Les Menuires Ski Area
Les Menuires is located alongside Saint Martin de Belleville and Val Thorens in the Belleville valley, which contains half of all the runs in France’s famous, and enormous, 3 Valleys ski area. Les Menuires has slopes are on both sides of the resort.
Col de la Chambre
The Three Valleys' side of the Les Menuires ski area is usually called the Col de la Chambre side after its 2850m high point. From here a ridge approximately 10 kms long separates Les Menuires and its neighbour St Martin de Belleville from Meribel, and over 50 pistes and plenty of off-piste runs descend nearly 1000m to the valley floor below.
Most of the pistes here are gentle red and blue runs that best suit intermediates who want to cruise in the afternoon sunshine. The blue and green runs close to les Menuires are suitable for beginners. The reds around the Col de la Chambre have some semi-steep parts but usually have the the best snow. Experts should check out the black Leo Lacroix run and the two official Liberty Ride areas (one near the St Martin Express, the other near the Sunny Express) which offer avalanche-protected freeriding. When it snows there is also plenty of unofficial between-the-piste freeriding on the upper slopes but be careful about descending all the way to the valley floor as the lower you go, the more dangerous it gets. If in doubt, stay above the Gross Tougne blue, or better still, hire a guide. Because most of the slopes face west or south-west, they get a lot of sunshine. so snow conditions can change rapidly. The pistes tend to be high enough and have enough artificial snow to be skiable from Christmas through to Easter but early in the morning they can be icy, so it can be better to 'follow the sun' and ski La Masse in the morning and come here in the afternoon.
La Masse is on the other side of the resort, and here east and north-east facing slopes for confident intermediates and experts predominate. The reds and blacks coming down from the 2800m summit of Pointe de la Masse are genuinely steep in places and are at their best in the morning. They also tend to be less crowded than other areas of the 3 Valleys. Less confident intermediates can now ski from the top to bottom on blue runs, but even these are slightly steeper than the blue runs on the 3 Valleys side.
For off-piste skiers, La Masse offers an avalanche-protected official Liberty Ride area and proper backcountry itineraries that start from the summit and curl back to the resort or the road blow it or to other destinations such as Lac du Lou, the Vallee des Encombes and Les Yvoses. If you are venturing beyond the official Liberty Ride area, you should hire a guide.
The Rest of the 3 Valleys
Les Menuires's pistes are linked to those of St Martin de Belleville, where the slopes generally face north-west and hold their snow well, despite their modest altitude. In total the two resorts have 160km of pistes and there is a cheaper local pass that covers just this area, which makes sense for novices and less keen skiers. You can also buy one day extensions that cover the full 3 valleys area.
Val Thorens is in the same valley, but is not part of the Les Menuires-St Martin local lift pass area. It is easy to get to, however, via Col de la Chambre. You can also ski to Val Thorens off-piste with a guide from La Masse via the Lac du Lou itinerary. Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, with several lifts ascending to over 3000m, so in warm weather often it has the best snow in the 3 Valleys. You can ski back to Les Menuires on the easy blue Boulevarde Cumin, but if the snow is soft or slushy you might need to push hard or walk in places .
Meribel might be in a different valley to Les Menuires but you can cross into it at Col de la Chambre, 3 Marches, Mont de la Challe, Tougnete and Roc de Fer, so it's easy to get to and from and you can explore lots of different routes. Because Les Menuires is a much higher resort than Meribel, the Meribel valley's highest skiing around Cote Brune and Mont Vallon can actually be accessed much more quickly from the centre of Les Menuires than it can from the centre of Meribel.
Courchevel is two valleys away from Les Menuires but its ski area can still be reached in about 90 minutes by good skiers, so it's perfectly possible to ski there for the day then return to Les Menuires. But keep an eye on the time when you are there and allow extra time if there are queues for lifts: on skis there are plenty of fun ways to return from Courchevel to Les Menuires, but if you miss the last lift, the only way home will be a very long, very boring, and very expensive taxi ride.
Les Menuires Ski Lifts & Lift Passes
Les Menuires has an excellent ski lift system which is shared with St Martin be Belleville and also allows easy access to neighbouring Meribel and Val Thorens. Most of the lifts in Les Menuires are fast and queues are rarely a problem except at peak holiday times.
Les Menuires Ski Lifts
There are over 30 lifts in Les Menuires, plus a few more in St Martin de Belleville, which serve about 90 pistes and official 'Liberty Ride' off-piste runs. A lot of money has been invested in upgrading the resort infrastructure - for instance, the La Masse gondola is one of the fastest in Europe and reaches the summit in less then 10 minutes from village-level.
