Chalet Savoie Faire, 73260 La Lechere, France

Retire to the French countryside to run a B&B with cookery school, a dream that we have often discussed but this is exactly the life that Nikki and Hugh are living at Chalet Savoie Faire, albeit minus the retirement. Close to Moutiers, Salins-les-Thermes and an hour away from the 3 Vallees ski area; a picturesque alpine drive delivered us to the mountain hamlet of La Lechere, home to this oasis, the perfect setting for a long overdue girl’s weekend retreat. However, we weren’t the first to discover this 5* luxury chalet; we follow in the footsteps of Gabriel Gaté, the French turned Australian celebrity chef.

Chalet Savoie Faire was loving restored by Hugh, a former naval engineer who took 12 years to transform it from an empty barn to a fabulous home with panoramic views across the valley and includes a large, self contained chalet which can easily accommodate 2 families. Hugh’s attention to detail is second to none and the quality of his workmanship has to be the envy of any craftsman. Complimenting the renovation, Nicki’s eye for interior design brings together a warm, homely ambiance where again, no detail is left to chance. High quality furnishings, fixtures and fittings that are in keeping with the Alpine setting; the bathrooms offer thick fluffy towels, robes and delicious toiletries whilst the kitchen was stocked with welcoming refreshments (and cakes), the fridge loaded with wine.


Our stay was, of course, full board though there is flexibility to either be fully self-catering or B&B, with or without the inclusion of evening meal. The day began with Nikki delivering a pre-breakfast tray of cappuccino’s that gave us time to natter before wandering through to the vaulted dining room to sit at the huge refectory table, which had already been laid (then cleared) by Hugh. A selection of cereals, juice homemade yogurt, fruit, conserves, breads, muffins…


As we lingered over breakfast, packed lunches were delivered to our kitchen, ready to load into backpacks and enjoy during our morning’s hike in the local countryside: stuffed baguette (jambon cru, brie and an assortment of salad), homemade cake, fruit plus a bottle of beautifully chilled white. There was nothing more for us to do than plan a route, which incidentally, Nikki offered advice and included a really lovely Alpine bar that just happened to be open for a restorative lunchtime apero.


Our afternoon was spent in the cookery school, which is situated in Nikki and Hugh’s home.  Nikki coordinated the work that took place around a massive central island (Hugh’s handiwork!); a collection of apero nibbles and salads plus substantial main courses that included Normandy Pork, a divine vegetable lasagna and a quiche of Trompette de la Mort, the delicate mushrooms harvested the previous day from a local ‘secret’ spot. Along with plenty of chatter and laughter, fine ingredients, healthy yet indulgent recipes and quality equipment and a bank of ovens were at our disposal whilst Nikki’s direction kept us all on track.


The produce of the afternoon was dinner, our own ‘sampling’ menu, which was served in our dining room by our personal waiter, Hugh but before, we were treated to an apero (or 2) in a very special place; Hughbies bar:


And so the weekend continued; pure, unadulterated luxury and pampering that included facials and girlie movies but sadly the time came to say au revoir… I really can’t wait to return… How heartwarming it is to arrive as strangers but to leave knowing that one has new friends…

Chalet Savoie Faire offers year around activities that includes the cookery school, a 5-day training course for ski chalet hosts, downhill and cross-country skiing, walking, climbing, parapenting and, Hugh is an accomplished road cyclist though for the less energetic, this is a gorgeous place to just relax and enjoy the scenery. Corporate events can be accommodated, as can parties and tailor-made packages.


Chalet Savoie Faire
73260 La Lechere

Tel: 0033 (0)479 24 54 28

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