Published by Lyn on 8 July 2016
Need cycling accommodation in the French Alps? Andy Hodges checked out Chalet Giettaz on Col des Aravis.
Situated at 1200m and only 4km from the summit of the Col des Aravis (1486m), Chalet Giettaz offers stunning views down the valley and a range of self-catered and catered possibilities. We chose to take the catered option and were not disappointed.
Chris, the owner, is an enthusiastic cyclist who knows the area exceedingly well and has a chalet which is equipped for cyclists wishing to explore these iconic and oft-ridden roads (this year, 2016, the Tour will make its 40th crossing of the Col des Aravis).
5 things we liked
1. Chris has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the local roads and climbs and has produced an information pack which proved really insightful for our visit and would be priceless for any budding Alpine-grimpeur. He can offer advice on local cycle shops and repairs (which was invaluable when we managed to snap a wheel spoke).
2. The apartment-style accommodation allows families to enjoy the flexibility of self-catering or be able to take advantage of the on-site Bar L'Escale which served a selection of high quality evening meals durign our stay. The welcome basket of local goodies and English teabags were a nice touch too. Bathrobes and slippers and plenty of hot water meant the aches and pains of the day could be eased away before enjoying a drink in the bar.
3. Should the weather take a temporary turn for the worse, the wide selection of DVDs, books and games in the Bar l'Escale will provide a welcome distraction until the clouds part and the sun returns. Wifi was accessible here and allowed us to check the forever changing weather forecast.
4. Our apartment was spacious and allowed us to spread our kit out to our heart's content. Two double bedrooms, both en-suite, as well as a mezzanine with two single beds gave us more than enough room. The very efficient heating meant we could dry kit off without any problems (a great bonus given that the weather was unseasonably wet and cold).
5. The Chalet Giettaz Strava Club set up by Chris is a great opportunity for any guest to throw down the gauntlet against other guests or local riders. Chris has also made a number of rides available as download GPS field to help with navigation for those less familiar with French maps.
Chalet Giettaz is ideally situated to explore the Col de la Croix Fry, Col des Aravis and the numerous other challenges in the area while allowing non-cyclists the opportunity to explore the high mountain pastures on foot or by car. Our fellow guests were busy trying to discover the homes of the often whistling marmots nearby. The skiing looks just as enticing in the winter as the cols do in the summer.
Andy Hodges has been a frequent visitor to the Rhône-Alpes since 2004. He has since ridden, climbed and walked hundreds of kilometres in the region – you can follow in his trail by picking up a copy of his Mountain Adventures in the Maurienne guidebook. You can read his overview of the Maurienne here.