An enchanting place in the French Alps for a family ski trip

Le Croix Fry Hotel and Chalets in the French Alps

Tucked away high above beautiful Lake Annecy in France lies a truly magical ski area.   It’s a little off the UK ski radar although nearby La Clusaz is fairly well frequented by the British ski tourists.  Not far from the little village of Manigod along the craggy mountain pass called the Col de la Croix Fry lies Hotel and Chalets Croix Fry.  Well known by the locals it’s an enchanting place perched on the edge of the Col offering magical views across the valley.

I discovered it many years ago when I visited over Xmas after a few days in Annecy.  The hotel has been in the Veyrat family for generations and has been lovingly taken care of and expanded offering a luxury hotel, outdoor pool and the beautiful restaurant La Table de Marie-Ange.  It’s a truly spectacular location high on the Col allowing peace and serenity that is hard to find in the Alps and an interior so cozy that you really don’t want to leave…

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The hotel itself is pretty expensive if you are travelling with a family so we opted, on this occasion, for one of the chalets dotted up the side of the mountain across from the hotel which is quite reasonably priced.  Hansel and Gretel wooden cottages await with the same luxury and coziness within the hotel but with a kitchen and wood burning fire to enjoy.  There are a number of different sizes to choose from; we stayed in a fairly spacious three bedroom which was perfect for two adults and two teens.  It was tricky to drive up to the chalet so the hotel bus delivered us and also brought us morning patisseries (which were a dream and different every day) and wood for our fire.   A small but very tasty dinner menu was also deliverd and you could choose to be a little lazy, light the fire in the chalet and have dinner delivered to your door which we did a few times.  All pretty dreamy!!   The terraces or balconies were huge and offered a wonderful spot for afternoon sunshine or early evening drinking.

The hotel restaurant is quite pricey but offers fine food from the region of the highest quality.  A very special experience!  There is also a gorgeous little spa area with jacuzzi overlooking the mountains and steam and spa treatments to enjoy too.  The hotel bus takes and collects to the ski station five minutes away where you can ski just the Manigod region (25kms mainly blues) or all of La Clusaz (125kms with far more reds and blacks).  There is a stunning run down through the trees to La Clusaz village from Manigod which also houses a superb cross country skiing school.  It has a charming and authentic feel which you don’t find in many other resorts.

Ten minutes drive from the chalet is the village of Manigod where you will discover a wonderful bakery plus a convenience store to stock up on foods.  Just outside the village is Lo Garajo which is a stylish cafe and wine bar also selling crafts and clothes from local artisans.  We went many times and enjoyed coffee and glasses of wine on their terrace with a spectacular view.

Further down in the valley is La Clusaz, a pretty town that has most things you will need.  Many pharmacies (always a joy to visit the French pharmacies and buy too many skin creams), restaurants, bars and general stores.  We ventured down one evening to eat at a little bistro called L’Arbe.   This was the highlight of our trip and topped most places I have eaten in the Alps over the years.  Also in the area you will find Le Grand Bornand, a pretty savoyarde village and Thones, a working town further down the mountain.  Of course a day trip to the lake at Annecy is something also really special.   We did also manage to sneak in a number of fondues and raclettes which were super.

As a photographer I’m always trying to take a few shots of my daughters.  On this occasion my youngest posed for a few but there is a great photography shop in La Clusaz which can capture brilliant images of you and your family on the mountain to treasure called Art Photo.

Having had a bad ski injury previously I was hesitant to ski to say the least but as the snow was perfect and the sun was out I decided to hook up with the local ski school in Manigod and take a few lessons while the kids skied a few days with an instructor called Boris who took them on runs and jumps we could never manage.  I’m so glad I didn’t know that he planned on jumps for the kids otherwise I would have been a little worried.  Always give the yes and no options to those instructors as they all have a twinkle in their eye and are looking to push their clients to the next level.

In the end though, a seat on the terrace or by the wood burner after a few hours walking or skiing could not be more perfect.   My kids loved it and were truly enchanted by their little mountain hideaway.


We travelled to Lyon and hired a car which took around 2 hours 20 minutes but I have also travelled via Geneva and hired a car which is faster.  Chalets can be booked directly with Hotel Le Croix Fry and Chalets
















London life, Wanderlust & Photography Stories

Welcome to my little blog and a chance to share snippets of London life, travel and my photography stories.  There will be interviews & stories, offers & suggestions as well as things that I dream of but haven’t experienced YET…….  I look foward to sharing with you and hearing your thoughts.  Jilly x

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