Portes Du Soleil
The Portes du Soleil region lies on the French-Swiss border, south of Lake Geneva. If the visibility is good, it is possible to see the nearby Mont Blanc (4,807 m), Lake Geneva and the neighboring Dents du Midi mountain range. This extremely varied winter sports region in the midst of rugged mountain ranges includes 12 ski stations, eight of which are in the French Haute Savoie and four in the Swiss Wallis. From the quiet family resort to the lively party zone, every holidaymaker is offered the right thing. The first-class ski area – with 580 kilometers of slopes one of the most extensive in the world – is an absolute must for every winter sports enthusiast. The higher elevations are very snow-sure, in the lower elevations snow cannons are used.
The largest linked ski area in the world, the Three Valleys offers 335 ski runs of varying difficulty and at differing altitudes. With four glaciers to choose from, snow conditions are good all season long. The Three Valleys, as the name suggests, consists of the three parallel valleys of Courchevel, Méribel and Belleville. With 600 kms of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts you are spoilt for choice. And with eight different resorts to choose from there is a vast array of accommodation, ranging from low cost options to luxury 5 star hotels. When it comes to après, the Three Valleys are in a league of their own. Party lovers head to Méribel and Val Thorens where there are a large number of bars to choose from, including the well-known piste-side après venues of the Rond Point in Méribel and the Folie Douce in Val Thorens. For something a little quieter, head to the typical French villages of St Martin de Belleville or Les Allues, where you’ll find pretty bars and restaurants. Courchevel Courchevel is a world renowned, elegant resort comprising four main villages: Le Praz 1300, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 and Courchevel 1850. With a great paste-side location, Le Praz 1300 is a pretty quiet village with direct access to 1850. In Courchevel 1650 and 1850 there is a lively atmosphere with a good selection of shops and restaurants. In addition you’ll find luxury hotels, chic boutiques and great choice of restaurants. Courchevel 1550 has a slightly quieter atmosphere, but is a cheaper alternative to the higher villages and is a good option for families. Méribel & Mottaret Sat in the middle of the Three Valleys, the Méribel valley is split into four distinct areas: Méribel-Mottaret, Méribel, Méribel Village and Les Allues. Méribel itself is at the heart of the action in terms of both skiing and nightlife. As well as being home to the piste-side après venue, the Rond Point, there are numerous other bars, restaurants and shops. For a more peaceful setting, Méribel Village lies just a couple of miles away with its own chairlift to Méribel Alitport as well as a bus link to the centre of Méribel. If it’s slope-side convenience you’re after then Mottaret is spot on. Sitting above the resort centre of Méribel at 1750m, Mottaret has a small village centre with a few bars and restaurants. Val Thorens The highest ski resort in Europe, Val Thorens sits at the head of the Belleville valley and offers a great range of skiing. In addition to endless blue and red runs, many of which run back to the resort, Val Thorens is home to the mogul fields of Cime de Caron and La Masse as well as many off-piste opportunities on the Chavière and Péclet glaciers. The resort has a great village feel, set around a small but lively resort centre, with accommodation and facilities for all tastes. La Tania Set neatly between Courchevel and Méribel, at an altitude of 1400m, La Tania is a family friendly ski-in ski-out resort surrounded by pine forest. Red, blue and green runs return to the resort, giving access to other ski areas via ski lifts and local buses. Although quieter than its neighbouring resorts, La Tania’s fully pedestrianised resort centre has enough bars and restaurants to give you variety during your stay. Brides Les Bains Linked to Méribel by gondola, the spa town of Brides les Bains is a favourite with budget conscious skiers who want to ski the Three Valleys. This quiet, traditionally French resort has a good choice of shops and restaurants as well as a specialist spa – perfect for relaxing in after a full days skiing. Les Menuires Set between Val Thorens and St Martin de Belleville, not only is Les Menuires a great skiing choice for beginners, it also has great après activities for all ages. As well as a fantastic sports centre with a swimming pool, there is also a 4km long toboggan run. St Martin de Belleville The family-friendly resort of St Martin de Belleville is a quieter, inexpensive base for exploring the Three Valleys. Keeping in line with the more traditional feel of this village, après tends to revolve more around local bars than larger cosmopolitan venues. From the village, a gondola takes you up to Méribel and Les Menuires and at the end of the day you can return home via a gentle blue run or a more adventurous red.