A Summer Itinerary
Stroll into the centre of Châtel in the morning – it takes about 10-15 minutes. Visit the boulangerie and charcuterie on the main street to stock up on lovely breads, cured sausages and cheeses for lunchtime. Use your MutiPass to take the gondola, from just above the church, on up the mountain. Take on the challenge of the Adventure Park to negotiate the obstcale course hung from the trees. It's not as easy as it looks, especially the black route!
Follow the path away from the trees and on uphill for a picnic at Lac de Conche after about fifteen minutes walking. Now either, walk on to restaurant Chalet Neuf, climb or take the chairlift up Morclan (the big mountain above the tree climbing) or retrace your steps for un café on the terrace of L'Escale, overlooking the valley.
Hire mountain bikes in Châtel and drive or cycle over to Pré-la-Joux (6km from the village centre or about 30 minutes by bike). Take the Pierre Longue lift followed by Rochessons and head over the other side into the Linderets bowl. Make the most of the many trails before heading north west towards Ardent for lunch at the lovely restaurants of the Village des Chèvres (Goat Village). Return by the Chaux Fleurie lift. Wear appropriate cycling gear!
An alternative easy ride is along the banks of the river from Châtel to La Chapelle. To avoid bikes altogether try walking up to Point d'Autigny from above Abondance. Drive to the small car park (Google maps: 46.298457, 6.749916) and walk uphill and west through the col to the Chalets d'Autigny for refreshments before or after taking in the panorama from the summit ahead.
Le Fer de Rouge in La Chapelle is worth a stop for drinks or a relaxed evening meal on the way back. Outdoor seating, craft ale and good food.
Take a short drive to La Chapelle and drive up the mountains beside the chairlift. Park by the small car parking are at the start of the trail (Google maps: 46.305787, 6.818724). Follow the track as it goes due west and then turns due north as it meanders across pastures and on up into the mountains, heading for Lac d'Arvouin. Walk around the lake and up the clearly marked path past the chalet and up onto the mountainside. The high meadows here are a lovely spot for a picnic. You can return the same way or make a circuit by climbing Point d'Arvouin and descending back to the lake on the other side of the peak.
An alternative more historical day could be spent at the outdoor events and pageantry held most Tuesdays at the Abbaye d’Aulps near St. Jean d’Aulps, about an hour's drive from Châtel.
For some evening mountain scenery, try dinner by candle light at Haute Bise at the Col de Bassachaux (Google maps:46.222778, 6.772083). Drive back through Châtel, past Pré-la-Joux and up to the top of the pass.
There is a lovely walk for a sunny day, up the highest mountain of the area, Mont de Grange. Drive to the small car park by the 1861 Châtel Hostel on the road to Pré-la-Joux (Google maps: 46.2503206,6.8104046). Walk up the road on the right, past the church, and take the right hand fork. The walk continues up steeply before levelling out at an alpine meadow with several chalet. Beyong here there are several different routes. Choose the one that heads left towards the summit. Fitter walkers can make it to the top. Otherwise there is a very pleasant panorama at Cornillon from where you head back down into the valley, ultimately returning to the point where you started. Stop off at 1861 for a refreshment on the way home.
For a less energetic start to the day, visit Châtel’s weekly village market, held below the church every Wednesday from 8.30am. For a whole day out, visit Chateau Chillon, near Montreux and then ride the Rochers-de-Naye funicular above the town high into the Swiss Alps. Montreux is about an hour's drive from Châtel.
Book a guided walk with Mmme. XXX up to see the 'world famous' Abondance cheese and cows. The walk is actually a good ramble, certainly suitable for active children, up the hillsides behind Châtel. XXXXX points out many interesting facts along the way and keeps the climb interesting for both children and adults. Do bring some water as it is a good hour and a half up to the farm.
When you reach the chalet you can see the cheese stored in the traditional underground cellar, meet the cows and then settle down amidst the cow bells of the chalet to share some lovely simple country flavours for lunch with your fellow travellers. Including cheese of course!
There is more fun to be had in the afternoon at Pré-la-Joux. Drive or cycle over there to slide down the Bob Luge and career down the hillside on the neighbouring Dévalkarts. Great fun - and not to be missed by adults either. For more adrenaline, buy a take on the monstrous Fantasticable, a zip wire stretching across the mountain tops above you. You can even go tandem.
To laze abut and let the kids run around, an alternative idea is the water park, La Plage de la Beunaz, near Bernex. It's about 45 minutes drive and will keep the family well entertained for the day.
Time to choose your favourite activities for the last day - the ones you have not been able to do yet! Just in case here are some more options:
White water rafting with Frogs Rafting - drive down the valley, about 45 minutes, to their base close to Thonon. They also guide on the Via Ferrata outside Abondance and do several of the outdoor shops in Châtel
There is a lovely walk up the valley and through the trees from Morgins, five minutes away just over the Swiss border, which takes you gently up to the Cantine de They. Also in Morgins are the stables of Le Ranch de Morgins who offer a range of activities including guided rides into the mountains.
Les Gorges du Pont du Diable, situated a litte outside Abondance, offers a cliff hanging walk deep down into a cave like ravine cut away by the River Dranse. The walk is guided, in French and English, and will easily take a couple of hours.
For a final dinner where better to sit with a glass of bubbles than on the west facing chalet terrace beside the garden and hot tub, overlooking the mountains and sunset. We are happy to arrange wine and fresh, ready-to-heat catering if booked in advance of your stay.