Out of season. Not a normal time to be in Méribel Mottaret but we needed to be there for the installation of a new kitchen in our apartment.
We broke our outward journey near Macon.
We were the only people staying there – they had only one room. Did we want to eat? A menu of Burgundy specialities and local wine, reasonably priced. Yes, please!
The starter arrived – a surprise, our host said. A choux pastry ball in a nest of salad. I cut into it.
As we ate, I realised that the mushrooms had sucker feet – they were snails. My husband, Tony, does not eat snails. He’s probably never tried them but dislikes the idea intensely.
Are you enjoying this?’ I asked.
I had a dilemma – should I tell him about the non-mushrooms? I decided I should, waiting until he’d cleared his plate. He was horrified. Our host asked if we knew what we had eaten, so it was fortunate I’d been honest. It was a Burgundy speciality. Fortunately the rest of the meal, Burgundy beef and a blackcurrant dessert, was less contentious and totally delicious. Tony is now trying to wipe the memory (and unfortunately I didn’t take the appropriate photo!)
It was around six degrees when we arrived in Mottaret. We piled on the sweaters. Between visits of kitchen fitters, there was the chance to do some walking. We wondered how far we’d get as there was so much snow remaining. What a winter it had been – metres of the stuff!
We walked over snow fields, firm enough at 2000 metres to take our weight. But when it came to walls of snow across the path we had to turn. We did not reach the Refuge du Saut, a regular summer destination, but got close.
Then there was the zig-zag walk to Col de la Loze. Snow piled at each of the bends and we clambered over it with difficulty, digging our toes in to get footholds. We hoped we weren’t being too adventurous. Sunshine and warmth at the top was our reward. But the thought of the return journey was bothering us – it would be more hazardous than the route up. So we chose the easier way back along the ‘Boulevarde’. It was totally covered with snow, a depth of a couple of metres at the start.
‘It’ll go on for half a kilometre or so, then it’ll be clear,’ my husband assured me. ‘Much the best choice.’
Two kilometres later, we finally left the snow behind, a twisted ankle and a jarred knee our souvenirs. But we made it.
Lower down, spring had arrived – it wasn’t all snow
A different holiday. Almost nobody around. Shops and restaurants shut. Peaceful. And we like the kitchen.