Dwight Peck's nostalgia gallery

The Hôtel at the
Col du Marchairuz

The Col du Marchairuz (1447m) lies at the high point on the road between Nyon and the Lake Geneva area and the southwest end of the beautiful Vallée de Joux. Until 1992 this road was not kept open in the winter, but times have changed.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

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Now the very old hotel (the present building dates from 1844) has been renovated (with modest financial help from the Friends or Amis du Marchairuz, amongst which number the narrator made one during the renovation years).

On a nasty 14 March 2004, Dr Pirri (yellow, right), having parked at the Hôtel du Marchairuz, prepares to set off towards Germany on the Chemin des Crêtes in a meter of new mushy snow.

The main Jurassien walking path, the Chemin des Crêtes, passes right along the col here -- some years ago (long before the renovation), Mr Peck, pausing in a five-day running trip along the length of the Transjurassien, passed a wonderful cozy evening in the old restaurant, reading a Dorothy Sayers novel and drinking beer, before retiring upstairs to the dark, pre-renovated, but thoroughly acceptable hotel room (one of only two, along with the adjacent dormitory).

And snowing again, 21 March 2004.

But now, the newly renovated hotel -- which looks much the same but is presumably more solid and upright -- has (as you can see from the Web site, http://www.hotel-marchairuz.ch/) more spacious rooms, much expanded dining rooms and menus, and a lively programme of activities, whereas back then, all it had was charm, lower prices, and much much better beer.

from SwitzerlandMobility (http://map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en)

As part of the new dispensation at Marchairuz, for the past several years the area just to the north of the Col has had some large parking spaces gouged out along the roadside (at 1339 and 1360m in the map) and some of the best cross-country ski pistes in Switzerland laid on throughout all the nearby combes, forests, and meadows and extending as far as Mollendruz 18km to the northeast and Givrine 18km to the southwest. These are entirely free (for skiers with the annual all-Swiss ski du fond pass), presumably benefiting the hotel management by more hot chocolates and cheese fondues for the family crowd up from Geneva.

And the site also includes, near Font. Froide, an excellent sledding hill for the kids, with a sled run down from the hotel at the Col.

The hotel, the trailhead at 1447m for the Chemin des Crêtes in both directions. Scrambling about off-trail in the somewhat treacherous limestone forests begins here, but following the well-trod trails needs about half an hour to get past the moonbooters in furs and diplomatic personnel from Geneva. After that, you're on your own and can get seriously down to having fun.

The Hôtel du Marchairuz, arriving back to the car a bit late, December 2003.

The front door, 21 March 2004, with a woodcarved statue ("le Vieux skieur") by the gentleman in St. George, Paul Monney, who's got a lot more of them down there, all around the region in fact, including Charlie Chaplin and St George slaying the dragon.

The newly renovated Hotel, 29 February 2004, on a snowy day. (La Côte is the local newspaper.)

Snowing at Marchairuz, 29 February 2004.

Marchairuz lies at the convergence of a number of Swiss protected nature areas, and there is a vigorous programme of instructive nature walks during the summer, featuring local fauna and flora, geology, etc.

Marchairuz at dusk, 21 December 2003.

The hotel seen from the forests to the south, 1 January 2006

The hotel and the road on the Geneva side, 6 March 2006

A snowy night in January 2008 (more here)

The Old Skier joined by a friend

Easter weekend, 2008

21 March 2008

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 2002, revised 29 January 2014.

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