In the Southern French Alps up at 2300m on the Rocherousse plateau in Orcieres 1850 is an igloo village!
What are the igloos?
The igloos are built using eskimo technology adapted to the Alps climate and snow conditions!
A large dome of snow is built and then literally dug out by hand with a spade to create a hollow space inside. There is a sleeping platform, which is higher than the entrance tunnel to make the most of the warmer air rising for comfortable sleeping conditions! In the walls are little shelves for candles and some igloo builders get creative with ice carvings on the walls!
In the village there are five or six igloos, each sleeping 4 to 5 people - they are quite cosy! They are equipped with special insulated mattresses with warm sleeping bags suitable for the cold night time temperatures. They are lit with candles inside, which against the snow create a rather unique and quite romantic atmosphere!
What happens during the Night in an Igloo
Journalist Jo Kessel braved the cold for a night with her sister. Read her report in the Independent Newspaper
The night in the igloo village unfolds as follows..... After catching the last lift up to the plateau you will watch all the skiers ski off the mountain leaving you in the peace and quiet!
Then you will go for a short easy walk around the igloo village with your guide to watch the sun set and look at the stars, which is a magnificent spectacle, made all the more special by having it all to yourselves!
After your walk you will go to the cabin or chalet restaurant where you will eat dinner before going to your igloos to sleep. Or, you and your guide will cook in the igloos and eat there!! Dinner is usually a sociable dish like fondue and vegetarians can be catered for. Alcohol is not allowed due to the altitude.
After dinner you will go to the igloos, snuggle up in your sleeping bags and sleep!!
There are toilets accessible throughout the night a short walk away from the igloos but you will need a head torch to navigate your way there in the dark!
In the morning you are woken up with hot drinks and brekkie. After breakfast, you can enjoy the spectacular view of the mountains before the skiers take over!