The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

The Frenchman’s Flaine – 5 tips on how to blend in with the locals

The Grand Massif ski area that comes close to rivalling the Espace Killy in terms of size, and the high-altitude, modern resort of Flaine is super convenient and child-friendly, making it a hit with families from both sides of  ‘La Manche’.

So, how to blend in with our French neighbours whilst ‘en vacances à la neige’? Here’s my top 5 tips to bring an authentic French flavour to your Flaine holiday:

1. When you think of French cuisine you might imagine Frog’s Legs, Snails or Coq au Vin but in the Alps one thing is King – cheese. At lunchtime the French love to indulge and opt for Fondues, Raclette or Tartiflette. Melted cheese in a fondue is superb, as is melted Raclette cheese, but the speciality that is Tartiflette is closer to my heart than most. Coincidentally, while on the subject of hearts, although this Savoyarde speciality, mixing cream, lardons and Reblochon cheese is not the best thing for the ticker, I tell myself that all the exercise I’m doing on the slopes makes it ok, just don’t calculate the calories!

My favourite Tartiflette in the Grand Massif ski area can be found in the Au Pré d’Oscar Restaurant in Samoëns, next to the Grand Massif Express. Ski down the challenging red run to get the legs burning and earn your heavenly lunch.

2. I’m still obsessing with food – but I’m sure that the French would be giving it plenty of coverage too. In every French ski resort you will find shops selling Produit Regionaux; the shop in Flaine Fôret is one of the best. It sells local cheese so you can stock up and make your own Tartiflette, wonderful sausages made from boar, truffle and other game plus a cornucopia of marvellous mountain treats. You’ll spot many of our French cousins tucking into picnics of regional cheese, meats and fresh baguettes out on the slopes – do the same to save some money without cutting tastiness.

3. For some French people, lager mixed with fruit syrup is like nectar from the gods. I happen to agree and like nothing more than a Demi-pechê to quench my post-ski thirst. For those non-francophones among you we’re talking about the glorious pairing of peach syrup and crisp French lager. Head to the sun terrace at the bar below the yoghurt pot lifts and give it a try, you won’t go back to plain lager afterwards.

4. Why wear separate salopettes and ski jacket? A real French style alpine skier would go for a one piece. You may think they’ve been banished to the attic since 1994 but you’re wrong – thousands of French skiers dig to the back of their wardrobes every year and don them once more. If you really want to blend in with the locals you need to hurry down to your local Oxfam, Cancer Research UK or check out e-bay and bag a bargain onesie. You should go for luminous green and pink geometric patterns to ensure no one will ever guess that you’re Peter and Mary instead of Pierre et Marie. Feeling really brave? Get heads turning with an all-in-one from Willyfinder.

5. For a minute there I strayed off track and didn’t mention food or drink! To make amends I suggest rounding off your day with après-ski at the Vie bar in Flaine Fôret. A real skieur would go for a classic aperitif like Kir Royale – drinking lager at this time of day will make you look like an Brit from 100 paces!

Fancy dusting off the one piece and joining our French cousins for some ‘faire du ski’?

Enjoy a holiday in Flaine with Crystal at the family-friendly Hotel Le Totem.  Plus, there’s a bunch of late deals to chalets all over France – ‘regardez ici’!

Written by Alex Sparasci, Assistant Product Manager for France. A keen skier and self-confessed foodie, Alex has lived and worked for several seasons across the French Alps.

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