A Guide to the Courchevel Valley
As well as being several resorts in one, the ease of getting from the airport at Geneva to Courchevel makes it an excellent choice for a family ski break.
The ski resorts of the French Alps make the ideal family winter getaway. It's close (just a couple of hours from the UK by air), convenient and there really is a resort to suit every kind of skier – from absolute beginners right up to experienced powderhounds.
Three Cheers for the Three Valleys
Aka Les Trois Vallées, the Three Valleys is the world's biggest linked ski region – comprising more than 600km of pistes. The north-facing Courchevel Valley is a firm favourite amongst its resorts, so if you haven't yet been then it might be time!
The valley comprises five separate resorts, including neighbouring La Tania. Each is very different in character, ambience and price, so before you set your holiday plans in hard packed ice (see what we did there?), make sure you're choosing the right Courchevel! Let's start at the highest altitudes and work our way down…
TIP: It's easy to remember the location of each by the number after its name, which very handily denotes its altitude.
1850: In the case of 1850, its lofty number also denotes its nature, because it's definitely for those who like living the high life. It's luxury all the way, with Michelin-starred restaurants, ritzy shopping, 5-star accommodation and plenty of (real) fur coats adorning the oh-so-elegant shoulders of the rich and famous. For anyone interested in the skiing (yes, there are some), it's the biggest of the valley's resorts and the hub of the ski lifts – so yes, the skiing is good.
Verdict: If your lottery ticket comes up trumps and you think you can hold your own in the fashion stakes with a Russian oligarch, put 1850 on your hit list.
Moriond (1650): Renowned as being friendly, lively and with top-notch ski access to the Three Valley's slopes, Moriond is outstanding for intermediate skiers. The resort offers good value for money and has some excellent facilities, including a vibrant après scene, lots of restaurants and the fantastic Aquamotion watersports centre.
Verdict: A great family resort. Confident young skiers will love the huge range of pistes while parents appreciate the affordable chalet accommodation.
Village (1550): For adventurous families looking to explore the vast Three Valleys, this is an excellent resort to take advantage of the entire area. It's quieter in nature than the others - so no rowdy bars, but several good restaurants - and there are plenty of affordable ski-in, ski-out chalets.
Verdict: Makes a great base for exploring the Three Valleys and has all the benefits of other high altitude resorts without the price tag.
Le Praz (1300): Le Praz is a hot favourite due to its friendly, authentic alpine village ambience and delightful woodland setting. It's got great access to the pistes (including the surrounding resorts), some lovely tree-lined slopes, and a number of excellent restaurants serving up hearty traditional fare.
Verdict: Fabulous for families, great lift links and top value for money.
La Tania: It's hard to beat La Tania if you're travelling with children, and its traffic free centre and lift access to higher altitudes make it an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable, family-friendly ski break. There are excellent nursery and intermediate slopes, and while there isn't much in the way of restaurants, there's plenty of self-catering accommodation and free buses to surrounding areas.
Verdict: Great skiing and value for money for families with children of all ages.
How to Get There
You'll need to fly into Geneva Airport (which is no more than two hours and 10 minutes from anywhere in the UK), then getting the rest of the way from Geneva to Courchevel’s villages by road will take around two hours and 20 minutes.
For anyone travelling with children, the easiest and most convenient way to get from Geneva to Courchevel is on a pre-booked transfer with Shuttle Direct. A driver will be there to meet you and, instead of struggling with grumpy kids and luggage on public transport, you'll be whisked to your accommodation in style. If you advise at the time of booking, Shuttle Direct will even transport any winter sports equipment you're bringing for free.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for affordable ski transfers from Geneva to Courchevel, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.