BREAKING NEWS: THIS AIRE WILL BE CLOSED IN THE 2018/19 SEASON – NEAREST ALTERNATIVE IS PRÉ-LA-JOUX
Châtel is ace. And tricky at the same time. The resort itself is gorgeous – very charming and small enough to have a real village feel. They use the word authentic a lot round these parts. It’s really easy to get to – it’s in the Haute-Savoie which means it’s an easy drive from Geneva and nothing you might consider to be a switch-back on the route. It’s also part of the Portes du Soleil which means a vast amount of skiing.
PRICE (January 2018): €6/night | €2/hour electric jeton
The aire situation is really straight forward – unless it isn’t so read on and we’ll explain!
The journey to Châtel Aire
If you read some of the guide books or use the apps, you will see there are 2 aires listed for Châtel.
The one we’re covering here is in town, attached to the L’Oustalet Camping site. In fact, it’s just outside the campsite. There is also a well equipped ‘service only’ point (no overnight camping) further up into the valley and camping cars are theoretically able to camp in the Parking de Pierre Longue. When we were there however, a combination of the extremely heavy snow and the fact that it was rammed for New Year meant this was closed/full.
Our advice – if you want guaranteed parking in Châtel, you are best to book into the L’Oustalet Camping and make sure you book well in advance in high season as it is extremely popular.
Here’s how you get to the Châtel aire (worth noting it is not very well sign posted).
The only approach open in winter is from Abundance (Geneva direction) as the pass up and over into Switzerland is closed.
ROUTE 1 to Châtel aire – The high road through town
- As you come through La Ville du Nant, keep left towards Châtel
- As you enter the village, keep straight until you reach what looks like a bus/pedestrian/canine free-for-all. This is the town centre – you will have a bus station on your right, pass this
- Pass the town hall and look out for the Tourism Office on your left
- Of the three road ahead, take the middle one ‘Route du Linga’ – this is the widest and easiest to navigate if you’re new to the town
- You’ll head down and what feels like out of the village and will be approaching a small bridge over a river – you need to turn right onto Routes des Freinets.
- About half a mile down this road on your right and before you reach the campsite on your left, there is a small aire – sometimes cleared to take about 12, sometimes as few as 6 depending on the size of your motorhome or campervan.
- Depending on which way you prefer, enter the aire, baring in mind it is linear and you will need to drive out the other end
ROUTE 2 to Châtel aire – The low road
- Arguably a lot easier, as you come to La Ville du Nant, keep right
- Follow this road with Châtel a little above you until you reach a junction
- Turn left and immediately you will cross a small bridge over a river
- Turn immediately left again into Routes des Freinets
- As above about half a mile down this road on your right and before you reach the campsite on your left, there is a small aire – sometimes cleared to take about 12, sometimes as few as 6 depending on the size of your motorhome or campervan.
- Depending on which way you prefer, enter the aire, baring in mind it is linear and you will need to drive out the other en
Payment is made at the campsite hut which is opposite the aire. You will receive a little ticket to place in your window and you can buy jetons here too. Beware of opening hours and don’t run out of jetons!
James’s Vlogs from Châtel
- Awesome ski area
- Free ski bus up and down the valley and too and from town if you don’t fancy the walk which can also take you to a bigger supermarket
- Electric hook up is available
- Small linear aire so not peering into others windows
- Gorgeous town
- Really accessible if you’re a nervous traveller
- Loads of bars and restaurants for snow-days
- There’s a nice bakery 100 metres away for breakfast baguettes
- Trundle to the lifts, again, if you don’t mind a walk
- It’s a risk coming here as the aire is popular and small – it’s also used as a holding area for people waiting for a pitch at the campsite
- EHU is on a Jeton system of 2 hours at a time and there aren’t as many points as there are spaces to you either have to co-operate or risk operating without
- It’s a trek into town for a cuppa or a beer but if you don’t mind that, it’s great
- You can’t use the camp facilities at all – we tried to negotiate!