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Tarentaise, Vanoise and Three Valleys

Vanoise and Trois Vallées: skiing and hiking!

The Vanoise Park

Does La Vanoise ring a bell? It's France's first national park, created with the aim of preserving the flora and fauna of the high mountains! So you already know that on your hikes you're going to discover marmots and ibexes (and other animals too). The gateway to the Park is Pralognan la Vanoise, a village that has retained all its authenticity.

The village is surrounded by high mountains, but the paths soon take you to higher ground and a much clearer view. In particular, the path that crosses Lac des Vaches, facing glaciers, can be followed all the way to the Vanoise refuge, a real crossroads in the middle of Savoie's most beautiful mountains.

The Parc de la Vanoise is criss-crossed by beautiful long-distance hiking trails that follow the old merchants' paths that used to link the Maurienne with the Tarentaise and vice-versa.

But if you're looking at this destination, it's probably because you're already enjoying skiing in the world's largest ski area... the Three Valleys!

Les Trois Vallées, the world's largest ski area

South of Moûtiers, in the TarentaiseFrom the small spa town of Brides les Bains, you can choose between several world-renowned resorts, linked by a network of lifts.

First of all, from Brides les Bains, you can take the gondola up to Méribel. As is often the case in Savoie, these resorts are made up of several villages or hamlets with very different styles, often depending on altitude. Méribel Mottaret, for example, resembles a high-altitude resort, although its wooded setting and proximity to Lac de Tueda give it a picture-postcard landscape, while Méribel Les Allues is a hamlet of beautiful chalets.

The Méribel valley is the central valley.

Eastwards, past the charming village of Bozel, you climb up through the forests to the thousand-faceted resort of Courchevel. From family hamlets like La Tania and Le Praz, to the very posh Courchevel 1850. To the west, the more open, south-facing Belleville valley takes you up to Les Menuires and Val Thorens, Europe's highest resort at 2300m.

Méribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens, luxury and skiing

Méribel, Courchevel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens make up the Three Valleys. The skiability of the Val Thorens slopes, accessible even from Orelle in the Maurienneor the luxury of Méribel and Courchevel: their reputations have been established decades ago. However, each of these resorts offers a full range of prices for your stay, making them affordable destinations for all budgets and allowing you to ski in the most beautiful ski area in the world. You need to have skied there once in your life to understand that this is true.

Snow cover is favored by abundant precipitation and altitude. At Val Tho (Val Thorens, for those in the know), you can ski from mid-November to mid-May with no risk of running out of snow, in a truly white world. You soon forget how artificial the resort is, far removed from the clichés of a small mountain village in the face of such vast expanses of snow as far as the eye can see.

In summer, these resorts offer a wide range of sporting activities, and while not all of them are as charming as real mountain villages because of their architecture, the landscapes you discover on the ridges between the valleys during your walks are breathtaking.

Smaller, more family-friendly resorts 

On the other hand, the pretty, authentic villages include Pralognan, Bozel, Saint Martin de Belleville and Champagny en Vanoise, which is linked to the ski area of La Plagne which offers all the characteristics of a small mid-mountain village, and is an excellent base from which to visit the region. In winter, the Nordic ski area of Champagny le haut offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of this highly touristic region.

Finally, just before the lock of Moûtiers and the entrance to the Vanoise, a pretty, family-friendly mountain resort deserves a mention. This is Valmorel, linked in winter to Saint François Longchamp by pistes that cross the Col de la Madeleine, the traditional summer gateway between the Tarentaise and Maurienne regions.

In the heart of the French Alps, in the Savoie region, this is the ideal destination for all lovers of landscapes, sensations and high mountain discovery.


Discover this region by reading the following articles from the AlpAddict blog!


The French Alps

The French Alps

The French Alps, with their diversity of landscapes and climates, will enable you to design the holiday that's right for you. AlpAddict will guide you in your choices.

Discover the Vanoise and Three Valleys on video

The best webcams in Vanoise and Trois Vallées

(click on the village name)

  • Val Thorens Val Thorens: the resort center webcam that lets you check snow conditions at the foot of the slopes
  • Les MenuiresLes Menuires: the webcam facing south of the resort gives an overview of snow conditions in the hamlet of Reberty and the Pointe de la Masse sector.
  • Méribel MottaretMéribel Mottaret: beautiful view of the Méribel valley, with the Mottaret district in the foreground.
  • Méribel TuedaA webcam to watch Lake Tueda freeze and thaw!
  • CourchevelA view of the ski area above Courchevel 1650
  • Pralognan la VanoiseThe village center webcam
  • Champagny en VanoiseWebcam of Champagny le Haut, winter starting point for cross-country ski trails
Alps Discovery Activities

Activities not to be missed in Vanoise and Trois Vallées

  • Ski the 3 Valleys! A paradise for skiers of all levels.
  • Ski in the Val Thorens ski area, up to 3200m altitude, in the Orelle valley. Due south, far from the noise... magic
  • Stroll around Lac de Tueda, in Méribel Mottaret.
  • Stroll through the luxurious boutiques of Courchevel 1850, and ski along the large chalets at the bottom of the resort.
  • Cross-country skiing in the great outdoors at Champagny-le-haut
  • Marmot-watching around Pralognan la Vanoise, gateway to the Vanoise National Park.
  • Admire the scenery of over a thousand peaks from Cime Caron in Val Thorens, accessible by cable car.

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