Find your perfect (nature-friendly) stay in the Alps this winter

Those who love the mountains know it well: it is one of the most fragile territories! So to preserve the massifs and their incredible biodiversity, some hotels, gites and residences are inventing new ways of experiencing the mountains. Here are our committed addresses to choose from for authentic holidays in harmony with nature.

Le Toî du Monde, in the Val d'Arly

Florent Perrin started this atypical project by reviving his grandmother's farm, which includes an agrotourism farm, an organic restaurant with products from the vegetable garden, awarded a Green Star by the Michelin Guide, accommodation for 2 to 20 people (double rooms or a complete gîte), and a concert café. His idea? To show that you can live, have fun and eat without endangering the planet. Here, you can meet locals who have come to dine or listen to a concert, as well as tourists passing through, in a friendly melting-pot spirit. A mountain chalet that exudes conviviality, at the foot of many resorts including Megève, Praz-sur-Arly and Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe.

Energy self-sufficiency, carbon neutrality, natural insulation, this 4-star eco-hotel is also part of an eco-responsible approach thanks to a heating system that is both thermal and wood-fired and the use of ecological materials such as wood wool.

Le Toî du Monde (External link)

Les Balcons du Quiet, a peaceful chalet at the gateway to the Vanoise

How about experiencing the mountains differently this winter by staying in a quiet hamlet? A charming Alpine village at the gateway to the Vanoise National Park, Le Villaret is home to the chalet Les Balcons du Quiet. This contemporary and spacious accommodation can accommodate up to 14 people and is equipped with solar panels that heat an outdoor spa. Eco-friendly actions and activities are strongly encouraged (and rewarded) by the owners: guests coming by train are not charged for their towels. Electric car drivers are provided with a socket to recharge their vehicle. Shuttles and free ski lifts allow guests to reach the Peisey Vallandry resort, part of the Arcs Paradiski ski area, as well as its Nordic site.

Staying at the Balcons du Quiet (External link)

Watogla Camp, an open-air dome in the Ecrins National Park

Head for the Parc National des Ecrins, in the Southern Alps, for one (or more) wild night(s) close to nature. The Watogla Camp is an energy self-sufficient ecogite made up of several open-air geodesic domes that can accommodate 2 or 4 people, all equipped with wood-burning stoves, to which must be added a common dome serving as a place for eating and sharing.

Between forests, mountain pastures and ice falls, this eco-responsible accommodation is ideally located to explore nature in all seasons, depending on the affinities and fitness of each person. In winter, adventure guides offer activities with sled dogs (cani-raquettes for adults and children, cani-apéro with tasting of local products), half-day snowshoe hikes and even 2-day raids for the most courageous. There is no respite in the evening with frosty night-time entertainment: snow sculpture competition in an ice bar (accessible by snowshoes) with distribution of hot drinks, sharing a fondue in a friendly atmosphere.

Staying at Watogla Camp (External link)

Between Heaven and Earth, a tree house

What if you tried a really different mountain holiday? Here, in the Val d'Arly, Entre Terre et Ciel offers tree houses with optimal comfort, perfectly integrated into the forest. The cabins have all been built on site by the owner of the place, favouring natural and local materials. They are accessible on foot, via a footpath. The last hut to be opened, called Feuille, is perched 10 metres above the ground: from up there, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Mont Blanc chain and the Aravis massif! And if you want to ski, you can easily reach the family resorts of the Espace Diamant (Les Saisies, Praz-sur-Arly, Crest-Voland...) by ski lifts, or even the big ski areas of La Clusaz or Megève.

Sleep in a perched hut with Entre Ciel et Terre (External link)

The Cupelin farm in Saint-Gervais, near Chamonix

On the heights of Saint Gervais, near Chamonix, the Ferme de Cupelin hotel has taken advantage of its tenth anniversary to refine its traditional mountain hamlet look... and earn a fourth star. The seven rooms of this former 19th century farmhouse were renovated in 2021 in a new look mountain style and two atypical rooms, one in the spirit of a mazot (small Savoyard chalet-grenier), the other in the style of a shed, complete the accommodation.

In the wake of this, the Cupelin farm is digging its way into the organic and locavore side of things: designed in the manner of old pantries, the minibars are full of local delicacies, coffee roasted in the region and macaroons, savoury or sweet Made In Savoie biscuits. Since April 2022, a self-sufficient energy barn has housed a 7.5m x 2.5m swimming pool with a large bay window offering a panoramic view of Mont Blanc!

La ferme de Cupelin (External link)

Hotel Le Pélican in Annecy

Housed in the historic building of the former hospices of Annecy, extended by a new wing, the hotel Le Pélican draws its inspiration from nature. Eco-responsible - it is 95% heated and cooled by a thermal loop buried in Lake Annecy - the accommodation has been designed as a bubble connected to the elements. A canopy rustling with birds' chirps on the reception side, a bistronomic locavore restaurant, a bakery with pastries made on site and unusual views of the rooms, designer furniture evoking the cracks in a mountain...

The ultimate in innovation? The "experience" suite perched on the 6th floor and its round immersive room with 360° projector and cameras on the floor. Tropical forest or the waters of Lake Annecy, you blend into the world of your choice!

Staying at the hotel Le Pélican (External link)

Refuge de la Traye, in Méribel

Here is an authentic traditional mountain refuge in the heart of the Three Valleys, completely reinvented to become a luxury hotel member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World network. Built with natural materials from the region (stone, old larch wood, lauze...), the Refuge de la Traye brings together two chalets, and even two independent "mazots" (Savoyard cabins) for an experience as close to nature as possible. The spa is unusual, combining a Japanese sauna, light treatment devices, but also a hay bed and a milk bath! An eco-responsible accommodation, Le Refuge de la Traye serves local products, is heated by solar panels and travels by electric vehicle. Exemplary!

Staying at the Refuge de la Traye (External link)

La Croix de Savoie Hotel, Les Carroz

This is the first bioclimatic hotel in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and the third in France! The entire construction has been designed to limit its impact on the region. The energy used is clean (wood heating, solar hot water), the roofs are green, rainwater is recuperated, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, and the gastronomic restaurant offers an organic menu. The hotel has also acquired an electric vehicle to encourage soft modes of transport. Located 600 metres from the ski lifts, near Flaine and Samoëns, in the heart of the Grand Massif ski area, the 4* La Croix de Savoie hotel has 28 rooms and a spa.

Stay at the Hotel la Croix de Savoie (External link)