Les Trois Vallées, or The Three Valleys, has been the largest ski area in the world since 1973, with more than 410 miles of ski slopes and 183 ski lifts capable of transporting 260,000 skiers every hour. It is situated in the Savoie département of France (French Alps), above the town of Moûtiers, and is actually made up of not three, but four valleys – Saint-Bon, Allues, Belleville, and Maurienne.
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The Three Valleys ski domain
There is an excellent division of beginner and advanced pistes catering to all tastes and levels of experience – half of the slopes in Les Trois Vallées are green or blue, and half are red or black. The huge variety of skiing terrain on offer means the area can meet the needs of everyone from complete beginners to experienced skiers. Because 85% of its pistes are above 1800m, Les Trois Vallées enjoys excellent snow from the beginning of December right up until the end of April.
The region is served by two international airports – Chambery is 90 minutes away and offers flights to twelve airports across the UK, and Lyon is 150 minutes away, offering flights to 100 destinations world-wide. The nearest station is 27km away in Moutiers, which is 4.5 hours from Paris by TGV. There are four main purpose-built ski villages in the Les Trois Vallées: Courchevel, Méribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. Each resort has its own individual character, but all are excellently equipped with a range of restaurants, bars, slopes and accommodation.
The pretty and cosmopolitan village of Courchevel is well-known for being the ski resort of choice for the international jetset, a reputation which it well deserves – however, it also has plenty to offer for those who don’t have a portfolio of multi-million pound companies or a private jet. Courchevel is actually made up of four smaller villages which are named after their altitude. Prices rise with the altitude – Courchevel 1300 is relaxed and family-friendly, while Courchevel 1850 is decidedly upmarket and a stomping ground for the rich and famous. The resort offers extensive and varied skiing terrain up to intermediate level, and provides easy access to some of the best pistes in Les Trois Vallées. For beginners and those who need to brush up on their skills before venturing onto the slopes alone, Courchevel has an excellent English-speaking ski school. There is also plenty on offer in the way of après-ski; there are 60 restaurants offering everything from bar snacks to Michelin-starred haute cuisine, a range of bars and cafés, and three nightclubs. For non-skiers, Courchevel boasts a range of activities, including ice-skating, hang-gliding, paragliding, helicopter rides, quadbiking, hiking and shopping.
Meribel is an enduring British favourite – La Chaudanne, the centre of Old Meribel was founded by Brits, and the resort retains a British flavour. English is virtually universally spoken, and there is an excellent English-speaking ski school. Meribel is a comfortable and attractive up-market chalet-style resort offering pistes up to intermediate level and good access to the rest of Les Trois Vallées. It plays host to a number of international skiing tournaments, and will also welcome the International Backgammon Tournament in December 2009 – so there really is something for everyone! There are a range of winter sports on offer besides skiing, including cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and snowmobiles and, for those looking for something a little less high-octane, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice-skating, hiking, swimming and health spas are all available. Restaurants, cafés, shops and a nightclub are also all within reach.
Les Menuires and Val Thorens are preferred by advanced skiers, beginners and intermediates are still well catered for however. Gentle green runs will soon get you up to speed and bring you the confidence to start with some of the easier blues.
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Les Trois Vallees. We have a large network of agents in the French Alps. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: flat, chalet, gite or B&B we will do our best to find a property in the French Alps matching your requirements. To find out more about our selection of properties for sale in Les Trois Vallees do not hesitate to contact us.