Les Trois Vallées, or The Three Valleys, comprises, as the names suggests, three major Alpine valleys. The whole of The Three Valleys ski area is vast and made up of a multitude of ski resort bases and a forth, smaller valley.
The three most famous ski resorts associated with The Three Valleys are Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens. These alone would be reason enough to put The Three Valleys in the list of the best ski resorts in France, the Alps and the World.
The Courchevel valley is a large wide basin of mainly intermediate terrain surrounded on all sides by steep challenging advanced slopes with chutes and gullies leading down into the main basin towards the villages.
As you go down the Courchevel valley the resorts you’ll find are; 1850 (1,850m), Moriond (1,650m), Village (1,550m), La Tania (1,400m), Le Praz (1,300m) and Saint-Bon (1,100m).
Meribel is located in the heart of the Three Valleys. Head one way to get to Courchevel, the other leads to Val Thorens. Or simply stay in Meribel and enjoy the slopes.
Down the Meribel valley the ski villages you’ll come across are; Mottaret (1,750m), les Hauts (1,600m), Centre (1,450m), Village (1,400m) and les Allues (1,100m).
Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe; the ski-in, ski-out village is nestled within a bowl of the valley. Val Thorens has fun, intermediate, long, naturally rolling pistes. There is very challenging off piste skiing on the upper slopes and access to the Peclet Glacier.
The other resorts linked in to The Three Valleys are:
- Orelle (900m): The forth valley, although not strictly a ski resort. It’s a 10 minute gondola ride each-way to access The Three Valleys at Val Thorens.
- St Martin de Belleville (1,450m): A gondola ride takes you to the heart of Meribel and the Three Valleys. You can ski back to the resort at the end of your ski day.
- Brides les Bain (600m): One gondola up to Les Allues then another to Meribel Centre. You can ski back to les Allues, but then it’s the gondola back to Brides les Bains.
- les Menuires (1,850m): Directly down the valley from Val Thorens with plenty of lift options to get into The Three Valleys.
The Three Valleys is one of the Best Ski Resorts for…
Skiing in The Three Valleys.
Moutiers is the transport hub for The Three Valleys, pretty much every option will take you through this town in the valley bottom. If you are under your own steam, this is a great place to stock up on provisions for your stay too.
By Plane. Nearest Airports.
Geneva is a massive airport with multiple international flights from many destinations daily. Lyon, Chambery and Grenoble are used during the ski season by many charter flights and budget airlines. The distances and times refer to getting to Moutiers, see by road below for the last bit of your journey.
- Geneva Airport: 2 hours, 170km.
- Lyon Airport: 1 hour 40 minutes, 160km.
- Chambèry Airport: 1 hour, 85km.
- Grenoble Airport: 1 hour 40 minutes, 165km.
From Geneva or Lyon airports those being flash with the cash can get a direct plane or helicopter to the Altiports of 1850 or Les Hauts. Always dependent on weather conditions.
Note: Geneva is in Switzerland. The airport straddles the border. It is possible to exit the airport on either side of the border. Which side you want will depend upon your mode of transport. Check carefully.
By Train. Nearest Railway Stations.
In the ski season, it is possible to get the Eurostar, a TGV or a Thalys high speed train to Moutiers les Salins – Brides les Bains Station. The station is also served by TER regional trains.
By Road. Driving, Bus and Transfers.
Bus, taxi, shared transfer, private transfer and car hire are all options from the airports. Depending upon the size of your group, the amount of luggage and the time of day will determine the ‘best option’; balancing cost with speed and convenience.
If you are driving you should note that French law requires you to be equipped for the conditions including snow-chains. Most French motorways are toll roads, so make sure you include these in your calculations too.
The last leg of your journey may look short, but beware. From the valley floor at Moutiers to The Three Valleys resort of your choosing can add significantly to your journey time. The roads are mountainous and narrow. They are often very busy, nose to tail coaches, and when conditions are bad, can grind to a halt.
If you don’t have your own transport there are plenty of options to get you up the mountain from Moutiers. There is a bus shuttle service to all the resorts, private and shared taxi and shuttle services also make regular trips along the route. You are strongly advised to book your transfer in advance, whilst there are lots of options they all get very busy and are often fully booked. Having to stay in Moutiers would not be a good start to your ski trip.