The Three Valleys requires little introduction. It is the largest linked ski area in the world and a firm favourite with skiers far and wide. Take a look at our Three Valleys ski properties for sale.
The story of the Three Valleys begins in the 1920s when a small expedition led by Arnold Lunn, a British skier who invented the slalom, visited the valleys of the Savoyard Alps in order to find a place to build a ski resort like those in Austria or in Switzerland. Here they find Three Valleys: Saint-Bon, Les Allues and Belleville which offer an exceptional site for their project. Each valley becomes the host of independent ski resorts. In Saint-Bon Valley there is the very chic resort of Courchevel and the resort of La Tania, in Les Allues there is Meribel and in Belleville you will find the resorts of Les Menuires and Val Thorens. The first link between two resorts is created in 1950, linking Courchevel and Meribel. By 1971 new Three Valleys ski passes were created, making it easier for people to ski across the whole area.
At one end of the Three Valleys is the famous resort of Courchevel. It is split into five distinct villages all linked together with buses and also linked to the slopes with lifts. First is the little hamlet of Courchevel Saint-Bon which is the only part of the resort that does not have a lift connection to the area, but you can still reach the other villages thanks to buses. After that is Courchevel Le Praz (1300), where you can still see and use the ski jumping hill built for the 1992 Winter Olympics. Then following the main road you will find yourself in Courchevel (1550) Village, here is the pool complex Aquamotion where you can come and relax or have fun after a day on the slopes. Still further up the road is Courchevel (1650) Moriond, which takes up a sunny location and some say that this is “the true Courchevel”, the area offers a good set of runs for beginners and intermediates and is well-appreciated by families. Eventually you come to Courchevel (1850); this is where you will find all the luxury hotels, restaurants and chalets that contributed to its worldwide fame.
Ski wise, Courchevel resort is perfect for beginners and intermediates; it offers a number of free lifts, nursery slopes with easy access to all the different ski areas with blue and red runs. Experts will also have access to some good black runs such as Le Grand Couloir but the real fun for them will be exploring the extensive off-piste. If the 150km runs of Courchevel are not enough you still have 450km more to discover thanks to the links to the Three Valleys domain.
La Mangeoire for its lovely piano bar and Le Petit Savoyard for its charming atmosphere and great for big groups.
At the heart of the Three Valleys is Meribel founded by the British skier Peter Lindsey in the late 30s. It is ideally located in the middle of Three Valleys domain, on the east side is the resort of Courchevel and on the west side are Les Ménuires and Val Thorens. It is probably the best place to access the 600km of the largest linked ski area in the world. Meribel is composed of several villages at different altitudes from 1100m to 1750m, the main village; Meribel centre is located at 1450m where you will find the easiest access to all parts of the ski area.
The centre is very lively with lots of bars and fantastic restaurants. Meribel is a great resort for intermediates as most of its runs are blue and red and it also has some dedicated areas for beginners and children. As for the most experienced, they will have the best time exploring the easily accessed off piste.
The Barometer for its English pub atmosphere and Le Savoy for its delightful menu and its location
In Belleville Valley below Val Thorens is the family friendly, ski-in ski-out resort of Les Menuires. Even though the village is not the best reflection of a typical mountain resort architecturally speaking, you will not be disappointed by the amazing skiing possibilities. This is one of the best spots for intermediates and beginners will have access to a few free lifts to perfect their technic and then hit the bigger slopes. Experienced skiers or snowboarders will enjoy La Masse area and its challenging black runs. Les Menuires is the place to enjoy quiet ski holidays at a good price in the biggest ski area in the world.
Le Tilbury is a great French Alpine Bar and La Ferme de Reberty for either lunch and dinner as it offers a wonderful selection of meat and specialities.
At the other end of the Three Valleys is the highest town in Europe located at 2300m of altitude; Val Thorens. This ski-in ski-out purpose built resort doesn’t disappoint. It offers an incredible set of runs that can suit any type of skier. Snowboarders and freestyle lovers will particularly love the world class snowpark as well as the amazing off-piste. Experts will find their heaven towards La Cime Caron which offers great black runs as for beginners and intermediates there are plenty of blue and red slopes as well as nursery slopes. From here you also have access to what is known as the fourth Valley and the ski resort of Orelle part of Maurienne Valley. There you will find the highest zip-line in the world; La Tyrolienne perfect for adrenaline junkies. The starting point is at the top of Le Bouchet chairlift which is also the highest point of the Three Valley area.
The Frog for your chance to win free drinks and La Maison for its incredible view of the mountains and amazing desserts.
No worries! There are plenty of other activities in the resorts which all offer different activities besides downhill skiing or snowboarding. You can go cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoe hiking or sledging. For the most adventurous looking for a thrill, there is paragliding, snowmobile or helicopter rides, ice diving and ice driving session. For a more relaxing time you will have access to spas and pools, bowling alley and cinemas. The list goes on…
During the summer time the Three Valleys offers a great set of varied activities from hiking, rock climbing, biking or white water sports, to archery, golf, orienteering course, horse ride and fishing. Some resorts have lakes nearby so you can enjoy water sports or a good swim and relaxing days. And also let’s not forget that there are plenty of sights to see as well as local museums. You will always find something fun and new to do, who said summer in the mountains was boring.
All the resorts organise daily events during the seasons. There will be concerts, sport events, cultural events, shows and local feasts.
Not to be missed:
There are different ways to get to one of the resorts in the Three Valleys. If you decide do get there by car it will take you approximately 9h from Calais. However be aware that during winter the road might be dangerous and less negotiable approaching the resorts so make sure your car is equipped to drive in the snow.
If you take the plane there are several international airports nearby; Geneva, Lyon, Chambéry and Grenoble – it will take you between 2h to 3h to join the resorts in the Three Valleys.
By train the nearest stations are Moutiers and Albertville then shuttles will take you to your resort.