The ‘Ski Bubble’ is something which every seasonaire can relate to. It’s a term that my room mate and I came up with to describe the feeling of being stuck in a ski resort and outside of the reality of ‘normal life’ Don’t get me wrong, waking up in the mountains surrounded by snow and skiing everyday isn’t a bad life at alllll but it does kind of become ground hog day – wake up, work, ski, work, sleep, repeat. We were longing for a taste of reality: to see cars on the road, people going about their daily lives and most excitingly of all… a supermarket (living on chalet food all day every day is nice and all but to go shopping for foods we hadn’t eaten in months sounded like heaven!)
So when the offer of getting a ride to Bourg Saint Maurice (the nearest biggest town to where we were working in Tignes Les Brevières) was suggested, my room mate and I jumped at the chance.
If you’ve ever been skiing in the French Alps, it’s likely that you’ve been in Bourg at some point. The train station and busy bus station make it a popular place for transfer change overs coming from local airports such as Geneva and Grenoble to ‘Les Arcs’, ‘La Plagne’, ‘Tignes – Val d’Isère’ or ‘La Rosière’. The funiculaire in Bourg makes staying there an option too as you can get to ‘Les Arcs’ in just 7 minutes! I’d switched over transfer vehicles in Bourg when I first came over to work but my tired and travelled out brain hadn’t really paid much attention to where I was. My proper trip to Bourg Saint Maurice made me realise that there is much more to offer here than coaches and ski reps!
First trip was to SuperU which excited us much more than it probably should have! Is it just me or does anyone else just love supermarket shopping in foreign countries? Paprika Pringles, Milka, Lays – all the stuff you can’t buy in the UK but cannot resist buying when you’re abroad. After 3 months of only having a teeny Sherpa store selling products at extortionate prices, we both stocked up on the essentials we hadn’t been able to get or justify spending money on (€9 for a lip balm?! – no chance!).
An hour later and after taking a good chunk out of our already small seasonaire wages, we were on our way out and headed for the main town centre.
One thing which struck me when we got out of the van was the heat. It was honestly like that feeling you get when you step off a plane on a summer holiday and get hit with that intense warm air – and we’d only headed 30 minutes down the mountain! Walking around the streets, I could have easily been in a dress and it was only late March (and you could go skiing only 15 miles away!!) As is expected, there was much less snow around – in fact, the ground was bright green and the only sighting of the white stuff was on the mountains in the distance. This was deffo the break away from the ski bubble that we needed!
The town itself isn’t packed full of touristy things to do. There are a few cafes but it’s mainly banks, hairdressers, post offices and a hospital (this was the reason we were here actually as one of the people we work with had broken their arm – another unfortunate reality of seasonaire life) We passed some time just walking around the small streets and admiring the pretty buildings and gardens. My room mate is just as snap happy as me so we spent ages taking pics of the colourful walls and quaint shutters (the snow covered mountains in the background made a perfect backdrop too!)
Another thing which we have in common is our love for eating out so it just seemed obvious to go and find a little cafe for a quick bite to eat. We decided on ‘La Vie est Belle’ which is located in the old town because the seating outside looked cute and prices seemed cheap (and because it’s the name of one of my favourite perfumes haha) Crêpes, paninis and burgers were all on offer but we chose a bagel with ham, cream cheese and salad – for only €7! Combined with a Diet Coke at just €2.20, our meal came to below €10 (what a difference heading 30 mins down the mountains makes on your bank balance!)
Our trip to Bourg was almost over but we couldn’t resist stopping off at a McDonalds on the way home. We may have just eaten out but, after not visiting a maccies in over 3 months, it just had to be done (and we hadn’t had a dessert after all!) One thing I wasn’t expecting was the super high prices for everything; €3.50 for a McFlurry are you for real?! Of course, me and my sweet tooth couldn’t say no and so a Biscoff McFlurry was accompanying me on the journey home.
It may have been a fleeting visit but it was deffo the escape we needed from the ski bubble. After just a couple hours spent back in reality, I was excited to head back and make the most of the final few weeks of the winter season. Bourg may not have been packed full of touristy things to do but it is well worth a wander and coffee break if you’re in the area – there’s more to see than the train and bus station!