Courchevel & its Surroundings
Unlike most other ski resorts, Courchevel is more than a single resort and is spread across four different altitudes; Courchevel Le Praz 1300, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 and Courchevel 1850; each quite different in image and feel.
Courchevel 1300 is at the lowest altitude, sitting on a flat ledge which is easy to navigate. It is inhabited throughout the year, giving it a permanent village feeling and is by far the prettiest resort of Courchevel. It has everything you need, from restaurants and bars through to a supermarket, butcher and baker. It even has a school, hence making it possible to live there permanently. It has 2 bubble lifts that will take you up to 1850 in less than 8 minutes. You can also ski back down to 1300 all season due to the investment in snow cannons. In fact, it boasts 2 of the greatest black runs (Jean Blanc & Jockeys) in skiing.
Courchevel 1550 is the next resort up, also known as the quietest resort, with a few chalets and hotels. But thanks to a high speed 6 person chairlift that was installed in winter 2004/05 it offers a quick connection to the pistes of 1850. It also has a bubble lift that takes you to the centre of 1850, which operates daily from 09.00 until 19.30.
Courchevel 1650 is higher up in the valley, but far less costly than 1850. 1650 has a very welcoming atmosphere with its own individual character and style. On the slopes it offers a few wide, easy cruising blue runs, some of the best snow you will find and has the quietest slopes in Courchevel.
Courchevel 1850 – at the highest altitude, this is the resort where the rich and famous come ‘to see and be seen’. You will find magnificent chalets and hotels in the secluded Jardin Alpin sector, with the centre of town offering reasonably priced accommodation. There is plenty of variety to be found on the slopes, from gentle beginner slopes, numerous intermediate slopes, to the advanced and off-piste couloirs guaranteed to keep even the most accomplished skiers busy.
If you would like to find out more about Courchevel and its ski areas, please see Courchevel Skiing Revealed.
For top tips on where to eat, drink and be merry visit Courchevel Food & Drink and to get a real insider’s view, you can follow the adventures of our Snow Reporter and Apres-Ski Reporter.
The History of Courchevel
Before Courchevel became known as a ski resort, it was simply a collection of small hamlets and farmers’ fields. In 1032 the wider area of the Savoy fell under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire and from the 12th Century rigorously expanded its territory, becoming known as ‘Gatekeeper of the Alps’. But humans settled there a long time before that, proven by the discovery of a grave in Courchevel 1300 / Le Praz that contained two human skeletons and jewellery dating back to the Iron Age (750 BC).
About the Vanoise National Park
The Vanoise National Park is one of the highlights of the Tarentaise region; a haven for all sorts of wildlife as well as a magnet for outdoor sports enthusiasts, it is well worth a visit at any time of year. Access is free and it is open year-round.
read more in… The Vanoise National Park, Courchevel
The Local Alpine Cuisine
Although not as renowned as the haute cuisine of Paris or the fine bistros of Lyon, there are a number of Courchevel restaurants offering a number of tasty treats for those who like to sample regional specialities. Meat and cheese feature heavily in Alpine cooking – so it’s just as well there are plenty of mountains where you can work off the extra pounds!
The Local Alpine Climate
For anyone that spends time in the mountains, be it summer or winter, the weather is a constant topic of conversation. And it is easy to understand why, as a change in the weather can impact so dramatically on your day. Should I take a coat? How many layers should I wear? Am I going to burn? Is it going to rain?