have lunch, finish with a Cafe Gourmand for dessert!
FOR VILLAGE BRUNCHES TO KEEP YOUR SKI ENERGY UP
Café Alba, Les Gets
From a chef as passionate about breakfast foods as he is about fine dining, brunches at Alba are a treat. Traditional Scottish, Welsh and English including incredible black pudding. It will set you up for your ski day. Perhaps use it as a mid-morning stop off after skiing Les Gets. Book ahead, then follow up by skiing Mont Chèry, especially on a powder day.
FOR THE BEST BURGERS IN TOWN
K2, Les Gets
K2 is an unassuming street side cafe close to the main square in Les Gets. With friendly staff and an extensive and delicious burger menu it offers a choice of meats and cheeses second to none. It makes a perfect stop-off for a quick lunch (perhaps on a trek from Mont Chèry to the Les Gets pistes) or perhaps for a sneaky après or late night snack. This is the locals’ choice for burgers, and has received rave reviews on TripAdvisor. If you are not into burger-eating check out their list of crepes. Let’s just say, we are definitely a fan of those.
Les Gets is located in the Haute Savoie and is one of the most northerly of the French Alpine resorts, less than one hour from Chamonix, and benefiting from the Mont Blanc microclimate, it forms part of the Portes du Soleil, the largest ski area in the world comprising of 12 Franco-Swiss ski resorts that will keep you busy for many holidays to come.
Resort Altitude: 1200m
Highest lift: 2466m
Vertical Drop: 1466m
Winter Season: Runs from approximately 10 Dec – 30 April
Summer Season: Runs from mid-June to early-September
Local population: Year round
Just over an hour away. From here there are regularly scheduled flights across Europe and internationally.
Annemasse and Annecy
Regional airports and a good option for those travelling by private jet. Both are less than an hour away.
NEAREST TRAIN STATIONS
Cluses or Thonon
Both less than 40 mins away.
Take the Eurostar from London to Paris (takes around 2 hours 20 minutes) or Lyon. Then take a high-speed TGV to either one of the two train stations that service the area, Cluses or Thonon (see above).
Off mountain Les Gets and the surrounding area offers so much to its visitors that it would be easy not to ski at all. There are the basics such as local cinema, large swimming pools and an aquatic centre, bowling, an open-air ice rink, ice hockey, parapenting, ice diving, snowmobiling, tobogganing and snowshoeing. But there are also nature discovery tours, day trips, cheese-making tours, spas, tennis courts, climbing, horse-riding and many cultural events and offerings. The tourist office is one of the most proactive and works tirelessly to offer visitors the very best mountain experiences.
Things To Do
It is easy to forget in the midst of a ski holiday that there are other equally exciting things to experience. In reality, such is the plethora of non-ski activities, they warrant an action-packed week’s holiday of their own. Les Gets offers a wealth of such experiences that happen well away from the slopes. They are perfect if you are catering to a mixed group with some non-skiers, or for when you have some piste downtime. Here are just a handful of activities on offer.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
After a day on the mountain why not enjoy the likes of ten pin bowling, French cinema or watch a game of ice-hockey. They are perfect ski downtime pursuits requiring little to no organisation and still offering a slice of French life.
Ice hockey is a local passion. The local team often competes internationally and the league is demanding. The ice-rink is located in Morzine and fixtures vary throughout the winter but there should be a match on most weeks. Enjoy an early supper in your chalet then head to the stadium close to the Morzine Mairie. We recommend getting a drink from the bar inside and then finding a seat on the same side of the stadium, behind the team benches. There are normally lots of spare seats and you can watch the players tag in and out during the match and listen to some very enthusiastic locals.
The French love ten pin bowling and it offers a really nice change of pace for the whole family. Bowling really does transcend international borders so the rules are the same, the bowling alleys look the same and most lanes offer on and off-peak times so it’s often worth visiting during quieter times to lose a few hours getting your bowling skills back. Le Bowling Bar, Les Gets, is a small underground bowling alley & bar located on the main high street. Perfect on bad weather days, or just a good place to go with a group and get competitive! If you are already on the mountain, Avoriaz also has a bowling lane.
