Wednesday, 04 March 2015 08:45

A Guide to the Resorts of the Three Valleys

The ski resorts of the Three Valleys are some of the most popular in Europe. This excellent area boasts runs suitable for all abilities, and resorts provide plenty of accommodation options, including catered ski chalets. Each of the resorts offers something different for visitors, so here is a guide to what to expect.

1. La Tania

La Tania is a peaceful resort that is really not suitable for anyone looking for nightclubs and a lively party scene. Instead, it is better suited to smaller groups and families. However, you will still certainly find some good bars and restaurants to enjoy.

The runs can be challenging and the off-piste action is excellent, with places like Plumber's Crack and Dou Des Lanches being especially popular. Plenty of other activities are also available, including snowshoeing, dog sledding, paragliding and snowmobiling.

2. Les Menuires

Located in the Belleville Valley, the largest of the three valleys, Les Menuires is a popular destination for skiers looking for good catered ski chalets. It is located at a height of 1,850 metres, and is surrounded by high peaks including La Masse and Mont de la Chambre.

From here you can easily reach other resorts, including San Martin de Belleville, making it an excellent base. You will also find good snowmaking facilities, so you don't have to worry about not being able to ski if there's no fresh falls. There are about 70 pistes here as well as numerous lifts, and you will also find plenty of indoor activities including badminton and swimming.

3. Courchevel

Courchevel consists of a collection of villages, with Courchevel 1850 being the highest. It is also the best known and tends to attract a wealthy crowd, who enjoy its fine restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Other villages further down are Courchevel 1650, 1550, 1300, with gondolas connecting all the villages. In total you can enjoy 150 km of pistes here.

4. Meribel

Meribel is a popular resort that is often recommended as a great choice for families. Not only is it considered very safe, but the après-ski scene is also excellent. There are a number of good ski schools where beginners can enjoy learning the basics.

5. Val Thorens

Val Thorens is the highest resort in Europe at 2,300 metres. As a result, the snow is fantastic here. It is also a very attractive resort, with picturesque chalets and easy access to other resorts like Les Menuires. The après-ski is lively and there are plenty of bars and restaurants to visit, including the Frog and Roast Beef, Rhum Box Café, La Folie Douce and more.

6. St Martin de Belleville

This traditional style resort is full of good bars and restaurants to enjoy, making it a popular option for anyone wanting to rent catered ski chalets. It is linked to both Les Menuires and Meribel, making it the perfect base for exploring. It is a great option for intermediates, and the off-piste opportunities are also excellent for more advanced skiers.