Friday, 27 June 2014

Climbing World Cup, Mountain Festival & Yoga Festival come to Chamonix

Chamonix is one of the rare ski resorts that is busier in summer than in winter. Events like the Climbing World Cup, Chamonix Mountain Festival and the new Yoga Festival all bring visitors into the valley.

Here are some dates for your diary:

June 27-29 - The Marathon du Mont Blanc
Four days of trail running races from 10km to 80km

June 28 - July 06 - The Chamonix Adventure Festival
Organised by 'mountaineers for mountaineers'

July 10-13 - The IFSC Climbing World Cup
Held in the Place du Mont Blanc and the 16th time it has been held in Chamonix

July 04-06 -  Chamonix Yoga Festival
New this year and taking place at the 'Le Majestic'

B&B Accommodation in Chamonix

Whatever your reason for coming to the Chamonix valley, if you are looking for good value accommodation, then please contact us at the Bellevue Alpine Lodge.

B&B and Half Board accommodation available, located just 20 minutes drive from the centre of town.

Article by Iain Martin

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Train Tunnel Connecting Chamonix and Vallorcine to Re-open

Work has now been been completed on the tunnel that connects Chamonix and Vallorcine - home of the Bellevue Alpine Lodge - and it will open shortly.

Photo courtesy Le Dauphine
A costly project, but worth it

The project has cost around €24 million and according to Le Dauphine was visited last week by local officials to review the works.

The tunnel originally opened in 1908, principally for the train.  However, in the Eighties, with the massive increase in car ownership, it was decided to bring in dual use. The tunnel opened to cars as well in 1985.

Cars can use the tunnel when the Col is closed

Cars have only used the tunnel in exceptional circumstances, during very heavy snow conditions when the Col des Montets is closed.  The Col isn't so much steep (the average gradient is 3.3%), but the risk of avalanche can be high

This is great news for Vallorcine and means that regardless of the weather it will always be possible to travel to and from Chamonix from the Bellevue Alpine Lodge.

Photo courtesy Le Dauphine

Article by Iain Martin

Friday, 20 June 2014

Summer Lifts Open for 2014 in the Chamonix Valley

The Chamonix Valley is a superb location in winter, but in summer, there's even more to do for guests of the Bellevue Alpine Lodge.

Whether your love is hiking, mountain biking, climbing or just enjoying the stunning views, you can now get on the mountains easily.

Lifts Already Open

As of Saturday 14 June, a selection of lifts have now opened in all the following areas:

  • Panoramic Mont Blanc - Helbronner
  • Brevent / Flegere
  • Tour / Col de Balme  
  • Bossons chairlift
  • Bellevue and Prarion in Les Houches
  • The tramway du Mont-Blanc

Lifts opening on 28 June

And from Saturday 28 Jun, both the Grands Montets lift and the Vallorcine gondola will open.

The Vallorcine gondola is just a few minutes from the Bellevue Alpine Lodge and allows you to access the La Balme area and is excellent for mountain biking.

Plus these lifts are open all year...

Don't forget the Aiguille du Midi, Montenvers railway and Les Planards which stay open all year around.

For more details on the summer lifts and passes, take a look at the Chamonix website

For accommodation in Vallorcine near Chamonix, please contact the Bellevue Alpine Lodge

Article by Iain Martin

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

All you need to know about Downhill Mountain Biking (VTT) in Vallorcine

If you love downhill mountain biking (VTT in French) then we (the Bellevue Alpine Lodge) suggest you add Vallorcine to your list.

640m vertical drop
The downhill mountain bike course in Vallorcine is possibly the best in the Chamonix Valley. Starting at 1900m at the top of the gondola, what follows is the stuff of dreams.

A 640m vertical drop, starts in open terrain and then takes you into the forest, alternating technical sections with single dirt track riding. 

There are different ‘modules’ that allow you to choose easier or harder options for the final section.

How long will it take?

The tourist office’s official publication suggests 30 minutes.  Experienced riders will do it in much less though! 

