When you think of the Three Valleys ski area, big-hitting resorts like Courchevel and Meribel spring to mind. But nestled in the same valley as Val Thorens is the pretty village of St Martin de Belleville; a much more manageable size for families, this traditional resort has its roots in farming yet is part of the world’s biggest ski area. After a day on some of the world’s best pistes, skiing back to St Martin you instantly feel like you’ve come home, to a very well kept secret!
St Martin de Belleville’s traditional stone and timber-clad farms may now be home to cosy chalets and beautiful restaurants, but it has lost none of its authenticity. The atmosphere suits families; it’s all about unpretentious luxury.
Here are the top 6 reasons we think that St Martin de Belleville should be on your resort shortlist for your family ski holiday this season.
When it comes to mythical skiing, the Jerusalem run from the top of Meribel at more than 2100m altitude down to St Martin de Belleville ticks all our boxes. This blue piste is tranquil Three Valley skiing at its best and will delight families with competent little skiers or older ones. The slope is of historical interest too. It was the site of Resistance work during the Second World War, when Resistance workers used the barns alongside the slope to hide the vulnerable.
The resort’s nursery slope is great for beginners, and if they make good progress there’s plenty of terrain to explore, making St Martin ideal for families with children who already know how to ski and want to do more.
The brilliant ESF French Ski School offers lessons for children from the age of three in St Martin. Club Piou Piou lessons are specifically for three year olds. They’ll who’ll have plenty of fun playing in the snow, whilst learning the basics. Club Piou Piou also encompasses a Mini-club for children from 30 months to 5 years old who don’t want to start skiing yet. Children aged four and over join group lessons, which are graded by level from beginners (Ourson, or bear cub) through to Gold Star. Under 5s get a free ski pass! St Martin also has a nursery for little ones from 3 months old to 30 months old, giving parents freedom to ski.
Where to stay: Les Chalets du Gypse
4* Self-catered apartments | largest sleeps 10
The 4-star apartments at ski-in/ski-out Les Chalets du Gypse are right on the slopes. The 30 luxury apartments have superb facilities including a lovely indoor pool, and a hot tub, sauna and steam room.
Price: 7 nights in a two bedroom luxury self-catered apartment sleeping up to six from £2,064 per apartment, including Eurotunnel with a free FlexiPlus upgrade (based on week commencing 30/3/19).