A guide to Courchevel
One third of the world's biggest ski area, Courchevel is a truly universal resort which caters for everyone. On the mountain you'll find a wide variety of pistes to satisfy beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers alike. With free lifts operating on the beginner slopes, a huge range of intermediate slopes and steep north facing expert terrain its a skiers and boarders paradise. And because of its North-facing aspect you'll find some of the best snow conditions in the Three Valleys.
Courchevel's appeal is not only found on the slopes though - spread over five villages, each with very different personalities you can choose between the glitz and the glamour of Courchevel (1850) or the more rustic charm of Le Praz lower down the mountain.
For younger groups the vibrant nightlife in Courchevel Moriond is a popular draw or for those on a budget Courchevel Village hosts some very affordable accommodation options in the middle of the action. Courchevel Le Praz is a real French village with a year round community and La Tania is perfect for families. And with around 12 Michelin stars to its name Courchevel is also a foodies heaven.
Food is a great part of life in the French Alps, and with all those outdoor pursuits to try you can rest assured it is all very hearty! Local specialities are often cheese or cream based (sometimes both…), featuring local meats, potatoes and green salad. Food in the Alps is often accused of being unadventurous but here in Courchevel you'll find more high end, Michelin starred restaurants and chefs than in any other ski resort probably in the whole of France!
Where is Courchevel?
The most convenient airport for the Three Valleys is Chambery, situated 109 kms (1 1/4hrs) away. From here, you have a number of different methods of transport to choose from to get you up to resort. If you can’t get a flight to Chambéry, the next best options are Grenoble (2 hours), Lyon (2 hours) or Geneva (3 hours) - all of these airports are serviced by a number of the major airlines.
Each airport has it pros and cons. Chambery is closest but may close in bad weather and your flight be diverted elsewhere. Geneva has excellent bus/shuttle links to Meribel, Courchevel & Val Thorens, but finding the route in a hire car isn't particularly easy. Lyon St-Exupery has fewer links to resort, especially midweek, but the journey is easier and quicker than from Geneva if you hire a car. Of course Courchevel also has its own Altiport for those arriving by private plane or helicopter..
Also see: Towns & Villages in Courchevel
History & Culture in Courchevel
The resort now known as Courchevel was, prior to its development as a ski resort, a collection of small hamlets and farmers’ fields. If anything, Courchevel was first visited by summer tourists; walkers and naturalists keen to take in the air of the high mountains and discover the Alpine flora and fauna.
Also see: History of Courchevel
Sights & Attractions in Courchevel
The Aquamotion centre is a great place to go to unwind after a day on the slopes, or for non skiers and families. It's open in summer and winter and includes a wild river, saunas, surf zone and indoor & outdoor pools.
Where to Stay in Courchevel
Courchevel is the playground of the mega-rich, and its concentration of Russian oligarchs does little to shake this image. With streets filled with designer boutiques more commonly seen in Paris, the highest concentration of luxury hotels on the globe and a spattering of Michelin stars, its visitors are just as likely to arrive by private jet or helicopter as on four wheels. As such, it's great for a spot of people-watching or celeb spotting with pop stars, footballers and royalty paying regular visits. The resort is comprised of five main interlinked villages, each with their own character: Courchevel (1850), the most expensive part; Courchevel Moriond – The home of the British chalet companies and their seasonnaire staff; Courchevel Village – affordable, with quieter accommodation - but for how much longer; Courchevel Le Praz – with its permanent residents Le Praz feels most like a true Alpine village than its neighbouring villages, and La Tania – purpose built for the Albertville Winter Olympics of 1992, La Tania is a modern resort but not without its Alpine charm.
Also see: Where to Stay in Courchevel
Chalets in Courchevel
As you'd expect in such a high profile resort, some of the chalets on offer are pretty spectacular, coming with their own chauffeurs, chefs and a small army of staff. There are, however, many that suit a smaller budget and are just as comfortable and well equipped.
Apartments in Courchevel
There is a great selection of apartments available in the heart of the resort, from the more affordable to the very expensive, catered or self catered, there's something to suit every budget and taste.
Hotels in Courchevel
Just some of the exclusive hotels in resort include the Cheval Blanc, Le Saint Joseph, K2 and Les Airelles. These hotels like many others in the area all provide extensive services and include gourmet restaurants with Michelin starred chefs. You don’t have to break the bank though to holiday here, there are plenty of good quality affordable places to stay and dine such as La Loze and Les Flocons.
Luxury Hotels in Courchevel
Courchevel is brimming over with luxurious places to stay, and many of its high end hotels also boast Michelin star restaurants or at the very least exceptionally good chefs.
Things to Do in Courchevel
Courchevel has a lot to offer other than beautifully groomed pistes. Just some of the other amenities include a bowling alley, an ice rink, a cinema (which shows films in English) and an indoor climbing wall. Families and friends can also enjoy the thrill of the Luge sledging run down to Courchevel Village or take a relaxing sleigh ride to view the break taking scenery.
As well as the ski area the resort is also a popular destination during the summer and there is plenty to keep guests entertained. As well as the hiking, climbing and mountain biking on offer, the hamlet has a 9 hole golf course and a driving range with 27 bays (9 of which are covered). Visitors can also get involved in activities such as canyoning, rafting, paragliding and paint-ball, just to name a few. If you prefer to take your holiday at a slower pace, the resort is a popular destination for cookery courses, some of which are run by Michelin starred chefs; or you can enjoy a peaceful hot air balloon ride over the Alps.
Restaurants in Courchevel
After an active day on the mountains, visitors can sample some of the gourmet treats to be had in Courchevel. One of the most popular Savoyard restaurants is La Mangeoire which serves a variety of regional and French dishes accompanied by a great selection of wines. There is also an equally popular Italian restaurant, La Cortona. For straight forward traditional specialities at reasonable prices, Le Refuge is a favourite with locals.
Nightlife in Courchevel
Courchevel also has an active night life and there are plenty of bars and nights clubs to discovered, one of the trendiest is Les Caves.
Location: Courchevel Region