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Archive for the ‘France’ Category

click, book and go !

If you live in the South of  France going to the French Alps is really accessible. A three hour drive is all that you need. We have been to three stations Orcières 1850, Risoul 1850 and Le Sauze and I tell you it’s worth the ski. Every time we go up to the French Alps, kids are always excited and especially impatient to hit the road. As usual, we have spent a white Christmas in Risoul 1850.  We are grateful to have the French Alps as we wouldn’t drive long hours just to have the snow, ski and slide  😀 ! Risoul 1850 station, on the other hand,  is found on the north so the sun is partly present.  The temperature is a bit elevated compared to Orcières 1850. Do not forget to cover yourself up to protect from cold weather. The ski area coupled with the sunshine and connected with Vars concocting the field of Forêt Blanche with 180km of pistes.  The ski slopes are very  pleasant, enjoyable and suitable for all levels.  The lifts are efficient and allow you to ski without having to wait long hours. You also have shops, postal service, restaurants, washing & dry cleaning shops.  Typically, there are amusement areas like swimming pool, cinema, skating rink etc.

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The ski slope near our rented flat with the lift.

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Went to the center to capture this ice curving of the crèche (nativity scene)

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Sunset and full moon in Risoul

From Risoul’s one week vacation, we went directly to Orcières 1850 which is 1 hour and 30 minutes drive only. Thanks to a good friend, he’s always been so generous to lend us the flat for free. Btw, the name Orcières Merlette has changed to Orcières 1850 but I really don’t know why probably it has something to do with the altitude. I will try to discover why they have changed some names  of the French ski sites.

To give you an overview of  Orcières 1850  it is situated at an altitude of 1850 metres.  Since the site is found in  the South, you have the sun all the way to give you company and it could be really hot especially wrap all out with ski suit.  So be ready to put on your sun screen lotion and all the protections you could possibly need when skiing. You may also find lots of interesting activities to do like,  ice climbing, husky dog sledding,  spending a night in an igloo, target sports, paragliding, quad biking, snow-shoeing, ski joëring, snake sledge, motor-sports and Tyrolean which is the longest zip line in Europe. The Tyrolean measures 1870m long cable stretching from the Drouvet summit (2655m) to the Lake Long (2500m). A person is specially attached securely to an adapted tackle, horizontally in sliding position, head first at speeds of up to 140km/hour. The whole sliding experience lasts approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds.  Normally, one needs to be 10 years old to experience this but my kids first ever sliding when they were 7 yrs old (my son) and 5 yrs.old (my daughter 😀 ! There are also various facilities in the middle of snowy mountains like cinema, bowling, ice skating and swimming pool.

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This is an early morning capture of our first day in Orcières.

Lastly it was year 2009 when we went to Le Sauze, I was still pregnant of my third baby. I did enjoy the stay as I was able to relax because I didn’t do anything from groceries to cooking 😀 ! It was a complete pension because we registered the family to CE (Comité d’entreprise from hubby’s work) to join the winter sport vacation. That was awesome 😀  ! Station with seven hamlets, Le Sauze gives you an unrivalled sportiness. All the pleasures of skiing are offered with variety of exhibitions and diversity of the tracks invites you to ski without restraint. The after-ski couldn’t be boring because there are also other activities to do like an indoor pool, a cottage in the mountains, where it is good to relax or a night in an igloo atmosphere north. Everything is possible and no dull moments 😀 ! The ski area measures  65 km of slopes,  23 lifts,  37 tracks, and with the altitude of  1400 to 2450 meters high.

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This is where we stayed. The hotel L’eau Vive is one of the  properties of  my husband work.

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Le Sauze Ski center

Despite of economic crisis, rocketing rates for everything , more tourist skiers still prefer to ski in France than anywhere else in the world.  Surprisingly,  I have seen many tourist this year 2012 and I don’t have this impression that crisis will stop people from skiing 😀 !  It is undoubtedly  inescapable: the French Alps have always an excellent and broadest variety of skiing pleasure. If you book early as possible from lodging to ski passes it could be cheaper. If you’re planning a ski trip with friends and family try to consider a chalet rental or an apartment big enough to accommodate big number of person to match every budget.  It’s a way much cheaper than renting hotels which is out of price !

Book now before it’s too late 😉 !

CE – A works council is a “shop-floor” organization representing workers, which functions as local/firm-level complement to national labour negotiations.

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Off North

It’s true that we are lucky to have lived in the South of France.  Marseille weather is habitually warm throughout the season and snow is very rare.  Just this fall break we wanted a little change….go North !  Since we haven’t been to North of France for a long time we decided to visit husband family. It was a 10 hour drive quite tiring though it’s all worth going there. We stayed at our friends house in Méru, a nice little village in Picardy. The town has  13,249 inhabitants and has privileged access to both Paris region and northern France which is not bad.

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Méru village overlooking from the forest

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Méru church

My friend took us to the forest for a pleasant promenade.  It’s quite cold but we were lucky to have sun shone all the way to keep us warm and brightly shining.  We even had chestnut (châtaigne) picking.  We went home with basket full of chestnut.  Kids and parents have had so much fun. Imagine 6 kids and 4 adults in a house :d . It was all fun !

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the sun of the south brought to the north (according to my friend)

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the chestnut we harvested yummm !

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It was a short stay so we haven’t had enough time to go out and discover the whole village but we were happy to explore a little of Méru. We will surely go back to visit and know more about her new home.  Sorry the quality of the photos are not so good as I’ve used my mobile though I have my numeric camera. The classic me…. when I try to use it,  I had a low battery sign 😦 !

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More to explore

One of the places I really love to explore again is Pay Basque located in the Southwest of France from the Region of Atlantic Pyrenees. Pay Basque is divided into 3 provinces; Labourd, Basse-Navarre and Soule. I’ve been there thrice specifically in St. Jean de Luz since the uncle of Honey is from there and a good friend of him. It’s nice to discover as it is near Spanish border which are a steps away.

San Sebastian – 30 kilometers

Pamplona 90 kilometers

Bilbao – 110 kilometers

I was fascinated the first time I discovered this city. We didn’t have kids yet so it was undemanding to just walk around. Honey toured me to see the neighbouring villages. The typical Pay Basques houses are multi-coloured, proud and eye catching. They speak French but they are also proud of their several dialects like Biscayan, Guipuzcoan, Labourdin, Zuberoan (also known as Souletin), Low Navarrese, and Batua (simplified Basque). Basque inhabitants are known as to be nationalist. This place is also called as the Land of Surfers. The waves are not that big compared to Hawaii, Australia and other places but it is enough to enjoy the surfing journey. You can also visit the magnificent beauty of Corniche. The Basque Corniche is the last huge natural part on the Basque coast of France. With its natural landscape and the cliffs are extravagant. The effects of valleys and ridges offer diverse sights of the Atlantic Ocean, sea cliff, agricultural vicinity and the mountains in the background. We had the chance to visit San Sebastien which is 30 minutes away from uncle’s house and we stayed there. It was odd because I felt I was home. I’ve seen familiar words like abogado, cocina etc and the people greeting each other Kumustas !

I still really need to discover this place again as it was always a really short visit. And time was really not enough because it was not really a traveller’s journey. We went there for big occasions like 50th Birthday Anniversary and wedding of Honey’s cousin. Most of the time was spent into partying, eating and family get away. I will include this place in our travel plan that’s for sure.

Check this site for more pictures.

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