Hotel de La Loze
- Rating: 4 Star
- Location: Courchevel 1850
- Room Type: Hotel; Hotel Room; Family Room
Courchevel is one of the more deluxe resorts among the 8 that make up Les Trois Vallees (The Three Valleys) the largest linked ski area in the world. There are 4 towns altogether – Courchevel 1300 (Le Praz), Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 (Moriond), and Courchevel 1850 – the numbers loosely denoting their altitude in meters. Of these, it is Courchevel 1850 which attracts the monied types. It has long been a favourite with the Paris jet set and other international movers and shakers, and as such is wall-to-wall with opulent hotels, sophisticated restaurants and nightclubs and extravagant chalets. Courchevel 1850 is beautiful, too, its exquisite traditional buildings surrounded by picture-perfect snow-covered trees. It even has a suburb (the Jardin Alpin) served by its own gondola.
Courchevel is skiable on the same ski pass as its Three Valleys partners – Meribel, Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, La Tania, Orelle, Brides les Bains. The Three Valleys offers 169 all-modern lifts, 335 marked runs spanning over 372 miles (600 km) and over 80 miles (130 km) of cross-country tracks. Over time the ski network has expanded to incorporate a fourth valley, though the area retains the name Trois Vallées.
The three other Courchevel towns, which are all linked by lifts to the slopes, are quieter than the sumptuous settlement at their crown, and offer lodging, more casual dining and bars. Le Praz, an old village set in the forest, is home to the Olympic ski jump built for the 1992 Winter Olympics (Albertville). Free buses run between the four villages.
Courchevel’s slopes are regarded the most extensive and varied of The Three Valleys resorts. The slopes cater as well to learners as they do to true experts, with the easiest of green runs to the steepest of skiable couloirs and plenty of intermediate riding in between. There is a concentration of easier skiing on the lower slopes above 1850 and plenty of fast lifts to access them. Courchevel is also one of the best places to be and ski when the weather sets in, thanks to being protected by so much forest.
Courchevel is made up of a number of villages that have been developed since 1940’s. The lower villages of St Bon and Le Praz were originally farming settlements and in the higher resorts there were some summer pasture farm buildings but otherwise were purpose built for the skiing. All the resorts are built in traditional Savoyard style with the occasional modern block but the area remains one of France’s more attractive resorts. The main ski villages are the 4 height differentiated resorts :
Courchevel Le Praz 1300 – Pretty and a maze of tiny lanes and streets. Good lift links to 1850 with a new chair for 2019. The Olympic ski jump is here and it is the starting point for a number of cross-country trails
Courchevel Village 1550 – A more modern development mostly along the snow front. Mostly residential with a few shops and restaurants
Courchevel Moriond 1650 – A lively village with a more extensive range of shops, bars and restaurants. Home to the newly opened Aquamotion water centre and easy access to the ski area
Courchevel 1850 – The glitzy icing on the cake of the valley – the place to see and be seen. Excellent access to skiing and an extensive range of shops, bars and restaurants.
Courchevel is a good all-round resort. Its ski area offers a good selection of runs for all levels and it is also popular with young families and beginners as the green runs and nursery slopes come right into the centre of 1850 and so make the skiing really accessible. This is a resort of impeccably groomed pistes and fast efficient lifts with pretty tree skiing at lower levels and stunning views from the top.
Courchevel has 150 kilometres of local runs which when combined with Val Thorens, La Tania, Les Menuires and Meribel give you 600 kms of skiing ( which is actually enough if placed end to end to get you to Paris!). This makes it part of the largest linked ski area in the world. There are several links over to the Meribel Valley with the 2 main lifts being La Saulire cable car and La Vizelle gondola from the centre of 1850.
In addition to the piste skiing there is a huge amount of off-piste in the Courchevel valley. If you’re a fan of powder in the trees, hit the runs off Dou des Lanches and head down through the woods where you’ll eventually join the Creux piste. We do recommend hiring a guide to get the most from the area. From advanced ( and brave) skiers there are a number of (in)famous couloirs off the top of Saulire – the Grand Colouir is still officially a piste and is reached via a narrow ridge off the top of the Saulire cable car.
There is a great snow park under the Vizelle bubble with jumps and rails and there is a border cross under the Pralong chair. In addition, there are 66kms of cross country tracks with a long red linking Meribel and Courchevel.
|Skiable Terrain||600 km of piste 10,500 hectres of ski area|
|Vertical||2,130 m (6,988)|
|Top Elevation||3,230 m (10,597 ft)|
|Base Elevation||1,100 m (3,608 ft)|
|Winter lifts Total||166|
|Longest Run||12 km (7.4 mi)|
|Snowmaking||2,100 + cannons|
There is a small air strip in Courchevel 1850 and it is possible to fly into the resort by private jet or to have a helicopter transfer.
Minibus transfers to the resort operate from the airport, bus or train station.
From Moutiers Salins Brides Les Bain it takes around 35 minutes to Courchevel 1850 (slightly less for the lower resorts)
International trains connect Moutiers to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport or from Paris-Gare-de-Lyon on the TGV service, which takes around 4.5 hours.
There is a 25 km winding road from Moutiers to Courchevel 1850 (passing through the other villages en-route). Snow tyres and/or snow chains are recommended.
In Courchevel there are two main types of lift pass – the 3 Valleys Pass (which covers the full area) and the Courchevel Valley Pass (which covers the local area). The 3 Valleys Pass is more comprehensive, covering all the lifts in Courchevel and all the neighbouring resorts and is recommended for all but beginner skiers. The Courchevel Valley Pass covers the lifts in the resort but no further, so is best suited to beginners.
