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The Val d’Arly, gently sloping Savoie

This Savoyard territory with charming villages cultivates the art of taking one’s time. Between nature activities and epicurean haunts, our advice for a refreshing break.

A discreet triangle nestled between the renowned Mont-Blanc, Aravis and Beaufortain massifs, the Val d’Arly is a mountainous region that has remained simple and welcoming. Its four small village resorts offer unique panoramas and a perfect playground for the whole family. The pastoral tradition, still present, the bulbous bell towers and the period chalets are not there for the decoration: they testify to their authenticity and blend harmoniously with modern and reasoned tourism.

Connected to the two major ski areas that are Espace Diamant for ski resorts Flumet / Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe and Crest-Voland/Cohennoz ; and that of Gates of Mont-Blanc for the Giettaz, the resorts of Val d’Arly have always offered a vast white paradise for outdoor activities. In this very special winter, the landscapes open to the Mont-Blanc or the Aravis ranges can be crossed by ski touring, snowshoes or on a sled pulled by a team of dogs.

These Savoy lands dotted with spruce trees and old farms are also renowned for their gourmet and hedonistic addresses, at altitude or nestled on the outskirts of the villages. Finally, the little-known villages bordering the Arly torrent also have their share of hidden treasures and deserve our attention. New tours, guided or dramatized, now give them back their proper dimension.

Snowshoeing on the heights of Notre Dame de Bellecombe

Snowshoeing outing in the countryside. J-P. NOISILLIER

To explore and showcase its pretty hamlets and forests inhabited by magnificent wildlife, the French ski school of Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe also knows how to swap its boards for snowshoes. In the Planay sector, the hamlet of Corbières has four year-round residents. We follow in the footsteps of our guide Adrien and cross the snow-covered clearing located under the “Rocher à Gardet”. We quickly understand that here, nature reigns supreme. The cute little tracks make us hesitate between squirrels, rabbits and foxes, then we go deep into the forest, it is a deer that we frighten. But seeing a little further the ground turned over and the bark of the trees literally gnawed at 1.50 m in height, we learn that the majestic deer are not far either!

ESF, 73590 Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe. Phone. : 04 79 31 62 04. Prices: 18 € adult / 13 € child (-12 years old).

Dog sled epic in La Giettaz

Unlike a baptism, driving a team requires good physical condition. OT Val d’Arly

Direction the small resort of La Giettaz, on the road leading to the Col des Aravis. At the foot of the slopes, in the snowy area of ​​the Plan, the ESF mini-trappers frolic happily, in the middle of a treasure hunt. But all stop in front of the concert sung by one of the dogs harnessed to the sleds and then followed by the 32 others of the pack. A single brief whistle from musher Benjamin Grosdaillon is enough to find total silence. The group of adults and children learning dog handlers are impressed and do not miss a beat in the presentations. Once the explanations are done, the Malamutes, Greenlanders, Alaskan and other Eurohounds, overflowing with energy, feel the time to leave. On the program: a 5km ride, comfortably seated in the sled, or learning to drive a team.

Centrale, Val d’Arly Tourist Office. Phone. : 04 79 31 06 82; ct@la-giettaz.com. Adult price: 63 €, child (11 years old max): 12 to 42 € depending on age.

Night totally perched in Saint-Nicolas-la-Chapelle

The Leaf hut and its double terrace. Between Earth and Sky / Photo press

At the top of a pretty snow-covered road not far from the hamlet of Chaussisse, it’s hard to believe that this dense pine forest conceals four original cabins. Imagined and produced by Nicolas Boisramé, these perched and very comfortable habitats blend completely into the decor. The owner’s latest invention is nestled 10 meters above the ground: the Leaf cabin is an incredible modern and wooded structure, the interior of which is a cocoon with vegetal decoration, worthy of a luxury suite. When opened, the large rounded bay window disappears into the partitions, thus completely revealing the room to the fresh air. On the nicely lit terrace, the wooden spa diffuses its scent of red cedar and a suspended net awaits visitors who come to gain height and admire Mont-Blanc between the treetops.

Between Earth and Sky. Phone. : 07 68 39 19 60. Price for the “Leaf hut”: from 550 € per night with breakfast for 2 people.

Theatrical visit to Flumet

The village of Flumet as you have never seen it! OTI Val d’Arly

When you cross the gorges of the Arly in the direction of Albertville or Megève, the passage of the agglomeration of Flumet makes it seem insignificant. It is precisely because the main road avoids the center of this village which is actually charming and steeped in history. Its medieval village with houses suspended above the Arly and its baroque church would surprise more than one visitor, distant or local! The “Mystery at Customs” tour led by an actor plunges us with humor and finesse in the time of smugglers and on the road to the Grandes Alpes.

Reservation: Tel. : 04 79 31 61 08; www.valdarly-montblanc.com

Price: € 5 per person, free for children under 12. Every Wednesday during the February holidays, at 5.30 p.m., limited to 5 people.

Eco-responsible and epicurean cottage in Flumet / Saint Nicolas la Chapelle

While waiting for the music to restart, the Toî du Monde offers take-away meals and of course delivers the hosts of the lodging. Press photo

It is somewhat the flagship address of the territory, the one that shows the direction, which sets the tone of tomorrow’s tourism desired by many local players. Le Toî du Monde opened in July 2019 and has just been awarded a Bib Gourmand and a Green Star by the Michelin guide. A nice surprise for the whole team, which admits not knowing other establishments which combine these two distinctions. Proof that we can combine gastronomy, ecology and accessibility. Florent Perrin is an environmental engineer and he, with his partner, renovated his grandmother’s farm in the most beautiful way. The 1886 site now houses an eco-lodge for 20 people and, normally, a wine bar restaurant with a café-concert activity. The 5 hectares which surround it serve on the one hand as a vegetable garden and on the other as pasture for the cow of the neighboring farmer, which will then be cooked in its entirety by chef Thomas Tricault. Ultra-short circuits, a carbon neutral building that is self-sufficient in energy, which in no way prevents a festive atmosphere and anything but moralizing. Leititia Dyszkiewicz and Florent Perrin, who do not like labels, above all wish here “Offer good, clean and fair food and demonstrate that you can respect the mountain while continuing to have fun! “

The Roof of the World. Phone. : 06 59 41 91 11; Gîte: from 40 € / night / person (excluding breakfast). Restaurant: Starter – Main – Dessert menu: 33 €.


Getting to Val d’Arly

By car :

Via the A40 to Sallanches then the D1212 via Megève.

Via the A43 to Albertville then the D1212.

By train :

By TGV (direct from Paris, Nantes, Strasbourg, Lille) to Albertville, then 40-minute bus or car transfer.

By plane :

The nearest airports are located in Geneva (70 km) and Lyon (106 km).

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