So, some Oxford Colleges actually have a chalet students can visit and it’s big Tory vibes
Rah Bartholomew are you coming to the College chalet this year?
In the most Oxford news you’ve probably ever heard, some Oxford Colleges actually own their own French chalet that students can go and visit.
The chalet des Anglais is owned by University College Oxford, Balliol and New College and is located in the foothills of Mont Blanc.
It costs students £15 per day, including food, working out at £150 for a 10-day stay.
But based on similar chalets in the area on Alpine Property, the Oxford chalet is estimated to cost around one to two million Euros.
It is three storeys high with 11 shared bedrooms and, because Oxford is obsessed with acting like it’s still the Victorian era, it doesn’t actually have any electricity.
According to its website, “Life there is beautiful and basic: there’s no electricity so cooking is by bottled gas and bathing is by a waterfall in the garden or a makeshift shower inside, but at least it now has the luxury of flushing toilets!”
The colleges run “reading parties” and trips to the chalet of normally around 15 people. The website reads: “Typically, we spend alternate days with academic reading and then walking/relaxing; the chalet is quite isolated on the mountain and lends itself well to both.” Sorry but this is giving major year six school trip vibes.
Apparently to visit, you have to have a basic level of fitness enough to “enjoy the outdoor life” but you do not need to be a skilled climber as “reading is the main objective of chalet visits.”
So, the chalet was built in 1865 by David Urquhart as a summer home and then gave it to his son Frances who studied at Balliol. He invited his friends to the chalet and started the tradition of reading parties in 1891. The chalet burned down in 1906 and was rebuilt on a bigger scale. The Oxford student visits were stopped by the war but then continued again in the 1950s. It was donated to the colleges over 100 years ago.
Apparently, many of the “good and the great” of Oxford alumni, including former Prime Ministers, have visited the chalet.
Inside the chalet itself isn’t very boujee but just the whole concept of your university owning a chalet in the Alps which you can visit is big Tory energy. It’s just giving everyone’s favourite Tory pal who insists they aren’t posh but has a second home in Mont Blanc and a villa in Northern Italy for good measure.
In a recent TikTok, one Oxford student shares the most Oxford thing he’s experienced and explains that he’s going to visit the New College Chalet.
He said: “You go and read books and walk up hills” and the interviewer replies: “This is like the quintessential Oxford thing. When you’re applying they’re like oh yeah each college has its chalet and you can go there and ski in the winter.”
“Skilled cooks are especially welcome” according to University College Oxford’s website and the College contributes to students’ food. Travel to the chalet “can usually be kept below £200”.
The College also provides funding for “those who are offered a place in a chalet party but who would be prevented by cost” due to funding from the late Olympian and Oxford alumnus Dr Acer Nethercott.
“Where you off to this weekend?” “Ah nowhere just my university owned chalet what about you?” Could you imagine literally any other uni having this? Madness.