As you round a bend in the path 2km from Corrençon-en-Vercors in the Réserve Naturelle des Hautes Plateaux in the Vercors, a cheerful wooden sign welcomes you to Le Clariant.
It is here, halfway between the nearest village and the 45th parallel line that cuts through Yellowstone National Park and across the Atlantic to Vercors Regional Nature Park, that this chalet-style restaurant perches between the trees.
It is the only restaurant allowed within the Reserve Naturelle des Hautes Plateaux and it must generate its own power and light as any connections to such networks are forbidden. Rainwater is collected in a large water tank before being filtered, solar panels provide electricity and dry toilets are installed outside.
Even the crockery is used to its full potential — coffee and hot drinks are served in edible cups made of chocolate-covered shortbread, and the wooden plates are occasionally used to fuel the fire. With mounting energy costs and environmental concerns affecting the hospitality industry, Le Clariant’s eco-friendly approach keeps costs and carbon footprint at a minimum.
The chalet is only open on selected nights and therefore reservations must be made in advance. Inside there are 120 seats and a similar number outside – whether you are looking for a cosy evening by the roaring fireplace or a lunch on the terrace with views of the mountain range beyond, Le Clariant has something to suit.
In the evening, traditional raclette is served, with the Vercors cheeses melted by tealight candles, and the canopy of fairy lights strung between the beams adds to the magical ambiance. Enjoy typical mountain cuisine in a place at one with nature with an incredible atmosphere.
Once the evening ends, a flaming torch is provided for the descent back through the forest to Corrençon en Vercors, a fitting way to end an enjoyable soirée.
Full dinner menu excluding wine €49
Lead photo credit : Relax at the stunning Le Clariant © Elinor Sheridan
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