LOCAL FRENCH CINEMA
More Cinema Paradiso than giganton multiplex, why not try an authentic French cinema? Located in Les Gets village, Cinema Le Club is a one screen, one movie kind of affair. Brush up on your French by watching the newest French films, or perhaps a French dubbed American blockbusters. Alternatively choose a VOST (Version Originale) and watch the current hit in English. The French are not big on American-style super-sized snacks so you might want to sneak in your own bag of Maltesers or you will be restricted to small packets of pre-cooked popcorn and non-brand fizzy drinks.
CULTURAL VISIT – THE MECHANICAL MUSIC MUSEUM
A very cultural experience, Les Gets’ Museum of Mechanical Music has one of the finest collections in Europe of mechanical instruments (around 600 exhibits). Enjoy a guided tour (all the instruments are working) and discover chimes, clocks, musical boxes, automatons, organs, orchestrions and mechanical violins, mechanical and pneumatic pianos, phonographs and gramophones to name just a few. All are displayed in their historical context so it offers a historic and cultural learning experience if the mountain isn’t cutting it for you!
Thursday is local market day in Les Gets where you can wander amongst the locals buying fresh produce for their weekly shop. Aside from regionally grown vegetables and meat there is also an abundance of local produce on offer from savoie cheeses and traditionally cured meats, to wild mushrooms, jams, wines and digestifs. Italian produce is sometimes available from across the border, as is a welcome vin chaud to keep you warm during your winter wandering. After the market take a walk along Les Gets high street where there are more artisan shops selling locally made chocolate and cakes, patisseries and alpine-inspired interiors. Chamonix & Annecy also have wonderful weekly markets.
Aquariaz is, on a basic level, a water park located high up in the mountains in Avoriaz (a cable car or drive from Les Gets). But this aquatic centre offers a lot more. Yes, there is a fun river that winds through lush tropical vegetation, a slidewinder (which is like a water halfpipe), a children’s paddling pool, a large swimming pool with surrounding climbing walls, massage benches and even an open-air spa heated to 34°C. But this is a hybrid concept of creating a water park that keeps kids entertained but also houses natural tropical vegetation from around the world. There are over 1570 different tropical plants and 183 tropical trees imported from all around the world. It also houses one of the oldest mahogany trees in the world (350 years old). Inexpensive and fun, with a little bit of botanical education thrown in. If you can, visit during their off peak times, when everyone else is on the piste.
ON MOUNTAIN, BUT OFF-SKIS
There are some must do on mountain (off-ski) activities that warrant a place on your holiday to do list. Husky dog sledding at sunset, snowshoeing through mountain forests, cross-country skiing (ski de fond) across mountain paths, sledding (day and night) and ski-joering behind a horse, all offer truly traditional mountain experiences that don’t require the use of a ski pass. Located across the resort, each activity will introduce you to traditions intrinsically linked to the local area. The likes of snowshoeing, dog sledding and ski joering were genuine modes of transport during harsh winters centuries ago. Ski de fond (cross country skiing) is incredibly historic dating back to the Vikings who would cross snow passes on versions of our modern day cross country skis. And sledding. Well, when isn’t sledding fun? While more of a list than a specific recommendation, we do think making time for a least one of these mountain experiences will make your winter ski break feel even more authentic.
ONE FOR THE KIDS – ELECTRIC SNOWMOBILES!
Kids as young as 5 years old can learn to drive electric snowmobiles (specifically designed for their age) on a dedicated, enclosed circuit. Located at the Lac des Ecoles and Gentiane blue run below the Chavannes Express chair lift, the park is open from Sunday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. The extra bonus is that the activity is deemed entirely “zero emission” which means it has no negative impact on the local environment. This was a massive hit last winter and, at the time, was unique in France.
