There is hardly a resort in all the Alps that is more suitable for families with children than Villars. Recognized by the prestigious label Families Welcome, which is issued by the Swiss Federation of Tourism, the region of Villars-Gryon-Diabler has become one of three family-friendly places in the French part of Switzerland, along with Nenda and Crans-Montana. This honorary title Villars has been carrying for ten years and every two years confirms it, proving its compliance with the strict requirements of a thirty-page document. And all this is not just a formality. Arriving in Villars with the children, we immediately decided to arrange a “family test drive” for the resort. Reporting results.
First, in the apartments, shot through the Interhome, we were waiting for high chairs and cribs. This agency is also labeled Families Welcome, so it provides on request the necessary children’s things. If you rented the apartment directly from the owner, this is also no reason to drag a playpen and a pram from Moscow. In the village of Gryon next to Villars, you can rent a high chair, stroller, bed or playpen. Moreover, even toys and books can be left at home – in the Tourist Office there is a magic wardrobe full of books, puzzles, sorters, board games and other toys for children of all ages. Moreover, if you have to pay for chairs, etc., toys are given on bail for free. And by the way, our trip to the office of tourism has turned into a real spectacle – on the threshold we were greeted by the cheerful fox cub Vilu, the symbol of the resort, drawn by the famous local animator Derib. The friendly office workers took turns taking their voices to Wil, forcing our children to laugh.
If you prefer to live not in apartments and chalets, but in hotels, then you should pay attention to two hotels marked with a label: Eurotel and Hotel Du Golf. A prestigious sticker on the wall at the entrance indicates that the hotel has taken care of the game room, changing area, children’s menu and highchairs in the restaurant. Opened a couple of years ago, the five-star Royalp is also considered one of the most convenient for families with children. Despite the spacious gaming, cinema, video games room, special spa menu for children from 6 years old, the hotel was not certified as family, as there are no windows in the game room. Such a strict commission! But we checked, in Royalp, indeed, very happy children, so feel free to recommend it along with the recognized family-run hotels.
With the placement figured out, go ride. The resort has an excellent offer – free ski pass for children under 9 years old. In the two main ski schools they deal with children from three years old (there are Russian-speaking instructors), at the top there are snow kindergartens (Jardins de Neige) for the smallest. In general, all the local skiing area seems very cozy and safe for skiing with children – wide, well-prepared tracks and overgrown friendly trees somehow immediately inspire peace and confidence.
If you want to go without children, you can leave them for a while Jardin de Neige at the top or in the kindergarten La Trotinette at the bottom (for children from 2 months to 6 years). Those who have not booked in advance at La Trotinette or prefer to go skiing in Gryon will find it helpful to learn about the L’arbre de musique there. In addition, Villars has long been famous for its international private boarding schools, which organize winter and children’s camps or even are ready to take the child to him for several days, teaching him languages and skiing.
Particularly exciting parents who do not want to give the child to the group, the Office of Tourism offers a whole list of babysitters from 16 to 40 years old, speaking different languages. True, except for Russian.
For walks with children here, too, everything is very well arranged. Next to the Club Med hotel there is a small children’s area with a small slide and a baby lift. Absolutely free. Here you can drive on a sled or, taking a sled with you, climb to the intermediate station Col de Soud, where the train-lift stops and from there go down the three-kilometer simple route. Also on the map of the resort marked special children’s routes on snowshoes and trails for walking with strollers. Many adult walking trails on foot or on snowshoes are also suitable for walking with strollers or sleds. It is especially nice that these trails often end in some amazing restaurant with a dizzying view. Such, for example, is a restaurant on the L’Etable mountain, which can be reached by walking a half-hour forest road from Gryon. For adults, there is cheese fondue and Welsh wines, and for children there is a whole farm with a donkey and a cow, separated from the restaurant area by a large transparent glass.