Les Menuires; Snow, Saga and Splendour — The Perfect Ski Destination
With the right mixture of snowcapped mountain peaks, a rich and interesting history, a thriving culture, thronging tourists and snow-clad houses — Les Menuires really is the perfect ski destination. Located in the Vallée des Belleville, it is everything you could ask for in a ski resort and more! It offers some of the most affordable accommodation in the 3 Vallées, and what’s more, you can choose from a selection of restaurants that serve some of the best food in this corner of the world.
Unlike most other ski resorts in the world, Les Menuires has the unique distinction of being part of the 3 Vallées ski area in France. The 3 Vallées is the largest ski area in the whole world; it has about 8 different resorts which are closely linked by a number of amazing ski runs and lifts, as well as their sophisticated choices for accommodation.
The rich history of the resort can be seen in its design; culture and heritage are imprinted on every single brick in the valley. However, this resort brings in the most unique combination of heritage and modernity, of yesteryear architectural beauty and urban practicality laced, rather judiciously, with the charm only a French village can have!
Starting Small, Growing Fast
Les Menuires is situated between Saint-Martin-de-Belleville and Val Thorens, sitting amidst snow-peaked mountains at an altitude of roughly 1850m. This perfect altitude height sure that the resort gets plenty of fresh snow for the ski lovers, while letting everyone else enjoy the sun. It has come a very long way since the 1960s when somebody decided to create a ski resort that is both perfect for winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding and summer activities such as hiking and mountain biking. After the initial success of the ski resort at Courchevel built in the 50s, the mayor of Saint Martin de Belleville wanted to create equally amazing skiing communities— Val Thorens and Les Menuires — and other satellite resorts as well.
During the 1950s, when the resort at Courchevel was built, the local authorities created something called the Service of the Study and Development of Mountain Tourism – popularly called the SETAM. The Society started off by acquiring property in the upper valley to create enough place for the ski resort, accommodation facilities and other necessities. The initial plan was quite optimistic, but the success of Courchevel motivated everyone involved.
Immediately after the decision to build a world-class resort at Les Menuires, work started and by the early 1960s the very first of many drag lifts were installed. And by the late 60s, the very first accommodation at the valley — the Croisette — was opened. Moreover, the important ‘La Masse Cable’ was also underway which in effect gave way to the high altitude of the resort. Immediately after the first residences in the Croisette opened, the first tourist office and hotel were built on the mountain range’s west side.
A World-Class Resort
It wasn’t until the 70’s when the resort experienced a surge in activity. The Allamands drag lift sped up the construction, which opened a link to the Meribel pistes. This marked the completion of the first stage of what was going to become the biggest ski area in the whole world — the 3 Vallées. During the same time, construction of the Val Thorens also started at about 2300m. The Les Menuires resort was divided into three beautiful tiers — the Reberty, La Croisette and the Preyerand, with accommodation available at each one.
‘Les Menuires est belle’ (‘Les Menuires is beautiful,’ in case your French isn’t up to scratch!) is something you will truly feel when you leave the place. It is a small French-style village resort that offers everyone — from everyday tourists to ski masters, from history enthusiasts to snow lovers — something special to take away.
If Les Menuires looks like a place for you to visit head over to the Les Menuires apartments for rent page to see how cheap you can go skiing!