Courchevel – The Hidden Truth
Posted by George Biffen
Courchevel is known for its lavish and upper-class lifestyle, sipping champagne and knocking back oysters on the slopes.
I mean yes, this still happens but there is more to Courchevel than meets the eye and here I will explain the hidden truths.
The resorts of Courchevel are a popular choice for not just the rich and famous but also those who are looking for a vast ski area and activities for non-skiers too.
Courchevel is a fantastic area which consists of 1850, 1650, 1550 and La Praz. These resorts are all interlinked and that’s before you’ve even scraped the surface of the rest of the 3 valleys ski area!
All resort villages are linked by an efficient and frequent free bus service and enjoy pretty woodland settings. From the slopes above there are good views to Mont Blanc and over the valley to Champagny and Bellecôte in the La Plagne ski area.
Here are 3 attributes that sum up Courchevel:
- Family resort – lots enjoyable runs for all abilities and plenty to do off the
mountain too. Swimming pool, sports hall, ice rink, Tobogganing, Husky-Sleighs and lots more!
- Beginner Friendly – with 56% of the slopes being green or blue runs, this resort is perfect for those who have never skied and those who need a littlemore practice on gentle and well groomed slopes.
- Vast ski area – if you are looking for more slopes and more adventure you have Meribel and Val Thorens as part of the 3 valleys. That is 600km of skiing!
Where to Ski?
Courchevel’s slopes have 20% green runs, 36% blue, 35% red and 9%black. This is a fantastic resort for beginners and intermediates. For those who need more of a challenge, you have the WHOLE of the 3 valleys to explore.
The 3 Valleys is broken into 3 resorts, Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thornes. That’s 600 kilometres of ski-in, ski-out interconnected ski runs, from beginners’ slopes to vertiginous couloirs!
With 85% of the ski area situated above 1,800 metres, it is guaranteed good snow!
Going back to Courchevel, here are my top runs to look out for in resort:
Green Run – Take the Jardin Alpin lift up and from there you have several green runs to practice on with beginners.
Blue Run – Pyramide blue is a wonderful run for intermediates who want a long run to put in big turns and get their ski legs back.
Red Run – Combe Saulire – Get here for 9am if you want a quiet run. It has the best snow possible, which is invariably groomed into immaculate condition each night. This is a run you can happily do 3-4 times.
Black Run – Chanrossa – This run will feel as close to ‘back-country’ skiing without heading off piste. Expect stunning scenery and quiet slopes.
To be honest… where ever you go in Courchevel or the 3 Valleys, you will find your own favourite run. Enjoy!
Where to Sleep?
There are plenty of great places to stay in Courchevel 1650 and 1850. For groups of people, it’s best to look for catered chalets to self-catered apartments as they work out best value. If it’s just the two of you or a small family, there are a great range of ski hotels that caters for all budgets.
Get 20% off the NEW Chalets du Forum in Courchevel. These two self – catered apartments are centrally located and can sleep up to 10 people. Perfect for small groups and families.
Standard 4 bedroom apartment for 10
Click to get prices and availability
Superior 3 bedroom apartment for 10
Click to get prices and availability
Where to eat?
There are more than 70 restaurants in total in all of Courchevel’s resorts and 7 Michelin starred, 3 of which have been awarded two Michelin stars, more than any other ski resort. However, among the Michelin star restaurants are plenty of great value for money places to eat.
Le Chabichou – Fancy treating yourself?
This restaurant is among the best and priciest in Courchevel 1850, partly due to the fact that it has two prestigious Michelin stars. The décor is warm with a traditional alpine feel. The elegant dining area overlooks the open kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work.
There’s an outstanding wine list and the chef Michel Rochedy provides both traditional and international cooking. There’s an outdoor terrace if you want to have lunch in the sun and also a dining area and private lounge inside for dinners.
La Fromagerie – Fondue at the ready.
Quite simply this is the best fondue and raclette in 1850. With its cosy log fire in the middle, the atmosphere surrounds you in this welcoming restaurant.
Tartiflette is one of the main dishes served here along with raclette and fondue and this mountain-style restaurant found at the entrance to the resort is reasonably priced with a fondue ranging from €24-36.
