Established in 1845, the small, but nevertheless famous crêperie, “les Airelles”, is rich in history and past owners. Below, a few key dates will help you understand the past behind this popular eatery in the village of les Contamines-Montjoie:
Mr DÉLÉTRAZ , reverend of the parish, proposed the construction of a school for girls. At the time his project was rejected by the town council.
The council finally agreed to build the school. Mr Granges, a local builder and carpenter completed the building in 1850.
The council authorized Mr BOUVARD , a local innkeeper , to become the first tenant. A single room was reserved to educate girls three months of the year, December, January and February.
Mr BOUVARD committed himself to plastering and whitewashing the north-face of the building to match the front. He painted all the exterior woodwork green.
Mr MOLLARD became the new tenant. He remained so for a nine year period during which time he opened the first hotel in les Contamines-Montjoie, the Hotel de l’Union . The establishment boasted several apartments, bedrooms, kitchens, stables and gardens. Travellers, researchers and local minors stayed here.
Mr. LABOUREAU , primary inspector, questioned the use of the Hotel de l’Union and claimed that the building be returned to its primary vocation, a school for girls. The local council failed to respond, questioning the integrity of the inspector.
The town council decided to rehabilitate school rooms within the building.
Between 1867 and 1901 the tenants changed regularly until Mr ROCHE-DUPLAND and Mr MILLION decided to carry out the necessary work on the building to obtain the letting.
Mr MILLION accepted the installation of a telephone exchange within the hotel. In 1917 this service was transferred to the new Post Office.
A fire, caused by lightening, seriously damaged the Hôtel de l’Union.
From 1928 to 1930 Mr CAMORS ran the l’Hotel de l’ Union .
The Town Council is called to reflect on the future use of the Hôtel de l’Union.
The Hotel de l’Union was purchased by Mr Ruffin Barbier, a native of les Contamines-Montjoie who lived in Paris. He christened the hotel the ‘Val Montjoie’. According to Gérard Barbier, his Grandson, his grandfather had never intended to become a hotelier in Les Contamines, he had put in an offer out of curiosity! With his wife, Angele, an excellent cook, this generous man welcomed guests for over fifty years . Mr Ruffin BARBIER was the origin of the true history and reputation of this hotel.
Roger Barbier, the son of Ruffin Barbier, took over the establishment. It later closed when his father passed away. Martine CHAPPOT, one of
Roger Barbier’s daughter and her husband Gilbert decided to create the restaurant/crêperie, “les Airelles”.
Its reputation was such that today many former customers return for dinner here when staying in Les Contamines-Montjoie. On the wall of the building, opposite the church, one can still read the words ‘Val-Montjoie”.
Martine, Gilbert and their daughter offer their guests a warm welcome and a varied selection of flavorsome dishes.