Les Gets delivers when it comes to dining experiences. From restaurants offering fine dining with a passionate connection to regional and traditional heritage, to modern, simplistic affairs; from the simple street food of K2 , or the local butcher who cooks up handmade regional sausages for mid-ski-day food on the go , to authentic Tapas in the wine bars of The Marmotte , or fine dining at the likes of La Péla. Then there are the old mountaintop classics, such as La Paika and Chez Nannon, who create uncomplicated purist mountain food, respecting the seasons, sourcing the finest local ingredients, staying true to their mountain roots. In fact the region as a whole has in recent years experienced somewhat of a gastronomic renaissance as a wide range of talented and creative chefs, with diverse roots and pasts, choose to live and work in the region.
La Péla is one of the most popular restaurants in Les Gets and is set in an old Savoyard farm in the centre of the village. With an authentic yet modern alpine interior and a wonderful warm atmosphere the restaurant offers a fine selection of traditional Savoyard cuisine. A “péla” is actually a traditional word for tartiflette and there several variations of it on the menu. There are also Savoyard cheese and meat dishes and a selection of fish dishes such as their ‘Le filet St. Pierre’. Ask for a table close to the open fire and always leave space for dessert—their Café Gourmand never fails to impress!
La Biskatcha is a brasserie and grill in the centre of Les Gets making up one of the three restaurants in the La Marmotte chalet-hotel. The Hotel itself has been part of the Mirigay Family since 1947, welcoming guests from all over the world, and La Biskatcha is the Mirigay family’s dining alternative to the many regional Savoyard menus in town. The restaurant, along with the adjoining tapas bar, L’Anka, boasts colourful and casual décor and serves up traditional, high-quality dishes such as grilled meats and tapas, and more exotic options, many of which are cooked on their authentic wood-fired barbecue. The tapas menu changes with the seasons and their wine list is wonderful, offering a great selection of local and world wines. L’Anka is also great for a pre-dinner aperitif if you just fancy popping in for a drink.
LA FRUITIÈRE DES PERRIÈRES
At the far end of Les Gets (very close to our chalet Ferme de Moudon) sits La Fruitière des Perrières. This is the local restaurant attached to the local Fromagerie (cheese maker) and it is a must visit in the day to watch the local cheese making process and sample local cheeses. But in the evening, you can experience their produce in a very authentic setting. On arrival you are seated at a communal dining table by an open fire and presented with an aperitif, Le Marquisette (white rum, grenadine, white wine, oranges and lemons). The menu, focusing around local produce, offers soups, stews and of course, incredible fondues. Here they use the traditional mix of swiss gruyère, comté fruité and vacherin fribourgeois served with a platter of local charcuterie, potatoes, pickles and salad. The mushroom (cep) fondue is also worth a try. Rustic, authentic and wholly alpine. We highly recommend.
On piste, Perrrieres
La Paika is without question one of the best and most popular restaurants in the entire region. It features heavily in any resort guide, press review or Michelin guide recommendation. Come winter or summer, for incredible mountain dining, drinks, mountain BBQs, the best views, you name it, they do it and they are the best. Find it on the slopes down to Perrieres, set in a renovated alpage building. It offers a wonderful warm atmosphere and delicious food. In spring their chefs cook on huge flaming grills outdoors. There’s a great wine list and as you walk in the front door you will pass two tables worth of the freshest most delicious homemade, fresh baked, cakes of every kind. One of our favourite lunch spots. Take a table on the sunny terrace and let the afternoon unwind.
On piste, Les Gets-Pleney
Le Vaffieu is a traditional Savoyard style chalet-restaurant located walking or skiing distance from the top of the Pleney cable car. With an interior dining area full of
traditional exposed wooden beams and alpine paraphernalia, and a large heated indoor/outdoor terrace, you would be forgiven for turning up without a reservation. But this sunny mountain restaurant is a favourite for locals and tourists alike. The delicious regional fare is perfect after a morning skiing, as is the fine red wine. Their ‘croûte’ is the best on the mountain but if cheese is not your thing then their lamb cutlets are amazing as is the seabass. On a sunny day reserve a table on the terrace but in the depths of winter try and get the table closest to the bar where you can listen to the owners and locals in high-octane conversation as they work.
