The jewel in the crown of the Trois Vallées
Courchevel needs no introduction, it offers excellent access to the expanse of the 3V ski network; its own ski area would be the envy of many. There is truly something for everyone in the four main sections, from glamour and Michelin star restaurants to Alpine village. Few ski resorts have their own airstrip. The immediate ski area is extensive and varied, piste grooming is impressive. Trips over the hill to Meribel, Val Thorens, and St Martin for lunch, are all options to explore the diversity of the domain. The full range of accommodation is on offer, notably a considerable choice of chalet rentals. The superb Aquamotion offers plenty for non-skiers and skiers alike.
What are the trends in apartment and ski chalet properties for sale and rent in Courchevel?
Such a large well joined-up and snow-sure ski area is a huge advantage for property owners; these are primary criteria in our view. Most one, two and three bedroom apartments and chalets in Courchevel 1850 have easy piste access. Moriond and Village are less expensive and more unassuming, while maintaining proximity to the slopes. The village ambience of Le Praz is an enticing alternative. There is continual new and re-development going on in the whole area and usually a good choice on the market whether you intend to buy or rent property.
A guide to Courchevel
Courchevel is at one end of the world’s largest and finest lift-linked ski area, the Trois Vallées, which has 600 km of slopes, 327 runs and 186 ski lifts. Courchevel has five distinctly separate resort villages with significant differences in character and price – all are linked by lifts, pistes and a road. They are Courchevel Le Praz and Courchevel Moriond the highest base, simply known as Courchevel, Courchevel Village and Courchevel La Tania. All villages are also linked by an efficient and frequent free bus service.
Courchevel Le Praz is an old, rustic village at heart. The new high speed gondola and Alpinium centre have transformed access from Le Praz up to the heart of the ski area.
Courchevel La Tania is a family-friendly base offering great value, pretty scenery and a variety of local slopes.
Courchevel Village, set off the main road, has a more typical alpine village feel with smaller shops and restaurants, and a mixture of individual chalets and smart appartment buildings all very close to the pistes.
Courchevel Moriond has its village centre around the main lift base (a gondola reached by an escalator) has been attractively developed, with a good atmosphere created by a range of bars, restaurants and shops. The new Aquamotion water park is just below Moriond, is packed with features and myriad watersports – including aqua biking, surfing, indoor and outdoor pools – as well as a spa, climbing wall and gym.
The highest village, Courchevel – aka 1850 – is also by far the biggest and is renowned for attracting a wealthy clientele. Its own altiport is suitable for private jets and helicopters. It takes around half an hour to fly here from an international airport like Geneva – and it sets the scene for what has become the ritziest ski resort in the Alps. 1850 is home to three five-star “palace” hotels and 14 “ordinary” five-stars. The streets are lined with designer boutiques, gourmet restaurants and chic cocktail bars.
Courchevel ski area
With many north-facing slopes, the snow in the Courchevel valley is usually some of the best in the whole ski area, and there’s terrain to suit everyone from beginner to expert. Courchevel has an excellent snow record. Much of the local area is north-facing so holds its snow well, and snow-making and grooming here are state-of-the-art. 60% of the runs are blue and green making it ideal for beginners. Experts also have a huge choice of terrain from couloirs to steep mogul fields. A huge draw for advanced skiers is the off piste opportunities which are very extensive in the Courchevel area and the wider Trois Vallées.
The lift system is excellent so there are rarely queues for the lifts, the villages are seamlessly linked, both to each other as well as to La Tania, Méribel and beyond (Val Thorens, Les Menuires, St Martin de Belleville).
Courchevel Le Praz has pretty tree-lined runs which are perfect for low-visibility days. The ski runs in this area are usually quieter. Creux is a lovely long, winding blue run and one of the most enjoyable pistes in Courchevel. Equally, the more challenging red run La Combe de la Saulire won’t disappoint if you get first tracks down the beautifully groomed piste. And don’t miss the Chapelets run in Courchevel Moriond. It is usually overlooked and one of the most fun in the valley.
