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Self catering - talk to me about the options!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
After all my years of skiing I've planned the first trip on a self catered basis. I have some specific questions regarding this, I hope the masses here can offer some insight!

Appartment is booked for 2 weeks in March 22, easy bit done!

Now, the questionable bit...

Cooking for 7 people for 2 weeks and the shopping for that. The cooking side is not as issue btw!

How expensive is it in resort (Alpe D'Huez) if bulk food is ordered via Huski and some collected from the shop in resort?

Could I be better off hiring a little car for the holiday (while the others have a transfer) and collecting supplies on route from the airport and then making a mid-holiday trip to the valley to re-stock? Appartment has an underground space allocated.

Could it even be better if I were to drive down with a car full of stuff and simply grab supplies of fresh stuff before heading up to resort, while the rest of the party fly and transfer without luggage? This way all the silly bits needed for 2 weeks of cooking could be taken from the kitchen at home and returned I guess? And as a bonus for me I could take a fatbike to play on after dinner Very Happy

Thanks for any advice
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Sounds like you're overthinking things Very Happy

Just buy in resort, you're on holiday.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
If I didn't have transport, then I wouldn't bother hiring a car to shop and would just buy in the resort. Any saving by buying in the valley/en route would be offset by the cost of car hire.

What might alter this is if the transfer cost saving for 3 car passengers could be put against the car hire cost. In that case, a shop en route would be the recommended approach from me. In addition, having a car could be useful on a 2-week holiday - giving you the option to try another resort and/r just take a day out in bad weather to do a trip somewhere.

If you haven't booked the flights, then yes, driving down is a serious option. Again, with passengers, the economics can look relatively competitive. As well as the convenience of being able to throw everything in the the car at one end and take it all out at the other, you'd be able to shop en route at a superstore and get a wider choice and keener prices. To date, I'd have said that buying in the UK and taking everything down was the easiest way to get groceries, but Brexit means that there are currently limits on what you can take into France - officially anyway. By next year, all this may have subsided and it'll be practical to take provisions for 2 weeks for 7 people, but as it is, it's best to decide on the basis that you'd do a Big Shop en route once in France.

Driving to the Swiss Alps, we usually stop at the Leclerc mega-superstore at Reims just off the Autoroute (Reims Champfleury A4 Jct.17 - E. Leclerc (270kms from Eurotunnel)


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Mon 7-06-21 12:53; edited 2 times in total
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@ciderinsport, if you are booking apartment and flights separately, presumably you also have to book transfers? For a party of 7 a private transfer is feasible, and you could look for a company that will (for a fee) bring a slightly larger vehicle and stop at a supermarket en route for an hour. Plan in advance what you want to buy. Then top up in resort as needed.
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ecureuil wrote:
@ciderinsport, if you are booking apartment and flights separately, presumably you also have to book transfers? For a party of 7 a private transfer is feasible, and you could look for a company that will (for a fee) bring a slightly larger vehicle and stop at a supermarket en route for an hour. Plan in advance what you want to buy. Then top up in resort as needed.


Now thats a brilliant idea! Thanks Very Happy

The flight will land at about 10am so have plenty of time to spare before we can get in anyway!
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If you buy all the groceries from Aldi or Lidl, and they have "European" labels, does that mean you can take them into France without any problems or restrictions?
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This may not be the glamorous option, but possibly pot noodles? It's basically what I live off whenever I stay at a resort. (That and the odd jam donut). If not, just buy food at the supermarket in the village.
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@ciderinsport, There are several large supermarkets in Vizille as well as hypermarkets in Grenoble that are all close to the route a transfer would take.
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Def buy food outside of resorts. The resort supermarkets will have much less selection and be much more expensive especially for things like beer & wine. You can get 10 litre boxes of wine in Carrefour/Auchan etc. outside of resort for less than 20 euros - it certainly won't be that price in resort! We self cater every year and generally stop around Lyon on the Fri nt to do big shop. The only things we buy in resort are a daily baguette / croissants and the occasional 'treat' dessert depending on what the patisserie has that day. We do also tend to take one or two utensils with us too as tend to find sometimes that apartments lack what we need.
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@ciderinsport, I've had a lot of experience self catering, mainly in Les Arcs but in other resorts a well. These are my findings.

