In my previous post I told you about our stay in Alpe-d’Huez, but now I’m also giving you the top 10 things to do while vacationing there. Just like that. You can thank me later (probably next summer though as summer season ends by August 31st).
I admit, I like me a hipster hotel or two but I equally love an apartment all to myself. What can I say? I just love getting up early, getting baguettes and croissants for my love at Jannin (they have the best stuff!). I admit to cooking dinner only twice, though. I love mountain food so much, it would have been a sin to pass up on the opportunity to have it, now wouldn’t it?
As I previously mentioned we stayed at Chalet Cisalpin which I would highly recommend because of its spacious rooms and best location in town (at walking distance from every important ‘quartier’ in town). Hostess Karine Chalvin will make sure you have the best stay possible in Alpe-d’Huez.
Hiking is a popular activity in the area during summer and whether you’ve mastered the art of hiking or not, I’m sure you will find something to your liking (I mean, I did… :)). We did purchase trekking poles this time around. They’re a great help at keeping your balance and divide the effort between arms and legs.
le tour de france
Whether you like it or not, the Tour de France visits Alpe-d’Huez every other year or so. It’s a great event to attend in my opinion although the resort gets very buy during those days. We usually go see the race at about 300m before the finish, quite late in the afternoon. The main street in Quartier des Jeux is focused around the Tour which means that restaurants have fix menus on the day of the Tour and tend to get quite busy. We usually have lunch at our favourite spot, l’Altiport, because it tends to be quiet up there, even on these busy days.
A couple of years ago we stayed at CGH Résidences in Les Houches, close to the Mont Blanc. I remembered they had a beautiful spa over there and I still regret opting out of a spa treatment over there.
As we were looking to unwind on this holiday I decided to book a spa treatment at their Alpe-d’Huez residence Le Cristal de l’Alpe.
Honestly? This was the best spa treatment I ever had. I previously thought they would be rather pricy but they ended up being equally priced compared to the spa treatments in Belgium.
A big plus as well are their treatments for the cyclists conquering Alpe-d’Huez.
shop ’til you drop
I never really cared about shopping while vacationing in the mountains until Josie told me about the sales on winter garments. Oh yes, the sales on winter garments are much better than here so I ended up with a beautiful beanie and pair of earmuffs by Barts.
I also spent some time shopping in the beautiful shops of Sun Valley and Clin d’Oeil.
Seriously, I cannot stop raving about the mountain food. I love me some fondue (either bourguignonne or savoyarde) and you cannot imagine what I’d do for a plate of gratin dauphinois nowadays. And then I haven’t talked about the delicious tartiflette yet.
Our favourite restaurants in the area include l’Altiport, Le Roy Ladre (do try their pizza Les Vachettes) and La Bergerie (in Villard-Reculas).
Another fun thing do while staying in Alpe-d’Huez is taking the cable car up to Pic Blanc situated at no less than 3330m. It assures breathtaking views: on very bright and sunny days you can even spot the Mont Ventoux up there!
take in the sights by plane
On our final morning in Alpe-d’Huez we decided to take in the scenery with a discovery flight of 10 minutes. Not that long, no, but it does provide a superior view on the station.
We travel by car in the area and have come to known a couple of beautiful scenic routes. Our favourites included the Route pastorale du Col de Sarenne and the Route de la Confession (Alpe-d’Huez to Villard-Reculas), both easy to find on Google Maps.
conquer those 21 bends
I believe the penultimate thing to do is conquer Alpe-d’Huez by bike. I don’t have a bike yet, but hope to conquer those 21 bends by bike one day. For now, I settled on conquering them by car, another fun thing to do although you do need an extra pair of eyes to keep sight of the countless cyclists going up!