Before staying at Chalet Solneige, my standard ski holiday accommodation was, if I’m putting it nicely, ‘petite’. I was more familiar with living off baguettes and pasta pesto in cupboard-size, pine-clad ski resort apartments that used innovative space-saving methods like ‘corridor bunk beds’, all-in-one living/bathroom/kitchen quarters, baths that double as beds (don’t ask) and toilets that require logistical planning to shut the door from the inside were more my thing. So you can imagine how luxurious it felt to stay in somewhere that was the total opposite – humongous bedrooms, beautiful French food and a surplus of kitchens, somewhere like Chalet Solneige, a catered chalet, Vaujany, France:
Catered chalet in Vaujany, Chalet Solneige
Chalet Solneige, situated a few winding mountain roads beneath the small village of Vaujany in France, was quite the opposite of my previous mountain accommodation experiences. Huge, spacious and stylish, as chalets go, it was quite special. Spectacular vaulted ceilings and chandeliers in the living/dining area add a spritz of glamour, while the grand open fire fulfilled all our ski chalet dreams – and to think this building used to be a cowshed! Plenty big enough for our party of 14 (and solely booked out for our large multi-generational group), there were many bedrooms in this catered chalet, all of which had ensuite, balconies and stunning views across the valley. The spacious doubles, family room and two self-catering apartments were vast and the latter came complete with mini kitchen and lounge area.
Catered chalet in Vaujany: the food
If you opt for half-board at Chalet Solneige, breakfast is a relaxed serve-yourself from the long dining table affair with eggs, cereals, croissants, yoghurts, pastries – all the yummy French stuff – the perfect fuel for a day up the slopes.
We visited Chalet Solneige in early December when the nearby town of Vaujany was still very quiet, so the usual après ski – getting banjaxed on Long Island Ice Tea and dancing on tables until the early morn – wasn’t really the vibe in this quiet little French town. However, Chalet Solneige more than made up for this in the evening, and actually was perfect with our two toddling kids in tow, offering a family-friendly alternative of afternoon tea on return from a day’s skiing, followed by four delicious courses and a mouth-watering selection of local cheeses. It’s worth noting that any alcohol you order at the chalet is extra and settled at the end of the week.
Lovely chalet extras
Hard-working owners Peter and Thérèse are charming, attentive and offer some lovely extras throughout your stay including wine-tasting, a pizza night and in-house massage. Chalet Solneige also has an onsite outdoor jacuzzi and Peter will happily serve you bubbles while you stew! They also dug out a ton of decorations for us to adorn the chalet with on the day of my dad’s 60th birthday (he’s the one dressed as a banana in the pics…long story).
What’s the chalet like with babies/toddlers?
When we visited Chalet Solneige I was in recovery from an operation on my spine, so I was unable to ski (sniff) and took on the role of nanny during the day, entertaining a one-year old (mine) and my friend’s 9-month old with help from his Granny who is not a fan of skiing. We spent a far amount of time trying to prevent them from smashing their heads on the jazzy clear glass table in the centre of the living room, which is a very much in keeping with the chalet’s stylish interior, but a bit hazardous with just-starting-to-walk toddlers and unwitting adults alike! You just need to have your wits about you.
As this catered chalet is a bus ride away from the main town, Vaujany, you do need to plan your days to fit in baby-friendly activities around nap and meal times as the scheduled bus pick-ups only pass the chalet a few times a day and it’s too far (and uphill and I imagine very difficult when it gets snowy) to walk with buggies. In early December there was no snow in the part of the valley where the chalet sits, meaning this free and easy kiddy entertainment was non-existent.
There is a very friendly dog that lives at the Chalet and was adored by our little ones. The chalet is stocked with games for older children and adults – including a fancy dress box – but not that much in way of toys for babies and toddlers, so if you’ve got little ones try and bring a few of your own.
High chairs, travel cots and baby monitor are available (although if you take your own the range does reach from the apartment all the way down to the dining room). Thérèse is happy to cook for children, but it’s worth sorting out a few meals for them yourself in your little kitchen. There is a small supermarket in town but opening hours don’t always coincide with bus times, so stock up with a few kid-friendly items at the beginning of the week or siphon off a bit of food from breakfast, or your own evening meal for the kiddies the next day and keep it in your fridge.
See my Baby Ski Holiday Packing List for a full list of what to pack on ski holiday to Vaujany.
Getting to the ski slopes
In order to get to the ski slopes from the chalet, you need to catch a bus which stops at certain times throughout the day. If you’re venturing out from the chalet for a day with a baby and toddler in tow, you can buy a day lift pass for €7 and if others have hired ski equipment, pick up a toboggan (free with ski hire) and catch the gondola up to meet the rest of your group for lunch in one of the slope-side restaurants.
Family entertainment in Vaujany
In Vaujany, a short drive away, there is a swimming pool with waterslide and a spa which is a fun little trip with tinies or on a white out day. Taxis to Vaujany cost between €20-€30, although hitch-hiking short distances seems to be pretty common and the chalet owners often offer lifts if they’re en route that day. As I mentioned earlier, you can rent sleds from the ski hire shop, or get them for free if some of your party have hired equipment.
Catered chalet in Vaujany, Chalet Solneige in a nutshell…
If you’re after a memorable catered chalet for a special occasion (it was my dad’s 60th birthday), are travelling with little ones, enjoy good food, a bit of luxury and relaxation after a hard day’s ski and don’t mind a short bus journey to the lifts then this is the chalet for you!
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