Latest Event Updates

Mont Blanc Triathlon, a new event added this year

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The UTMB trail running event had long been on the bucket list of hardy long distance runners, but of course that’s been booked up for months, as has most of the town’s accommodation for that week.

Fortunately, outdoor, sport supporting fans have another event in beautiful scenery that they can add to their calendar the week before the town gets super packed. 


20160822_133337.gifThe Mont Blanc International triathlon takes place on the banks of the Lac de Passy (which is a great municipal lake) at the foot of Mont Blanc, where you can see the “rooftop of Europe” reflecting in the lake while supporting this unforgettable triathlon. Iron man has nothing on this one.

This year there are 5 events to choose from: individual and relay sprint, individual and relay Olympic triathlon, 2 junior events and NEW half iron Mont Blanc, so there is something for all tastes and all ages.

TDS 2013 going up to Petite St BernardIt’s still possible to register for entry I to many of the events now.  Registration is open until the 22nd Aug so you’ve still got a bit of time to put some training in.

Fortunately Residences Barrats A is available that week: 19th to 26th August 2017. Contact us for rates +44 7976 555 108.


Man hanging from ski lift saved after stranger walks across cable to cut him free

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This is amazing on so many leveles:

1. The kindness of strangers.

2. The speed and foresight of the helper. 

3. The fact that there is such a profession as a a professionL slackliner. We’ve got the kit so clearly we must practice more often!

3. Um, and yes we know that rucksacks are a pain, but still use them to bump fellow skiers off the lift..

Chamonix, the new centre of the ice cream parlour?

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Although Chamonix is currently having one of its best early season for years with lifts open in November, its with fondness we look back at those warmer sunny days….

It’s always fun to ring the changes in a familiar area, but this was a trend we’d not anticipated. Stupid really as you always see ques for ice cream during summer evenings in the Market Square courtesy of this place.

Given our loathing of queuing we prefer the place on the Avenue Michael Crozier near the museum. This little place (Mer Des Glaces) is open winer and summer (well it would have to be with a name like that).

It was while walking towards the SNCF station on that same avenue that we spotted a few trendy looking stools outside a cafe. It then hit us that with this amount of ice cream parlours Chamonix has truly landed on the summer map for those other than hard-core outdoor types.

So we kept our eyes open when wandering around town and we were amazed how many more we saw.

Cote Macarons walking out of town towards the hotel Alpina.

Chez Rochford

And of course Chalet 4810 who converted from a rock shop into a patisserie a few years ago

These 6 are just of course the ‘tip if the iceberg’ as many of the restaurants make their own and are famed for such delicacies. A little hunt around identified our next door neighbour L’Impossible as a leader in this field.  The local speciality of Chestnut ice cream has even inspired famous chefs to create their own Mont Blanc.

Neither Facebook or Trip Advisor seems to have cottoned on yet though, so watch this space.

Via Ferrata De Curalla, Passy, not for the faint hearted

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Having watched YouTube videos the night before it seemed like a good idea.

Also the single photo I saw of it from the lad’s trip earlier in the year looked spectacular. And the enthusiasm of a teenage daughter made it seem accessible.

The guidebook states that it is Europe’s best and most beautiful one. Supposedly it is the only via ferrata opposite Mont-Blanc. Total length is 400 meters, difficulty AD+ and you can make it in 1 1/2 hours. It also happens to be the closest to Chamonix town, bar the Mer Des Glace, and a few ladders dotted around the valley. 

The viaferrata was graded as AD+ which means just two grades harder then the easiest viaferrata in the grading system. It took me about 20mins longer than the estimated 90mins though, as I had an attack of the nerves a good few times. So I’m not convinced how accurate the grading system is. Saying that we were over taken once by those more competent than I. So maybe I’m not completely cut out for this kind of thing ( it’s the look of deep concentration on my face that gives it away!)?

It’s definitely a popular spot with plenty of parking and the opportunity to buy a drink and hire equipment or a guide if necessary. The walk up to the start is around 15mins and the descent from the end about 25mins.  It’s on the Plateau d’Assy, about a 20 mins drive down the valley.