Check out this video for an insight in how more confident riders tackle the course:

How do I get to the top?

The Vallorcine gondola opens on the 3rd of July and will remain open until 29th August.  Opening hours are 08:30 to 17:30, but remember that the lift will close for lunch from 12:15 and 13:15.

Of course you can ride up – it’s probably an hour and half from Vallorcine to Col des Posettes.  It’s a tough ride though, so best of luck!

Is it all for hard-core mountain bikers?

No. There are routes in Vallorcine for all levels: beginners, intermediates and experts.  All start within minutes of the Bellevue Alpine Lodge

There are trails all the way along the Vallorcine valley to the Col du Montets on the Swiss border.

Most are suitable for any level, although the north-facing trail from the village (i.e. on the right hand side) is much more challenging.

You can also ride up to Chalet de Loriaz for lunch from Le Buet – that’s about an hour’s hard, uphill ride on a wide zig-zag track, but you get great views from the top.

Here's a map of some of the options available to you for mountain biking in Vallorcine:

Accommodation in Vallorcine

For a great location, minutes from the start of all the trails, and with B&B and Half Board (for hungry riders) options, please contact us at the Bellevue Alpine Lodge.  We have five bedrooms and availability from €65 per night.

Article by Iain Martin

Thursday, 5 June 2014

New Mer de Glace Ice Cave opens in Chamonix

Today (05 June 2014) sees the opening of the new ice cave (also known as an 'ice grotto') at the Mer de Glace.

The ice cave was closed on 12 May and work has been going on since then to prepare the new site.

It looks like it should be spectacular and we at the Bellevue Alpine Lodge can't wait to see it.  If you'd like a great place to stay on your Chamonix holiday, then get in contact.

Photos by Jool CHX Visuals

Montenvers should be part of any trip to Chamonix

A trip up to the ice grotto is well worth it.  If you've never been on the Montenvers railway before, it's one of the highlights of any visit to Chamonix.

While global warming has made a difference, the view of the Mer de Glace at the top has hardly changed since this postcard was printed back in the 1920s:

This is literally a birds-eye view of how the area looks today:

And this video is in French, but tells you all about the redevelopment of the ice grotto:

By Iain Martin

Friday, 23 May 2014

Wine Tasting in Pezenas

Mandy and Mike from the Bellevue Alpine Lodge take a spring break at this time every year, and this year decided to do some wine tasting while they were away.

Fesq is a small organic vineyard at Caux near Pezenas - in the Languedoc region.  

Mandy and Mike bought some of their wines for themselves last year and will be offering it to guests from this summer onwards.

Domaine Le Compte de Floris is also in Pezenas. Here they tried the 'Grands Vins' - top quality organic wines to be laid down for two to five years - so make sure you keep coming back to the Bellevue to enjoy these!

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Ultra Golf de Chamonix returns in July 2014

The 11th and 12th of July 2014 will see the return of the 'Ultra Golf de Chamonix'.

The Chamonix golf course will host this competition in a stunning setting at the base of the Mont Blanc range.

Golf in Chamonix

36 holes in 2 days

The format is two players per team and three rounds of golf over two days: 36 holes on Friday 11 July and 18 holes on Saturday 12 July.

The first round is a 'Scramble' format, with both players restarting from the best lying ball after each shot. The second round on Friday is a 'Four Balls, Best Ball' format.  The final round on the Saturday takes each individuals score combined.

These formats mean you need to think hard about your tactics and the relative strengths of each player.  It's certainly a challenge unlike any other - and in a beautiful location.

The 'Ultra Golf de Chamonix' can be entered online at the official website.

Accommodation for the 'Ultra Golf de Chamonix'

The Bellevue Alpine Lodge offers excellent value B&B and Half Board accommodation from just €65 per night.  We are a short 12 minute drive from the Chamonix golf course.

You can book online now via Xotelia or call us on +33 (0)4 50 54 60 43 for more details.

Article by Iain Martin