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Les Menuires Review

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Les Menuires Review

Rating: ★★★★ 7.9 out of 10

“Les Menuires is village in 3 Valleys (3Vallées) ski area in France (the largest ski domain in the world with more than 600 km of connected runs). It is less known neighbour of Val Thorens. Les Meniures was host of men’s slalom event during 1992 Albertville Winter Olympic Games. The architecture (huge concrete blocks) is more suited for Parisian suburbs than for Alps but skiing is top notch. If we compare it to Val Thorens we could say that it is much more affordable and its position in 3 Valleys domain is better but you won’t have much to do in the evenings. It is visited mainly by French people. Slopes are best suited for intermediate skiers and beginners. You will find all details in the rest of this Les Menuires review”

Pros: Good value for money,  part of biggest domain in world, great diversity of slopes, good snow reliability, ski in/out accommodation

Cons: architecture, night life

les-menuires-ski-map

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SLOPES

Easy 312 km (52 %)
Intermediate 216 km (32 %)
Difficult 72 km (12 %)

Les Menuires is part of one of the best ski areas in the world. It has great position since it is between Val Thorens and Meribel so you won’t need a lot of time to get to all corners of 3 Valleys domain. As I have said slopes are best suited for intermediate skiers and beginners. Les Menuires has mainly fast chair lifts without cues except slower Bruyeres gondola which will get you on the way to Val Thorens. Pistes are wide and well groomed (like in the rest of France) but they can get crowded in the afternoon.

Les Menuires has strange micro climate in December and January. If you are visiting in that period it is possible that you will get stuck there due to strong winds (officials close connecting lifts if the wind is too strong). Don’t worry too much, this doesn’t happen regularly (at worst once in a week).

It is situated pretty high (1,850 m above sea level) as a result of that there is almost always abundance of snow. On the warmer days snow can get slushy in lower parts due to resort orientation.

3 Valleys has interesting Escapade, challenge, in which you have to ski through check points (use lifts on the list, list changes every year). When you complete it you should go to the lift company and they will issue you certificate or sometimes badge (certificate contains time you needed to complete it).

 

© P.Lebeau / Office de Tourisme des Menuires

© P.Lebeau / Office de Tourisme des Menuires

 

LES MENUIRES FREERIDE AND TERRAIN PARKS

As a result of huge space you will be able to find endless terrains for freeride. Best spots in Les Menuires are on the opposite side of the valley in which the village is situated (La Masse area).You should definitely visit Val Thorens especially areas around Cime Caron and Funitel Peclet. Be aware that the early bird catches the worm so don’t sleep too long on powder days because people who visit 3 Valleys love off piste skiing even more than you. Also they have strange ski school instructors which often take their pupils off piste even if they can’t ski on the easiest slope. Thus maiden snow becomes criss-crossed in several hours.

There is small BK snow park with basic features (for beginners and intermediate riders) near Becca lift. You will also find, snow cross track there. Every valley has its own big snow park and several smaller ones. In Val Thorens it is situated in Plateau area. Meribel has park called Area 43 which has big number of elements including small half pipe (it is situated close to Les Menuires, you will find it on your way to Meribel). Courchevel has probably the biggest terrain park in 3 Valleys. It has several difficulty lines (it has nice features for absolute beginners e.g. low and wide fun box and big features for pros) and it is connected to boarders cross slope.

 

Les Ménuires 73

© G.Lansard/Office de Tourisme des Menuires

 

HOW TO GET TO LES MENUIRES

Les Menuires is placed in Savoie province (Saint Martin de Belleville valley), close to 4 big airports. The closest one is Chambery Airport and it is 112 km away (you will need around 1h 25 min to get there by car). Geneva is 145 km away and it will take you 2 and half hours. Lyon airport is around 190 km away (2h and 15 min by car). Grenoble airport is also around 190 km away and it will take you 2 h and 15 min by car. All airports have public transport connections, you can even use connection to Val Thorens since you will have to pass through Les Menuires.

Check availability and book tickets online but be aware of prices. When choosing airport you should check also prices of transport to the resort because sometimes transport cost between the airport and the resort can be significantly higher than the price of airplain ticket.

If you take train closest station is in Moutiers. It is only 35-40 km away but you will need around 50 min by car. During winter season there are regular trains to Moutieres. Shuttle buses are frequent, it is cheapest way to get from the station to your accommodation.

WHERE TO STAY IN LES MENUIRES

If you rent apartment in Les Menuires you will have best value for money situation. But don’t expect luxury, it depends, but usually you will have to sleep in your living/dining/kitchen space. Dish washer will make your life easier and your small toilet (in order to turn around in it you will need serious yoga skills) will be separated from bathroom. These features are standard for studios in huge apartment blocks.

Things are getting better for Les Menuires. New parts of village are developed (better materials meaning more wood and stone, less concrete). New 4 stars hotels and chalet types of apartments have been built in recent years. These changes will also influence prices (for the worse). Newly built parts, can be far away from village centre where almost all shops, restaurants and bars are. All buildings in the area are ski in/out which is great thing especially at the end of the day. It is only up to you and your budget 🙂 to make choice where to stay.

 

Crédit photo: G. Lansard - Office de Tourisme Les Menuires.

Crédit photo: G. Lansard – Office de Tourisme Les Menuires.

 

WHAT TO DO AFTER DAY ON SNOW (APRES-SKI) IN LES MENUIRES

Centre of village is called Croisette, it is underground concrete mall (looking like street pedestrian underpass). It has big number of bars, shops and restaurants. You should visit la Fromagerie des Belleville and Restaurant-Pub La Fermenear Reberty. The most famous restaurant in the neighborhood is La Bouitte (prepare your credit card for serious damage).

As I have said if you are coming here because night life and restaurants you should move 10 km away to Val Thorens. If you are satisfied with a dinner and several pints, Les Menuires will do the job.

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