There are two main lift hubs in the resort: La Croisette from where the Roc 1 bubble, Menuires high speed chair and Stadium drag lift all depart, and the area at the bottom of the resort from where the Pointe de la Mass bubble, Masse 1 bubble, Doron chair, Reberty chair and Croisette chair depart. The two hubs are linked by the Croisette lift and the Boulevarde de la Masse green piste which go through the middle of the resort. But these are not the only village level lifts. Depending on where you stay in the resort and where you want to go, your first lift could also be Bruyeres 1, Sunny Express, Rocher Noir, Tortollet or Le Bettex.
Les Menuires Lift Passes
Ski passes can be bought for just Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville, covering 160km of pistes, or the entire Three Valleys ski area, which has a total of 600km of pistes. You can also buy one day extensions to the local pass so it covers the full 3 Valleys area. If
For beginners the nursery slopes are free. There is also a special low cost beginners pass that covers just the green and blue runs close to the resort.
Les Menuires Ski Lift Company
BP 2 - 73440
Tel: + 33 4 79 00 62 75
Email: [email protected]
Les Menuires Beginner Skiing
Les Menuires is now branded 'FriendlyMenuires' and is an ideal ski resort for beginners with good facilities for both adults and children. Beginners can practice their turns on sunny slopes, and compared to other ski resorts in the 3 Valleys, it’s relatively cheap.
Beginner Skiing in Les Menuires
Les Menuires is an excellent place to learn how to ski both for children and for those who come later to the sport. What's more, there are four free lifts that access small beginners' areas so you can learn without expense. There's one in Bruyeres and Reberty, which is a magic carpet that moves inside a tunnel so is weather proof. The other two are located by the Stade lift.
Les Menuires has large "smooth skiing" areas also, designed for beginners progressing from the nursery slopes to find their feet, although the areas are not always patrolled and thus the signs are often ignored by better skiers. Both are accessed by the Doron chair or Menuires Chairs.
For beginners and improving novices, Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville have 12 green and 44 blue runs to build confidence on. The La Violette green, accessed from the top of the Roc 1 gondola, is the definitive run for a beginner to have under their belt before they tackle their first blue. It really is perfect for giving beginners the idea of what it means to move around a mountain.
The Gross Tougne is a long easy blue, running from Tougnette (2434m) to the midpoint of La Violette, which then takes you all the way back to the resort. The easiest way to reach it is via a bus to St Martin (there are 5 a day) then take the St Martin 1 bubble and the St Martin Express high speed chair, but more confident beginners can reach it by crisscrossing the mountain on blue runs.
The top of the Le Masse sector on the other side of the resort is generally steeper, so true beginners should delay tackling the all blue route from the very top to the bottom. But from the midway point there are gentler blue runs such as Vallons and Chemin des Vallons. According to one ESF ski instructor Chemin des Vallons blue is skiable by most complete beginners after their fourth day of lessons.
The pistes close to the centre such as Menuires, Boyes and Reberty are all safe for improving beginners. They do get extremely crowded at the end of the day, however.
Les Menuires has installed a section in La Masse called the "Walibi Gliss" which provides an interactive experience for children. With their poles children can touch speakers that play music, while there are tunnels to ski through and parallel slalom courses for those on the border of intermediate class.
Beginners won't need any ski pass at all whilst they are using the free nursery lifts. In some years the resort has introduced a low-cost beginners pass that covers the lifts and pistes closest to the resort which are all gentle blues and greens, but as they progress they will need to buy a local Les Menuires pass (which covers St Martin as well). There is no need for them to buy a 3 Valleys pass.
Beginners who need a break from learning to ski should also look at all the other activities you can do Les Menuires, as there is more choice than in some other resorts.
Ski Schools & Ski Lessons in Les Menuires
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Les Menuires Intermediate Skiing Les Menuires is perfect for intermediate skiers who like clocking up mileage in the sunshine. It also provides an excellent environment in which to progress from intermediate skier to more advanced levels.
Les Menuires provides ample scope for those who are taking the step up from beginner level and for those who are quickly progressing to more advanced levels.
There are 44 blue runs in Les Menuires and St Martin, and 22 red runs, spanning both sides of the Belleville valley.
