© Anne Marmottan
This charming little resort has stayed under the radar for years, due to the relatively small size of its ski area. However, it's a wonderful place for beginners to learn and for experts to enjoy extensive off piste.
Sainte Foy sits on the road that leads from Bourg St Maurice up to Tignes and Val d'Isère. For many years, skiers would drive past it, but over the past decade word has spread about the charming village with quiet slopes and an incredible amount of off-piste terrain.
© Anne Marmottan
The village is small and friendly, the array of attractive chalet buildings nestled amongst the trees creating a gorgeous setting.
There's a limited choice of bars and shops, as one would expect from such a miniature resort, but that's all part of the charm here.
© Daniel Elkan
With 40km of pistes, the extent of the slopes is limited and mile-hungry intermediates could cover it all within a day.
However, the slopes remain blissfully quiet, and you'll rarely encounter a lift queue. You can also vary things with a visit nearby to resorts such as Val d'Isère, Tignes and La Rosière – accessed with a 20-minute taxi ride.
For those that love off piste, Sainte Foy is a paradise, with plenty of accessible terrain that remains untracked, and interesting routes such as from the top Aiguille lift down to the piscturesque hamlet of Le Monal.
© Philippe Royer
Sainte Foy is a natural favourite with families because of its small village and quiet slopes, making it easy for the whole family to stick together or meet up after lessons.
The resort offers free skiing for children up to age seven, which is older than in most other resorts. An excellent fenced-off nursery slope right by the village has moving-carpet lifts, providing a gentle start for young novices.
© Philippe Royer
You can trade in your skis for raquettes and head off for a few hours into the forest, with options to dine and stay overnight at an authentic mountain chalet, and then wake to witness the the sunrise over the mountains.
You can also book dinner at an igloo in a clearing a short raquette walk from the village. There are spa and swimming facilities too, such as the Ô Pure Spa, with hammam, jacuzzi, sauna and indoor heated pool.
There are some excellent restaurants dotted around the slopes of Sainte Foy, as well as in the village. Les Brevetes and Chez Leon are good options at the top of the first chair, while at the foot of the slopes Les Maison a Colonnes is a beautiful 16th century Savoyard farmhouse serving mountain favourites.
For a sumptuous lunch accessed via a fabulous off-piste route, head to Chez Merie in Le Miroir, run by sisters Marie and Élisabeth. In the village, close to the base of the slopes, Restaurant Le Monal has fine dining and with a log fire burning - to complement the magnificent views across to the summit of Thuria.
Apres ski and nightlife
Being such a small resort, Sainte Foy has never developed an après ski scene. Your best bet is the bar La Pitchoule, which sometimes has live bands.
Many of the restaurants have bars with them, such as Le Monal and wine-and-tapas favourite La Grange. If you are craving a wilder night out, you could head up to the nearby resort of Val d'Isère.
The two main self-catering residences are Le Ruitor and Les Fermes de Sainte Foy, both of which have excellent facilities such as pools and spas.
Sainte Foy home to plenty of independent catered chalet companies, such as Venture Ski, Brilliant White, Chalet One, Yellowstone Ski Lodge, White Eden and Premiere Neige, to name just a few.
There's also the 3-star Hotel Monal, in the old village a short distance from the resort itself.
From Bourg St Maurice station
- By bus: around 25 minutes; Adult 12€, Youth (U26) 9.50€ (www.altibus.com)
- By taxi: around 20 minutes; about 65€ for an 8-seater taxi.