Les Menuires possibly has the best position in the Trois Vallées. It has direct links to the higher Val Thorens and Meribel. It’s more affordable than Meribel and Courchevel and has a “Famille Plus” accreditation from the French government. Les Menuires is no longer seen as the poor cousin of the Three Valleys and is fast becoming popular, offering a great alternative to its high-octane neighbours.
Les Menuires was created in 1964 and is a purpose built resort. It is split into various quarters linked by walking paths, ski runs, free shuttle buses and lifts. La Croisette is the original town centre where the majority of facilities are found. It features a charming wooden steeple which is attractively lit up at night. Aside from that the original development was focused more on practicality and concrete buildings typified this part of the resort. Les Menuires used to be infamous for its large, grey commercial buildings, reminiscent of Sixties council blocks, with subterranean shopping malls. However these buildings are now listed, just like the Brutalist buildings of London (think Barbican) and property constructed since has adopted a more traditional and appealing appearance. Les Bruyères and Reberty are examples of newer areas, with luxury chalets made from local stone and timber, with beautiful pitched roofs. They showcase the impressive Savoyard building tradition, offering more spacious luxurious accommodation. Guests enjoy facilities such as private pools and hotels now have spas available for those who like to pamper. The slopes weave in and out of the resort so you are never far from the nearest lifts. And the resort boasts the Family Plus label for its facilities aimed at families with kids. A reporter recently visiting the resort said that ‘it’s surprising how quickly you forget [about the original buildings] when there are so many other attractive buildings to look at and so much to explore in the Trois Vallées’. So it seems that Les Menuires really is developing into a swan and the newer parts of the resort such as Reberty are undeniably attractive.
The skiing in Les Menuires is second to none with access to 497 different pistes over 600 kilometres in the Trois Vallées area. The Les Menuires & St Martin ski pass on its own grants you access to over 160km of pistes, with plenty to ski on either side of the valley. More than 411 snow cannons cover 50% of the ski area, and at 1850m the resort promises snow cover from mid-December to the end of April.
For beginners there are six free lifts up green slopes or special beginner passes at a lower price to access eleven lifts. A Belleville Valley pass gives access to the slopes of Val Thorens creating a massive 300km of downhill slopes, and that's before going into Courchevel and its other neighbor Meribel. On top of that that mountain views around Les Menuires are beautiful and the slopes are well positioned for lots of sunshine! For those looking for less of a challenge there are long cruisey runs up to 8km in length stretching right across the mountains with spectacular views. Experts can enjoy the north facing steep blacks down from the Pointe De La Masse. The Dame Blanche is arguably the toughest slope in resort, and the Lac Noir and Masse are known for developing some serious moguls. The expansive nature of the valleys offer vast off-piste opportunities, and cross country fans can find 28km of marked trails. There are two excellent snowparks– the BK Park features a boarder-cross, rails, tables and a quarter pipe. The Walibi Gliss is a cartoon themed fun park with timed slalom runs, another boardercross, racing tracks and musical challenges! There is also a big air bag at the bottom of La Croisette.
As with most alpine resorts there is an abundance of activities on offer throughout the year. There are over 50 marked hikes across the La Vallée des Belleville in spring, summer and autumn. There is a sports centre with swimming pool, sauna, hammam, jacuzzis, and a wellness area for relaxation (massages, spa-jet, facials etc) There is a Speed Mountain toboggan run on rails; the Roc’n Bike Mountain Bike trail. There are guided tours of the Saint Martin museum telling the story of two centuries of local history. There is local theatre, tours of local food producers, museums and live music. You can even become a shepherd for the day! In the evenings there are a good selection of restaurants and a few night clubs.
Les Menuires has a selection of over 90 shops including supermarkets, banks, ski shops, a post office, chemists, doctor's surgery and medical centre, physiotherapist, dentist, regional product shops, bakeries, butchers, hairdressers, launderettes, garage, petrol station, taxis, newsagents, souvenir & gift shops and fashion shops. There are also numerous Wi-Fi internet hotspots dotted around the whole of Les Menuires making any stay here easy to facilitate.
The resort is serviced by several airports all with transfers available to resort although these do tend to be more expensive out of season.
Geneva Airport 2hrs 30 mins
Grenoble Airport 2hrs 10mins approx
Chambery Airport 1hr 30mins approx
Lyon Airport 2hrs 10mins approx.
Free shuttle buses operate between Saint Martin de Belleville, the Les Menuires, Val Thorens.