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The Lure of Morzine-Les Gets

Les Gets birds eye view

The towns of Morzine and Les Gets are real. Their authenticity sets them apart. It’s what drew in the growing population of young entrepreneurs and artists. You can find them mixed in with genuine French locals who will actually be farming the land come summer, as they have been, every summer, since the early part of the 12th Century. Living, breathing history.

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They're different. That’s why we love them. There is something distinctly different about Morzine-Les Gets. You can enjoy ultimate luxury. You can enjoy world-class skiing across the largest ski area in the world. But nothing about it is purpose-built. It’s not a glossy facade for a nuts and bolts tourist trap. 

Aesthetically it’s picture perfect. Old stone farmhouses and wooden chalets as far as your eyes can see, not a high-rise purpose-build in sight. Even the Jean Vuarnet inspired nearby mountain-top ski resort of Avoriaz has been created to merge into the rocks - a jagged grey addition to the mountain peaks. 

But what can you do here? What do these distinctly different ski resorts bring to your holiday table? Here are a few of our top recommendations of things we love to do in our mountain homes of Morzine and Les Gets.  

On Mountain 

Ok, so, it’s why you are here. We all love a pretty mountain town and an abundance of available fresh croissants. But really you are here for the skiing. And thankfully it’s world class. Morzine-Les Gets form part of the gigantum Portes du Soleil. It makes up 12 different ski resorts spanning the French-Swiss border. The 650 kilometres of pistes are really just a starting point, you can ski these in any which way. But there is also incredible lift accessible off-piste, serious world-beating snow parks, ski de fond tracks, snow scooters and even speed riding. In short, snowsports are here in abundance. If you are not sure where to start we’d say do a “Ski Safari”, or as the locals say, Do The Circuit. The Circuit is a one-day ski tour that takes you from Les-Gets-Morzine to most of the other 12 resorts in the Portes du Soleil. From Morzine you ski across to Avoriaz, then Les Crosets (via the Swiss Wall if you’re up for it) towards Champoussin, Morgins, over to Châtel, Pres la Joux then back to Les Lindarets in time for tea. There are add-ons too, if your legs can handle it. Ski back to Super Morzine then over to Les Gets. Or ‘go long’ and add in Torgon for a real challenge. Mix and match to your heart’s content. 

Lift accessible off-piste is also here in abundance. Why not head up to the top of the Arare piste then take a right down the Coupe de Monde. It is an amazing run by itself, and so often avoided by tourists because of its black rating. But off it are powder-bowls galore, with amazing stretches of off-piste complete with alpine forest runs and even the odd mountain stream that you might need to jump across along your way! It’s impossible to get bored here.

Off Mountain 

 Back in town if you are looking to be wined, dined and entertained then you’ve got a mix of vibrant new and traditional old. There are of course local restaurants serving up Savoie classics, regional wines and the obligatory cheese fondues. There are also après bars and nightclubs spewing out late night eurotrash. But there are exciting young new offerings, bringing a slice of city-cosmopolitan to our alpine home. Whether it be the new IBEX microbrewery creating a series of carefully crafted beers that can be tasted on-site or in the local bars; new coffee shops such as Satellite Coffee, who spend their summers scouring the globe sourcing the best coffee to make you (and me) before feeding us delicious vegan and gluten free foods. Then there is the Bec Jaune, another microbrewery bar, that’s more Shoreditch-chic than mountain-cliche with mismatched furniture and a menu of asian-fusion pub grub. From organic Kimchi and pulled pork burgers to delicious Raman bowls and the best Scotch eggs on the planet. You’ll struggle to visit just once. 

There is also an abundance of pop-up restaurants in town, such as vegan dining nights at Satellite coffee, where local artists and photographers also exhibit their work, and luxury in-house dining experiences with the likes of The Boutique Chalet Company, whose most recent offering was their Kaiseki Dining Experience - a 10 course Japanese tasting menu hosted in their award winning luxury chalet in Les Gets. 

Off the mountain and out of the bars, the natural environment is intoxicating. There is alpine culture in abundance because it is, after all, a genuine year-round alpine town. An example of this is both of the Morzine and Les Gets local cheesemakers - the fromageries - who offer weekly tours to show you the local cheese making process. There are local mines where you can see the old mining process that was, for centuries, a large part of the local industry. And there are lots and lots of lovely cows who wander freely across the mountains during the summer, all freckled pink noses and noisy bells around their necks. 

The future’s bright here in Morzine and Les Gets. With millions of pounds of investment set to be spent on new ski-lifts and snowmaking facilities; the recent approval for a new lift connecting Morzine town centre to high altitude Avoriaz and the linking up of St Jean D’Aulps (one of our favourite secret skiing spots) to the rest of the Portes du Soleil, your To Do list just got a lot longer. Which means you’ll probably need to book in and stay at one of The Boutique Chalet Company’s luxury chalets, all featuring their own Bamford Spas, in order to relax after all ‘the doing’.  

Top Tips  

Downloading the Swiss Wall  
Take the ski-lift down the Swiss wall and watch those brave warriors trying to ski it. It’s much more civilised and relaxing from above.   

Rostis in Switzerland 

Just off Les Crosets bowl is a partially hidden restaurant with slightly grumpy staff (and a lama who likes to spit). They make the best Swiss rostis I have ever tasted. Ignore the service. Enjoy the food. 

Lac Mines D’Or in summer

It’s a lake at the base of a hike that takes you over the French-Swiss border from which you can enjoy epic mountain views before enjoying a 4 hour loop hiking all the way into a gorgeous mountain hamlet called Baume. In winter the area offers incredible off-piste known as the Vallee de la Manche. Try both. Possibly with a guide!

1490 Exclusive

Is a restaurant quite literally on its own. Owned by a local French family, sat behind Les Gets’ Mont Chery, you have to walk (or they will Skidoo you in winter) from the car park to the restaurant which sits alone on a mountain plateau with breathtaking views and a delicious French menu. 

Accommodation 

In Les Gets try, either the World Ski Awards 2017 Best New Ski Chalet Finalist, Ferme de la Corderie, or the Grand Designs’ favourite, Ferme de Moudon. Over in Morzine book into the mothership that is Chalet Joux Plane, opening this December and defying all that has been built before. She will set the bar from now on in luxury ski, with a swim in, swim out, swimming pool. Don’t get it? Don’t worry. You will soon!