Ku de ta – Cheap eats
Ku de ta is one of the most affordable places to eat in 1850. Perfect for children and adults alike this Tex Mex and pizza restaurant is centrally located in the lower floor of the Forum building just near La Croisette lift.
Serving gourmet burgers, pizzas, enormous salads and their newly added safari burger; this comes with tender slices of ostrich or kangaroo meat. The atmosphere is casual with chilled out music playing in the background.
Le Cloche – Snowmance dinner
This is a great restaurant in 1850 for couples. With wooden panelling and a leather bar, all lit by candlelight La Cloche is one of the warmest and inviting restaurants in 1850. This gourmet bistro is reasonably priced and serves food both in the dining room or on the terrace. This is a great restaurant for all you hopeless romantics…
Le Chabotte – lively atmosphere
This is a lively and bustling restaurant, with an open kitchen and live music there’s always a great atmosphere in Le Chabotte.
The restaurant overlooked by a mezzanine is contemporary but Savoyard at the same time and plays hosts to a variety of events such as magic shows and cabaret nights.
The owner Nicolas Rochedy makes you feel very welcome, he is more than happy to talk to you about the hotel and the restaurant, this personal touch is what makes it stand out.
Le Boeuf Royal – Heart of Courchevel 1650
This restaurant is centrally located in the heart of Courchevel 1650. This new restaurant is a wine bar that also serves tapas, pizzas and meat dishes. It’s a cosy restaurant that caters for all and is a popular new venue.
Petit Savoyard – Eat with the locals
The Petit Savoyard is hugely popular in 1650, not only with holiday makers but with locals alike so a reservation is a must.
The food here is local Savoyard and pizzas all at affordable prices served in a traditional mountain atmosphere. Found just a few yards from the bottom of the ski slopes through the archway and to the right the Petit Savoyard is a charming restaurant and a well kept secret.
The owner Pascal is always welcoming and makes you feel completely relaxed. This is a great place for children and if you aren’t looking to break the bank.
Where to Party?
Ku de ta
Ku de ta is known as the best après bar in 1850. It’s conveniently located next to the Forum building and things kick off at 4pm each day.
There are great live bands to compliment the atmosphere. You can listening to this whilst sipping on a vin chaud, hot punch or a vodka from the vodka bar, depending on your choice of tipple!
Sky sports is shown here with all the big games throughout the week and the prices are fairly affordable meaning there’s something for everyone.
This nightclub is situated near the entrance of Courchevel 1850. This is the place to go once all the other bars have run their course; people from all nationalities tend to end up here to carry on the evening.
Look out for the big pink door! Les Caves often have weekly events such as guest DJs playing a variety of sets. This bar is not only popular with holiday makers but also with the locals, it is however not for those on a budget, as drinks are quite expensive.
Le Tremplin is perfectly situated at the bottom of the ski runs in Courchevel 1850, making it the ideal location to stop for an après drink.
With its large terrace you can sit back and relax with a drink, whilst basking in the sun. They often have live music playing from 4pm daily, and with very efficient table service you don’t even need to leave your seat.
Funky Fox is well known to holiday makers, locals and seasonnaires. Located next door to Sport Gliss, near the Sherpa supermarket at the top end of Courchevel 1650, this is the bar that everyone tends to end up at the closing stages of the night with dancing going on until 4am.
The Funky Fox doesn’t really get busy until later on in the evening, people head here to dance the night away into the early hours.
They have pool table and a Nintendo Wii which you can compete on. Once a month there’s a drum and bass night and all major sporting events are shown on the big screen projector.
By their own admission this bar is a ‘coffee sipping, Mutzig slurping, Nacho munching, Ski boot dancing, late night buzzing kind of place;’ says it all really!
There are the usual special drink nights, such as ‘Mutzig Monday’, and a pub quiz during the week. This bar really comes to life at apres with live bands to stomp around in your ski boots too. Great bar, great staff!
Rocky’s is part of the Hotel Les Avals and tends to attract British Clientele. They often have themed nights which involve seasonnaires and tourists dressing up in various fancy dress outfits.
They have satellite TV and show all the main sporting matches, and they even show some of the soaps. On certain nights of the week they have live music and different drinks promotions.
What else to do?
