Meribel mountains
©D Bertrand

The Alps' highest village, at 2,300 metres, gives you quick access to the massive Three Valleys ski area, accommodation for all budgets and a plenty to keep you entertained in a vibrant setting.

If guaranteed snow and high-altitude skiing is what you are after, Val Thorens is hard to beat. Ninety nine per cent of the local slopes are situated above 2,000 metres, and wherever you stay will only be moments from the pistes.

The resort is also famous for its après ski and nightlife too and increasingly dining and gastronomy too.

 

Villages

val thorens - village
C.Cattin OT

Built in the 1960s, Val Thorens compact village won't win awards for beautiful architecture, but in recent years the look has been improved, augmented by a flurry of upmarket, designer hotels – as well as an influx of gastronomic restaurants.

The doorstep access of the village to the slopes is a huge benefit, and you certainly won't be short of places to eat out, drink or party here.

The slopes

val thorens slopes - village
C.Cattin OT

Val Thorens is part of the enormous, 600km Three Valleys ski area. Such is the extent of the slopes that you could stay for a whole season and still be discovering new terrain, including some of the incredible off-piste.

Being this high up does mean that the local slopes are above the tree line, so in whiteout weather it's best to ski over in Meribel.

Although advanced skiers will be tantalised by the choice of runs, beginners can enjoy the excellent nursery slopes, which are in tumbling distance of the resort.

Families

val thorens family
C.Cattin OT

The wide choice of ski-in/ski-out apartments makes this a good resort for families who want to self cater.

For those with young children, the gentle nursery slopes are excellent and the snow garden run by the Ecole du Ski Francais gives little ones a gentle start.

The sports and aquatic centre has a wide range of fun things for children, including bouncy castles and trampolines.

Non-ski activities


C.Cattin OT

Val Thorens has France's longest toboggan run, which weaves its way through six kilometres. As well as the extensive sports centre, Galerie Caron, there's also a 1.3km zipwire, segway rides, fatbiking and an ice-diving lake – should you be brave enough to take the plunge.

The resort also offers gyrocopter flights where you ride tandem above the slopes in a kind of tiny mini helicopter.

Eating

The village is awash with culinary creativity. At La Maison, you can get involved, with cookery lessons by Head Chef Cyril Attrazic. Hip bar Le Zinc has introduced a list of 150 wines to taste, combined with sharing plates of finger food and fondue.

La Ferme de Rosalie, at the foot of the Folyeres piste, is the place for generous Savoyard classic dishes.

Apres ski and nightlife

val thorens  - apres ski
C.Cattin OT

The two big hitters for après ski straight off the mountain are La Folie Douce and Bar 360. Both whip the crowds up in to a table dancing frenzy by mid afternoon and there are plenty of places to keep partying until the early hours.

Café Snesko has pyrotechnics, live music and a buzzing atmosphere, while the highest pub in Europe, the Frog and Roast Beef, is always popular. Klub Summit is one of the later spots, with DJs dishing out the tunes till 4am.

Accommodation

As a purpose built resort, Val Thorens lacks the classic stand-alone old chalet buildings; instead, catered chalets are predominantly part of larger apartment developments.

The village has a good range of hotels. The 4-star Altapura is very swanky, and the newest kid on the block is La Datcha chalet, an eco-friendly guesthouse.

There are plenty of self-catered residences, such as the comfortable Hameau de Kashmir and Les Balcons de Val Thorens.

Transfers

From Moutiers station

  • By bus: around 65 minutes; Adult 12€, Youth (U26) 9.50€ (www.altibus.com)
  • By taxi: around 50 minutes; about 80€ for an 8-seater taxi.