On piste, Nyon
Chez Nannon is the mountain refuge we think we want to hike to, but probably never will. Thankfully this mountain restaurant is accessible from the Ravarettes or the Troncs Express chairlifts so it just requires you to gently slide. As you approach the quaint wooden structure (that can be partially hidden on a truly snowy winter) you will be greeted with the scent of bubbling pans of Reblochon cheese and a plume of smoke dancing up from the chalet chimney. This is classic Savoyard mountain dining of the highest order and inside it feels more like a mountain hut with small windows, cosy wooden furniture and the same family working the kitchen every year. They might be busy but they will feed you well. Chez Nannon is famous for its Tartiflette (Reblochon cheese, potatoes, lardons a large side salad served with chunks of fresh bread) which is served in a bubbling pan to your table. The Cote de Boeuf and cheesy potatoes are also a good option, as are the steaks and the burgers. Book ahead to ensure you are not disappointed. We recommend reserving a table inside in either of the furthest corners to avoid the incoming and leaving foot traffic.
Alpine nightlife can be hit and miss. Gregarious après, repetitive music and a general sense of excess over excellence can become wearing to the discerning traveller. So what if your holiday time is too precious to waste and your palate too discerning for disappointing drinks? Here are a few of our preferred destinations for the famous aperitivo hour and beyond.
REAL APRÈS, ON PISTE
One of the local favourites is quite simply called L’AprèSki located at the bottom of The Chavannes piste. It is actually part of the Hotel Bellevue but the bar itself sits on the snow, almost on-piste, with an open air bar, deck chairs and snowside seating plus live music on Wednesdays and Sundays. This is the bar you can actually ski to at the end of your ski day and has become popular with tourists and locals alike. It’s also an easy location for any non-skiers to come and join you so that everyone can feel part of the ski action.
THE LOCALS FAVOURITE
One of the most popular bars in town amongst the local population and one of the longest established bars in Les Gets. It is right in the centre of the town, near the ice rink and village square, and has a great atmosphere, a very competitive winter quiz night and there is often live music and themed nights. Our favourite bit is its location next to K2 where you can find the best burgers for miles and miles around (just in case you needed a little snack).
OLD FASHIONED APRÈS, THE BAR PARADE – THREE BARS, NO WALKING
Black Bear, Barbylon & The Irish Bar
Les Gets is not traditionally a party town but there is a lively little cluster of bars all located next to each other in the centre of town (opposite Bar Bowling – two bowling lanes and beers) all are easy ski-boot walking distance from the pistes of Mont Chèry or Chavannes. The Irish Pub has been open for over 20 years and has its own microbrewery creating a small selection of well crafted local beers that are very popular. The Black Bear is the french take on a Canadian Bar and can be lively and excitable and Barbylon is tiny but perfectly formed and incredibly popular with food, outdoor seating, live sports and good music. Wander freely between the three.
THE BACCHUS BY CRYCHAR
The Bacchus By Crychar is part of Hotel Crychar located right on the piste in Les Gets. In summer the deck offers green mountain views and in winter you can ski to their sunny terrace. The hotel is sat slightly to the right of the main Chavannes ski area which offers a sense of privacy and connectedness at the same time and is the perfect location for aperitifs or afternoon teas & gourmandises, depending on your preference! They do organise their own events in summer and winter with live music some evenings and Mercredi Antipasto in summer (where you can enjoy antipasto with your wine). The location and attention to detail in this stylish cosy bar, from their service to their interiors, gives you the feeling of something special. They also have an incredible wine list!