The majority of the runs are on the Meribel side. When the sun is out it bathes most of these for large parts of the day, because most of them face South or South West. Whilst this is very enjoyable, it can create problems when temperatures rise in late season, because the snow becomes slushy in the afternoon, and icy in the morning. If early morning ice becomes a serious problem, cross the ridge and ski down to Meribel on pistes that predominantly face East and are at their best early in the morning. Be warned however, that some of the reds on the Meribel side are steep (the top of Venturon for instance), so if you're a less confident intermediate, stick to the blues when crossing over.
But when conditions are good, the whole mountainside from Roc de Fer (2290m) above St Martin, to Col de la Chambre (2850m) above Les Menuires offers a huge range of blue and easy red pistes.
Particular favourites are the Mont de la Chambre blue, which is a wide motorway run that is perfect for practising your turns, while the Grand Lac blue is more North facing and offers 1,304m of vertical all the way down to St Martin de Belleville - you will have earned that lunch. The fast lifts back up (usually without queues after 10am) mean it's easy to repeat, but perhaps an even better alternative is to try the Jerusalem blue or Pramint red which both descend to the bottom of the St Martin Express chair.
The Pluviometre blue is wide and a joy to ski as well as being the route into Val Thorens although there are flat sections which have to be taken fast in a schuss if you want to avoid a push uphill. If you turn back to Les Menuires on the Boulevard des Echauds there are even more flat sections, so the the Alpage red which snakes a similar path down from the ridge might be a better alternative.
In good conditions, the Allemands red from the top of the Roc 2 chair is wonderful and links into perhaps the best red in resort, Les Grandes Combes. It has great rollers, few skiers go on it and there are no snow cannon so the snow is always real.
In the La Masse sector, the Vallons, Les Enverses and Chemin des Vallons blue runs, all accessible from mid-mountain are all relatively easy. The blues from the top of Masse 2 and Lac Noir are considerably steeper but should be skiable by most intermediates, and are great fun. Even steeper still are the reds and the blacks on La Masse, but these are oriented towards advanced skiers. The Masse draglift is also a tricky drag lift for intermediates to use because of the steep slope it ascends.
For keen intermediates, however, the 160kms of pistes in Les Menuires and St Martin are just the apperitif. The entire 3 Valleys ski area is within easy reach and there is fine intermediate skiing in Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel as well. In poor visibility, the wooded slopes above La Tania are aslo well worth a visit.
Les Menuires Advanced & Expert Skiing There are eight black runs and 'Liberty Ride' ungroomed slopes in the local Les Menuires ski area, most of which are concentrated in the La Masse sector. Advanced skiers, however, will want to explore the entire Three Valleys, and Les Menuires is an excellent base for this.
The best place for advanced skiers to head towards is La Masse which has high, steep, snow-sure slopes which predominantly face North East. This is also usually one of the 3 Valleys least crowded sections, so experts can often tackle the slopes at high speed in comparative safety, but please take care when doing this.
The Dame Blanche is clearly the daddy of the black runs. It is seriously steep and winds across the spine of Pointe de la Masse with soaring views across the valley and into Lac du Lou. Even the drag lift you use to access it (Masse) can be a challenge.
If Dame Blanche is a real test, then Lac Noir and Masse provide a short, sharp hit. Masse is rarely groomed, and there is an extended Liberty Ride (ie: freeride but patrolled) area to skiers left of this and even more off-piste to skier's right.
Rocher Noir is another good black run that starts from the top of the Rocher Noir chair, although if you want to ski almost 1,000m of vertical you can warm up by tackling reds such as Longets and Cretes, which are the steepest in the sector and have stunning views. The Fred Covili, Mur Rouge and Rochers reds are slightly easier, but well worth doing, if only for the views.
On the other side of the valley, Leo Lacroix is a long black run, and invariably a mogul field, but not particularly steep. There are also ungroomed but patrolled Liberty Ride areas close to the Sunny Express (Pylones) and St Martin Express (Riondaz) ski lifts. The red runs on this side of the valley are more aimed at intermediates but have occasional steep sections.
Once these runs have been skied, advanced skiers can either try the extensive off-piste possibilities in Les Menuires or move onto the advanced skiing available in Meribel, Val Thorens and Courchevel. In particular it's worth noting that the Meribel valley's highest skiing at Cote Brune and Mont Vallon, much of which is aimed at advanced skiers, can be reached more quickly from Les Menuires than it can from the centre of Meribel.
Les Menuires Snowboarding Les Menuires has made numerous improvements in recent years, a much has been done to improve facilities for snowboarders, especially the snowpark. There are several runs for beginners and intermediates that have large flat sections that should be avoided.
