We were actually not sure if we wanted to share…but…

 

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Sainte Foy – Photo credit (c) Holly Junak for Premiére Neige

…if you like everything that rimes on unspoiled alpine charme, well prepared slopes, perfect conditions for kids, a World of off pist options, total lack of lift queues and even more charm…

Here is a tip to the hidden gem Sainte-Foy Tarentaise in the French Alps. But don’t tell anyone……

In the midst of France’s Olympic ski area near Albertville, surrounded by Val d`Iséré, Tignes, Les Arcs and La Rosiere, the tiny town and its ski area is hidden. All who’ve been to Val d`Iséré or Tigne have driven through this small town – But it’s a sin not to take a closer look!

The dilemma of wanting to share and at the same time keeping it our own little secret…

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We visited Saint-Foy Tarentaise  for the first time last year (2 days at Easter time) and was left with nothing but an urge to come back. Why? It’s a relaxed friendly gem with both alpine charm and traditional Savoyard architecture (which is not always easy to find in the French Alps)… and it’s perfect for families with its direct ski-in-ski-out slopes and super nice accommodation – we will come back to that.

How different levels, perfect lunches and skiing with a view go hand-in-hand

We travel with 3 children (3,9,13) and the reality of very different ski/snowboard levels, but at no time during our stay were the differences a challenge. Situated on a North-Westerly bearing , the ski area of Sainte-Foy offers high quality powder snow which is renowned amongst all ski experts. In short the area is ideal for all levels; from beginner to the expert.

The ski slopes are well maintained and have a variation in level of 1000m. You have a lot of slopes with challenging “off piste” tree tracks that the more experienced skier can play at while the beginner can stay at the slopes. This was a big hit and made it possible for us to have a lot of time together instead of splitting us up in groups…But it´s not just for families…For the real pro off-piste rider, the area is a true adventure (but bring a guide!) and known to be the place where ski instructors and guides go to on their day off… and they all talk about the ungroomed black runs of “Crystal dark”, “Morion” and “Crêt Serru du Haut”.

 

Our youngest, aged 3, had her real debut on the skies (we did take a few 1 day trips already and she had a taster last year)… and what a hit. Ok, admitted… the perfect conditions made it easy to create a succes: clear blue sky, sun, fresh snow and lots of hot chocolate breaks…plus she met the nicest ski instructor who within less than an hour, got her basics in place….

And off to the slopes she went…

On the 30km of marked slopes you find an array of beautiful mountain chalets and hamlets…. not to mention the option to have really nice, well-prepared lunches and the joy of a spectacular view of the Mont-Blanc and the Haute-Tarentaise Valley. Both the restaurants Les Brevettes and Les Marquises are recommendable.

An alternative is to make a picnic on the side of the slopes…If you don´t want to bring the food your self, Les Marquises has a nice and cool “drive in” where you simply just pick up your food – and it´s made of nice quality ingredients!!

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Picnic in the sun, photo credit (c) Holly Junak for Premiére Neige

Once you tried a chalet like this, it will be hard to go back…

Imagine coming down from the slopes, entering at nice cosy chalet where the fireplace is lit and someone has prepared afternoon tea/coffee and even baked a cake….and then… while the nicest and talented chef is preparing your dinner…you jump in to the hot tub on the balcony and watch the sun set over the mountains…

Sounds like a used phrase in a travel magazine (and you can almost see the toothpaste smile on the models sitting in the tub)….. but that is what our accommodation in Sainte-Foy was like… and here is our smile:-)

We have tried various types of accommodation on our past ski holidays. In Sainte-Foy you have everything: Hotels, appartements and chalets…but we have to say that nothing has ever been so well organized, convenient, service oriented and characterized by friendly staff as during this experience.

We stayed in a catered chalet called South Face, operated by the ski Chalet company, Premiére Neige. Conveniently located in the resort, and with easy access to the pistes and resort centre, the stunning 5 bedroom chalet delivered the ultimate in catered ski holiday luxury and relaxation. The view from the chalet was just…fantastic…Look at this morning sky… and then imagine how beautiful this view is all year around as the scenery changes…. Premiere Neige offers a number of different chalets in the resort and you can find a full list here

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We shared our chalet with two other partys – each had their own floor with private bathrooms – and in the morning and evening we all had dinner together at a long table in the shared living room. A wonderful experience with fantastic food, really nice people and the most helpfull staff. Thanks to Chef Chris for involving a very curious 9-year-old boy in your cooking….. we still talk about that cheese cake:-)…and the chocolate cake and…

So….Is Saint-Foy then only a ski destination?

Not if you ask us! The area offers a lot of adventures for cyclists and hikers during spring and summer…and we are already looking at dates for our return. That is what Saint Foy does to you…

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Hiking routes setting of from the center of Sainte Foy

You can learn more about the summer adventures  here and also find valuable information at the Tourists office´s website here

Cold facts, insider tips and usable links:

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Sainte Foy is known only to the privileged few… You are now among us… so please keep the secret:-)… We will be back…

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5 Ways West – Photo Credit (c) Holly Junak for Premiére Neige

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