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Three Valleys Property Guide

Les Trois Vallées - the largest ski area in the world

What and where are the Three Valleys?

It may sound like a facetious answer, but the first and most accurate response really is to say that the Three Valleys are, quite literally, three valleys. These are, by name, Belleville, Allues and Saint Bon. The valleys lie in the Savoie department of the Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France. More specifically, however, the Three Valleys ski area is one of the best loved and most extensive ski areas of the French Alps. The territory covers no less than eight ski resorts (some, like Courchevel, being made up of several villages in itself!), and is the largest interlinked ski area in the world.

Facts and Figures

The Three Valleys ski area covers 600 kilometres of skiable slopes. Cross country trails account for a further 120 kilometres. There are 183 ski lifts of various types in place which are capable of carrying some 260,000 skiers every hour! If the season is mild and there isn't an optimum snowfall, the situation is rectified by 1,920 snow cannons. The pistes are kept in order by 76 piste bashers, so near perfect runs are pretty much guaranteed. For those who are just beginning to learn to ski, or who wish to improve their skills, the Three Valleys has several ski schools with a total of around 1,500 qualified instructors able to teach at all levels and in various disciplines. Finally, to ensure safety, the area is constantly monitored by 424 ski patrollers.

What sports are offered?

The Three Valleys resorts between them offer a vast amount of activities and sports, in winter and summer. These cover the ever popular sports of skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing, but also the less common activities such as horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice climbing and dog sledding. Each of the eight internationally renowned resorts has its own character and facilities, so if you're considering buying property in the Three Valleys, it's worth getting to know the individual resorts first.

The resorts

The eight resorts that make up the Three Valleys ski area (all covered by one ski pass!) are:

1. Courchevel

The biggest and the best known of the Three Valleys resorts is Courchevel (Courchevel Property Guide). Consisting of four resorts, Courchevel offers the choice of property in a high altitude, purpose built setting, a family-orientated environment or in an authentic Savoyard village. As befits such a high profile resort, Courchevel has fantastic sporting facilities, plenty of shopping and off-piste activities and a vibrant après ski scene.

2. Meribel

Another well known name is that of Meribel, or Meribel les Allues (Meribel les Allues Property Guide). Again, the resort is made up of multiple villages, in this case these being Meribel Centre, Meribel Mottaret (Meribel Mottaret Property Guide) and Meribel Village. Parts of Meribel once made up the oldest village in the Three Valleys ski area, and as such are packed with history and tradition.

3. La Tania

Family-friendly and exquisitely set amid pine forests, La Tania is equally delightful in winter and summer. Categorised as a small and friendly resort, it nevertheless has its share of après ski bars and restaurants, so can be a good choice for all ages. (La Tania Property Guide.)

4. Saint Martin de Belleville

Saint Martin de Belleville is definitely the place for traditionalists and lovers of the good old Savoyard way of life. Picturesque and packed with Savoyard charm, this is the resort that offers sunny slopes, cosy chalet bars and warming mugs of hot wine - what's not to like? (Saint Martin de Belleville Property Guide.)

5. Brides les Bains

Brides les Bains is a spa town with a rich culture and natural heritage, plus access to the same great skiing as all the other resorts of the Three Valleys. Given those facts, you might expect that property would be out of reach of all but the financially blessed, but it is actually one of the cheapest of the top Alpine resorts! (Brides les Bains Property Guide.)

6. Val Thorens

Val Thorens is dedicated to skiing, and caters for skiers at the highest level. You really can't go past Val Thorens if your idea of bliss is to spend every waking moment on the slopes, honing your skills and testing your courage on fresh powder. It's the highest ski resort in Europe, so snow cover is about as good as it gets! The resort also has excellent facilities and pistes for the less able skiers, so there's something there for everyone. (Val Thorens Property Guide.)

7. Les Menuires

Les Menuires is perfect for the young and the young at heart. It's a lively resort which has not only superb skiing at all levels, but also top notch snow parks for snowboarders. It's great for kids, with plenty of ski schools and non skiing activities in all seasons. If you're thinking of buying property in the Three Valleys, Les Menuires offers a good range with prices across the board, so it's well worth a look whatever your budget. (Les Menuires Property Guide.)

8. Orelle

The final village of the eight is little Orelle. Authentic to the core, Orelle is surrounded by traditional architecture and Savoyard farms. It also lays on atmospheric torchlight processions and visits to local points of interest, so it's good for non skiers who want to explore a real mountain village.

How to get to the Three Valleys

The Three Valleys and their resorts are easy to access from the UK by plane, train or road. Fly into Chambéry, Grenoble, Lyon or Geneva. The TGV service will take you to Lyon or Grenoble with just a simple change in Paris. Or, if you prefer to drive, it's easy to find the resorts of the Three Valleys via the A41 and A43 motorways.

Property in the Three Valleys

Keen skiers and true lovers of the Savoie may want to purchase their own property there rather than rely on renting or staying in hotels. Owning a property in the ski resorts offers the chance to take holidays whenever you want, and the freedom to choose the perfect setting. Although Alpine property in popular resorts is often expensive, the Three Valleys has something to suit all pockets. So, from the rarefied atmosphere and exclusive surroundings of Courchevel (formerly Courchevel 1850) to inexpensive and pretty Brides les Bains, there will be a property waiting for you.

Additional articles which may be of interest:

The Best Ski Resorts in France for Buying a Property
Ski property
Alps property
Ski Chalets for Sale in France

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