Chatel , France
Chatel is part of the massive Portes du Soleil ski circuit which although spanning the Swiss-Franco border retains a predominantly French atmosphere. The resort of Chatel remains attractive despite its expansion over recent years - it is friendly and retains an old rustic feel. Working farms blend in nicely with more modern chalet style buildings so that although there are new luxury chalets in Chatel the resort still has a very traditional feel.
We highly recommend Chatel for those looking for a large ski area area (and some truly great on-mountain eating) who are also happy with a quiet resort village atmosphere. With easy access to the Porte du Soleil Chatel is the perfect place to stay if you want to get away from the big super stations but still have miles and miles of piste to explore.
Pros & Cons
- Access to the large Portes du Soleil ski circuit
- Pretty, lively French mountain town, still quite rustic in parts
- Good local slopes particularly suited to beginners and intermediates
- Short transfer from Geneva airport
- Low altitude means snow can be unreliable
- Most of the main lifts are only reachable by bus
- Village can get busy at weekends
Hotel Macchi and Hotel Fleur de Neige both have pricey gastronomic restaurants. The Rustic Vieux Four and La Poya on the main street serves good value food and offers Savoyarde speciality dishes. The Fiacre has a lovely atmosphere and serves great food, especially its pizzas. For a cheaper option head to the Refuge de Mille for a set menu of the day.
A cluster of mountain restaurants can be found at Plaine Dranse. Try the Bois Prin, Pierre aux Loupes, Chez Denis or Tan o Marmottes, Here you will also find the Vieux Chalet (Chez Babaths) which is run by an eccentric woman and is decorated in a very quirky style; the food there is excellent. There are other lunch time spots, over in Linga there is the Ferme des Pistes and in Pre-la-Joux you will find the Perdrix Blanche.
Châtel is becoming more lively. The British style pub 'Avalanche' is a popular hangout with a good atmosphere, live bands and sometimes themed nights. The DJ or live music in Bar Nazca is a fun evening out. Locals head to Bar L'Isba which is small, cosy and shows extreme sport videos.
After Bar Nazca and the Avalanche pub, the crowds can head to Sloopy's - a nightclub at the Super- Châtel telecabine station.