In the past, the snowparks of Les Menuires often came a distinct second to neighbouring Val Thorens. Since the resort hired HO5Park to manage the freestyle snowpark development, however, there has been a marked improvement at the BK Park, which is accessed by the Becca and Sunny Express chairs.
There is a boardercross, and as with most things in Les Menuires, the kicker and rails are aimed at the intermediate skill level. There are two blue kickers, as well as four blue rails which are divided up in to a flat descent, a rainbow and two boxes. There are also two red kickers and four red rails, which feature an S-shaped rail, a flat rail with a drop-off, and a Wave and C-shaped rail. There is still a long way to go before the boarders from Val Thorens come down the valley but it's a good effort from HO5.
Areas that some boarders may find difficult to negotiate include the extremely steep and fast Masse draglift and the black runs in the La Masse sector, which are often covered in moguls. The Montaulever draglift, near Bruyeres, has some extremely steep sections and is also very fast.
Other pistes that beginner and intermediate boarders should avoid are the Gros Tougne blue that links Saint Martin de Belleville to Les Menuires. If has large flat sections and is only around two cat-tracks wide, which means if you are not confident changing edges you'll be stuck on one for a very long time.
We have seen many boarders have to take of their board and walk and it is always better to take the Granges chair. The Boulevard Cumin blue from Val Thorens also has large flat sections, as does the Boulevard des Echauds, which links up with Pluviometre, one of the best blues in resort.
Les Menuires Off-Piste
Despite its reputation as a resort for intermediates and beginners, Les Menuires also has good between the piste skiing, some decent 'LibertyRide' freeriding areas, and some long off-piste itineraries, particularly from the top of la Masse.
There are some truly stunning off-piste sections in Les Menuires and unsurprisingly most of them feature in the La Masse sector to the west of the resort.
La Masse provides plenty of off-piste terrain between the pistes. There is a patrolled but ungroomed Liberty Ride area at the top of the Masse bubble, but this is just a small fragment of what is available within a couple of hundred metres of the various pistes. But as ever take care and take a friend who can get help if you have a bad fall, or better still, take a guide.
La Masse is also the starting point for much longer itineraries for which a guide is even more strongly recommended. The spine of the Pointe de la Masse runs roughly north-south and to the east lies the pretty Vallon du Lou with the lake at the bottom. In good conditions (normally in the morning) you can ski there from the top of Pointe de la Masse. The valley is perfect for off-piste skiing and can also be accessed from the top of the Boismint chairlift and the Cime Caron cable car in Val Thorens. Try them all, they all have their charms and allow completely different routes and views.
On the west side of the spine to Pointe de La Masse is the Vallee des Encombres. The landscape on this side is stunning and starting at the top of La Masse you ski along the Fred Covili red until you reach the giant wooden carved Bouquetin. From there if you aim for the village of Le Chatelard below Saint Martin de Belleville a wonderful backcountry area opens up to you. Start in the morning, and you will arrive in the village for lunch. Book a table at the wonderful La Ferme Auberge de Chanacoucou (T +33 6 13 98 91 56) and after you have eaten your superb lunch the owner will drive you to Saint Martin de Belleville to access the return lift. If you don't book, you'll have to work off your lunch by walking the kilometre uphill to Saint Martin.
Also from La Masse, you can ski down to the village of Le Bettex at the base of Les Menuires, via Les Yvoses. You must go around Le Teurre, the peak with the old telephone tower on top of it. On the far side you pass some huts and then aim for the bridge to cross the river at the bottom, but you really need a guide to do this safely.
On the other side of the valley, there are two official, avalanche patrolled, ungroomed Liberty Ride areas - one near the Sunny Express lift and one near the St Martin Express. In fresh snow there is also lots of 'between the piste' free riding coming down from 3 Marches and Mont de la Challe and Tougnete, but many of the runs face west or south-west so snow quality can change quickly. Be very careful about going lower than the Gros Tougne blue - the lower you go, the rockier, and more dangerous, it gets. In good conditions, you can ski down to Le Bettex (you have to cross the road and there is a long flat section at the end) from the bottom of the Granges chair - turn right off Gros Tougne, keep the Pelozet blue on your right, and keep well to the left of the village of Les Granges.
Remember always to check the avalanche warning and make sure you have the necessary equipment including probe, shovel and transceiver. And hiring a guide is always recommended.
More off-piste skiing is available in Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel. The highest lift-accessed off-piste areas in the Meribel valley (Cote Brune and Mont Vallon) are easier to reach from Les Menuires than from the centre of Meribel.