THE BEST CLOTHING AND SKI SHOPPING FOR MILES
Berthet-Sports, Route du Front de Neige
Established in 1949 by Jean Berthet, a passionate international skier, and his wife Yolande, the shop offers the most prestigious and specialized ski and sportswear collections in the region. Here you can buy and hire top brand ski hardware and clothing but it also has beautiful off-mountain clothing brands and a shop floor large enough to keep you busy for hours They stock brands such as Moncler, Kjus, Dolce & Gabbana, Sorel, Napapijri to Poivre Blanc, Patagonia, Bogner, M & F Gibaud, Max & Moi, Berenice, UGG and Sartore. It’s your destination if you want to treat yourself and certainly popular with the locals. Just don’t be fooled by any sale items that may be displayed on the front terrace, Berthet-Sports genuinely offers the best fashion fix for miles around.
FOR MOUNTAIN INSPIRED INTERIORS AND PERFECT PRESENTS
Un Amour de Noel, Rue du Centre
It wouldn’t matter which city or town this home interior shop was located in, it’s a must visit for those on a shopping quest. Un amour de noel has the most gorgeous interior furnishings, from larger pieces of furniture, to smaller items, including stylish kitchenware and beautiful accessories (that will fit perfectly in your hand luggage!). It is contemporary and mountain inspired, but not mountain dominated, so you can create interior luxury back at home, or re-create mountain luxury away from the Alps. Find it next to the Les Gets cinema.
LOCAL BUTCHER AND STREET FOOD SELLER
Le Boucherie Rossin, Rue du Centre
For 70 years this local butcher has been selling the highest quality local meats and now does so from an impressive glass-fronted shop. Inside, the modern interior is clean and slick with the highest quality meats and regional products on display including local cheeses and wines. This is the perfect stop off if you decide to BBQ on the chalet terrace or want to pack a mountain top lunch. Better still, every Saturday, you will find the local butcher cooking some of his best local sausages ready for immediate post-piste consumption. Unlike many locals shops and vendors, this butcher is quite social media savvy so check out their Facebook page or watch their YouTube video!
PERFECT PICNICS AND TAKE HOME PRESENTS AND GIFTS
Le Grenier d’Autrefois, Rue du Centre
The ‘attic for former times’ is a wonderful shop for purchasing local products, regional gifts and just plain old spoiling yourself. If you are enjoying a luxury self-catered break you can create the ultimate afternoon tea including local cheeses, saucissons, freshly roasted chicken, local soups, pâtés, wines and biscuits. If you want to spoil friends back at home, share the alpine spirit with regional gifts from this shop.
Chamonix market is on a Saturday morning, starting about 7am. Larger than the Morzine market, with a much stronger Italian influence, you will be hard pushed to leave empty handed. Make sure you indulge in a pre-9am mulled wine from a scruffy looking French man who tends to locate himself centrally, serving from his ancient-looking le chaudron de feu (cauldron). Our other top tip, buy Italian; it’s fresh and authentic from just a few kilometres away over the border.
Annecy has three markets but we recommend the Sunday market. A large food market can be found in the old town – cobbled streets, colourful stalls, fresh produce, French locals and tourists alike, all jostling to enjoy some of the many delicious samples. An after-market ice cream is a must, as is a walk along the lake shore. Annecy is known internationally as the Venice of the Alps and is easily deserving of more than one day of your time.
There are many natural thermal spas in the Alps and they are worth a day trip to enjoy them. One of our favourites is Lavey Les Bains just across the border and is one of the hottest thermal waters in Switzerland. With two outdoor pools and an indoor swimming pool, all open year round, you can enjoy healing waters of around 32°C to 36°C as you bob about their lazy river and relax on their underwater loungers. Their pools are located in gardens with gorgeous mountain views but are even better in a snowstorm with a toasty body and cold snowy face. The pools stay open well into the evening, the outdoor pools lit up to create what feels like an illuminated fairy tale. The spas also have their own hammans, saunas of varying temperatures, and freezing plunge pools. Afterwards you can dine in their restaurant or perhaps stop off for fondue in Abondance on your way back.