My husband, Mark, and I LOVE a bit of skiing. Since my first trip to learn for a weekend in Garmisch Partenkirchen two years ago I’ve been keen to go as much as we can afford, both in terms of time as well as money. Last year we had an incredible week in Méribel, France, but this year we could only both afford to go for a long weekend. A colleague of mine who has family in Nice recommended Auron in the south of France, a two-hour bus ride from Nice airport.
Getting to Auron
To get to Auron, we flew into Nice and caught the Bus 100% Neige which picks people up from the airport as well as the centre of Nice. For this bus we needed to book 48 hours in advance, but there are also other city buses as well. The journey took about two hours through the Var Valley and up into the winding Tinée Valley.
Where we stayed
On our friend’s recommendation, we stayed in the small neighbouring village of Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée, a short bus-ride away from Auron itself. It turns out that you need to be very explicit with the bus driver from Nice if you’re staying here as otherwise they may just miss out this stop entirely and plough straight on to Auron…
We stayed in a room in an Airbnb, Chez Martine et Serge, on a quite street just off the main square. The room was clean, spacious and warm with a lovely shower (très importante!) and the hosts were very friendly.
We had a lovely dinner at Le Chamois d’Or where they serve delicious crepes as well as tartiflette and a fantastic entrecôte topped with ham and cheese. It’s not for the dieters out there, but it’s perfect after a day of strenuous skiing…
On our first day skiing there had been so much snow the night before, and more was forecasted for the afternoon, which meant that the lift up to the slopes from Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée was closed. This wasn’t too bad for us as we quickly changed our plan and decided to hire equipment in Auron instead. We got a bus to Auron and got kitted out at Alti-glis which I can recommend particularly for English speakers. Getting our passes was easy too and we made sure to get insurance at the same time. Then it was up, up and away across to the pistes themselves.
We had a great first day despite the snowy conditions and poor visibility, but at the end of the day we were glad to take our boots off and thaw out with a vin chaud!
Day 2 was much clearer and the pistes were glorious! There was a great amount of powder, but without the moguls and fog of the previous day. Auron has a good balance of pistes for different abilities and none seemed too crowded while we were there. My favourite was a red called mélèzes that was a dream to ski down and hardly anyone else was using it!
Where to eat on the pistes
Set slightly back off the right-hand side of the central green nabines piste, but easy enough to find, La Bergerie is a great place to have a delicious and slightly indulgent lunch. It gets busy, but the staff are keen to seat people quickly so the operation is actually pretty efficient. It’s worth the wait anyway as the food is exquisite. We tried the tartiflette which was lush, and the lasagne which was delicious as well. I was tempted by the selection of local cheeses as they have a rather tempting display by the door, but I still had an afternoon of skiing to do!
On our second day we had an early start on the pistes so stopped for a mid-morning coffee at Le Farban. The staff were lovely and welcoming and the coffee was pretty decent. We didn’t have food, but their menu looked good and the atmosphere was nice and cosy.
We actually didn’t make it to Le Grizzly, as a few lifts were closed over on that side of the mountain so we didn’t venture that far. However, I have it on good authority that it’s a really nice restaurant and worth going to. Perhaps next time?
I hate to say it, but we didn’t have a great experience at L’Alisier. It was chaotic, crowded, and the food was average at best. Given how many other lovely places there were, this is probably one we could have done with avoiding.
Would I go to Auron again? Possibly as there was some great skiing to be had and lovely eateries on the pistes. There just wasn’t as much going on in the town as you might find in other resorts, and staying in St-Étienne-de-Tinée added some complexity, mainly because of the closed lifts. We had a thoroughly great time though and it was pretty convenient as a weekend skiing trip once we knew how to navigate it. Plus it was less expensive than elsewhere…