I’ve just returned from a fun week of skiing in Courchevel, Les Trois Vallées, France. After spending my last few ski trips in Switzerland, it was an experience (with good and bad aspects!) to be back skiing in France.
With the Swiss hospitality services and transportation network being one of the best in the world, it is, of course, difficult to compare the Swiss skiing experience to that of France, so I won’t. Still, there are some things to be aware of, if you’re thinking of heading out to Courchevel, from London.
Tips when travelling from London to Courchevel
- Plan your transfers well, as despite Courchevel being one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe, it is surprisingly poorly connected. Especially on Sundays.
- The nearest main airports to Courchevel are Geneva and Chambery. I flew into Geneva airport from London Gatwick. There are direct flights from London City Airport to Chambery.
- The main transfer options from Geneva are: a pre-booked minibus direct to resort (you cannot buy tickets in the airport, so be sure to buy it in advance), public bus to Courchevel 1650 with a change at Moutier (€88 one way), train from Geneva to Chambery, Chambery to Moutier and then a cab, and finally, a direct cab (it costs about €200 from Chambery and €300-500 from Geneva).
Tips when skiing in Les Trois Vallées (the 3 Valleys)
- With regards to Courchevel, there’s not a whole lot in 1550. There are a few more shops and restaurants in 1650, including a newly built swim and spa facility called Aquamotion. Courchevel 1850 is the most developed, but is very much focused on the high-end luxury market.
- Courchevel is the best resort in the 3 valleys if you’re after: a nice mix of slopes (on and off-piste), good quality snow, skiing with mostly adults, clear slopes without too many snowboarders and great restaurants on the slopes.
- Meribel was the worst resort, probably because of its location being in the centre of the 3 resorts, which meant SUPER busy slopes. The pistes were mostly just steep slopes running straight down from the top of the mountain – there weren’t many flat-ish cruising slopes going round the mountain. There are also A LOT of ski schools and kids snaking around, which was frustrating at times.
- Val Thorens was another good resort. Being the highest of the three, the snow quality was great, but there weren’t many off-piste opportunities. There are also not that many trees here, which means it can get pretty windy and cold. The crowd around here are also younger, with a lot more snowboarders.
Now onto the good stuff…
- There are some great ski-in ski-out chalets in Courchevel
- There’s some amazing French food to be had, directly on the slopes
If you’re looking for vegan options, Meribel is pretty good.
If you’re in Val Thorens, stop by the restaurant at the Koh I Nor hotel.
- Picturesque, cruising slopes in Courchevel
- It snowed for 2 days straight when we were there, which meant amazing quality snow and empty slopes. Heavy snowfall also meant great off-piste conditions.
If it wasn’t snowing, it was sunny. We just couldn’t complain.
Have you been to the 3 Valleys? What did you think? Which one was your favourite resort?