Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been featuring The 3 Valleys with blogs about skiing in Courchevel, La Tania and Méribel. But the great thing about staying in any of the 3 Valley resorts is that you don’t have to choose, you can have it all. So if you’re going to be skiing the 3 Valleys this winter here’s a round up of our favourite places to ski, eat and après. Bag them all and we reckon you’ll leave grinning from ear to ear.
Skiing The 3 Valleys
If you’re a beginner or lower intermediate then you might be a little more restricted to the resort or at least valley where you’re staying. But once you can cruise the blues the world is your oyster. Clip in, set off and explore…..
If you like your blues long and wide then you’ve come to the right place. Personal highlights include the wide range of blues to choose from around Courchevel 1650. Lap the Signal chair and you’ve got about five or six to choose from. And the best thing about 1650 is the quietness of the pistes due to the distance from the other resorts in the 3 Valleys with it’s location on the far left. Or the other great option for intermediates is the myriad of blues that line the length of the Belleville valley, above Les Menuires, from the Méribel side. Start at one end and you can ski each blue in turn taking a different lift each time as you work your way along.
If reds are more your bag then here are some of our favourites:
- Jerusalem and Pramint – Two cracking reds with fun rollers which run parallel to each other down to St Martin.
- Combe du Vallon – One of the longest reds with stunning views from the top of Mont Vallon. Try it in a one-er for some serious thigh burn.
- Chapelets – The jewel of Courchevel 1650, after a steepish start this gentle red flattens out and has some fun options to head into the trees off the side.
Blacks & Off Piste
If you fancy trying some more challenging terrain then we’d recommend tackling the following:
- Suisse – When freshly pisted you can’t beat this black run from the top of Courchevel 1850. And once you’ve got your legs back, if you fancy testing yourself on some serious moguls then have a go at the Grande Couloir, an itinerary run from the top of Saulire.
- Jean Black and Jockeys – Two under-skied blacks down to Courchevel Le Praz through the trees. Perfect for bad weather days!
- Pointe de la Masse – This peak at the far side of Les Menuires has a number of reds and blacks to choose from including some great off piste routes.
Top Places to Eat in The 3 Valleys
Contrary to popular belief you can eat cheaply during your stay in The 3 Valleys. In Courchevel there are various snack bars to choose from including the Hotel Courchneige, The Chrome Bar and the bakeries around resort. In Méribel, head to Mottaret for the infamous Mottaret Burger from the snack bar close to Spar, or fill your boots at the most awesome bakery in Méribel Village. Or in Val Thorens there’s a burger bar at the top of the escalators near to the beginner area.
Regular priced fare
For cracking lunches during your stay take your pick of some of our favourites, depending on where you find yourself when hunger strikes:
- Courchevel 1650 – The Boulotte, just on the street, close to the foot of the piste.
- Courchevel 1850 – The Chabotte bistro close to the edge of the piste, with occasional live music.
- La Tania – Bouc Blanc, for piste-side dining at the top of the La Tania bubble.
- Méribel – The Fromagerie in Méribel Centre is a popular option, as is Aux Petit Oignions.
- Val Thorens – Les Chalets du Thorens at the foot of the Moraine chair.
Or if you fancy treating yourself during your stay then try Caves des Creux in Courchevel, Les Farcons in La Tania or La Bouitte near St Martin for some seriously good food. The latter both have Michelin stars to their name, but as is often the case in French restaurants are much more reasonable at lunchtime so you can treat yourself without breaking the bank.
Our pick of Après in The 3 Valleys
And last but by no means least, the important question about where to enjoy a well earned tipple after a long day on the slopes. This often depends on the resort you’re staying in as links between valleys are poor once the lifts close. But the addition of the Folie Douce to Méribel a few years ago changed all that, adding an après option that Courchevelians can enjoy too. The 3 Valleys now has two Folies to boast of, one in Méribel and one in Val Thorens, and if you’ve never been it’s one to add to the “to do” list. Akin to a slope-side dance party with crazy costumes, drag queens and table dancing it’s the closest thing to the magic of an Austrian apres session that you’ll experience in France. The party starts around 3pm, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a few demis before last lifts home if needs must.
When it comes to après we’ve got to admit this is where Méribel really comes into it’s own. After the last tail feathers are shaken at the Folie at closing, party-goers clip back in for a short ski to the Rond Point, or Ronnie as it’s more commonly known. And with live music each night you’ll be stomping your ski boots right through til close (7pm), just in time to make it back to the chalet for dinner.
So what have we missed? Where do you love to ski, eat or drink in the 3 Valleys? We’d love to hear in the comments below!