Tobogganing is arguably the best attraction when not on your skis in Courchevel. Running from 1850 to 1550 the luge run here is great fun for all the family. This exhilarating sled run is 2km long with over 300m of vertical drop!
It’s free for anyone with a lift pass, all you need to do is hire a sled. If you don’t have a lift pass then its €8.50 and the run is open from 9am-7.30pm daily.
Most ski resorts have an ice rink but not all resorts have an Olympic ice rink. Built in 1992 for the Winter Olympic Games, this rink is well used, both for skating and regular ice hockey matches.
Found inside the Forum building in Courchevel 1850, it’s open every day from 3pm-7pm and from 9pm-11pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
If it’s a bad weather day sometimes the rink opens earlier at 2pm, make sure to ask your resort staff if this is the case. Adults €5.10, children €3.40 and then skate hire is €3.40.
Hot Air Ballooning
This is a unique one, and we have to say an incredible way to see the stunning mountainous region. This serene experience will give you breathtaking views of Courchevel and the surrounding area.
Open from 9am daily this trip lasts around an hour and there has to be a minimum of two people. It costs €280 pp and departs from the Alitport in Courchevel 1850.
Are you looking to see Courchevel from a different perspective? Paragliding gives you the ultimate exhilaration as you soar above the ski runs and snow capped mountains.
Flights are available daily from 9.30am and are weather dependant. It costs €110 pp and you can take off from several summits in resort.
If you want to do a traditional alpine activity then husky sledding is a great choice. Great for people of all ages and a brilliant way to see more of a ski resort.
You are in charge of your own sled, so it can be energetic and is definitely an exhilarating experience. You’ll go through woods, up and down hills and under tree canopies.
Tours are daily starting at 1pm, 2pm and 3.30pm costing €60pp per hour. The sledding is based in La Plantin, a small village around 40 minutes from Courchevel.
The brand new Aquamotion Centre in between 1650 and 1550 is the height of luxury. Located at the exit of Courchevel Village and just below Courchevel Moriond, the 15,000 square metres of state of the art facilities are all at your finger tips here.
With multiple swimming pools both indoor and outdoor, a slide, a wild river, a children’s play area, a climbing wall, saunas, spa rooms and treatments, diving facilities and more you’ll never want to leave!
A great way to spend a relaxing day off the slopes. Open 7 days a week.
Inside the Forum building in 1850 is an 8 lane bowling alley. Perfect if the weathers not great or you’ve got children to occupy.
The lanes are open daily from 12-2pm and there’s a restaurant next door where you can grab a drink or bite to eat afterwards.
Where to leave the kids?
Courchevel 1850,1650 and 1550 are great resorts for children not just for skiing but also with lots of activities and some fantastic childcare options.
The majority of nanny services are mobile, meaning that the nannies come to your accommodation, a familiar environment for your children.
Powder White don’t offer the service themselves but can recommend the following from previous experience and Tourist Board recommendations.
Merinannies – children aged 4 weeks to 14 years of age
Full Time care 08:30am – 17:00pm or 09:00am – 17:00pm
Part Time care from 4 hours minimum per day for 5 or 6 days (fewer available)
Evening Babysitting from 18:00pm (minimum 3 hours) this can be booked in advance direct with Merinannies. Prices (per hour for one child) start from £13/ €13 depending on the week and payment arrangements.
Both daytime and evening babysitting is available. Prices range from £650 – £800 for the week depending on resort and week.
Half days are available during non peak weeks and range from £350 – £450.
Evening babysitting is charged at £60 per evening. This covers a max. of 4 hours. (extra hours available on request charged at £15/hr or part hour)
The hourly charge for one child is £15 starting from 4 hours per day. For additional children the price is £1.50 extra per child per hour.
Jelly and Ice Cream
1 half day: €96-€107 (09:00-13:00 OR 13:00-17:00), 6 consecutive half days: €526 -€592, 1 full day: €158-€182 (based on 8 hours a day), 1 full week: €909-€947 (based on 8 hours per day for 6 days)
Evening Babysitter (after 19:00pm)
1-3 children: €18p/h before midnight, €20p/h after midnight, €32p/h for Xmas and New Years Eve.
4-5 children: €20p/h before midnight, €21p/h after midnight, €36p/h for Xmas & New Years Eve.