The La Clusaz Chalet: A Year On

The chalet staff is much the same as last year. The major change is the young Polish woman who worked in the bar, and whose French was so good we’d initially thought she was French, is gone. She had told us the job was only a stopgap until she got one in her field, so her departure isn’t a shock. (I don’t remember her field, but she was a recent graduate.) A similar aged Frenchwoman is in her role now.

Looking out from La Clusaz, on Monday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Looking out from La Clusaz, on Monday. [Photo by me, 2016.]

The personable owner is best quick-described as something of a combination of Gerard Depardieu and “Inspector Clouseau”; but unlike the latter especially, he is far from a bumbler. He likes to act a bit overwhelmed by it all, but in reality you know he knows everything that’s going on.

He said he’d lost a lot of business after “the bomb” in Paris on November 13. It was very quiet for the month of December into January. “I never have had so many empty rooms,” he lamented. “I don’t know if many foreigners don’t come to France. But now it’s busy again.”

There is one other English-speaking couple staying currently (they’re English), but the rest of the guests seem French. La Clusaz is small and known as a “French resort,” although there are foreigners here, too. You do occasionally hear English spoken here and there.

A ski run, from La Clusaz, on Monday. [Photo by me, 2016.]
A ski run, from La Clusaz, on Monday. [Photo by me, 2016.]

He loves having repeat guests. Well, most of the time anyway. “There is one from Paris,” he smiled at us. “He came again and, well, I think he doesn’t know the difference between service and, uh, servant,” he bowed our way a bit, mimicking a butler. As he walked off, he made us laugh when from around a corner he added with a shout: “I think he didn’t realize the Middle Ages are over!”

In the year since we’d last been here, he’s been to Manhattan, where his son had been doing an internship. “Ah, I love that place, except for his being there and what it did to my wallet. It is so expensive,” he declared.

I nodded along. “It’s Manhattan,” I reminded him.

“Two weeks was not enough,” he added. “The Guggenheim was closed the whole time, I never got in there which was sad. A Frenchman in Manhattan, except I am Belgian, of course. Now my son is in Dubai. That is easier on my wallet he is there now.”

Someone missed a “reality TV” idea there. Following him around Manhattan for two weeks? I can only imagine.

Compared to this week last year when we were here, there is not as much snow. The good news is it’s snowing right now….

From our room this morning. [Photo by me, 2016.]
From our room this morning. [Photo by me, 2016.]
It’s this first fresh snow seen since we arrived on Monday. 🙂

I’m not writing again. Maybe this afternoon? Uh, this is becoming a problem: novels don’t get written unless you WRITE them. 😉

Posted by

Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.