Experience Chalet Pelerin, an authentic mountain lodge in the French Alps

Chalet Pelerin, an authentic mountain lodge in the French Alps, is nestled in the tiny mountain village of Le Miroir, with seven world-class ski resorts less than 30 minutes away.

view of the French Alps from Chalet Pelerin

I had the pleasure to book a winter retreat at the wonderful Chalet Pelerin, and I am pleased to say it surpassed all expectations. This authentic mountain lodge is nestled in the midst of the Alps, one of the most notorious and breath-taking mountain ranges in Europe, and in the world. I am a great ski fan, and had read reviews on how the lodge was perfect tackle both on-piste and off-piste slopes, but I has scarcely prepared for the magic of the surrounding scenery.

I was initially told I could book a flight to Lyon or Geneva airports (which are roughly two and a half hours away from the chalet by car), but in the end I chose the train. I simply boarded a Eurostar from London St Pancras to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, from where the chalet staff kindly picked me up with their private transfer car. The drive was just 20 minutes long, but already twisting up valleys lined with pine trees and looking up through the windscreen at the snowy peaks chiselling across the sky got my heart beating.

The chalet is set on the outskirts of the quiet town of Le Miroir, a place where the rhythm of life seems barely to have changed in the last 200 years. From the moment I arrived, I knew this was my perfect getaway from the world – a place where time stopped ticking and all that mattered where the awe-inspiring mountains enveloping me.

My room was nothing short on wonderful, the perfect combination of rustic feel and comfort. I had to open the window and let in the fresh air. Only the noise of church bells could be heard, resounding up into the quiet treed vales and rocky mountaintops beyond.

view of the French Alps and jacuzzi from Chalet Pelerin room
View of the French Alps and jacuzzi from Chalet Pelerin room

I am a great ski fan, but I decided to unwind and take it easy on the first day. I dipped into the hot waters of the outdoor Jacuzzi and felt a relationship build, between myself and the barren landscape. The contrast between the hot limpid waters I was in and the snowy peak of Mount Pourri in front of me was a pleasure hard to put into words, one that must absolutely be experienced. The staff was prompt and kind to bring me a glass of their best champagne and I was all set!

That night I met Nathanael, the cook, who was friendly and took time to let me know how every meal is made with local ingredients. He suggested I try the local dish fondue, and I can say I am glad for his advice. The cheese melted in my mouth like nothing before. A glass of their best French wine was the perfect accompaniment.

But what of the real attraction, the one that sets this chalet apart from countless others? The closeness to the ski slopes! The next day I was awoken by church bells. As I enjoyed a wholesome breakfast of local yoghurt and home-made bread, sat snugly in the sheepskin rug-covered chairs of the dining table, I asked my waiter Maurice how close the chalet was to the slopes. Boy, was I not ready for this! The lodge is only 20 minutes away from seven huge ski resorts, including the notorious Tignes and Val d’Isère. What more could I ask for? Maurice also advised me to visit the indoor pool. I was pleased to learn that it featured a counter-current system which whisked my muscles alive, ready for the action-packed day ahead!

What can I say? As a ski-lover, my day was idyllic. I spent it powering down the lovely slopes of the Val d’ Isère resort, in true relax as I knew the chalet was only a stone’s throw away. After I had satisfied all possible skiing desires, I glided downhill to Alpage – an authentic converted sheepherder’s hut, where I was served appetisers with the other guests in seats chiselled into the snow. Beaufort cheese and croutons has never tasted so authentic, as when had in a rural setting surrounded by endless forest and pointed peaks of rock and ice.

That night my limbs needed a recharge, so before dinner I headed straight for the Finnish sauna. After the succulent meal, I booked an in-room massage and the excellent chalet staff soothed the fatigue out of my muscles with a private full-body session.

The next days I felt that I really had become one with the place. I tried more daring activities, all kindly offered by the chalet staff. A helicopter drove me up to a pristine slope, where it seemed man could have seldom set foot, and down I went through powdery snow on the special wide set of skis I had been provided. It was just me, the mountains, and the downhill stretch of white rushing at me, a whirlwind of emotion that I had to repeat.

I went heliskiing almost every remaining day of the holiday, except for the last. On recommendation from the hotel staff, I chose to book a personalized ice climbing tour. I had never tried such an activity before, so I can’t deny I was slightly on edge at first. But the chalet staff took care of every detail with the utmost care, same as with every other aspect of my stay. I was given brand new technical gear, including pickets and Goretex snow boots, and suddenly I was hanging off a 25 m iced waterfall, surrounded by a pristine landscape of rock and snow. The emotions I felt were strong, but I never felt that the activity wasn’t been dealt with professionally and securely.

Unfortunately, all things must end – including the best ones. I can’t tell you how much I wasn’t looking forward to London’s grey skies on that last day. The sky seemed to display its most dazzling blue, the sun shining onto the mountains and village of Le Miroir: a perfect goodbye. As I rode the train back to St Pancras, I still had all the brilliant images and landscapes of the holiday engraved in my mind. I’d felt at home in that cosy chalet, cuddled in between those lovely mountains. I left a part of me in that calm French village tucked away in the Alps.