Courchevel Mini Pass give you access to the beginner ski slopes and includes
Jardin Alpin, Grangettes, Praz and Verdons bubble lifts, the Ferme, Altiport and Ecureuil drag lifts and the Tovets chairlift. It is valid for a full or half day and so need to be purchased daily.
Children under 5 years and adults over 75 year are free but you will need to show proof of age to get these passes. These passes need a photo (though this can be taken at the lift office counter) and there is a 3 euro charge for the ‘hands free card’
There are discounts for families based on 2 adults and a minimum of 2 children and for 2 or more passes bought for 6 days+ for the same ski area. You can also buy a daily beginner mini-pass for drag lifts on the nursery slopes and pedestrian pass for anyone who prefers walking to skiing or who wants to join for a skiers’ lunch up the mountain. There are also 33 kms of prepared cross-country ski tracks which don’t require a lift pass.
You can add ski insurance to your lift pass to cover you in case of accidents but you do need to check against your holiday insurance to see if you need this additional cover.
There are a number of ski schools in the resort offering everything from group lessons to private tuition and guiding. Group lessons typically start on Sunday or Monday and run for 5 or 6 mornings.
The ESF (French Ski School) run a nursery for children from 18 months and offer a ski club and ski lessons from age 4 upwards.
There are a range of activities to try in Courchevel as either an alternative to skiing or to keep you going after the slopes have closed. In addition to the usual snowshoeing and winter hiking or the paragliding here are some more unusual ideas:
AquaMotion – This is not just any swimming pool but one to the largest mountain aquafun centres in Europe with swimming pool, indoor and outdoor lagoons, a 4-lane water slide, hydrobaths, seawater cave and other spa facilities. Located in 1650
Tobogganing – Choose from 2 great sledge tracks – the 3 km Moriond Racing track or the run from 1850 to 1300 which is a distance of 2 kms
Dog Sledding – Teams of dogs carrying a sleigh across the piste – either be a passenger or learn to ‘mush’.
Hot Air Balloon – Take a balloon flight with up to 6 friends from the Altiport at 2000m. Flights are mornings only
Scenic Flights – These go from the Courchevel Altiport which was used in the James Bond film ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ so while you can take a scenic flight from many alpine resorts, not all of them can claim to be a Bond location.
Although heliskiing is not permitted in France, due to Courchevel’s proximity to Italy it is possible to arrange a day’s heliskiing over the border.
There is an enormous range of off-piste and back-country skiing in Courchevel and 3 Valleys. Spend a day with a guide exploring the areas inaccessible by lift. Most of the ski hire shops have touring skis and off-piste equipment available for hire.
Courchevel is a ‘foodie paradise ‘ – it has more Michelin star restaurants than any other ski resort in the world. Indeed with 8 restaurants holding stars, it has as many as some capital cities! So, if you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion you have a great selection to choose from: Le 1947, Le Montgomerie, Le Kintessence, Le Chabichou. Sakara, Baumaniere 1850 and Le Farcon. And if you’d like to try one of them but don’t want the full-on-formal-dinner service, I would recommend going for lunch in either Le Farcon (1 star) or Le Chabichou (2 stars) both of which are ski-in and offer a much more reasonably priced skiers’ lunch.
List Of Courchelle’s Seven Michelin Star Restaurants
Le 1947 – Three Michelin Stars
Le Kintessence – Two Michelin Stars
Le Montgomerie – Two Michelin Stars
Le Chabichou – Two Michelin Stars
Pierre Gagnaire Pour Les Airelles – Two Michelin Stars
L’azimut – One Michelin Star
Le Farcon – One Michelin Star
Le Baumaniere 1850 – One Michelin Star
Great mountain lunch stops in the Courchevel Valley that are not to be missed are the Bouc Blanc at the top of the La Tania gondola which is family run and serves delicious, well priced dishes or La Cave des Creux at the top of the Aiguille de Fruit chairlift where the grilled meats and steaks are to die for. On a sunny day head for the Bel Air above 1650 – fantastic views, sunny balcony and great food.
In the evening you’ll find everything from pizza to fondues and other Savoyard specialities and all of the villages have great options so wherever you are in the resort you’ll find a great place to eat.
Après-ski in Courchevel starts on the slopes – begin in the Folie Douce on the Meribel side of Saulire, then head down to the 1850 via the DJs and live music in Nammos before hitting the bars in the villages. Le Mangeoire Piano Bar has music til late or for a Spanish flavour go to La Copina in 1650.
Courchevel 1850 has the most shops although you will find grocery, ski hire and ski clothing shops in all the villages but only 1650 (now called Courchevel Moriond) and 1850 have any sizeable number if you want to indulge in some retail therapy. The shopping in 1850 clearly reflects its clientele with a selection of high end jewellery and designer clothes shops. Choose from Dior, Prada, Fendi or Chanel or why not have LaCroix skis with gold inlay. Florists with abundant displays of fresh flowers, lingerie shops with silk underwear and watches worth more than many houses are all on display and the window shopping is incredible.
That said, there are some great ski wear shops just don’t expect any bargains and if you need new ski boots and have ‘difficult feet’ then pay a visit to Surefoot in 1850 where advance technology and expert fitters will find you the perfect boots.
There are 2 weekly markets in Courchevel – one in 1650 (on the road up towards the Marquis corner of town) and one in 1850 on the road below the Croisette. There are around 20-25 stallholders at each market and they sell a range of products from T-shirts, sweatshirts & sunglasses to sweets, cheeses & local sausages.