We had a party of 13 in Val Thorens. On the first day several of us took big rucksacks into the local shop and were able to source everything we needed for the week.

Meanwhile in Arc 1600 we do do the bulk of the shopping in the tiny Spar, but the stock is limited (the prices are fair) and you have to get their fairly early in the evening to ensure that there is sufficient fresh food. We just call in and buy what we need that day. Of course breakfast is bought fresh from the boulargerie every day. The odd thing is we could nip down on the funicular to Lidl (or is it Aldi?) in Bourg for a really cheep shop, but to be honest saving a few pounds here and there doesn't seem worth the hasle. We do, however call into the Super U when passing sometimes to stock up on wine, beer, toilet rolls and fresh seafood. It is so easy to get from Les Arcs to Bourg that I suspect there isn't the demand for a big shop.

If I was staying in Alpe d'Huez my toughts would be to buy what you need from the shop in town as and when needed and not bother with big shopping expeditions to hypermarchie in the valley.
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Oh! I forgot to mention take a shrp knife with you for some reason many self catering apartments do not have sharp knifes.

If you do plan a gbig shop in the valley before getting to the resort check that you will have sufficient storage space, such as a big enougth fridge
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It's worth planning ahead and taking seasonings and spices etc etc so you don't have to buy expensive items and use just a small amount. Similarly enough dish washing tablets for two weeks won't be a problem. If seven people all take some coordinated items it could make a big difference. It's not worth changing your travel plans just to save a bit of money on food but there are other good reasons for driving. Provided your holiday weeks don't include the first week of March. wink.

Beer and wine is perfectly affordable in resort shops and infinitely cheaper than in bars. How much of your precious holiday time do you want to spend shopping round for a few quid off your booze, rather than drinking it?
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ciderinsport wrote:

The flight will land at about 10am so have plenty of time to spare before we can get in anyway!


Well if your flight will land at 10am on a saturday during french holidays, you will not have plenty of time to spare on your way ! Unless you are not planning to ski on sunday morning....
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I certainly found the prices in the shops in Val Thorens very expensive but 2x a small amount is still a small amount.

Brexit has probably messed things up but years ago we used tesco vouchers for the tunnel, about £200 for fuel for 2 adults & 2 kids in a Large MPV which was loaded with food on the way out and a year's supply of wine etc for the return journey, saving well in excess of the cost of fuel, effectively making the travel free.

There are many parameters that are different for everyone's journey
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

Beer and wine is perfectly affordable in resort shops and infinitely cheaper than in bars. How much of your precious holiday time do you want to spend shopping round for a few quid off your booze, rather than drinking it?

Wine in the resort shop in 1600 is about 5€ a bottle. In the Super U in Bourg 3-4 euros so shall we say 1.50€ a bottle more expensive up the mountain. If we assume a bottle per person per night that is a saving of 1.5x7x14, roughly 500€. A not insignificant saving. Mind you they would save a lot more if they only drank 1/2 a bottle per night. However, by buying in the resort as and when needed they would not have the problem of where to store 300+ bottles of wine, or transport 250kg plus of the stuff up the mountain. Beer would be an even bigger transport and storage problem.
Quote:

Could I be better off hiring a little car for the holiday (while the others have a transfer) and collecting supplies on route from the airport and then making a mid-holiday trip to the valley to re-stock? Appartment has an underground space allocated.

Providing food and drink for 7 people for 14 days in one shop is not a trivial task. A small truck may be more appropriate than a small car. Apart from wine consider 50kg of potatoes, 20kg of meat, 50 toilet rolls etc.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks for all the answers!

The plan has been set over a long lunch in the sun today with plenty of wine Very Happy

The transfer company are happy to stop for an hour in Chambery for a little extra - we will dive in, in an organised fasion and buy heavy stuff - wine, champagne, beer and self catering essentials (salt, pepper cling film etc) and food for the first few days. After that its a mix of Huski delivery and the shop in resort, plus a couple of nights out if thats allowed by then!

