Morzine, in the French Alps, is filled with great walking opportunities.
However, I have long dreamed of sleeping in a quiet Auberge in the mountains, eating fondue and breathing in the fresh dewy morning air. There’s something about hiking – and then overnighting – that really appeals. Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to do just this in the Portes du Soleil area.
And so, the last time we were in Morzine for the summer, we decided to take the kids on a hike to Refuge de Bostan in Samoëns.
Post and photos by Philippa Langrish.
The reality, however, was not quite akin to my intricately constructed fantasy of Alpine bliss. The main reason for this is that the Auberge slept 72 people in dorm style rooms and the food was economic rather than prepared with the love I had imagined from a rustic mountain retreat.
Despite this the hike was breath-taking, the children surprisingly jovial for the duration (fuelled by bags of Haribo gummy bears and bars of Milka chocolate), and the location of the Auberge truly magnificent.
For more ideas on visiting Morzine in the summer take a look at our Morzine guide. This post on the 25 best places to visit in France for families will help decide where else to go after you’ve visited Morzine!
Hiking from Morzine to the Refuge de Bostan
Our hike started with a gentle uphill ascent which continued on this gradient for over an hour. With Gillan strapped to my back and Maya tearing off with our friend’s two husky dogs we made a good start. This is a fairly easy hike to do with children and takes around three hours from Morzine to Samoëns.
I adore combining adventures with both my kids and my friends. The children love to meet other people and tend not to complain so much if there are other adults to play with. Plus, I get to hang out with my buddies while the children enjoy a nature fix.
We passed the first Auberge named Refuge la Golèse at the half way point, which is a dorm style property sleeping 62.
The path then undulates over little streams, through cow pastures and up rocky slopes until we finally arrived at our destination, Refuge de Bostan, deplete of Haribo and looking forward to a well-deserved rest.
Luckily we had brought our own supplies of saucisson, cheese, bread, wine, beer and cornichon. This was a wise choice as the Auberge was busy and dinner underwhelming. After dinner we found a lovely quiet corner of the mountain to build a fire, toast some marshmallows, celebrate our trek with a tipple of wine and watch the sun set.
Note to self: research the size of the Auberge next time to insure a cosier, more private experience!
Refuge de Bostan
We were a bit disappointed with the accommodation. Having imagined a tucked away mountain retreat with maybe a few other hikers, we were not prepared when we were confronted with the reality of sharing with 72 people! Next time I will definitely check the size and capacity of the accommodation before we set off. The upside was that with so many people staying there it didn’t get cold at night.
Our daughter Maya (5 years) was overjoyed at the prospect of sleeping in a bunkbed, despite the fact that there were three complete strangers sharing our room. Our dorm slept 10 people and was full!
I felt sorry for our room-mates as one of our group was a heavy snorer and my little boy Gillan (2 years) thought there was a monster in the room. This made for a restless night, but was quite amusing nonetheless.
The toilets were very clean but located on the ground floor and the dorms on the first floor which was not ideal. The room was basic but warm and cosy with hooks to hang our belongings.
Nevertheless, waking up deep in the mountains was a magical experience. Some of our party continued the hike up tete de Bostan before descending.
We headed back to Morzine the way we came, rewarded by long stretches of downhill. The scenery is divine, abundant with alpine wild flowers, cows jingling their bells and Toblerone peaks soaring above the horizon.
Things to bring for an overnight Auberge Stay
We took one large backpack and one daypack with camelback water bladder, which we managed to squeeze in the following:
- 2 x bottles of wine
- 1 x pack of marshmallows with sticks
- 4 x bars of chocolate
- 2 x packets of sweets
- 2 x Sandwiches
- 1 x packet of nuts
- 1 x bottle of milk (for Gillan)
- Lots of water
- 1 x baby sleeping bag
- 2 x towels,
- Washbag, toothbrushes etc
- 1 x adult sleeping bag
- Change of clothes
- Nappies and wipes
- Sarong (I always pack a sarong when I travel; it doubles up as something to sit on, a pillow, a owel, a scarf…the list goes on).
- Basic medical supplies
- Sun cream
- Saucsisson, Cheese, Cornichons and a Baguette
- Good hiking shoes
How to get there
By Car From the roundabout at the church in Morzine take the exit sign posted “Vallee de la Manche” and “Lac des Mines d’or”. This long straight road takes you past the Nyon Telepherique and slowly climbs uphill as the road narrows.
After about 10 minutes the road starts to wind uphill, on the second bend you will see a sign for Le Chamossière on the right hand side. Follow the unsealed track for about 100m and you will reach Parking at Le Chamossière. Park here and begin your hike following the signs to Refuge de la Golèse and Refuge de Bostan.