Morzine ski resort
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Morzine ski resort

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Morzine-Avoriaz resort information & après-ski

Après-ski

Both resorts can become lively after the ski day is over, perhaps more notably in Avoriaz, as French purpose-built resorts are rarely so animated.

There is a small selection of après-ski bars in Avoriaz, including Le Yéti (582A Route de L'Alpage; tel: 04 5074 1278) and Le Shooters (73 Place du Snow; tel: 04 5074 0722). The sole nightclub in Avoriaz is Le Yak (39 Place du Snow; tel: 04 5049 5166).

The vibrant après-ski scene in Morzine has developed massively over the last few years, with popular venues including Chaudanne wine bar (590 Route de la Plagne; tel: 04 5079 1268) for electro-jazz. Another favourite is Le Robinson (62 rue du Bourg; tel: 04 5079 0978), a Morzine institution that’s owned by Rosine and Jean-Marc, who are both over 70 years old. Their clientele includes trendy snowboarders and skiers who appreciate the relaxed atmosphere and the famous Mutzig beer.

There are more options for late clubbing in Morzine than at its neighbour, with L’Opera Discoteque (Route Pleney; tel: 04 5079 1665) open until 0500, as well as the bustling Le Laurys (60 route des Udrezants; tel: 04 5079 0610) and The Cavern (Immeuble Capitale; tel: 04 5074 2279) bars.

Morzine (and the Portes du Soleil area as a whole) hosts the annual Rock the Pistes (www.rockthepistes.com) après-ski music festival, which puts on pop and rock concerts at various sections of the ski area every March. Attendance is free for those with a ski pass.

Eating out

There are around 20 restaurants in Avoriaz, predominantly serving French mountain staples or pizza. Among these is La Table du Marché (40 place des Dromonts; tel: 04 5074 0811; www.christophe-leroy.com) in Hôtel des Dromonts, which has set high standards for its innovative gourmet cuisine thanks to the efforts of award-winning owner/chef Christophe Leroy.

There is a slightly bigger selection of restaurants in Morzine, with about 30 eateries, including a wide choice of traditional French establishments. Among the options for local specialities is the cosy La Grange (60 Chemin de la Couttetaz; tel: 04 5075 9640; www.lagrangemorzine.com), and La Ferme de l’Alpage (337 Route de la Plagne; tel: 04 5079 1239), which is owned and run by the local fruitière (cheesemaker) and understandably has a mostly cheese-based menu.

For gourmet fare, L'Atelier d'Alexandre (9 Place de l'Office de Tourisme; tel: 04 5079 0079; www.hotel-lesamoyede.com) in the Samoyède Hotel is run by the son of the owners and has been awarded two Chef’s Hats – a high grade from the famous Michelin gourmet guide – for his efforts.

Resort Information

Beyond the slopes

Both resorts have a wide range of activities off the slopes. At Avoriaz there's a cinema, bowling alley, ice rink and fitness centre. Morzine's indoor ice rink stages national league ice hockey matches as well as providing leisure skating, while the resort also has a bowling alley, games bar and two cinemas.

The twin resort now boasts two large swimming complexes. Along with the new Aquariaz in Avoriaz, which has a tropical-themed indoor water park, Morzine has also recently added a new water sports centre (tel: 04 5079 0169) with family pools, a wellness area, three saunas and two hammams.

Outdoors, choose from a variety of activities, including sleigh rides, winter hikes, snowshoeing, dog sledding, guided snow biking tours and snowmobiling excursions. For something a little special, gaze in awe at the mountain scenery while hang-gliding, paragliding or on a helicopter tour; or sledge down from Pléney for a night-time meal in the middle of the woods. For those with a penchant for underwater activities, try a guided scuba dive beneath Lake Montriond, offered by Caméléon Production (tel: 04 5075 9400; www.cameleon-organisation.com).

Morzine’s heritage can be discovered through watching its artisan craftspeople at work. Tour a slate miner’s workshop, discover how cheese is made, or marvel at the skills of the local potter.

Family fun

Both resorts are well-equipped for families with good nursery provision (from three months of age) and a choice of high-quality children's ski schools. Avoriaz also has the added attraction of its safe, car-free status, whilst Morzine has the traditional resort charm and wide choice of off-the-slope activities.

Morzine has been given the Family Plus award (a national award for resorts that are especially good for children) for its facilities for families. Among the attractions here is a huge programme of free entertainment and activities for children, as well as a special sledging run and a dedicated children’s ski area. A free guide is available from the tourist office with details of the various activities on offer. Activities organised for older children include alcohol-free disco nights for teenagers at L'Opéra Discoteque.

Avoriaz has built a particularly strong family-friendly reputation with its Village des Enfants (tel: 04 5074 0446), which offers a host of activities beyond skiing, including skijoring for children, where they are towed on skis behind a pony.

Retail therapy

Although there are about 25 shops covering all the basics in Avoriaz, Morzine is the better destination for shoppers with 100 or so choices. This is thanks, in part, to its status as a long-established market town dating back to well before the arrival of winter sports.

Morzine's wide selection includes stylish boutiques, jewellers and chocolatiers. Visitors also have the option of taking an empty backpack and skiing over to one of the Swiss resorts such as Champéry for Swiss souvenirs and delicacies.

Splashing out

Spend an hour drifting above the slopes aboard a hot-air balloon with Caméléon Production (tel: 04 5075 9400; www.cameleon-organisation.com). As the route depends to some extent on wind direction, the operators cannot guarantee the exact landing point, but they do promise to return customers to the resort.

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Hotels

The twin resorts of Morzine and Avoriaz vary in style and accommodation. Whilst Avoriaz is a mixture of futuristic design and traditional chalet-style buildings, Morzine has a cosier, quaint vibe. There are around 50 hotels in Morzine, as well as a wide choice of chalets and apartments and a handful of guest houses. Avoriaz has slightly less choice but is still well-equipped with a good selection of hotels and chalets.


Au Coin de Feu

04 5074 7521.

A British-run, luxury catered chalet where attentive service is the priority. The slopeside Au Coin de Feu offers various rooms, including a honeymoon suite with a four-poster bed and a hot tub.

2740 route des Ardoisières, Morzine, France

Hôtel des Dromonts

04 5074 0811.

This traditional-style 3-star Avoriaz hotel has been recently refurbished and houses a gourmet restaurant run by Chef Christophe Leroy. Its central location affords views of the ski slopes and easy access to the village’s amenities.

Book this hotel

40 place des Dromonts

Hotel L'Ours Blanc

04 5079 0402.

A pleasant little 2-star hotel with a family atmosphere, Hotel L'Ours Blanc is handily located 500m (1,600ft) from the Super Morzine cable car and the sports centre.

Route des Bois Venants, Morzine, France

Getting there and around

Getting there

Nearest airport: Geneva International Airport (GVA).

Distance to resort: 75km (47 miles) to Morzine; 90km (56 miles) to Avoriaz.

Driving time: 1 hour 10 minutes to Morzine; 1 hour 30 minutes to Avoriaz.

Nearest railway stations: Cluses; Thonon-Les-Bains.

Distance to resort: 28km (17 miles) to Morzine; 35km (22 miles) to Avoriaz (from either station).

Driving time: 40 minutes to Morzine; 1 hour to Avoriaz (from either station).

Getting around

Walking, on skis or travelling by horse-drawn sleighs are the main means of getting around Avoriaz. Morzine also has a relatively compact centre, but a bus service links the wider area and there are more than a dozen taxi operators. A cable car descends from Avoriaz to a midway point above Morzine, which is served by the village bus service. The two resorts are linked by the new lift service.

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