Although I might be putting myself in the faint hearted category, my daughter went back and did it again later in the week. 

Teenage Chamonix summer holiday wish list

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So the kids have been here for the last 8 years, each one has not greeted with great enthusiasm due to the usual teenage malaise, and us being horrible parents of course.  This year is different though. We’re bringing a  friend; a teenage friend….  So good is this that it’s prompted positive anticipation and almost (just almost) excitement. This is providing we follow the suggested itinerary and leave them at home to go shopping should we hit the high mountains..

I’m not sure how representative this list is of the average teenage girl, but it might be useful as inspiration for others coming to Chamonix for a few weeks. For me it is actually a nice reprise of the things they enjoyed when they were younger and haven’t grown out of yet (3 are from an ever popular blog I did 6 years ago!)

  1. Hurtling down the slides of the municipal pool on the edge of Lake Geneva at Thonon
  2. Stand Up Paddle boarding on Lake Annecy.
  3. Taking the 3 person inflatable canoe to the lakes at Passy near Sallanches.
  4. Riding the slides at the Richard Bossons sports centre in the middle of town.
  5. Cycling up to the Les Chavants lake in Les Houches and stopping for an ice cream, both on the way up at the terrace next to the super market and at the cafe on the lake!
  6. Popping into the amusement park in town and doing the Luge de Ete.
  7. A day trip to Lake Geneva, again, this time to the Aqua Park, full of flumes and typical tourist things.

You may have spotted the water based theme, so we’re very much hoping for good weather.  

I’ll let you know how we get on. Maybe we’ll be able to swap a swim session for rafting perhaps? We have a teenager with us who is rather unfamiliar with the great outdoors, so it could be fun 😉

UTMB availability, sleeps 6, Aug 24th to 28th

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TDS 2013 going up to Petite St Bernard

Having visited the town during its peak week for many years, we’ve decide to give someone else  the opportunity to experience the buzz that is the UTMB.

There are lots of great family activities going on during the week, and some fantastic opportunities for seeing what endurance athletes can achieve.

The apartment that sleeps 6 is available from the Weds to the Sunday evening. More details and booking links can be found here.

Availability this year only, as he’s applying to enter again in 2017…

An old picture (as of course we have a new sofa), but it give you an idea.





Could this be a Geocachers new obsession?

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I’ve just got home after my usual Saturday morning run with the dog. Nothing remarkable in that, admittedly. Unlike many regular runners though I’ve resisted the temptation to record my speed, metres climbed, course records, kudos points etc. Until today. 
My new found way of recording running achievements is slightly different to the norm though. It’s Pokémon Go. It actually added 20mins to my normal run but the dog didn’t seem to mind. Those extra 20mins enabled me to find all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures.

I just love the way it puts the beasts on the right background. 

So on my first run out I managed to achieve level 3, which I didn’t think was bad for a non gamer. But I lost loads of balls on this batty thing. Clearly a trick to doing him!

I don’t think I’ll be playing every time I run, but it certainly appeals to the part of me that enjoyed Geocaching. Running around new places to find little surprises.

This of course works nicely in the Chamonix valley with all its foot paths. I’m not sure if it’s in France yet but I know the US ski resorts have had playing it. So I’ll keep my eye open.

Introducing the new grey wool sofa

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Definitely worth the trip down to drop it off. A nice 3 seater Worsley sofa by Made.

Wolseley 3 seater sofa grey

Wishing our guests many cozy nights snuggling up on it. Bon Vacances!

Wolseley 3 seater sofa in grey residing in Barrats A Chamonix

New furniture for the flat

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So this is how we looked as we set off from at 5am this morning before our drive down to Chamonix.  New sofa and fridge on its way!!

We must be quite a sight given that this is the view when you look up from the windscreen.

Marvellous, clever rope tying.


Via ferratas in spring: scarey views

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You have to look hard, but you can see a few small people climbing up the metal ladders. Great views in the mountains today!