We will refund you the difference plus an extra 5% discount off your stay. Contact us on 0203 475 4756.
- If you find the exact same product (same dates, same residence, same type of accommodation, same reservation conditions) on sale elsewhere cheaper than we offer, we will refund you the difference.
- To qualify for this reimbursement, the offer price seen elsewhere must be recorded at the same time as booking with us, and you must send us proof of the price seen elsewhere (screenshot or scanned document).
- Offer only available on destinations directly managed by Madame Vacances (Only establishment, no additional extras).
- Easy access to the world's largest ski resort, The 3 Valleys. - A huge range of activities for the family. - Plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs to choose from.
Courchevel is a world-renowned winter sports destination both on and off the mountain. The four villages that make up the resort are connected to the world's largest ski area, The 3 Valleys, offering an unrivalled extent and variety of skiing with over 600km of terrain to explore. Combine this with first-class services, facilities and infrastructure as well as a great après-ski scene and you get one of the world's best ski resorts. However all of this does come at a price with the main village of Courchevel (formerly Courchevel 1850) known for being a playground of the rich and famous. This should not put visitors off as the glitz and glamour can be avoided if you know where to look and the skiing is too good to miss.
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Courchevel is divided into four villages, each of which were traditionally named according to their altitude. The altitudes have been dropped in recent years and replaced by more authentic names in order to differentiate and increase the identity of each village. As touched upon above, Courchevel (formerly Courchevel 1850) is the highest, largest and most exclusive village and the favoured choice of Russian oligarchs and international celebrities. It also offers the best access to the ski area. Below lies Courchevel Moriond (formerly Courchevel 1650), a popular choice amongst families and British tour operators, with a friendly atmosphere, a good selection of shops, bars and restaurants and it's own section of the ski area which is often less crowded than the rest of the valley. Courchevel Village (formerly Courchevel 1550) is smaller and quieter than the other villages, offers very good access to the ski area and is ideal for those looking for a more peaceful base. Courchevel Le Praz (formerly Courchevel 1300) is a traditional mountain village with year-round residents and thus a more authentic atmosphere. La Tania is also part of the Courchevel Valley in terms of the ski area but considers itself a separate resort.
The Courchevel Valley makes up one third of the 3 Valleys and boasts an impressive ski area in it's own right with 150km of pistes. The ski area offers everything from pretty tree runs around La Tania and Le Praz to wide-open rolling slopes above Courchevel and Courchevel Moriond, to challenging alpine steeps culminating at the summit of Saulire at 2700m. The vertical descent is 1600m and it's even possible to cover this in one long run from the top of Saulire to the bottom of the mountain at Courchevel Le Praz.
Beginners are well-catered for with excellent, quiet nursery slopes in the Zen areas above Courchevel and Courchevel Moriond. Intermediates are spoiled for choice with a range of long, wide rolling blues, such as Biollay above Courchevel and Ariondaz over at Courchevel Moriond. Our favourite intermediate run has to be Creux, a long, challenging blue that sweeps from the top of Saulire down towards the Courchevel Moriond side below the Aiguille de Fruit. Our tip is to get there early before it gets too busy and make sure you ski the full run all the way down into the fruit bowl valley that links Courchevel with Moriond.
Advanced skiers can also amuse themselves on the blues but will also find a selection of reds and blacks from the top of Saulire and equally some great runs at lower altitude amongst the trees around Le Praz and La Tania, such as Jean Blanc and Jockeys.
Experts should try the infamous Grand Couloir as well as the off-piste routes found below the Creux Noir and Chanrossa chairlifts. There are also some secret spots offering technical lines for those in the know in the Courchevel Moriond area. As always, ensure that you are fully equipped and with a guide if skiing off-piste.
3 ... Read moreValleys
Although Courchevel has plenty of skiing to keep you occupied, most intermediate to advanced skiers will opt for the 3 Valleys lift pass to the give them access to the Méribel and Belleville Valleys. In the biggest ski area in the world, most people will find something to suit their ability and temperament. There are more than 600km of pistes in an area of 105km2 divided into 321 runs (the longest is 12km). There are 170 lifts covering a 2000m altitude range with four glaciers topping the area off. An army of staff keep the slopes in good condition.
Meribel has very fine blues and reds, including Le Serf, among its 150km of runs. The black at Bartevalle is popular and there is good off-piste skiing off the Mont Vallon lift. Altiport and Tougnete have good beginners' slopes. Due to it's location as the central valley in the heart of the ski area, Méribel often suffers as a result of passing traffic and the pistes can get very busy at the main crossroads of Mottaret and Méribel Centre.
