“The trip was nothing short of superb… There can be no better place!” – Andy McCandlish in MBR Magazine
If you’d like to know more about the riding at Bikevillage, just have a peek at the biking page. Otherwise, here is the low-down on everything else.
With BikeVillage you come to stay at our own French farmhouse by Les Arcs, not just a rented ski chalet, so you really can make yourselves at home. You’ll be enjoying home-cooked and sometimes home-grown food. What’s certain is that by the time you go home you’ll have a totally new concept of what makes a truly great mountain bike trail and, luckily, some good new riding friends to help ease you through the post-holiday riding blues!
Landry and the Farmhouse
‘BikeVillage Towers’ is a lovely old farmhouse, built in 1637 on the forested edge of a village called Landry in the French Alps, nestled in-between the ski mountains of Les Arcs and La Plagne. Landry is a traditional Savoie village, complete with a beautiful baroque church, a couple of bars, a friendly local restaurant, a white water rafting centre/café and a wide selection of toothless octogenarians chasing all sorts of farm animals around the streets with walking sticks. We’re still not sure why they do that. Being at the bottom of the valley is
something you will come to appreciate – it’s always downhill at the end of the day’s mountain biking! Bourg St Maurice is just a short ride along the bikepath if you ever fancy a slightly more cosmopolitan drinking/eating environment, as is the swimming lake, a top spot to swim, eat, sunbathe and people/mountain watch after a ride.
Sitting on the edge of Landry, with our garden backing onto our own pump track which itself backs onto the singletrack-packed forests below Les Arcs, the farmhouse is a very nice place indeed. It has everything, from the basement with full workshop, bike storage and compressor for tubeless time saving to the large open plan lounge with comfy chairs and an open fire for night-time loafing.
There are seven guest bedrooms for 14 guests (five twins, one twin/triple and one single) and five bathrooms, enabling us to cater for single travellers, groups and couples alike. Outside you’ll find our lovely (and huge) back garden stretching from the patio, past the ping pong table, to the lawn and out to the shade of the fruit trees, the veggie patch and Sam’s latest baby – the BV pumptrack. We get a stunning view of the sunset over the mountain peaks each evening so pull up a deck chair and a cold beer and enjoy…
The farmhouse is much more homely than your average chalet and when we get
in from riding you’ll have the run of the place. You could pour a cup of tea, eat some home baked cake and fix bikes on the patio whilst recounting the day’s adventures, or perhaps slink off with a book and lie in the hammock, under the shade of the cherry tree enjoying a late afternoon alpen-glow kind of moment.
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One of the
best things about mountainbiking is the appetite it gives you! Here at BikeVillage the emphasis is firmly on using local and home-grown ingredients to create delicious meals tasty enough to have led many guests to request a BV cook book. If Sam ever picks up a long-term injury then it might just happen…
A typical day’s scoffing at BV might look something like this:
Wake up to the smell of warm, fresh bread baked in the BV kitchen. Roll downstairs and chomp as much cereal, porridge (go on, it makes you strong!) and fresh fruit as you can. Then move onto a boiled egg and soldiers followed by some still steaming bread and home-made jam. Wash the whole lot down with plenty of fresh coffee or tea and
some early moring banter as you start to get excited about the day’s riding…
As if by magic, your lunch is waiting for you to pop into your pack. Today it might be goats cheese, ham and quince + chilli jelly in a flute, which is a bigger version of a baguette. There’ll also be a banana and/or some cereal bars, along with the stash of Haribos, choccy biccies and madeleine cakes that one of us always carries. We’ll stop twice for lunch, partly ‘cos we love eating in beautiful alpine meadows and also so that our legs don’t feel too heavy when we have to get moving again!
When we get back from riding we’ll pop the kettle on and you can tuck into a mug of tea or maybe a sly cold beer from the beer fridge and some home-made cake or flapjack or whatever has tickled our fancy that day.
By the time you’ve showered and had a drink and a post-ride natter in the garden, dinner will probably be on the go. Tonight it might be roasted feta and wild mushroom stuffed chicken breast wrapped in parma ham served up on ratatouille made with courgettes from the garden and quinoa. The veggies in the group would see the chook replaced by one of our favourites – roasted stuffed aubergines a la Bonifaccienne – a great recipe we picked up on our honeymoon in Corsica. A bit of rocket, lettuce and pine nut salad in a walnut oil and garlic vinaigrette and we’re almost there…
…All that remains is the wine! Sam used to work in a nearby wine shop during the winters and is pretty into the grapey stuff. We still get our wine from his old boss and the inside knowledge shows – it’s a Vaucluse that we drink which is essentially a Cotes du Rhone, light enough to quaff every night but with a complexity and depth of flavour that would put a lot of new world wines to shame. We’re not exactly shy with it either so get stuck in!
Luckily dessert goes into a different space to all other food (we call it the ‘cheesecake stomach’) so there’s always room for some. It could be an oaty crumble made with apples and plums from the garden and served with custard or maybe Lyndsey’s slightly famous dark chocolate mousse – it has been known for guests to check this is on the menu before re-booking!
All that remains is a tea, coffee or infusion to finish things off whilst you sit back and look at the stars over the moonlit mountains.
Rest Day Activities
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Even the keenest of riding beans will have pretty tired legs by the time Wednesday and the rest-day rolls around, so you may well be in good comapany!
We can easily arrange a ton off stuff to do, so why not book a massage with Massage Me under the cherry tree, roll down the riverside bike path to the huge swimming lake and grab lunch at the café, watch a few friends enjoy some whitewater rafting or paragliding, head into Bourg St Maurice for a coffee or a beer, ride a few laps of the pump track at the BV chalet, lie in a hammock and read a book in the shade and then stroll into the village for an evening meal.
Tips on packing your big can be found on the FAQs page . Once you land at Geneva, the trollies take €2 coins, supermarket trolly tokens or (don’t tell them we told you) good old 2p coins, which you’re probably more likely to have jingling around in your pockets.
Driving: More and more guests are now driving out to us in the summer. Landry/Les Arcs is a steady 10 hours from the channel ports and this is a good way to travel if there is a convenient group of you. Autoroute tolls will be about €60 each way and fuel is a little cheaper than at home.
Train: Just book a Eurostar service to Paris and then the TGV to Bourg St Maurice. The train actually stops at Landry, about 2 mins from the BV farmhouse! If you are interested in this option then visit RailEurope.
Us mountain bikers do like to crash from time to time. As such, insurance is vital, along with your EHIC (new E111) card. Just make sure the policy covers you for mountainbiking in the Alps and that you bring out both your policy details and your EHIC card with you – they’re no use at home on the kitchen worksurface!
If you also want to insure your bike against theft or damage whilst it’s out here then it’s probably best done under your house insurance or via British Cycling or Cycling UK membership deals – the BV house insurance does not cover your bike!