At least cooking each day will keep me out the bar at the end of the last run - that will save a fortune Laughing
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@ciderinsport, Why Chambery ? Where are you flying to ?
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[quote="johnE"]
Quote:

... If we assume a bottle per person per night that is a saving of 1.5x7x14, roughly 500€. A not insignificant saving....


€147
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rjs wrote:
@ciderinsport, Why Chambery ? Where are you flying to ?


Chambery! BA have a winter service from Southampton - it's 10 mins in taxis for us this end Very Happy
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@holidayloverxx, Laughing @ciderinsport, Chambery can be a useful airport to fly into, but is significantly affected by weather, meaning a diversion to another airport - something to be factored into your plans. It can become a terrible scrum on busy weekends. I flew a fair bit Southampton/Chambery with Flybe, but never on a Saturday......
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@ciderinsport A number of the French supermarkets offer a 'drive' service, where you order online then just rock up at the appointed time and collect your shopping. If your group aren't too fussy/can agree a basic meal plan ahead of time you can save a chunk of time.

Did a 13 person trip with friends back in 2019 and that side of things worked really well - pull in to car park, one minibus load shopping while the other pop inside to do the beer/wine shop, before grabbing some lunch and getting back on the road. Went well until having joined us for lunch the second car then decided they wanted to do a quick 'in store' shop (though we never worked out what for!) rolling eyes .
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pam w wrote:
@holidayloverxx, Laughing @ciderinsport, Chambery can be a useful airport to fly into, but is significantly affected by weather, meaning a diversion to another airport - something to be factored into your plans. It can become a terrible scrum on busy weekends. I flew a fair bit Southampton/Chambery with Flybe, but never on a Saturday......


Agreed Chambery or Grenoble Airports seems a good option on maps but in reality, they are very small, not operating all year long and very very frequent subject of bad weather specialy during winter. So flights are subject of cancellation, rerouting and strong delays..... Lyon or Geneva are far more secured options.
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Quote:

Quote:

... If we assume a bottle per person per night that is a saving of 1.5x7x14, roughly 500€. A not insignificant saving....


€147

Good point, well made. It illustrates that you should always use cut and paste rather than transcribing numbers. 140€ eruos it is.
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@johnE, no, its def 147 Laughing
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Quote:

no, its def 147

assuming the difference per bottle is exactly 1.50€
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@johnE, you said it was wink
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
johnE wrote:
Providing food and drink for 7 people for 14 days in one shop is not a trivial task. A small truck may be more appropriate than a small car. Apart from wine consider 50kg of potatoes, 20kg of meat, 50 toilet rolls etc.

Didn't spot the wine miscalculation, but I did raise an eyebrow at each person getting through 7 toilet rolls in two weeks: one every 2 days!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
ecureuil wrote:
johnE wrote:
Providing food and drink for 7 people for 14 days in one shop is not a trivial task. A small truck may be more appropriate than a small car. Apart from wine consider 50kg of potatoes, 20kg of meat, 50 toilet rolls etc.

Didn't spot the wine miscalculation, but I did raise an eyebrow at each person getting through 7 toilet rolls in two weeks: one every 2 days!


What's the male/female ratio of the group? That will put your toilet roll demands anywhere between a 2 pack (just in case you finnish the first roll) and 50 being a little tight...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ciderinsport wrote:

Chambery! BA have a winter service from Southampton - it's 10 mins in taxis for us this end Very Happy


You must live next door I'm 10 mins from the airport too Smile
I thought about using that service but we would travel on the 26th Mar and the outbound flights are over £400 compared to £90 the Sat before. Not sure why the difference as it's not local school holidays that week. Anyone know why?
We'll probably drive out and make the holiday longer with stopovers both ways.
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tarrantd wrote:
Not sure why the difference as it's not local school holidays that week. Anyone know why?


