This refuge sits at the giddy heights of 2,300 metres above Chamonix, offering stunning views and a rustic, but warm reception. Here is my usual balanced review and some real 'need to knows' for future travellers.
Here's what we liked:
The blackcurrant tart, the delicious slow cooked beef (which flaked with a fork and tasted delicious), the three course dinner, breakfast and accommodation for just €55 per person, the warm welcome (helped by us speaking fluent French I am sure), the stunning location, warm beds, hot coffee, beer and wine.
Here's what we didn't like:
The electricity was switched off overnight, making any nocturnal trips to the toilet very dangerous. The bedrooms are on the top floor (ie. third) and the toilets are on the ground floor, accessed via a very steep, spiral staircase that was lethal in the dark. The electricity wasn't switched on until around 7.30am, which meant the pump didn't work so nobody could have a shower. There was no hot water other than the showers and no soap provided in the toilets, so 40 people were using the toilets without it (horrible!) and the bunk beds were so close together that a combination of snoring, people getting up to use the toilet and talking late at night was guaranteed to deliver a poor night's sleep.
The 'need to knows'
Take a few things with you as follows: dry soap or anti-septic handgel, ear plugs (for the snoring) an eye mask (for when other guests switch on the lights when you're asleep), your own slippers if you don't want to use the plastic flip flops provided, a small torch so you can see what you are doing until they switch the electricity on in the morning, and finally a camera for the stunning views.