Click through to read the full report on our trip and take a trip down memory lane with us.
I packed about five books plus four magazines to end up finishing but only one book. When we were in Alpe-d’Huez back in 2011 it was a very cold summer and it rained often, so I came prepared. However, the weather has been exceptionally good so far this summer (according to our former landlord), so I only did some reading on the way back (I’m way too excited to read on our way to our final destination). Thank god the husband ended up reading some ehm.. very interesting material.
I was so bummed about the weather back in 2011 because it never allowed us to go swimming in the outdoor swimming pool. On our first day I grabbed the chance to stop by. I love swimming there surrounded by mountains at no less than 1800m!
Since we already visited the Alpe-d’Huez area we decided to visit a couple of new things and mainly linger around and revisit some favorites.
We visited Les Deux Alpes (where I had been before with my parents) and went all the way up to 3400m where the view was breathtaking! The ride involved a cable lift plus a tram ride in a tunnel inside the mountain (which took you from 3200m to 3400m). The ride doesn’t come cheap but we would highly recommend it, especially with kids!
This was the view on our 3200m stop. Les Deux Alpes is known for its summer skiing on its glacier. If only I knew how to ski, it looks so surreal to ski on that glacier!
We visited the (artificial) ice cave inside the glacier of Les Deux Alpes and while we’ve visited similar ice caves before this one really tops all of them. So beautiful!
I’ve been following Josie’s blog for a while now since I discovered she only lives about 10 minutes from us. When we found out we would be staying in the area during the same week we made a plan to meet up either at Alpe-d’Huez or at the Tour de France. So it happened that one Wednesday afternoon five Belgians met up at Alpe-d’Huez. It’s funny to meet each other for the first time there when you live so close to each other.
While we had great weather during our stay, we did get to deal with the occasional thunderstorm once in a while. I am no big fan of them at home, but in the mountains they tend to be exciting. Just look at that beautiful pack of clouds.
We were fortunate to experience the Tour de France twice: once in Allemont and once in Alpe-d’Huez. We both liked the stage that passed through Allemont best: we first had a picnic and then saw the riders pass by. A Belgian rider was in front at the time so that made it extra special.
Seriously, how beautiful is Lake Verney in Allemont?
There were lots of Belgians supporting the riders in Allemont hence the decorations on the side of the road.
It’s always fun to watch the people who are anticipating the peloton. I love snapping shots of them as well.
On our way back from Allemont we took the scenic route to Alpe-d’Huez which passes by Villard-Reculas. I guess it’s where I fell in love with this little mountain village. Its views are surreal and they have the most beautiful chalet, La Bergerie, to have a drink or dinner. Do prepare to read more of La Bergerie in a separate blog post.
During our visit four years ago we made it up to St-Christophe-en-Oisans where we visited La Cordée (still love that place!). This time around we continued our ride up to La Bérarde (thanks for the tip Josie & co): a small mountain village mainly known for hiking around the area. It was so peaceful and quiet up there. We had a mountain-style lunch here and just enjoyed the silence and the painting-like scenery. It doesn’t get more picturesque than this, now does it?
We made another stop at the waterfall near Plan du Lac. We got ourselves splashed with water though as we got to go very close to the waterfall. It made for a very fun photo op (and it is so much fun looking at the now & then photo!).
Okay, these two photos could explain what happened to my body! All those baguettes did me no good but they were so good. And those croissants? Well, the French do it (way) better.
Our favorite place in Alpe-d’Huez: l’Altiport restaurant, adjacent to the small Alpe-d’Huez airport. I guess we ended up there four to five times. Then again, their food is delicious! We had the best fondue (Savoyarde style) there, but I’ll tell you about this hidden gem in a separate blog post (they deserve it, what can I say).
The Tour de France had its finale in Alpe-d’Huez but no surprises here as Chris Froome took the yellow jersey quite early on. I’m no fan of the rider because he lacks personality, but I still love an event like the Tour de France.
By the time Chris Froome made his way to the finish line most of the spectators left the side of the road, so we managed to be on the first row to cheer on the peloton and the final riders making their way to the finish line.
We figured out that Belgian tv channel VRT would be visiting the hotel of Movistar Team rider Nairo Quintana. We totally lucked out because on our stroll through a post-Tour Alpe-d’Huez we accidentally stumbled upon their hotel. We watched them tape a segment for the daily news and for the tv show Vive le Vélo before making our way up to the terrace and experiencing the final moments of the interview live. Afterwards we had a chance to check the Vive le Vélo table with signatures of all the riders who won a stage during this Tour de France.
I think we did kind of picnic our way through this holiday which was so much fun. I had purchased a beautiful picnic blanket from Hema and we needed nothing more but some rosé, cheese and bread to make our way through the afternoon. We absolutely loved the Lac Besson area as it is very picnic friendly and has the most beautiful views.
We also revisited beautiful Venosc, a mountain village full of craftshops which sell handmade items. I got another pair of beautiful earrings from Il était une soie, which has the most beautiful handmade jewelery among other things.
We opted for another stay at the Chalet Cisalpin where we previously rented an apartment. Fun fact: the landlord, Karine Chalvin, is the daughter of the landlord of both Chalet Crocus where I previously stayed with my parents (sixteen years ago to date!). Anyway, we once again opted for the bigger apartment because it has a beautiful terrace with amazing views and is faced to the south. We had breakfast in our t-shirt every morning, something which I absolutely love! If you ever visit Alpe-d’Huez, be it summer or winter, I highly recommend this place (and do say hi to Mrs. Chalvin from us!).
We added some Flair to the apartment as well. Love this banner!
Of course we sent the obligatory postcards. It’s a tradition that I still love.
Alpe-d’Huez as seen from the Chemin des Lacs.
I wanted to take a star photo and this is my first attempt at it. I think I might invest in a filter for our next visit, though.
Uhm.. right. Maybe I needed to mention that this post was NSFW? 😉
My husband was in need of a new cover photo for his Facebook profile so I did just that. No, seriously, we hiked four over three hours on our last day and enjoyed the most gorgeous views all around us.
Hurray for self-timers and me thinking about using them on our last day!
Definitely worth the hike!
Best. Pizza. Ever. Seriously, hostess Stephanie of Le Roy Ladre knows a thing our two about pizza. This one with Reblochon cheese was to die for.
Our last day in Alpe-d’Huez. Doing some obligatory photo ops before leaving this beautiful place.
This short plane ride was the best thing ever before leaving this place. We had a very good view of the area and would highly recommend this to everyone who visits Alpe-d’Huez. Do I even need to mention that we had lunch at l’Altiport afterwards? 🙂
Upon descending Alpe-d’Huez it started to rain. I guess this place was really sad to see us go (as were we!).
We spread the ride home over two days (to battle this wanderlust thing) and stayed in the beautiful Relais Sainte Marie in Sainte Marie La Blanche just prior to Dijon. This makes for an ideal stop on the way back from Alpe-d’Huez. We had a wonderful dinner there, the perfect end to this trip/
We were a tad bit sad because our holiday was almost over…
These two made it clear: next time we’re going with you!
If you made it all the way to the end of this post: hurray for you and thanks for reading along! Stay tuned for some separate blog posts about our trip in the next couple of weeks!