While Monaco, Cannes and St. Tropez are luxury playgrounds of the French Riviera in summer, in winter it’s the ski resorts in the Three Valleys.
The Three Valleys is the largest ski area in the world that stretches along 600 km of world-class ski slopes. It is a home to eight internationally renowned winter resorts: Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thorens, La Tania, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, St-Martin-de-Belleville, and Orelle.
Picturesque, posh and with perfectly groomed pistes, those Alpine resorts have made quite a name for themselves around the world and are highly sought out each winter, particularly by the French Riviera dwellers. The latter annually flock to those prestigious resorts for their magnificent slopes, cozy ambience of Haute Savoie, exclusive winter chalets and hotels, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
Though each of the Three Valley’s resorts has its undeniable charm and well deserves a visit, the flagship resort for the luxury Alpine skiing is Courchevel.
With its five villages, Courchevel Saint Bon, Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel Village, Courchevel Moriond and Courchevel, which are all located at a different altitude, this ski resort is a diamond jewel of the Three Valleys. Courchevel villages are hip and classy and the French Riviera visitors they attract expect nothing less than the perfect pistes.
Perhaps that is why the snow grooming is second to none in Moriond and Saulire, so good that the Coulouirs around the top of the latter have been a backdrop of many films. The daily ski pass would cost an adult skier around €48 a day, and for those ready for a feat of skiing all three valleys, the pass is €31 more.
Winter activities along Courchevel’s stunning slopes are endless, but its après-ski is what makes it so highly sought out. It is packed high with vibrant bars, luxury shops, excellent spas and sumptuous 5-star hotels, such as the newly opened l’Apogee. With more than 70 restaurants, two of which are Michelin-starred, Courchevel takes ski buffs to a festival of flavours, ready to satisfy the pickiest of gastronomes.
Still not impressed? Courchevel is the only ski resort in the world that boasts seven Michelin-star chefs. Some of the restaurants, beside exquisite food, offer to its visitors stunning views at high altitudes. A famous restaurant Le Cap Horn (pictured above), conveniently located above the Courchevel airport, offers gourmet seafood at an altitude of 2000 m.
At night hours, the main clubs that attract the crowds are Les Caves de Courchevel and Kudetas. For those who want to discover the rest of the Three Valleys, the resort offers several means of transfer to the other resorts: two gondolas departing from the top of the Saulire and an Alpine helicopter charter.
Over the years, private helicopter charter has become a popular, if not the major, way of getting to Courchevel and other valleys, highly used by the French Riviera dwellers. With numerous helicopter bases along the Riviera, many opt to use private helicopter transfers to fly to Courchevel for a ski session and for its après-ski fun.
5, rue Emile Allais
Tel: 04 79 04 01 04
Kate Snesareva is a Digital Account Manager with Relevance, the award-winning online marketing agency.
Lead image via Top Snow Travel; photo of piste © Guy Moll; photo of Cap Horn via Maison Tournier; Heli Sécurité photo © Franck Jourdan