I would have said Public Schools but they're not breaking up until 01 Apr 22 either. Maybe the airline has their Easter dates wrong?
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 Poster: A snowHead
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We stock up in the valleys. We drive to the apartment as I quite like the road trip down and visit the fam on the way back home. We shop in the valley in bourg for stuff like cupboard items, meat and beer/wine. I don't mind popping to the little Sherpa if I'm short on something/need an extra bit of veg - but I will avoid it if possible, the choice and quality is reduced and the price is high - sure some of that is increased costs getting deliveries to store, but not a price hike of €3 per carton of oat/almond milk - it's mostly because there's a captive audience.
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@Extremophile, If you buy a bag of Porridge Oats in the valley, boil a kettle, add hot water to said Oats in a bowl, leave overnight to cool. Strain into a jug the next morning and Hey Presto, "Fresh" Oat Milk. Very Happy
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
RedandWhiteFlachau wrote:
@Extremophile, If you buy a bag of Porridge Oats in the valley, boil a kettle, add hot water to said Oats in a bowl, leave overnight to cool. Strain into a jug the next morning and Hey Presto, "Fresh" Oat Milk. Very Happy


Perfect timing; I was just about to ask how you milked an oat (or an almond)
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@Extremophile, since I have only drank cows milk since I was a baby and haven't even seen the milk from goats or sheep in the Sherpa in Arc 1600 I am unable to comment on the mark up on alternative or fake milks, but most stuff in the shop is not much more than you would pay in Bourg. A bigger problem is lack of variety. For example Christmas 2019 there was only one type of oyster in the shop as opposed to the 3 or 4 in the Super U and they never have rabbit or other less common meats. It was even impossible to find a beef joint suitable for roasting for Christmas dinner. We had to settle for roast chicken.

Though I may take the funicular down during the ski season for an evening's shopping. I couldn't face the hassle of digging the car out of the drift it would invariably be under then facing the problem of finding a parking space on the return (parking spaces are at a premium in Arc 1600). Since our apartment has a decent cave we will stock up with beer, wine, toilet roll (yes 50 rolls) and kitchen roll etc in Bourg during an autumn visit. Mainly for convenience. After all, even if the shop is only 100m way it may not always a good time to discover you have run out of toilet paper (or beer).
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I try to make my own oat milk when I'm at home. So I know perfectly well how to make it, but on holibobs I just don't have the time as we get through so much ( FYI I just don't like the taste of cows milk on my cereals, that's all) . A carton of oat/almond milk is €2 in bourg, a carton of almnd milk is €5 in tignes vc, significant mark up!

Anyway, pick bones about what you think is best to do something or other, I just answered the OPs 'options' as was asked.

We always find shopping in the valley a much cheaper and high quality option. When holidaying We drive from home and visit the fam on the return leg so we have the car anyway. Parking is underground and the entrance is always cleared as it Is where the commune keep the snow muncher, drive out straight on to the main road, no probs. we usually go on a weekend as there are soooo many day trippers up and the roads are in fair nick what with changeover... obviously if there's bad weather forecast we don't go, arranging for later in the week. Being that I have to study while I'm on holiday we usually tie all these things up together and have a non skiing day, may even get to do some laundry.

We all holiday in different ways, so what works for us won't work for someone else, and no doubt someone will be along shortly to tell me how I'm holidaying wrong or what I could do differently... or pick up some spelling/grammar mistakes rolling eyes


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Fri 11-06-21 11:20; edited 1 time in total
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@Extremophile, i think the mark up..while horrendous...I linked to the low turnover of such items which take up shelf space that could turn products much more quickly. (I am a retailer in a past life). I wonder how many cartons they would sell in a week even if it was much cheaper?

I'm with you on laundry....I hate going home with dirty washing!
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holidayloverxx wrote:
@Extremophile, i think the mark up..while horrendous...I linked to the low turnover of such items which take up shelf space that could turn products much more quickly. (I am a retailer in a past life). I wonder how many cartons they would sell in a week even if it was much cheaper?

I'm with you on laundry....I hate going home with dirty washing!


Maybe, but given the GIANT stack for dairy milk that's always massively full is taking up a huge section of the shop and and the non dairy milk is just one or two cartons width on a shelf... I can't see how it warrants a price hike of such wild proportions. Anyway... it's no bother for us going down the valley. It's nice to get out the resort sometimes anyway especially when you're there for several weeks. Never try to do laundry Friday afternoons... it's always full.
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