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Courchevel, Meribel Or Val Thorens - Which Of The Three Valleys’ Most Popular Resorts Should You Visit?

Val Thorens In The Three Valleys


In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to pick between ski resorts and you’d simply have to rank them in terms of which you’re going to visit first this season.

However, we know that most only get the opportunity to go skiing once a year - if that - and so you need to ensure that the resort you visit on your group skiing holiday is the one that’s most perfectly suited to your needs.

Of all of Europe’s skiing resorts, those that fall under The Three Valleys are arguably the most popular in every sense.  But consisting of eight individual resorts, saying you want to go skiing in The Three Valleys is essentially the same as saying you want go skiing in France - it’s great as a broad statement, but the choice is so huge you need to understand exactly what’s available to ensure you pick the best resort possible.

Therefore, looking at the area’s three most popular resorts - Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens - we want to give you a bit of an insight into each so you can make the most informed decision possible.


Perhaps it’s a little misleading saying you only have to choose between these three resorts, as although Courchevel is classed as one resort, it actually has four separate areas within it which vary massively.

Starting at the top of the resort and working downwards, we have the ever-popular Courchevel 1850.  One of the most famous skiing resorts in the world, Courchevel 1850 combines first-class skiing with an après-ski to rival some of the most vibrant city nightlife you’ll find anywhere.

It does come at a price, though and it’s no real reason why its seen as the skiing destination of the rich and famous.

For a generally more affordable Courchevel group skiing holiday, 1650 has to be the ‘sub-resort’ of choice.  Seen as the perfect option for those who want the great skiing of 1850, but without the expensive après-ski, 1650 might only be within a short skiing distance from its more popular brother, but you’d think you were worlds apart at times (though don’t get us wrong, if you’re looking to treat yourself to a bottle of expensive bubbly with a gourmet meal, you’re still able to do this in abundance in 1650!).

Moving further south, you’re met with 1550, which is seen as being a particularly quiet and sedate sub-resort.  Ideal if you’re going purely to ski, you’re generally going to find you have to travel to 1850 or 1650 if you want to sample anything other than a particularly quite après-ski.

At the bottom of the resort you’re greeted by the beautifully quaint Courchevel 1300, also known as Le Praz.  Originally a farming village set deep in the woods, development over the years hasn’t always been in keeping with the surroundings, but the centre of the area still retains its traditional charm and makes for a great sub-resort if you’re looking for a bit of everything from your skiing holiday.


One of the best ways to describe Meribel is a bigger version of Courchevel 1650.  Offering superb skiing (with many of the runs aimed at intermediate skiers), the après-ski in Meribel provides something for everyone, whether you’re looking to sit down for an evening of great food and wine or a relaxed night spent in a comfy bar with a lively atmosphere.

What we would say is that although the area does offer some good nursery slopes, Meribel group skiing holidays are often best enjoyed by skiers who have a bit of experience behind them.  It’s still a great resort to learn to ski in, but the majority of reports suggest that when you’ve become more confident at skiing, the resort really does open up a range of opportunities to you.

Full of beautiful buildings, Meribel has retained much of its traditional charm and you’re very likely to return with just as many photos of the buildings and scenery as you are of you on the pistes and the stunning views  from the top of the resort!

Val Thorens

The first thing we’d say if you’re thinking of heading on a Val Thorens group skiing holiday is that like Courchevel 1300, you shouldn’t be going expecting chocolate box buildings.  The area without doubt retains some of its original charm, but the resort has been built more to be of convenience to skiers, rather than to replicate a traditional French resort.

Possibly the best of the three resorts mentioned here for new skiers and / or families, Val Thorens not only has a vast array of nursery slopes close to the centre of the village, but it has numerous activities for you to sample away from the pistes - how does a six kilometre toboggan run sound?

The highest resort in Europe, what we enjoy most about Val Thorens is its bustling après-ski. If you’re looking for somewhere that rivals the vibrancy of capital cities, a Val Thorens group skiing holiday is almost guaranteed to be the best choice for you (just remember that the skiing is fantastic, too!).

At the end of the day, The Three Valleys has developed so much over the last few years that whether you stay in Courchevel, Meribel or Val Thorens (or any of the four other resorts), you can quickly jump on a lift and be anywhere in the area easily.

We do know that you want to be sitting on a ski lift as little as possible on your group skiing holiday, however and so it’s always recommended you find the resort most suited to your needs, something we hope this blog post helps with (but if you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or get in touch!).

Simplyyourholidays · 1860 days ago
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Courchevel, Meribel Or Val Thorens - Which Of The Three Valleys’ Most Popular Resorts Should You Visit?