Just the two of us

This is the first time we’ve rented a holiday home in France. It’s spotlessly clean and functional. When I made the booking I rented a chalet for 7. Not in the expectation of having guests but merely to have enough room and facilities for the two of us. The French happily cram 7 people into 3 rooms with only one bathroom. On arriving we were “upgraded” to a larger chalet. I’m not sure that upgraded is the correct term and I’ll explain why.

The chalet sleeps 11: 3 in the lounge, 5 on the first floor and 3 on the top floor. In the lounge/diner/kitchenette there’s seating on the sofa bed and bankette for 7, at a squeeze. There’s 9 dining chairs for a table which comfortably seats 6 plus the plastic patio furniture for another 4 (weather permitting), and there’s 4 stools. There’s 3 bathrooms but only 2 toilets, both in the 2 shower rooms on the top and ground floor. None of the sleeping areas on those floors have doors. So if any of the 5 occupants in the two 1st floor bedrooms (which both have doors) want to use the toilets during the night they have to traverse the other sleeping areas. I suppose 11 people could fit into the lounge/diner/kitchenette but only if they all remained standing.

To be fair the chalet is well equipped and has a dish washer. The combi- grill/oven/microwave is large enough for a chicken which could conceivably feed 4. The fridge has accommodated the few supplies I bought for the two of us. In the chalet’s welcome booklet, there’s a note warning that the boiler contains enough water for a bath and a couple of showers, thereafter you have to wait for 3 hours for it to heat up again. Roughly, it would take all day for everyone to be able to have a shower.

Of course, the chalets are intended for families so you’d presumably have a mix of children and adults and do everything in a couple of sittings. But I’m not used to having so little personal space. On balance, I feel there’s adequate room and facilities for the two of us and our two bikes which are residing in the positively spacious downstairs shower room.

When we drove up yesterday, the closer we got to our destination, the worse the weather: torrential rain and 9°.  By the time we’d eaten dinner, the sky was clear with the promise of better weather to come. On previous trips to the Alps, we have struggled to find great restaurants as most of the menus tend to be geared towards rather hearty fare, appropriate for a day spent skiing walking or cycling. However, I found a gem of a place yesterday evening; the restaurant of a small family run hotel just off the main drag. We had a superb meal for a very reasonable price which I’ll be burning off on today’s ride. It’s early but already the weather is looking promising.