THE HIGH LIFE. Why Courchevel 1850 is So Highly Rated
High in altitude as well as high-end luxury, it's no wonder Courchevel 1850 is one of the most highly-rated and highly-sought after resorts in the world.You don't have to arrive on a private plane or dine in the Michelin-starred restaurants, to enjoy the acres of pristinely groomed pistes of Courchevel 1850 - but when it comes to buying a round at après, it can help to flash an AmEx Centurion.
Photo: Mathis Decroux
A tiny Cessna swoops down dramatically among the mountain peaks to land on the 537m long landing strip, one of the shortest and highest in Europe. None of the skiers look up as they make first tracks on the perfect ridged corduroy of the early morning groomed pistes. They're used to the rich and famous dropping in to ski Courchevel 1850.
Perched on the Savoie Alps of south-east France near the borders of Italy and Switzerland, Courchevel 1850 is at the centre of the Three Valleys (Trois Vallees) ski area. It's renowned for its glitzy atmosphere, attracting the famous, rich and royal, many flying in on private planes or helis thanks to the exclusive heliport.
What's so great about Courchevel 1850? Well, for starters there's:
Nestled in the heart of the Alps, above the Tarentaise valley, Courchevel and its six villages are linked by ski lifts or free shuttles making up a unique ski-in/ski-out resort.
With a large part of the ski area above 1800m and the largest snowmaking facility in France, it's guaranteed there'll be snow from the beginning to the end of the season. In Les Trois Vallées, 25 summits are accessible all winter long, and the resorts are linked by crests at altitudes of over 2000m.
The Three Valleys including the three resorts, Courchevel, Méribel, and Val Thorens, make up 600k of ski runs, the largest linked ski area in the world.
Courchevel's pistes are suitable for skiers of all levels. Beginners will love the easygoing, wide and open green runs. Start your first turns along the Bellecote piste, taking advantage of a free ski lift and, also, zen zones, areas exclusive to novices. Seemingly endless well-groomed blue and red pistes descend from the summit of Saulire. Among the most incredible runs are Creux and Combe de la Saulire.
When it comes to off-piste there are some classic descents accessible by lift and a short hike. And then there is the legendary Grand Couloir, which is actually a marked black run that never gets groomed.
The après and accommodation are two more reasons for Courchevel 1850's highly-acclaimed reputation. With such a high class clientele, there will always be:
Ski-in, ski-out a must? Maybe your own chef? Plus a hot tub, home cinema and champagne on tap? You're spoilt for choice with some of the French Alps' best luxury chalets in Courchevel 1850.
If you want to be within a short walk of the village centre with plenty of restaurants, local shops, and ski amenities, you can stay in the heart of Courchevel. Or there are more options in three different areas of the resort. At the Bellecote Piste, there are ski chalets for private booking. The popular location means easy access to the ski area.. Staying here means just a 15 minute walk into the village centre. Most of these chalets operate full-service, with a host and chef.
A little further up the mountain is the Jardin Alpin area with the best scenery and upscale amenities, including several of Courcheval’s Michelin-starred restaurants. There’s easy access to the slopes with the Jardin Alpin gondola.
What could make staying in Courchevel even better? How about the:
Courchevel 1850 is home to numerous designer shops and high-end boutiques. It's a fashionskista's paradise.
There are, also, local markets. The Artisan Market at Courchevel is one of the best places to browse. It's a small market that opens once a week with numerous stalls displaying handmade goods, arts and crafts, clothing, local produce, meats, cheeses, and more.
If you're into jewellery and luxury watches, check out Doux Joaillier. It's in the centre of Courchevel 1850, beside the tourism office, famous for classic timepieces from luxury brands like Rolex and Cartier. They also carry designer jewellery made from the finest gemstones.
Well, you've got to dress the part for a stylish restaurant - and there's plenty of choice for:
VERY FINE DINING
Courchevel is renowned forr outstanding French cuisine, thanks to its Michelin-starred restaurants.
Le Chabichou, run by Michel Rochedy and Stéphane Buron, is perhaps the most iconic restaurant in Courchevel, having two-Michelin stars. It attracts foodies for its exceptional menu, although its regional dishes are the most popular among diners. Aside from the mouth-watering menu, guests love the restaurant's distinctive design and location on the edge of the pistes, offering a unique dining experience.
Other great Michelin-star restaurants worth splurging include the Le 1947 at Cheval Blanc with three stars and Le Kintessence at Le K2 Palace with two stars.
There are, also, plenty of more reasonably-priced restaurants around Courchevel. Check out Bistro Le Chabotte, a sister restaurant in Le Chabichou. It is more affordable and smaller and appeals to those who prefer a more casual dining experience.
Finally, how about a stunning view to go with that tarte flambée? Here's a final fact for highly recommending Courchevel 1850:
You can't get much more scenic than Courchevel 1850. Whether from Le Panoramic terrace, the Saulire cable car or your chalet hot tub, you'll see that these mountains hold some of the best Alpine scenery, summer and winter.
As the snow melts, the picturesque landscape of lush green meadows, majestic mountain peaks and colourful wildflowers is revealed. This is a popular hiking destination during the summer months with endless terrains to explore, whether you prefer a relaxing stroll along the footpaths connecting the villages or a multi-day hike while staying in mountain cottages along the trails.
Several ski lifts in Courchevel operate in summer and spring. In addition, a mere 20-minute drive will take you to the splendid Vanoise National Park, with incredible flora and fauna.