Louison Brunet, mountain refuge host
From the foot of the Mont Grange range at 1500 metres, it takes about an hour's walk from Lac des Plagnes to find Louison. For five years now, she's been the host at Tinderets mountain refuge, and nothing you could say or do will make her give it up! In this peaceful haven that's well know to walkers and ski tourers, she works and spends most of her time in the heart of one of the prettiest natural locations in the northern Alps: Abondance valley.
In deciding to become a mountain refuge host, Louison chose a job that's as unique as it is demanding. Up there, there's no time to get bored with the routine. She's a young woman who's always doing something, whether it's offering useful information, or welcoming guests for the evening. Every day is different but they all follow the same pattern of diverse jobs that need to be done with the available tools (these are often a little more basic than down the mountain): prepare dinner, clean, wash up, welcome families and serve groups, organise entertainment, among other tasks...Louison also has to cope with the odd surprise or two and be on hand for her guests, offering route ideas, the weather forecast and advice about what kind of conditions they can expect at altitude.
In short, Louison's demanding job requires as much the ability to adapt to the isolation of the refuge and the tough mountain conditions there as having to live cheek-by-jowl with guests. Despite this, even if life in the mountains can be very demanding - or even disagreeable with few creature comforts - this is as nothing compared to the richness of life up at Tinderets. Although she never really has time to draw breath - even after she's finished all her chores - it just requires a quick look outside to get some inspiration and understand her good fortune at being where she is.
Faced with the silence of the mountains, our senses come to life, magic sets to work and tiredness disappears. It's how Louison keeps herself full of energy.
You'll have understood by now that Louison is driven by a passion. Being a mountain refuge host isn't for everyone, but for her it's a natural choice, a vocation. Far away from the daily routine, her bright smile invites you to pay her a visit up the hill for unforgettable moments, summer and winter, with the deepest respect for ethical and human values inspired by the surroundings.
Tinderets refuge in detail:
Location: above the village of Abondance, one hour’s walk from Lac des Plagnes.
- SUMMER: mid-June to September. Every day.
- WINTER: mid-December to end March. Thursday, Friday and Saturday only, by prior booking.
- Guests can stay half-board, B&B or self-catering.
- A large building with an 18-bed dormitory, kitchen and a large dining room (to dance and sing too).
- Stable with 13-bed dormitory, easily heated with a wood stove.
- Little chalet, away from the main building, with space for 10 guests. Ideal for small groups or big families.
- Outings to the refuge with a mountain guide, cheese fondue evenings, snowshoe walks by night + cheese fondue evening…by prior booking only.
- Library, petanque, children’s games.