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Savoie - Les Menuires

Les Menuires is a snow-sure village situated at around 1800 metres in the Belleville Valley, part of 'The Three Valleys', which is one of the largest and most famous linked ski areas in the world. The resort was founded in the mid-1960s and for years was regarded as the area's ugly duckling, whilst Meribel in the next valley became a magnet for British skiers and Courchevel, one more valley along, went upmarket (1850) and expanded (1600). The Belleville Valley actually has three significant ski resorts; Val Thorens - one of the highest resorts in Europe, modern, compact and a little bleak, St Martin, a genuine village, picturesque but just a little low at 1450 metres, and Les Menuires.

Les Menuires' modern village centre remains, and it's no oil painting, but does have a decent range of shops, bars, restaurants and other facilities needed by the keen skier. Great efforts have been made in recent years to soften the visual impact, with existing buildings being progressively re-clad in stone and wood. It's working and looks set to continue. New developments have added greatly to the available accommodation, and at the southern end, just below the main village itself, new chalets and apartments are genuinely pleasing to the eye. Furthermore an impressive new sports centre opened in 2006 with a large leisure pool, spas, hammams, squash courts and other facilities. It opens longer during adverse weather and also makes the resort suitable for non-skiers. Just above the main village is the satellite of Reberty at around 2000 metres. This area has it's own smaller selection of shops and facilities and a free bus service links it with the main village. Being newer, it suffers less from the architectural sins of the 1960s. There's now a bypass that has taken a lot of traffic bound for Val Thorens out of Les Menuires and there is reasonable parking close to the centre.

But it's the skiing that really provides the draw for Les Menuires. For a start there is easy access to the slopes right from the village centre, as well as a couple of options for ski school and a kindergarten (plus another in another small satellite - Bruyeres). Set off East and in 20 minutes or so you can be in the Meribel Valley using just two fast lifts. Head south and another couple of lifts will get you to a height where you can ski straight to Val Thorens in around 15 minutes. Head West and the La Masse area will take you all the way up to 2300 metres with empty slopes and plenty of off-piste. Despite its already good snow record, wise investment in snow making facilities means the key runs stay open when other resorts have closed for lack of cover. The whole of the Les Menuires area has had major upgrades in the lift capacity in the last five years: old lifts have been replaced with four and six-seater detachable covered chairs, giving access to a huge domain suitable for all grades of skier and boarder. Several new mountain bars and restaurants have sprung up as the resort has developed and whilst these share the same high mountain prices as all the others in the area, overall the lesser known Les Menuires is probably the best value for money in The Three Valleys even though the Belleville Valley has a large proportion the linked piste area.

Les Menuires is served well by Chambery, Geneva, Lyon and Grenoble airports, the snow train and the Eurostar stop at Moutiers at the foot of the valley and the 9 hours drive (largely on motorways) from Calais is feasible in one day. Add this to the wide range of accommodation, restaurants ranging from Tex-Mex to Michelin star winners and you have something for everybody. The French love it, as do the Dutch. The Brits who have found it do as well and it's certainly worth a try. You might just find a bigger and better bargain than you expect.

Written by Peter Tarren, Owner of Property 9048 in Les Menuires, France

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                                                            Recent Reviews

                                                            excellent performance. nearby of all shops and ski run

                                                            5 of 5
                                                            I recommend this apartment, nice view. very nice resort. impresionant ski area. perfect
                                                            • Review Submitted: 01-Apr-2016
                                                            • Date of Stay: Feb 2016

                                                            Great week at Chalet Snowdon !

                                                            5 of 5
                                                            Despite the mitigated weather, we had a wonderful week at Chalet Snowdon. The chalet is well equipped and very comfortable, with 5 rooms (out of 6) having a private bathroom. Rooms are not so big (especially those of the ground floor), with little space to put all stuffs. Very nice kitchen and table big enough for 13 guests. The chalet is relatively easily accessible for the people skiing. For the others, shops and restaurants of Les Ménuires "downtown" are at circa 10/15' walking distance from the Chalet. Definitively an address to recommend !
                                                            • Review Submitted: 31-Mar-2016
                                                            • Date of Stay: Feb 2016

                                                            A beautiful apartment next to the piste

                                                            5 of 5
                                                            The apartment comprises the top floor of a block. The floor area is huge but not all of it is usable due to the slope of the roof. It has a spacious feel and made for a very enjoyable stay. It was very clean and tastefully adorned with ornaments. We communicated with the owner by email and I found her to be a charming person to deal with as was the agent where we collected the keys. The living area is open plan comprising a generous lounge with comfortable seating for seven of us to watch TV and chat. There is a dining table with seating for 8 and a well equipped kitchen comprising an oven, electric hob, separate integrated fridge, freezer and dish washer. There are plenty of knives, chopping boards, plates and cutlery and of course a cork screw. The worktop space is adequate The glasses and plates are all beautiful giving a feeling of luxury. The only thing I missed was a microwave but I quickly learned to manage without it. There is a music system which we didn't use and a TV which gets its signal from the include Wi-Fi. Outside there is a large balcony equipped for outside dining. The views over the valley are spectacular. We had to adjust the curtain a little because we were scared that it would tear when the door was opened. The two double bedrooms are en-suite and very comfortable although I found the mattress a little soft for my taste. The third bedroom has a double bed and one single. The ceiling is very low due to the pitch of the roof making the room feel claustrophobic. There is a family bathroom with a washing machine and also a family toilet meaning that there are three toilets and bathrooms. There is a ski locker in the basement. We felt that the entrance to the block would have benefitted from a bench to sit on while putting boots on. Outside there is car parking but when we stayed in the February half term holiday it was full. Being seven of us we had to bring two vehicles, one of which we parked in the allocated covered parking space which is several hundred metres away. After some searching I managed to park the other one nearby but as everybody arrives on Saturday unloading was difficult. The piste is 10 metres away and leads to the biggest ski area in the world, supermarket is close by although uphill. Ski hire is 100 metres away, a couple of restaurants are within walking distance; we ate at Le Ruade which was very pleasant. You can get to town by walking to the Preyrand pedestrian lift. or the free shuttle bus.
                                                            • Review Submitted: 23-Feb-2016
                                                            • Date of Stay: Feb 2016