Courchevel – Rhone-Alpes, France

In the Heart of the Trois Valines

Host to the 1992 Winter Olympics and one of the highest, most attractive, and best-equipped ski locations in the French Alps, Courchevel sits in the confluence of three alpine valleys that make up the world’s largest ski area. Many of its slopes are north facing, with some of the most immaculate grooming found anywhere. Courchevel’s four “villages” are named after their varying altitudes, the best being the highest at 6,012 feet (1,850 meters).

They are cosmopolitan but not intimidatingly chic, and the hundreds of trails, the extensive crisscrossing network of lifts, and the varied terrain (great for near beginners, and won­derful for all levels of intermediate skiers) make this one of the best ski establishments anywhere. Many travelers come to ski the Courchevel sector alone, but it is well linked to other resorts in the Trois Vallees, such as the attractive M6ribel, or Val-Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe.

Courchevel is known for its deluxe dining and luxury hotels. One of the finest is Le Melezin, the first European property of Amanresorts, whose exquisite Asian hotels have transformed the concept of five-star bou­tique accommodations in the Pacific. Its minimalist luxury is a warm and welcome change from the Tyrolian chalet theme so ubiquitous in these ultra-scenic parts.

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