L’Étale [letal] noun: slack water; the short period of calmness just as the tide is turning…
But more importantly L’Étale is the beautiful mountain that overlooks the delightful, quaint village of La Clusaz where I grew up and have been taking Jemima to ski, swim and climb for over ten years.
First, let us introduce you to the world-class skiers who call La Clusaz home. It is here in this small Alpine village that some of the most famous come from, including the late - Olympic downhill world champ - Regine Cavagnoud, Cross Country champion Vincent Vittoz and X-games legend Candide Thovex. The best places to enjoy incredible demonstrations of acrobatics, daring and madness are from the comfort of your chair-lift on La Balme or at the Crêt du Merle snow park. And if you want to join the fun, why not try out their latest adrenaline fuelled game, speed riding.
Sporting heroes seem to flock to this little Alpine paradise, so it’s fitting that luxury spa Deep Nature, has a water circuit designed by French rugby star Serge Blanco. But if your idea of spa is more relax than recover, it’s worth checking in to the uber-chilled Cristal Spa - Au Coeur Du Village.
The great thing about eating and drinking in this part of the world is you are very rarely disappointed or surprised. First let us introduce you to Marc Veyrat, the eccentric restauranteur and chef of the unique three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Maison des Bois. We can’t think of anyone else who will take you foraging for your meal and then help you transform your hard-earned shrubs into traditional Haute Savoyard dishes. There really is nothing quite like the menu here.
And here is a quick-fire list of our favourite restaurants in La Clusaz:
For cuisine at its most local ( and it's on our favourite mountain L’Étale) you have to try Restaurant Les Joux (1385 Route du Col de la Croix Fry, 74220 La Clusaz, France) . Many afternoon’s skiing have been written off after being plied with Génépi here.
- If you’re after a view, you can’t beat Restaurant Relais de l’Aiguille, great for après ski as well, until you get kicked off the mountain by the pisteur.
- To get really stuck in to the après ski head to Restaurant Le Chalet des Praz, you’ll be able to hear it before you see it as you ski back into the village.
- And if there’s any sport you need to watch, give Le Salto a try (used to be an English pub until Stephan took over).
- For a serious Haute Savoyard feed try any of: La Ferme, Le Vieux Chalet, L’Outa (famous for it’s pizza) and Le Foly (a bit out of town towards Les Confins but well worth it and a great lunchtime option with stunning views, particularly if the snow is a bit thin on the ground).
Finally, La Clusaz is still a little-known resort that has always given us fantastic times escaping from the world, hope you enjoy and do let us know if you are going. My Mum is often around and loves making new friends!