Skiing in Courchevel
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Skiing in Courchevel

© Creative Commons / msquirrell

Courchevel resort information & après-ski

Après-ski

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 (rue Park City; tel: 04 7908 1461; www.groupetournier.com), Les Caves (Porte de Courchevel; tel. 04 7908 1274; www.lescavesdecourchevel.com) and La Mangeoire (Park City, 73120 Courchevel, tel. 04 7908 0209). These stay open until the early hours, often until 0400.

In terms of the bar scene, Le Tremplin (Place du Tremplin; tel: 04 7908 0619; www.tremplin-courchevel.com) has a party feel and can become crowded, whilst Le Coyotte (Porte de Courchevel) portrays a more sophisticated image.

Eating out

When it comes to gastronomy Courchevel is hard to beat, offering a large choice of restaurants for every taste and budget.

Gourmands are spoilt for choice, with seven eateries accounting for 12 stars in the Michelin Guide. Among the most famous is Le Chabichou (rue des Chenus; tel: 04 7908 0055; www.chabichou-courchevel.com), which holds two of these. Here, chef Michel Rochedy provides inventive cooking with meals served in the wonderful dining room; or, if you don't want to mix with the 'riffraff', a private lounge.

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 (place du Tremplin; tel: 02 4307 7720; www.creperiedumoulin.fr) in Courchevel is the best option.

Resort Information

Beyond the slopes

There is a wide choice of activities in Courchevel besides skiing and snowboarding. Staying outdoors; snowshoeing, quad biking, ice karting, toboggan runs, snow rafting or a leisurely sleigh ride are available to those with expendable energy. While indoors, Le Forum at Courchevel has an Olympic-sized ice-skating rink, 13m-high (45ft) climbing wall, games room and a bowling alley. Spa facilities are available at multiple locations.

For those with a head for heights, paraglide or hang-glide above the resort, or take a helicopter, balloon or scenic plane flight – with the option of learning to fly the plane yourself.

Unlike many ski resorts, culture is a key part of life in Courchevel. More unusual opportunities include a cultural tour of Courchevel, cookery courses with Michelin-starred chef Michel Rochedy, 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 established itself as a centre of contemporary art in the mountains, with galleries in the resort and ski area.

Family fun

From 18 months upwards, children can be cared for by the École de Ski Français (ESF) (tel: 04 7908 0772; www.esfcourchevel.com) at its nurseries in Courchevel and Courchevel Moriond. Here, children can discover the joys of playing in the snow and, for the most adventurous, the first thrills of skiing. A full list of nurseries and childminders is available from the tourist office.

The resort has also initiated a world first on the slopes, with a clever system involving magnets helping to keep kids safe on chairlifts. When the lifts close, toboggan runs are set up in front of the villages; the longest is 2.3 km (1.8 miles) running down from Courchevel’s slopes. After 10 minutes of descent through the forest, tight bends and many thrills and potential spills, participants reach the main village, from where they can take a fast gondola back up – this is free after 1645.

Off the slopes, Le Forum sports centre in Courchevel has a rope swing and ‘mini-guides' course for children. 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.

Retail therapy

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. Among these are Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton (beside the Hotel Cheval Blanc), Hermès and Valentino (place du Tremplin), Quiksilver (Le Forum) and jewellers Julian Joailliers (Espace Diamant).

There are, of course, plenty of ‘ordinary’ shops too, ranging from to souvenir shops to bakeries. Among these is Cooperative Latière de Moûtiers (Rue de la Chapelle; tel: 04 7908 0361; www.beaufortdesmontagnes.com), a purveyor of tasty local food produce in Courchevel La Praz.

Splashing out

Courchevel's Animation Services (tel: 04 7922 0107; 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.

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Hotels

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.

Show hotels in the

following price range

Luxury Moderate Cheap

Le Kilimandjaro

04 7901 4646.

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 post-ski aches and pains.

Rue de l' Altiport, 73120, Courchevel 1850, France

Le Strato

04 7941 5160.

One of the newest 5-star hotels in resort, the chic Le Strato hotel balances its luxury services with the discretion and intimacy of a private chalet.

route de Bellecôte, 73120 Courchevel, France

Hôtel Les Monts Charvin

04 7904 1910.

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 is full of traditional charm. This 3-star hotel provides an affordable option that is also good for families.

Impasse des Verdons, 73120 Courchevel 1850, France

Le Paddock

04 7904 1635.

A good option for those on a budget, Le Paddock provides comfy yet stylish accommodation in the main Courchevel area. Just 100m (328ft) from slopes, this hotel features Wi-Fi internet access, a TV corner and massage service.

rue des Verdons, 73120 Courchevel, France

Show hotels in the

following price range

Luxury Moderate Cheap

Getting there and around

Getting there

Nearest airports: Chambéry Airport (CMF); Geneva International Airport (GVA).

Distances to resort: 110km (69 miles); 141km (88 miles).

Driving times: 1 hour 20 minutes; 2 hours 10 minutes.

Nearest railway station: Moûtiers.

Distance to resort: 23km (14 miles).

Driving time: 30 minutes.

Getting around

A free shuttle bus service runs between Courchevel's various villages until late at night. In some cases it is also possible to take gondola lifts between villages as some run until 1930. For many years, the resort has been giving ever greater prominence to pedestrians and endeavouring to reduce motorised traffic in the village centres through road improvements and by increasing underground parking.

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