To give you fair warning, I’m going to break the review of this event into 3 parts, just to
tantalise you give you a good all round look at the retreat. For this part, I’m going to look at the location, venue and overall setup, then later this week I’ll look at the sewing, including the class I taught, and finally the things I learned from my fellow retreaters (well I was there to learn too!)
I think I can safely say Elita has one of the most stunning locations you could imagine for a retreat. Nestling at just over 3,250 ft in the heart of the French Alps, Montriond is a snow sports paradise in the winter, and a walking and cycling haven in the summer. During the spring and autumn though, it is invaded only by a bunch of quilters taking advantage of the huge Chalet Ste Marie, a picture perfect wooden chalet near the centre of the village. The whole thing might make you think you had inadvertently stumbled into a scene from Heidi, and I half expected to see Julie Andrews skipping over one of the mountain tops, a string of dirndl clad children in tow. Anyway, mixing my mountainous countries apart, it really was beautiful. Here’s a view from the balcony outside the main sewing room (or the salon at the owners might otherwise refer to it!) A little someone had to photobomb…
And then he found a new friend further down the balcony:
As mentioned above, the Chalet Ste Marie is on the larger side, sleeping up to 24 guests, although we agreed that about half of that was probably the optimum number of quilters you’d want, in order to avoid sewing over the top of each other! The bedrooms are a mixture of singles, twins and doubles across 2 floors, some en suite, and some with a bathroom across the hall. I felt slightly guilty each night for climbing into this bed and disturbing the nicely made up bed that the ladies who run the place arranged every day! Each guest is provided with a bar of locally handmade soap along with their towels, and at the end we were lucky enough to be offered some leftover bars of lavender soap that the owner wanted to use up.
The chalet is fully catered, with breakfasts of yoghurt and fruit, croissants, pain au chocolat, and bread/toast and jam. Lunch was a buffet of salads, local meats, cheeses and pates, with a welcome addition of soup on the chillier Saturday, while cake was served for a snack mid-afternoon. Dinner was a full four-course meal each evening, all deliciously prepared to cater for a variety of diet requirements. Tea and coffee was always available, along with water and soft drinks, with wine being brought out to the dinner table. I think I might have been waddling more than usual on the way home…
And, just in case we starved, Chris made us some lavender cupcakes, and Nancy brought half the US output of M&Ms:
Charlotte, the owner, and Sarah, the manager/chef, took those of us that needed it to/from the airport, gave those that fancied it a lift up to the local lake for a walk or photos, and pretty much catered to our every whim. Full credit to them for not eye-rolling at the state of the thread-laden rugs at the end of the weekend!
For the sewing, half the salon had been sacrificed to the sewing tables that Elita had brought up for everyone to use as work tables, while the other half sported the two long dining tables, one being used as a prep/teaching/cutting station and the other for the actual dining. In an adjacent small room (normally the TV room) the TV had been hidden and the sofas pushed back to allow for another couple of cutting tables and pressing tables. The front room sported a collection of sofas that we lounged on during our break times, usually while attached to some kind of electronic device hooked up to the in house wifi, and intermittently it was set up as a nail salon!
Optional massages took place in one of the attic rooms, and the hot tub was open to all each evening on the lower deck. If you want a weekend of sewing and pampering, this is definitely the place for you! The next retreat is next April, contact Elita for further details.
Look as amazing as I thought it would! Would love to go but would have to sacrifice a couple of fqr tickets!
Jack, is that really you? You mean she finally took you on a vacation? Go LT!
I'm glad you started with the location, because until now I had assumed you were going to a retreat in the Peak District! … though it did puzzle me slightly why you were flying and not driving down lol
Sounds a fantastic place! 🙂
Sounds like idyllic surroundings, and thanks for all those food photos. Hungry now!
Oh wow. what a beautiful place, sounds amazing, Though I can only apologise for misreading the end of the first paragraph as fellow retarders, I did quite a double take!! It's been a long day :o)
Looks idyllic x
What a wonderful place for a sewing weekend. I'm glad Jack made friends with that reindeer. It looked as though his tummy might have grown as well.
Kay and Wilbur
Wow, how did you ever tear yourself away to come home?
Jack sure is one lucky little ted. I mean really – among all those lovely ladies in an idyllic setting, delicious eats and treats. It looks amazing. Thanks for sharing these photos!
Sooooo p'd off that I couldn't make it…..oh well, April isn't all that far away!
that looks amazing! hope you remembered all your stuff, no "popping" back for forgotten items 🙂
Sounds awful-fresh mountain air, hot and cold food on tap,cooked by someone else and a weekend sewing. Just dreadful! (and I'm not at all jealous…)
Absolute purgatory Jack. Mountains, food, wine, women – any song? I know you photo-bombed (well done, it would have been unfair to leave you out), but did you bomb in the ho tub too? You'd only have made a little splash, but it might have been fun.
Jock and Himself
I meant hot tub – giggle
OMG this looks so cool! Jack is looking very dapper. What was the green stuff in the bowl? Please tell me it wasn't pea something or other. Blueghhh 😉
Looks freakin awesome. Jealous…. lol
What an amazing looking place!! That view!
Gosh, that was a really tough assignment for you!
Holy wow. It's heaven. (your little bear looks so cute!)
Holy wow. It's heaven. (your little bear looks so cute!)
That looks like a little piece of Paradise. What an amazing place to have a quilt retreat. Food, wine, views !
That is one lucky bear for being taken along!!
This makes me sooo envious.
That looks so beautiful and like so much fun. Now excuse me while I go off to sing all the songs from The Sound of Music that you got stuck in my head. "The hills are alive….."
Oh wow, it sounds fabulous!
Didn't you just move in permanently?
Want to go!
What a gorgeous place to stay! Tempting. Very tempting