Our ultimate guide to Courchevel 1850 tells you everything you need to know about France's glitziest resort.
Courchevel 1850 is the glitziest resort in the French Alps
Located in the Savoie Alps close to the Swiss and Italian borders, Courchevel 1850 is at the heart of the famous Three Valleys ski area. This chic resort is renowned for attracting wealthy clientele, particularly Russians. Considering it is home to France’s biggest concentration of five-star hotels outside of Paris and some of the most expensive ski chalets in the world, as well as numerous Michelin-star restaurants, it is not hard to understand why. The streets are lined with designer shops and jewellers and the resort even has its own altiport.
The villages of Courchevel
Courchevel 1850 is just one of several villages in Courchevel, all linked by lifts, pistes and a road which winds its way up from Le Praz and through Courchevel 1650, bypassing roads to Courchevel 1550 and La Tania on the way. These villages tend to be more traditional and affordable but still excellent bases for exploring the vast ski area. Courchevel 1850 is most convenient for accessing the slopes; it takes just two ski lifts to reach the resort’s highest point (2,738m). From here you can ski the legendary Grand Couloir or explore the wide-open space of the entire 3 Valleys.
Where to eat and drink in Courchevel 1850
Renowned for its fine dining opportunities, Courchevel is positively brimming with Michelin-stars. The incredible standard of cuisine here makes it a must-visit destination for any foodie. Chabichou, presided over by Michel Rochedy and Stéphane Buron, is probably the most iconic restaurant in resort having attained two-Michelin stars. Other recommended Michelin-star restaurants include three-star Le 1947 at Cheval Blanc, two-star Le Kintessence at Le K2 Palace and Le Montgomerie at Le K2 Altitude.
If you do not have the cash to splash then there are plenty of other more sensibly priced restaurants around. Bistro Le Chabotte is a smaller and more affordable version of its sister restaurant Le Chabichou whilst cosy Sauilire and La Fromagerie offer Savoyard classics in friendly surroundings. Petit Savoyard is another friendly spot serving wood oven-fired pizzas and other traditional fare.
In addition to the phenomenally expensive Le Cap Horn there are many exceptional restaurants on the slopes too. At the top of La Tania gondola, Bouc Blanc is great value for money as is Le Pilatus which overlooks the Altiport. La Soucoupe has a log fire for bad weather days and a great terrace with fantastic views for sunny ones. Right in the middle of the ski area, Verdons is a convenient meeting spot and is famed for its delicious spring rolls. For incredible views, Bel Air next to the cable car in 1650 is worth a visit.
Après ski usually begins at the Folie Douce in the Méribel valley before continuing in Courchevel. The nightlife in Courchevel is very much aimed at the well-heeled and sophisticated. That’s not to say that there aren’t more laid back bars but the vibe is predominantly upmarket. Most of the four and five-star hotels have sophisticated lounge bars where you can enjoy a quiet drink, but if you’re looking for something a little livelier then the Mangeoire bar is one to consider. Other lively bars include the Tremplin and Kudeta. Another upmarket spot is La Grange where you can dance until 5 am should the mood take you.
Where to stay in Courchevel 1850
Courchevel 1850 is renowned for its ski-in/ski-out accommodation. Chalets such as Les Gentianes, Perce Neige and Shemshak Lodge offer direct access to the slopes. The resort is also home to some of the most exclusive chalets in the Alps; Edelweiss, Le Petit Palais and Abruzzes all rent for over €60,000 per week.
There are also some incredible apartments which are linked to five-star hotels such as Penthouse Les Airelles and Apartment Amethyst. More affordable options include chalets Ajacour and Les 3 Soeurs and apartments Pearl and Jardin Alpin.
Winter in Courchevel 1850
Courchevel 1850 gives easy access to the whole of the 3 Valleys ski area. With 600 km of slopes, 327 runs and 186 ski lifts, skiers of all abilities are catered for meaning the resort is just as popular with families as oligarchs. In fact, 60% of the runs are blue and green making it ideal for beginners. Experts also have a huge choice of terrain from couloirs to steep mogul fields. The lift system is excellent so there are rarely queues for the lifts although the slopes are often overcrowded in peak weeks.
Beyond the slopes there are a fantastic range of activities on offer, from snowshoeing and snowmobiling to paragliding and husky sledging. The toboggan run from 1850 to 1550 is a real highlight for both children and adults. Indoor activities include bowling and rock climbing. Between 1550 and 1650 is the Aquamotion Centre where you can take a dip in the indoor and outdoor swimming pools and relax in the hammam, saunas or Jacuzzi. Le Forum sports centre is also popular with families. Other experiences include taking a cookery course with a Michelin-star chef or exploring one of the local galleries.
Summer in Courchevel 1850
Although Courchevel 1850 is thought of as a winter destination, there is in fact plenty going on during the summer months. Enjoy a spot of golf at the bottom of the Saulire, discover Courchevel by bike or on foot by exploring its many scenic trails or try via ferrata, a combination of scrambling or climbing on a route marked out by metal rails and rungs embedded into the mountain.
The resort also hosts some fantastic events throughout the summer. From the Summer Ski Jumping World Cup to the Lumberjack Championships there is always something interesting for spectators to enjoy.