FOR THE BEST CROISSANTS AND BAGUETTES
Chez Céline, Rue du Bourg
At the lower end of the Rue du Bourg, just before the local Tabac, is a boulangerie pâtisserie, Chez Céline, that starts baking every morning around 3am. If you are lucky enough to find their back door (around the back of the high street close to Carrefour) you can buy croissants straight from the oven from about 4am. If you can wait until 7am they are available from Céline herself as is a delicious fresh bread baguette that looks like it has rabbit ears on one end and tastes as good as rabbits look like they should.
FOR WARM FRESH GINGER CAKE
Au Délice Chocolaté, Rue du Bourg
Walk up the hill of the Rue du Bourg and halfway, as a reward for your efforts, you will pass Au Délice Chocolaté. The family-run business makes hand made chocolates and other such delights, all of which are incredibly hard not to gobble up. But it’s the smell of their ginger cake baking that will have you running in from the street. Buy it fresh. Eat it warm. There won’t be any left by the time you get back to your chalet.
FOR MOUNTAIN SECRETS ON CHAIRLIFTS
Downloading the Swiss Wall
Use a chairlift in a different way. Take the ski lift down the Swiss Wall from the French side into Switzerland. There are moguls the size of small cars and brave warriors trying to ski them. It’s much more civilised and relaxing from above and you can spend the day skiing in Switzerland.
FOR HIGH ALTITUDE COFFEE WITH A VIEW
The Cookie Café
The Cookie Café is one of the highest altitude restaurants in the Portes du Soleil. Located at the top of the Mossettes chairlift, at over 2000 metres above sea level, you can enjoy truly panoramic views from both inside and on the terrace. Get here for first lifts and enjoy a coffee before your ski day watching the sun come up over the mountains. If you are really lucky you might find that the Cookie staff adorn really early morning coffees with fresh fruit smoothie shots and a delicious small cake. But this is an occasional treat for early risers or ski instructors who assemble here before they start work.
FOR A HIDDEN MOUNTAIN LUNCH SPOT
Le Relais Panoramique
Just off Les Crosets bowl in Switzerland is a partially hidden restaurant with grumpy staff and a llama who likes to spit. The service is begrudging. They normally make you wait. But Le Relais Panoramique make the best Swiss rostis and on a sunny day has a breathtaking view of the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil. Ignore the service. Enjoy the food.
To get there ski towards Les Crosets from Avoriaz/Lindarets by taking the Mossettes chairlift. At the top grab a quick coffee from the Cookie Café (see above) then take the piste that passes down and around the Cookie Café. Stay on this track, ignoring the two pistes on your right that take you down into Les Crosets. Stay on this straight, narrow pass that runs along the side of the mountain and takes you towards Morgins. You’ll end up at a button lift (take it) after which you must ski for about 300 metres. Look out for a small sign on your right for Le Relais Panoramique. Ski down the small pass to the grumpy staff and delicious rostis.