Traditional-style chalets in Valmorel
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Traditional-style chalets in Valmorel

© Valmorel Ski Resort

Valmorel resort information & après-ski

Après-ski

As with most purpose-built French resorts, Valmorel is not a place for hedonistic nightlife; but there are a dozen bars on offer and the resort’s tourist office lays on entertainment and activities four evenings a week.

Straight after skiing, head to La Source (3 Bourg-Morel; tel; 04 7909 8310) at the base of the slopes, which offers a good drinks menu featuring a range of cocktails. As the evening progresses, you can head to the livelier night-time bars, including friendly Le Café de la Gare (tel: 04 7909 8643), the quirky Le Jimbo Lolo (29 Bourg-Morel; tel: 06 8697 3714; www.jimbololo.fr) and Le Pub du Bourg (tel: 04 7909 8666; www.hoteldubourg.com), a popular saloon bar with an open fireplace, pool table and games.

Eating out

There are several dozen restaurants in Valmorel ski resort, and the growing number of 4- and 5-star accommodation options is driving up the resort’s gourmet dining offering. But most restaurants in Valmorel are simpler, family-friendly affairs.

Among the more affordable options is Le Jimbo Lolo, which has a South and Central American atmosphere, serves tapas and Mexican fare, and is fun until closing time at 0200. Le Café Alpin (5 Bourg-Morel; tel: 04 7906 9022) also offers good-value and tasty dining with its selection of pizzas.

For regional dishes, including crêpes and raclette, La Flambée (tel: 04 7909 8161) is a good choice; while another local favourite is Le Petit Prince (7 Bourg-Morel; tel: 04 7909 8171; www.restaurant-lepetitprince.com), which cooks up Savoyard specialities including pierrades (meat cooked on a hot stone at the table). Le Prariond (06 0988 4405; www.leprariond.com) also serves simple local cuisine but with the added bonus of stunning views of Mont Blanc.

Resort Information

Beyond the slopes

There’s a lot to do in Valmorel besides downhill skiing and boarding; although most of the alternatives remain outdoors. Among these, ice climbing, dog sledding, winter hiking, paragliding, snowmobiling, quad biking and even Segway hire are available to try. Speed riding (riding downhill with a small parasail attached to the skier’s back) is a fun and exhilarating option for good skiers and boarders.

A major draw to the region is the Vallées d’Aigueblanche area, which offers thousands of hectares of gentle landscape buried deep in snow, which is used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Other Nordic skiing disciplines are also popular in this area, with 40km (25 miles) of trails that extend over two linked plateaux in the Naves Valley.

Family fun

With its safe pedestrianised village, family-friendly onus and stress-free, easy-to-access layout, Valmorel ski resort is a good choice for families. In recognition of its service, Valmorel is a current holder of the ‘Family Plus’ certificate awarded by the French Government to resorts that cater well to families.

For young children, there are two Piou Piou Clubs (tel: 04 7909 8186) run by the École du Ski Français that are exclusively for children aged from 18 months to six years old. The chalets where these are based are equipped with all the usual children’s comforts as well as outside snow play gardens. Children under three years of age can play under supervision, while those aged three to six can enjoy an introduction to skiing. Older children, meanwhile, can join regular ski school classes.

There are reductions on the cost of day care or ski school lessons when a family (four members or more) books for the same duration at the same time. Similar discounts are available on lift passes when one or more adults and two or more children (aged five to 20 – under fives are free) book the same ticket for the same duration.

Retail therapy

Valmorel does not have a reputation as a shopping resort – there are about 25 shops in in total, most of which are either ski outlets providing clothing and accessories or other essential shops.

Wednesday evening is a very different shopping night to most ski resorts, however, as the bakers from Maryan bakery (tel: 04 7924 1770) demonstrate traditional forms of bread-making. For the gorgeous regional Beaufort cheese and other Savoie regional produce, try the Coopérative Laitière (Bourg Morel; tel: 04 7909 8271).

Splashing out

A visit to the La Léchère (tel: 04 7922 6030; www.lalechere.com) thermal spa is well worth the 15-minute trip from Valmorel to the Vallée du Morel. Although there has been a centre for curative purposes here for a century at least, the lavish spa with its spectacular giant windows is something special.

The original spa has been recently redeveloped on three levels and incorporates 15 treatment cabins and a fun water area with four pools featuring beaches and relaxation areas. There’s also a wellbeing area with steam rooms, saunas, balneotherapy cabins, massage treatments and mud packs to enjoy. The thermal water bubbles up from 200m (656ft) below ground at a natural temperature of 61°C (142°F) and is allowed to cool to a mere toasty hot before being used in the spa.

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Hotels

Although Valmorel ski resort broke away from the concrete accommodation block model of earlier purpose-built resorts, it did still stick to the normal French ski holiday formula of predominantly apartment-style accommodation aimed at the family market. That trend is changing however, with the recent Club Med Village and MGM developments adding 4- and 5-star hotel-style accommodation.

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following price range

Luxury Moderate Cheap

Club Med Valmorel

04 7941 6100.

Opened in 2011 after a €75 million investment, Club Med Valmorel boasts 4- and 5-trident (the company’s equivalent of 4- and 5-star) luxury chalet apartments and suites. Guests here can stay on an all-inclusive basis with meals, entertainment and childcare included in the holiday cost. The resort also has a private spa, gourmet restaurants and its very own ice rink.

Les Avanchers-Valmorel, Les Avanchers, France

MGM La Grange aux Fées

04 7909 2928.

This 4-star resort was developed ahead of the 2012/13 season and provides ski in/ski out accommodation for two to five people. The complex has been built in a tasteful style with stone-tiled roofs and wood cladding that echoes the local architecture. Among its facilities are two pools, saunas and a wellness centre.

Le Hameau des Lanchettes, Valmorel, France

La Vigogne

04 7909 8189.

A large family-run, three-storey traditional chalet, La Vigogne offers family-friendly accommodation a short distance from the lifts and runs. On offer here are free ski lessons in peak season (for children aged six to 12 years old), a free crèche, evening entertainment and good home cooking.

Hôtel Radiana

04 7922 6030.

The 3-star Hôtel Radiana contains 87 rooms and 5 suites, as well as an additional self-catering residence with a further 90 beds. The main attraction, though, is the on-site spa and swimming pool complex with its choice of beauty treatments.

Chalet-Gîte L'Edelweiss

04 7665 3639.

A friendly, traditional 3-star chalet with 10 rooms, Chalet-Gîte L'Edelweiss is located in the heart of the village, five minutes from the lifts.

Le Chalet de Valmorel

04 7924 5229.

Located in the peaceful hamlet of Le Pré, this bed and breakfast chalet is only a few steps from Le Rocher ski-lift, where there are usually no queues for a quick entry to a day’s skiing. This chalet houses eight en-suite rooms, as well as a large TV lounge.

Le Pré, Valmorel, France

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Getting there and around

Getting there

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

Distance to resort: 90km (56 miles); 140km (87 miles).

Driving time: 1 hour; 2 hours 20 minutes.

Getting around

Valmorel has been designed as a pedestrianised village where everything can be reached on foot or by ski or snowboard; as a consequence, there is no provision for cars in the ski resort centre.

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