Day four: Megeve to Chamonix

7:12 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

I could have slept much longer but I left my window open and was woken up at 7:30am by the street sweeper. All was made up for when I got to breakfast. These breakfasts are the best in the world IMO. Crusty, chewy french bread, assorted cured meats, fresh ham, local cheese, croissants made with, local butter, fresh squeezed orange juice, super ripe fruits...the strawberries were so sweet, and good coffee ( for those who like the stuff). I ate until I could fit no more in. It was the perfect start to the day.
We packed up and hopped in the car. We only paid half a day of parking because we got partially comped by the hotel. Remember, there are no cars allowed in the old town. We took the long way to Megeve, skirting the lake. Part of the beauty of this whole journey is the drive. The houses, chalets, cows, fields, vistas, vineyards, locals, cliffs and valleys. Rising in elevation we reached Megeve just before 11am. We had to shop fastbecause most stores close at noon and don't open again for a couple hours. It is the small town (and off season) lifestyle. Everyone takes a long midday break to go home, play with their kids, picnic in the park and just relax. Good for them but bad for us who want to shop shop shop!
The stores I like best are the souviner shops and the Alpine home decor/antique shops. I left with a set of glass tumblers with various game animals etched on them and a metal sign for the front door that says bienvue with a cow on it. Mombought an entire wine glass set with the same game animal motif. Being that Megeve is primarily a ski destination and we were there in mid Spring, the town was pretty dead. We stopped at a cafe that had a huge Swiss dog hanging out in front for a chocolate chaud avec chantilly and enjoyed it while looking up at the massive moutai s that surrounded us.
We arrived in Chamonix around 1pm. My hotel room looked out onto the Alps including Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe. Below was an alpine river, light blue and milky with silt. I could see several glaciers too. I think this is the first time I have seen a real glacier. We walked the super cute town, did a little shopping. I found my favorite store. It had al sorts of salami, cheese, eau de vie, chocolates and bread. I was I HEAVEN. Just the smell when you walk in is enough to bring me to my knees. The salami looked like rocks; some covered in ash, some in poivre, some had mushrooms, some had the popular local fruit, myrtilles which are like wild blueberries. I bought one with the local cheese, roublechon in it. I also bought pear eau de vie and some chocolates filled with the local spirit, genepi, which is like a gin with herbs in it.
Tired from shopping we stopped at an outdoor cafe to enjoy a large beer in the shadow of Mont Blanc. It was perfect. Dad then went to take a nap and mom and I continued shopping. We walked pretty much the entire town. Shopping can really be a workout! As we shopped, dark clouds began to form over the mountains on one side of the village. We were pretty far from our hotel when the thuderand lightening began as we finally reached the hotel there was a light mist of rain coming down. We noticed that the locals were not concerned so we were not too worried there would be a downpour but I did bring my umbrella as we left for dinner.
La Caleche is a super cute restaurant on the main street near the square. The outside is all carved wood with bright red geraniums spilling out from every window and balcony. Inside, every space of wall is covered with some kind of thing. From giant cow bells to old brass horns and pictures of Elvis. The dish of the region is called Tartflette which is a baked dish of potatoes, onions, bacon and cream. That is what I ordered. My dad got this awesome pot of melted cheese. I wasn't fondue, which they also served there. It was a whole round of a Brie like cheese that was named with a little white wine. You also get two sweet and tender potatoes and a some assorted meats. I ate until I was sick. We strolled back to the hotel where I spent the night not feeling ill. I was prepared for this because I am lactose intolerant. So now that I have gotten the first big cheese meal out of the way, I can enjoy all the ones to come.

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