Is Morzine the new Hoxton?
Haute Savoie and Haute Couture may seem worlds apart, but there is one trend that has definitely reached the Portes Du Soleil region – the rise of the hipster.
And while it’s become a ubiquitous uniform in the trendier parts of East London, the plaid shirts, beanie hats and long beards favoured by the modern hipster are arguably much more at home in the rugged mountains of France than they are in the cereal bars of Shoreditch. But it’s not just a fashion trend. This rise in independent, forward-thinking people has led to a massive rise in independent, forward-thinking businesses in the area around Morzine. So where are these hip and happening hot spots?
Cool clothes and chic shopping
One thing hipsters pride themselves on is their appearance. While skinny jeans and second-hand loafers might go down a storm in the city, they’ll need to kit themselves out in more mountain-friendly garb if they don’t want to freeze their sockless feet off. And where better to purchase the latest kit du jour than one of Morzine’s independent skiwear shops.
Shops like The Woods and Slopestyle on Rue De Bourg do a great line in cool snowboards, boots and skiwear – something different to the bigger chain stores. They can also kit you out in cool hats, sunnies, shirts and other hipster-friendly apparel. They even sell socks! You’ll also find like-minded people talking about the best places to ride, ski or just hang out.
Coffee, craft ale and cocktails
The staple diet of any discerning hipster is basically craft beer and coffee. There are lots of places to hang out and enjoy your beverage of choice in Morzine, but here are just some of our favourite local independent drinking establishments.
Bec Jaune is a great spot for lovers of craft beer. Whether it’s an American IPA, a sturdy porter or a citrusy wheat ale, “The Bec” are constantly producing a great range of beers, all brewed on the premises. They also do a very good selection of food to accompany your pint and their legendary scotch eggs are a must-try!
La Marmotte D’Or in Montriond is a great aprés bar and a favourite of seasonaires and locals alike. It regularly hosts some great live bands and has one of the best ranges of Belgian beers in the region. They also do a cracking cup of tea!
Ibex is a cool little microbrewery based between Montriond and Morzine. They supply lots of the independent bars and chalet companies in the area – including AliKats – so, it shouldn’t be hard to track down and try out the local brew!
Bar Le National (known as “The Nash”) in St Jean D’Aulps, serves some classic hipster beers (Brooklyn Lager, Punk IPA, 5am Red Ale) to accompany your pizza, nachos or buffalo wings. They also host a great quiz night and the infamous “Piquant Challenge” – a fiery hot pizza that earns you a T-shirt and a photo on the wall if you can finish it within 30 minutes!
Café Chaud is very lively and the place to be seen if you’re a seasonaire. Often hosting live bands, DJs, beer pong competitions, film showings and theme nights, there always seems to be something going on.
Beanies is a great hang out on the Rue De Bourg, one of Morzine’s main strips. It’s a coffee house, cocktail bar and ski shop all in one, so you can enjoy a cappuccino or a cosmopolitan while also browsing their skis, boots and backcountry kit. Beanies occasionally has live bands playing too, so you can also pop along for an aprés drink or two.
Satellite Coffee is another cool little coffee shop just a few doors along from Beanies. As well as delicious cakes, snacks and coffee, they are also a great place to get a bacon bap of a morning. They also do vegan and gluten free options as well
The hills are alive with the sound of music
Whether it’s live bands or après bar DJs, there will always be music on somewhere in Morzine. As mentioned above, places like Café Chaud and La Marmotte D’Or often have live bands playing and there are some great local artists who you should try to catch if you can. Leo Augusto is a talented Brazilian singer and guitarist who can often be found gigging around the local bars, playing his brilliant funky soul versions of well-known classics. He also happens to be a former AliKats employee – though we can’t take any credit for his musical prowess! Another great act who can often be found in the area are The Cab Collective, who are a four piece rock band who are based in Morzine but tour all over Europe and the Alps, playing over 200 gigs per year
Morzine isn’t short of a festival or two either – and what self-respecting hipster doesn’t like a festival? Rock The Pistes is an annual music festival which, in the past, has featured acts such as Rag’n’Bone Man, Basement Jaxx, The Klaxons and Babyshambles. This year’s event takes place from 18-24 March 2018 in Les Gets, Avoriaz and other venues throughout the Portes Du Soleil. Also in March, Avoriaz is host to another great festival, Snowboxx. This year’s confirmed acts include Chase & Status and the brilliant Loyle Carner, with more to be announced.
Whether it’s brainstorming a new pop-up venture or crowd-sourcing a new app launch, hipsters love to have lots of ideas on the go. And a stuffy old office just isn’t conducive to the kind of creative process and free-form thinking that hipsters excel at. So, events like the Action Academy Nomad Camps offer “workcations” for hip entrepreneurs and remote digital workers. Their ethos is to bring together like-minded creative types and show them that co-working and outdoor pursuits can combine to really get the creative juices flowing.
Several co-working spaces have popped up in the last couple of years to meet the growing demand for flexible working arrangements. Büro offers hot-desking options on fall time or part time basis; by the day or rolling month basis
The Alpine Collective is a local networking group comprised of business owners and professionals from across the Portes du Soleil area. Each month they meet to connect, share, support each other’s business and bounce ideas off each other. It’s a great networking set up for local, independent businesses.
So, there you have it. Could it be that the traditional stomping ground of the hipster isn’t the pop-up falafel boutiques and oxygen bars of trendy East London after all? Maybe the beard-wearing hipster’s natural habitat really is the snow-draped mountains of Morzine… Why not don your best trucker cap and come out to see for yourself?!
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