Whenever I think of Mrren, I think of a moment several years ago when I had to return to the UK on a perfect day. What's more, I had to leave a group of friends having lunch on the terrace of the hotel Bellevue, which has one of the most splendid mountain views in the world.

On that crystal-clear day, you felt as if you could reach across the Lauterbrunnen valley and touch the shoulder of the Jungfrau. We had skied down from the Schilthorn, an exciting run, but one that lives in the memory for its literally breathtaking views, not for its length or difficulty.

My friends would ski it again in the afternoon, while I would drive across France to the Channel; I felt as if I was turning my back on heaven. Mrren is special in other ways than views. It is a tiny village composed almost entirely of chalets, and the nearest thing to traffic-free; as a peaceful retreat, it has few rivals.