Courchevel 1850 , France
It's not hard to understand why Courchevel 1850 is highly popular with discerning skiers from around the world. Courchevel 1850 is quite deservedly a world-class luxury resort - it has slopes to suit all standards which are accessed by a very impressive lift system. With gentle runs leading down into the resort centre it is perfect for beginners.
This prestigious resort has the most extensive and varied ski area of all the Trois Vallees resorts with everything from long gentle greens to steep couloirs. Along with the fantastic skiing there are of course some world class restaurants in Courchevel 1850 – the prices for which are fairly eye watering. The luxury chalets here tend to be tucked away in exclusive residential areas within the trees above the centre but the excellent shopping of the resort is never far away.
Snow reliability is superb all season as most of the Courchevel 1850 ski area faces North. The ski schools, of which there are several, are very good.
Don't forget that whatever budget you may be working with, fans of this prestigious resort are recommended to book early to avoid disappointment.
Pros & Cons
- Extensive and varied local terrain to suit everyone plus the rest of the Three Valleys
- There are lots of ski-in / ski-out hotels and chalets in Courchevel 1850
- Impressive lift system, piste maintenance and snowmaking
- A magnificent wide green run into resort
- Great mountain restaurants, resort restaurants and exclusive apres-ski and nightlife
- Some pistes get crowded in high season
- Not the most attractive resort
- Some of the priciest hotel, bars and restaurants and it's just getting more expensive
- It's losing some of its French feel as the British and Russians move in
Although there are lots of restaurants located around Courchevel, the choice you have depends on the size of your wallet. The village pocket guide gives you a good overview of dining options based on cuisine and price. However the standard is set high in 1850, with 5 restaurants having 2 Michelin stars and one restaurant with 1 Michelin star. That said, Le Chabotte (owned by Chabichou 2* Michelin restaurant) is a great pace with excellent value from their set menus and even a la carte menu. It's great on a Wednesday night where they offer a cool jazz experience. Places that don't blow the budget too much is the Passage that serves delicious pizzas and La Luge for great burgers and salads. The Hotel Tovets offers good food at reasonable prices. Great Savoyard food can be found at the cosy Saulire and the Fromagerie and if you can manage a sweet treat after, the Tremplin is the king of crepes. Note: Michelin * restaurants in 1850 - Le 1947 (2*) at Hotel Cheval Blanc; Hotel Les Airelles (2*); Hotel Le Chabichou (2*); Le Bateau Ivre (1*) at the Hotel Pomme de Pin and the Hotel Kilimandjaro (1*).
The mountain restaurants above Courchevel 1850 rival any resort but beware they can be rather pricey. Many of the table service restaurants require reservations. Le Cap Horn at the Altiport is believed to be the most expensive in the area with a phenomenally expensive wine list. Caviar, scallops and an extensive selection of Japanese sushi can be found on the menu, and if you can afford it, it's certainly worth the price tag. Pilatus just before the Altiport is a fantastic restaurant serving food with huge portions, and although pricey, its position makes it perfect for both skiers and non skiers to dine in. Les Verdons at the top of the gondola has a great rustic atmosphere with efficient service and beautiful views from its sun terrace but is also pricey. La Soucoupe on Verdons has good food cooked on a log fire with great views and both self-service and table service options. Bel Air above 1650 is a stand out for its warm, welcoming environment and fabulous tiered terrace but does need pre-booking. Courcheneige on the Bellecote slope is a long standing favourite, with an excellent value 29-euro 3 course menu. It has raving reviews with portion sizes said they need to 'be seen to be believed'.
After partying in the mountains at the new Folie Douce or Le Rond Point over in the Meribel region, Courchevel 1850 offers a range of cool places to head to. The Tremplin often has karaoke and a lively atmosphere as well as the Kudeta bar hugely popular at happy hour. The central Refuge is a small place with affordable drinking and live bands, very popular with seasonaires. The Mangeoire piano bar has a great vibe with live music and P'tit Drink is the place to go for relaxed wine and tapas. Kudeta and the Moroccan-style Grange bars have discos running through to 4am so the après never has to end. Cave is also an exclusive nightclub a must to check out. Top tip for cheapest drinks in town is the bar at Hotel Olympic - 3 euro pints.
If you want lots of nightlife then you won't be disappointed but don't forget your credit card! The Caves with Paris cabaret acts and sky high prices is the cream of the crop. Kudeta and Grange are both places running from après afternoons all the way into the early hours. Piggys is the world's only medieval themed French/ Irish wine bar/ pub/ disco. Mangeoire has an excellent piano bar for a more civilised evening. However, Kalico is popular amongst the lesser fur coated crowd and offers DJs and cocktails until the early hours.
- Cable Car
- Chair lift
- Drag lift