The Belleville Valley covers Saint Martin de Belleville, Les Menuires and Val Thorens which offer a further 300km of pistes. Val Thorens is the place to go for the best snow conditions with it's high altitude offering snow-sure skiing and long descents. Les Menuires tends to be quieter and offers a good range of slopes for all abilities. La Masse on the far side of Les Menuires is one of our favourite spots in the 3 Valleys and is well worth a visit. Lower down the valley you'll find the pretty village of Saint Martin de Belleville, which is accessed via some lovely runs, notably Jerusalem.
Eating and drinking
Courchevel is as well-equipped off the mountain as it is on it with huge range of activities and facilities available to keep visitors entertained off the slopes.
The usual snowy options of snowshoe walking, husky-sledding and snowmobiling are on offer as well as ice-skating. There is a dedicated toboggan descending going from Courchevel to Courchevel Village offering a thrilling ride for adults and children alike.
The Aquamotion Centre is shiny and new and offers everything you'd expect from a modern water park with indoor and outdoor swimming, a diving pool, wave pool, water slides and rapids, a fantastic set of spa facilities, and a climbing wall. Other indoor activities include bowling and a gym.
Eating ... Read moreand Drinking
It's possible to spend a small fortune on dining in restaurants around Courchevel. However, there is also variety among the villages and good value, quality food for families is not difficult to find.
On the slopes try Le Bouc Blanc above La Tania for reasonably priced, rustic dining and tasty food. Bel Air's terrace near Moriond is extremely friendly; keep coming here and you might find a free aperitif welcoming you back from the charming owner Christophe. Even above Courchevel, you can find decent value, with a 15 Eu buffet available at Courcheneige.
In the villages there is a very good range of restaurants, with a choice of traditional french and savoyarde cuisine as well as pizzerias, fast food outlets and British-style pubs. Here are our selection of our favourites; Chabotté in Courchevel is a value version of its big brother Chabichou, which boasts two Michelin stars. A more affordable option in Courchevel is La Grange de Pizzas, which also offers takeaway. Families can dine well at the Petit Savoyard in Moriond which offers traditional cuisine with a friendly service. A long-standing favourite in the valley is Le Bistrot du Praz which is now under new ownership but still offers quality savoyarde and french cuisine.
Nightlife in the Courchevel Valley is very different depending on the village, with Courchevel boasting a host of chic wine and cocktail bars and a few pretentious and lavish clubs, all with eye-watering prices. The scene is very different in the lower villages, with a range of smaller bars and pubs playing host to regular live bands for a good old singalong, affordable drinks and the classic après-ski scene. In Moriond head to La Boulotte for live bands or Le Bubble for themed nights and finish your night dancing to DJs in the Funky Fox. Village offers less choice with either english pub The Bar or Le Caterail Vodka Bar. Le Praz hosts english-run Le Drop Inn as well as Le Cave de Lys, a charming wine bar located in an authentic cave serving affordable wines and cheese and meat platters.
The Courchevel season runs from early December to late April. Lifts open at 9am and will close any time between 4pm and 5pm depending on the period.
There is a wide variety of passes for Courchevel and the 3 Valleys. A six-day pass was Eu245 for an adult (aged 13 to 65), Eu196 for a child (5 to 13) and Eu220.50 for seniors (65 to 75) for the 2015-16 season. An upgrade to the whole 3 Valleys doesn't cost much more ( Eu289 for an adult) and is therefore well worth it for anyone above intermediate level. Book in a couple or group to save money with the Duo or Tribu pass and get an extra 5% discount when you book with Madame Vacances.
Ski ... Read moreEquipment Hire
Each of the villages host all the usual ski hire chain shops. Book in advance online to get a discount or add to your accommodation booking to save 30% with Madame Vacances.
Lessons and Ski Schools
There are branches of ESF, France's largest ski schools, in Moriond, Courchevel Village and Courchevel. These offer a wide range of services including good facilities for children. English language schools include Supreme Ski, BASS Courchevel and New Generation.
Childcare & Family Facilities
The P'tits Montagnards award is a French government standard for good childcare, and Courchevel is accredited. There are nurseries in Courchevel (Village des Enfants), Moriond (Les P'Tits Pralins de Moriond), and Courchevel Village (Maison des Enfants). A number of ski schools, including ESF, run introductions to the slopes for very young children.
There are 11 council-run car parks with 2,000 places split between the four villages. These are high security, high tech operations and should be booked in advance if you want to enjoy that peace of mind. There is also free outdoor parking available in all the villages but spaces are limited and vehicles exposed to the winter elements. Always remember to be equipped with snow chains and the knowledge to use them when driving in the Alps.