Les Gnellets was built a quarter of a century ago in the time-honoured local way, all wood and stone, with some of the rooms tucked under the massive roof timbers. It is a traditional, pretty and welcoming chalet. It might lack the bling of our more modern accommodation, but as our nineteenth most expensive chalet out of twenty, it is fantastic value.
The room the time-honoured locals obviously planned to spend most of their time in is the spacious, high-ceilinged, open-plan dining-sitting-room-kitchen, with its log fire surrounded by sofas, its terrace and mezzanine.
Not to say that the bedrooms aren’t comfortable. There’s a super master bedroom with a balcony overlooking the Calabourdane stream, and both a bath and a very indulgent rain-head shower.
Two other bedrooms have en-suite facilities, while the last two share a bathroom and separate loo. These two rooms are tucked under the rafters, up a staircase with not one but two low beams to test sobriety.
There are two more beds on the big mezzanine above the living room, which children or friends can take at half price, although we cannot guarantee flight seats for these two extra beds.
For whatever reason, Les Gnellets has always generated a particularly laid-back and contented atmosphere, possibly because it feels good, with all the larch and granite, perhaps because it is so convenient for skiing, with the cable car station and pistes not three minutes away.
At night the loudest sound from without is the babble of the stream or the occasional lowing of Val d’Isère’s milk supply in the nearby farm. From within, there is occasionally a lot more noise, but Les Gnellets is one of our few chalets with no near neighbours to worry about.
The chalet is in the lovely hamlet of Le Joseray, six minutes’ walk from the village centre, though there are shops, bars and restaurants closer by, just two or three minutes away.