Guide to Châtel, France
What we Love About Châtel
Châtel for most of its life, had been a simple farming community. The village has clung onto its traditional alpine charm and for that, we’re grateful. Narrow streets are lined with picture perfect shops, boulangeries, restaurants and bars – it is exactly what most of us imagine a typical French ski resort to look like.
It isn’t just the unostentatious village we love most about Châtel. One of the first things many people notice driving in are the thick woodland that engulf the valley. It feels as though you’ve stepped into a fairytale and for skiers, it also makes for some great tree runs!
Best Time to Visit Châtel
The Portes du Soleil ski area is open from early December to the end of April, and many of the lifts are open again from late June to early October for walkers and cyclists.
Getting to Châtel
The nearest airport is Geneva, approximately 1hr 40mins drive away. Châtel is also one of the nearest ski resorts to the UK, Holland and Belgium making it a pleasant and not too long a drive for those wishing to make a road trip of it.
Skiing in Châtel
As one of 12 ski resorts in the extensive Portes du Soleil ski area, Châtel offers plenty of incredible skiing for all abilities, as well as easy ski access to Avoriaz, Morzine, and the Swiss resorts of Champery and Morgins.
Châtel has been gradually growing its skiing prowess over the last decade and thanks to smart snow cannons throughout the valley and a recently installed lift system, Châtel is becoming known as the quaint Alpine resort with all the amenities of its better known and larger counterparts, at a fraction of the cost for a luxury ski holiday. Linking the Super Châtel ski area to Linga, the aptly named Portes Du Soleil chairlift will whisk you south over an extraordinarily precarious but spectacular peak enabling skiers to hop on their nearest lift wherever in the village they wish and access the vast Portes Du Soleil ski area.
There is everything from beginner slopes to near-vertical descents such as the famous Swiss Wall for those wanting to push their limits! Boarders and freestyle skiers can enjoy a great selection of jumps, rails, and half pipes at the Smoothpark with a chillout area which makes a great viewing spot! For beginners, there are plenty of nursery slopes at Super Châtel, Les Marmottons and Pre La Joux. Even just sticking around Châtel, you’ll cover plenty of ground with 83km of pistes and 42 ski lifts.
Things to Do in Châtel
We’ve all dreamt of flying at some point in our lives, well in Châtel you can have your dreams come true…with the assistance of a harness and 1,200m zip-wire! Starting at the top of the Rochassons chair lift, adrenaline junkies can clip in and fly down the Fantasticable over Plaine-Dranse reaching up to 100km/h – not for the faint hearted!
If you don’t fancy yourself a dare devil, it is still possible to take to the skies. You’ll have 90 minutes in a hot air balloon to take in the breathtaking views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Though it isn’t the cheapest of activities, it will certainly become a treasured memory.
Sports fanatics will be pleased to hear Châtel offers excellent electric mountain bike outings. Accompanied by a certified instructor, you can explore the mountains in a way you may not have tried before.
Finally, if your luxury ski chalet in Châtel isn’t equipped with a private spa, there are plenty of spa treatments to be had in the village. Massage parlours, and leisure centres with swimming pools and slides make the perfect afternoon for adults to relax, and children to have a blast!
Best Places to Eat and Drink in Châtel
There’s a wonderful selection of restaurants in Châtel both on and off the mountain. Le Vieux Four, Le Renard and Le Fiacre are three of Châtel’s best farmhouse style restaurants serving Haute Savoie cuisine in a charming setting. Catering to all, Châtel has a few fast-food places if you’re just looking for a quick bite without breaking the bank!
Up on the slopes there’s a good choice of traditional alpine eateries such as the eccentric Chez Babeth – Le Vieux Chalet, which resembles a fairytale grotto serving hearty fare. La Ferme des Pistes is another picturesque mountain restaurant which you’d be wise to visit on your luxury ski holiday in Châtel! Traditional food perfect for reenergising with panoramic views.
There’s also a variety other self-service, buffet-style options for those looking for a quick stop.
A great après ski buzz can be found at Nazca Bar (formerly known as The Tunnel Bar) if you fancy an evening out of your luxury ski chalet. L’Avalanche is another lively pub with plenty of live music and DJs at night.