Travelling with a baby
As spring is clearly not around the corner in London despite the March date, my friend Talida and I embarked on writing a Courchevel je t’aime statement article, including top 9 winter Courchevel activities.
Our friends spent February half term with their lovely almost 5 years old and are still raving about. As French speakers and francophiles deep in their hearts, foodies and beginners ski wise, Courchevel proved to be the winning choice – they are already planning to go back next February half term.
So what are the top winter Courchevel activities?
1.For sure God created Courchevel for skiing. They skied, their almost 5 years old skied. ESF (Ecole de Ski Francais), located moments from the hotel and at the base of the slope offer both group (6 days at 250 euros) or private sessions for 105 euro / 1.5h – do book in advance for half terms. As alternative there’s Oxigene Ski, good ski intructors as well. Kids under 5 ski for free all over in Courchevel. Adults have ski passes packages from 200 – 400 euros per week.
2.Apres skiing. Our friends swear by their hotel’s bar – ZINC, good vibes and every other night a DJ late into the night.
3.Exploring the 4 villages – Courchevel is made up of four different villages, each with its own distinct feel and atmosphere. Le Praz (1300) is a pretty and quiet village with tree-lined slopes and direct access to 1850. Courchevel 1550 has a relaxed atmosphere and good slope access. Courchevel 1650 (where they stayed) has a lively atmosphere and a great selection of shops and bars. Courchevel 1850 hosts of chic boutiques, as well as a huge selection of restaurants and fine dining, including some Michelin stared exquisite ones (Yum!).
4. Indulging the French food. Most restaurants have affordable prices and amazing food – from £28 euros menu offer at two Michelin star to a normal restaurant near the hotel – all yum and child friendly – afterall this is France! Amidst their highlights:
*Le bistronomique Chabotte – they serve traditional Savoyard dishes cleverly reinterpreted like “grandma used to cook”. Our friends had a nice a la carte dinner and opted for Chestnuts velvety black truffles and foie gras / lobster ravioli/ scallops reduction of orange with vanilla flavour and sole meuniere cereal risotto. Their son loved their pata negra and cheese plate as well as pasta Bolognese.
*La table de Marie – located just next door to Fahrenheit 7 – the 5 years old enjoyed “the best pizza ever”; the grown ups loved the snails and traditional onion soup.
*LA ROTISSERIE – located at the ground floor of Fahrenheit 7 hotel with splendid view on slopes, a sunny terrace with tables and chaise longue, DJ included! Mulled wine goes well in here with lobster rolls / sea bass ceviche/ linguini with pesto/ risotto with Lobster. For kids they offer lasagne, burgers, fish and chips.
*AZIMUT – 1 Michelin star, located in Courchevel 1550, aka La Praz. The adults opted for fois gras escalope / turbot with chow flower mousse and the traditional tartiflette ( lunch and dinner set menus from 55 euros to 95 euros). Lovely attitude to kids and 12 euros delicious menu.
5. Dog sledding. Courchevel Adventure for lots of snow activities – Talida and the boys chose Dog sledding by day in the forest. Courchevel Adventures offer a wide range of activities for families by day and by night with kids and without. Just ask them the moon and they are ready to offer youJ – at least this is their motto.
6. Aquamotion – a state of the art well-being centre with indoor and outdoor pools, surf area and diving pool with many places for toddlers and lots for adults ( spa, climbing wall, massage), a nice restaurant and playing area for kids. Our friends have been twice in a week.
7. Shopping. Between Courchevel 1650 and 1850, you got a whole range of chic boutiques!
8. Sledging. You can rent a sledge from Fahrenheit 7 hotel for 4 euros for half a day or you can try the newly open 3km sledge slope with tunnels and adventure included.
9. INDIAN Camp Park only ten min by cable car from the hotel – where children can ski and do lots of activities related to tribal life – dressing up included. Their almost 5 years old loved it and they ended up buying an Indian costume and a tipi when they got back in London.
Our friends flew Heathrow to Geneve in less than 1h30 (buy tickets well in advance to get reasonable pricing), then had a private transfer to Courchevel 1650 (Alpinbus, one of the most affordable return trips at €380, transfer taking about 2h; train or bus are the other alternatives – 4h30 min each way).
They stayed in Courchevel 1650 and chose Fahrenheit 7 located near the cable car Ariondaz and the very easy slopes for beginners. Don’t worry though, there are slopes to suit everyone from beginners to expert. The hotel is newly opened (October 2017) and has no kids club or kids activities but it was full of families. The rooms are cosy and spacious, there are 2 restaurants plus a bar and a very nice and warm ski room – guess what! – with velvet sofas, a TV and all you need to gear up. Right by the Reception, you can find a ski shop where you can rent your gear as well. Fahrenheit 7 restaurants are good and right by the base of the slopes – tasty and well sized portions, kids menu included.
Last but not least, do not shy away from Courchevel based on funny perceptions/ rumors – Courchevel is not just a playground for rich and famous but it is also great place for ski for beginners and families at relatively reasonable prices. And with such an extensive range of winter activities, you should put Courchevel on your bucketlist!
For more inspiration on winter fun and enjoying 2018 long ski season, head to our Best ski resorts in Europe with kids or without.