Courchevel ski resort is too sophisticated and too ‘French’ to get terribly rowdy (resorts in France have a reputation for low-key nightlife). But there are lively bars to be found on occasion, especially in Courchevel where most of the après-ski nightlife is concentrated.
There are a handful of lively après-ski nightclubs here, including: La Grange (tel: +33 479 081 461; www.groupetournier.com), Les Caves (tel: +33 479 081 274; www.lescavesdecourchevel.com) and La Mangeoire (tel: +33 479 080 209). These stay open until the early hours.
For those in search of a more relaxed bar environment, Le Tremplin (tel: +33 479 080 619; www.tremplin-courchevel.com) has a laid-back feel although does get busy, whilst Le Coyotte (Porte de Courchevel) maintains a more quiet and sophisticated image.
When it comes to gastronomy Courchevel is hard to beat, with more than 70 different restaurants spread between the five different bases.
Gourmands are spoilt for choice, with seven eateries accounting for 12 stars in the Michelin Guide. Among the most famous is Le Chabichou (tel: +33 479 080 055; www.chabichou-courchevel.com), which holds a two star rating. Here, chef Michel Rochedy provides inventive cooking with meals served in the wonderful dining room.
There are, of course, many other options on offer elsewhere in the resort; including Italian, Asian and Savoyard food. For traditional Alpine food such as crêpes, fondue and raclette, La Crêperie du Moulin (tel: +33 243 077 720; www.creperiedumoulin.fr) in Courchevel is the best option. Le Petit Savoyard (tel: +33 479 082 744), located close to the piste in 1650, serves excellent pizza, and Azimut (tel: +33 479 062 590) in Le Praz, has four and five course set menus available.
Beyond the slopes:
There is a wide choice of activities in Courchevel besides skiing and snowboarding. Outdoor options include snowshoeing, quad biking, ice karting, toboggan runs, snow rafting or a leisurely sleigh ride. While indoors Le Forum has an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink, 13m-high (45ft) climbing wall, games room and a bowling alley. Spa facilities are available in numerous upscale hotels, and in many cases are open to the public.
For those with a head for heights, paragliding and hang-gliding are available. The same views can also be enjoyed by helicopter, balloon or scenic plane flight – with the option of learning to fly the plane yourself.
More unusual opportunities include a cultural tour of Courchevel, cookery courses with a Michelin-starred chef, or language lessons in a resort where some 60 different nationalities are normally present. And, after years of collaboration with the renowned Galeries Bartoux, Courchevel has also established itself as a centre of contemporary art in the mountains, with galleries in the resort and ski area.
On the slopes Courchevel initiated a world first with a clever system involving magnets helping to keep kids safe on chairlifts.
When the lifts close, toboggan runs are set up; running down from Courchevel’s slopes to its villages, where a fast gondola is waiting to whisk sledders back up.
Off the slopes, Le Forum sports centre in Courchevel has a rope swing and ‘mini-guides’ course. There’s also a specially designed bowling alley for children aged five and over, and the resort’s cinemas show family films in school-holiday periods.
Children aged from 18 months and up can be cared for by the École de Ski Français (ESF) (tel: +33 479 080 772; www.esfcourchevel.com) nursery.
With more than 150 shops in Courchevel as a whole, the resort is a shopaholic’s paradise. The majority of stores are concentrated in the main Courchevel resort and, as you would expect given its upmarket reputation, these include the kind of designer fashion, jewellery, lingerie and perfumery boutiques you would find in the most exclusive districts of Paris, London or New York.
There are plenty of non-designer establishments available too, ranging from souvenir shops to bakeries.
Courchevel’s Animation Services (tel: +33 479 220 107; www.animationservices.net) can organise amazing treats and feats limited only by imagination and budget. Its ‘Declaration of Love’ concept involves a series of 20 increasingly wonderful surprises, many set against spectacular mountain scenery, with the aim of leaving the woman or man in your life lost for words.
There’s a wide range of slopeside accommodation in the form of traditional wood-clad apartments, private chalets and hotels in Courchevel. The resort has something to satisfy everyone, from ritzy hotels and grand chalets to moderately priced options. Chalets are a popular choice in the resort, with many boasting saunas, steam rooms and catering.
Le PortettaTelephone: +33 479 080 147 | Website: http://www.leportetta.com | Moderate
One of Courchevel's most popular hotels, the Le Portetta is located on the quieter side of 1650 with ski-in/ski-out access. Most rooms have balconies, some overlooking the slopes, and larger loft suites are available. Facilities include a small spa, free Wi-Fi, and an on-site restaurant.
Hotel Courchevel Olympic Madame VacancesTelephone: +33 479 080 824 | Website: http://www.madamevacances.com | Cheap
Proving that Courchevel accommodation doesn't have to be expensive, even at the heart of 1850, the Hotel Courchevel Olympic Madame Vacances is a friendly 2-star with basic yet comfortable two and three bedroom accommodation that serves breakfast, has free Wi-Fi in reception and has a games room with pool table.
Le StratoTelephone: +33 479 415 160 | Website: http://www.hotelstrato.com | Luxury
One of the newest 5-star hotels in the resort, the chic Le Strato hotel balances its luxury services with the discretion and intimacy of a private chalet.
Hôtel Les Monts CharvinTelephone: +33 479 041 910 | Website: http://www.lesmontscharvin-courchevel1850.com | Moderate
Built in 1955 by one of Courchevel's early fans, Maurice Charvin, Hotel Les Monts Charvin dates from the pre-concrete construction era of the resort, so it's full of traditional charm. This 3-star hotel provides an affordable option that is also good for families.
Le KilimandjaroTelephone: +33 479 014 646 | Website: http://www.hotelkilimandjaro.com | Luxury
One of twelve luxury hotels in Courchevel proper, and one of the first in France to be graded 5-star, the Kilimandjaro has 30 rooms and suites spread between seven interlinked chalet-style buildings. There is also a first-class spa here to ease those post-ski aches and pains.
TournierTelephone: +33 479 041 635 | Website: http://www.hoteltournier.com | Cheap
A good option for those on a budget, the Tournier provides comfy yet stylish accommodation in the main Courchevel area. Just 100m (328ft) from the slopes, this hotel features Wi-Fi internet access, a TV corner and massage service.