Some thoughts from our March trip.
We head out after breakfast into the sunny but cold morning, and stop for a coffee at the Halte de Pré Chabert, the self-service bar and restaurant at the bottom of the slopes, while we wait for a friend to join us. The ‘Plat du Jour’ has already been posted on the blackboard, today it is Blanquette de Veau, which seems to be very popular everywhere this winter. I think we have eaten it twice this holiday already, so we will save lunch there for another day. After taking the Bachas chairlift to the Monetier mid-station, we warm up with a couple of runs on Cibouit, then head up the Yret chairlift, and down the Cucumelle. We head towards Fréjus village, and stop for a hot chocolate at the Chalet Pi Mai.
Joining some friends who are staying in Chantemerle, we decide to ski in the Monetier sector, so we head up the fast 6 man Vallons chairlift and back to our home pistes. We stay high for a while, some of us enjoying the beautifully groomed slopes, and others heading off the side into the off-piste. Rumbling stomachs tell us it must be lunchtime. We are in Monetier, so it has to be Chez Dam’s at the Chalet de Peyra Juana, with it’s woodburning stove and shared tables. There is a sunny terrace for warmer days.
There is always a friendly welcome, and a few olives and slices of saucisse with your aperitif, Food here is simple but plentiful, with large salads, meat and cheese platters and pasta dishes making up the majority of the menu. The real star of the show is the Plat du Jour, and today, a huge plate of Boeuf Bourgignon or Wild Boar stew finds its way out of the kitchen to take away those hunger pangs. No room for dessert today, but apple crumble, tarte myrtille and a hot chocolate cake are among the regulars on offer. If you’re lucky a digestif will find its way to the table with the coffee.
More skiing on the lower pistes of Monetier this afternoon, and despite the amazing snow, the slopes are quiet and we have them almost to ourselves. With the sun beginning to disappear behind the mountains, apres beers are back at the Halte, and we put our friends on the ski bus back to Chantemerle. Dinner tonight will be bread and cheese, I’m still full from lunchtime.