Having gathered suggestions from locals and considered our options for the day, we opted to forgo the hot baths in favour of exploring the nearby city of Cogne. After a scenic drive through the deep valley, cutting into the heart of the mountains, we arrived in this charming -if a little remote- resort town. Situated at 1.534 metres, at the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park, of which it is considered the capital, Cogne is the resort for the outdoor lover and cross-country aficionado.

Cogne is singular for its easy going friendly atmosphere and fuss free amenities. Think Courmayeur before the fur and the frills. And in this part of the Alps, things like the ability to find a parking space without being stuck in traffic or going around the resort multiple times to no avail or enjoying a stroll down the high street without having to compromise on your personal space due to critical overcrowding, are priceless. So too is the striking beauty of the untouched natural surroundings. A welcome reminder that there are luxuries that do not carry a price tag.