Just in case snow is scarce, nearly 700 snow cannons cover 25% of its entire terrain. If you need a lesson, Courchevel has over 1,000 ski instructors employed at peak periods.
Courchevel has 67 km of cross-country ski trails, which are free to use, and all regularly groomed and marked, particularly around Courchevel Le Praz.
See also our blog: The Instructor’s View: Discover the many slopes of the 3 Vallées.
Après ski in Courchevel
Courchevel has plenty of après-ski options from mid-afternoon to later in the evening with possibly the most trendy, lively and varied après ski from anywhere in the Alps.
Ku de ta is known as the best après bar in 1850, live bands complement the atmosphere. 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, and people watching. Les Verdons restaurant often has live music and dancing. Funky Fox in Moriond is well known to holidaymakers, locals and seasonnaires. Le Ski Lodge is a lively pub with a heated terrace just off the piste in La Tania. If staying in Le Praz, find the best vin chaud in the Three Valleys in the cosy Peupliers hotel.
Eating out in Courchevel
Lunch on these mountains is serious business. The Courchevel area offers a wide choice of mountain restaurants, though many of them are ferociously expensive. An exception is the good value Le Bouc Blanc at the mid-station above La Tania. Le YaCa in Le Praz is well worth the trip, this tiny restaurant has bags of character. At the top of the gondola in Moriond, Le Bel Air has a lovely tiered terrace with great views of the slopes. Le Panoramic at the top of the Saulire offers a lot of choice in the varied menu and the prices are not outrageous.
We could write a whole book on the number (over 70 when last counted) of restaurants in the Courchevel entire area, maybe we will one day, but we’d have to try them all first! Renowned for its fine dining opportunities, Courchevel 1850 is positively brimming with eleven Michelin-stars, however there are plenty of traditional spots with excellent food to try. You can eat well for less in and above Courchevel Moriond – La Table de Marie has good value pizzas and classic fondues in a traditional mountain restaurant. La Cave des Lys is an atmospheric, vaulted wine bar in Courchevel Le Praz. Bistrot du Praz has a great menu and welcoming service.
Summer in Courchevel
Although Courchevel 1850 is thought of as a winter destination, there is in fact plenty going on during the summer months. The main gondolas operate throughout the summer holidays, so you can easily get to the top of the mountain resort. Rock climbing, hot-air ballooning and mountain biking are popular activities.
Probably the most popular activity for Summer holidays is mountain walking. There are gentle walking trails for those who would like an easy stroll. Courchevel has many challenging and exciting high alpine hiking routes. A network 260 km of hiking paths covers other parts of the Trois Vallées, you can also spend a night or just have a break in a mountain refuge.
Like the ski pistes, there are mountain biking descents to suit all abilities. Courchevel offers 236km of marked paths, split up into 13 downhill circuits accessible via ski lifts, and 13 round circuits. You can rent electric mountain bikes for kids so families can explore Courchevel’s bike trails together. The Red Bull 400 is the world’s steepest race and sees competitors battling it out to be first to the top of Courchevel’s Olympic-sized ski jump, a great event for both spectators and participants.
Col de la Loze is the new first stage of the Via 3 Vallées project, a network of roads reserved just for road cyclists that will connect the Tarentaise and Maurienne valleys and pass through the resorts of Courchevel, Méribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens.
Enjoy a spot of golf, the Courchevel 9-hole course is in a beautiful setting on the Les Verdons Plateau and is quite challenging.
For more details on Mountain Biking in Courchevel, check out our blog: Where to go Mountain Biking in the Alps
If Alpine property for sale in the Courchevel area is not of interest, consider properties in nearby Méribel.
Other Destinations in the French Alps
Alpe d'Huez Chamonix Courchevel La Tania Courchevel Le Praz Courchevel Moriond Courchevel Village La Toussuire Les Deux Alpes Les Gets Les Menuires Megève Méribel Méribel Les Allues Méribel Village Méribel-Mottaret Morzine Paradiski Pays du Mont Blanc Pralognan-la-Vanoise Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise St. Martin de Belleville Tignes Val d'Isère Val Thorens