Les Menuires Mountain Restaurants
Technically almost every restaurant in Les Menuires is a mountain restaurant because it's a ski-in, ski-out resort where you're never far from the piste, but these all have something special about them.
Next to the Bruyeres mid-station lift near the bottom of the 4 Vents piset, L'Antigel serves seriously high quality good food with waiter service, but there are always one of two very reasonably priced main courses on special offer as well as cheaper salads and light dishes. Great atmosphere inside and out, (there is an old stove inside and a south-facing sun terrace) and even a trip to the toilets is interesting because you go through a museum of skiing. Tel: +33 4 79 00 64 44.
Le Ferme de Reberty
Okay, it's in Reberty 2000 rather than higher up the mountain but it's just off the blue Boyes piste so you can ski virtually to the door. Great food to suit all budgets, great atmosphere (it becomes an apres-ski hangout later on), good-sized portions, and a sunny terrace, so what's not to like? Tel +33 4 79 00 77 01.
Le 2800, Pointe de la Masse
Located at the top of La Masse, this mountain restaurant surely has the best views in the whole of the resort. On a clear day you look all the way across the Alps to Mont Blanc. A natural meeting point because even non-skiers can reach it via the fast bubble lift, this restaurant caters both for those wanting a quick chocolate chaud in the morning before tackling one of the long runs down to the resort, and those wanting a proper lunch with fine wine and table-service. (There is also a self-service snack hut if you just want a quick pit-stop.) In sunny weather, booking ahead is recommended for lunch. Tel: +33 6 11 74 58 05
Le Chalet du Cairn
The Chalet du Cairn is accessible from the Sunny Express chairlift, but you can also use both the Becca and Mont de La Chambre chairs. You still have to descend a red piste, the David Douillet red run and one which carries heavy traffic, to access the restaurant's large sun terrace which means it is not the perfect lunch spot for groups of mixed ability. Unlike many of the restaurants in the Belleville valley, Le Chalet du Cairn operates table service. The restaurant also boasts great views across the valley to La Masse. Tel: +33 4 79 00 19 81
L'Alpage serves traditional Savoyard food made from simple but quality ingredients. An extremely convivial atmosphere, due to the rustic, chalet-style decor, L'Alpage also has a sun terrace. It's good value and accessed via the 4 Ventes red run. Tel: +33 4 79 00 75 16
Located on the green Montagnette piste and within walking distance of the upmarket La Sapiniere/Les Montagnettes chalets and apartments, at lunchtimes this is definitely more of a place to dine, rather than simply eat, with table-service and fine Savoyard cooking backed up by a huge wine list. But it's also in a sunny spot with a lovely terrace and nice views. Open in the evening as well as lunchtime. Tel: +33 4 79 00 75 58
Le Grande Lac
If there was a border between the Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville ski areas, this mountain restaurant would be on it because it's located in a sunny spot with good views near the bottom of Granges chairlift, at the crossroads where the Pelozet, Gross Tougne, Teppes and Grand Lac piste all meet. A favourite for Meribel day-trippers who have explored the Belleville valley in the morning and want a big lunch at a Les Menuires price before returning to their more expensive valley. Tel: +33 4 79 08 25 78
Les Roches Blanches
Situated half way down La Masse at the top of the Masse 1 lift, Les Roches Blanches is basically good for a pit stop for those who have been exploring the dramatic La Masse sector. It is a traditional Savoyard chalet, offering large welcoming plates of pizzas and spaghettis but nothing more. Tel: +33 4 79 00 60 22
Les Menuires Village
Despite some recladding and refurbishment, the centre of Les Menuires is still unattractive to look at, but it's very convenient. The outer suburbs, particularly Reberty, have more charm.
Officially, Les Menuires is composed of five separate areas: La Croisette, Preyerand (which includes Brelin), Grand Reberty (which includes Reberty 1850, Reberty 2000 and La Sapinière), Les Fontanettes (which includes Les Asters and Les Campanules) and Les Bruyères.
La Croisette is the centre of the resort and all of the other areas have a skibus line that goes to and from La Croisette, and most bus journeys only take 5 to 10 minutes. There are also paths and roads you can walk along: it takes about half an hour to walk from the far end of Preyerand, Reberty or Bruyeres to the centre of La Croisette, and about 15 minutes from the furthest end of Les Fontanettes. All of the areas have pistes cutting through them or bordering them, so almost all the accommodation is just a just a short walk from the nearest ski run. The main lift hub is at the bottom of the resort (at the foot of La Masse) with lifts rising in all directions, including back over the resort to La Croisette, so in the morning you can always ski down to a lift, rather than walk up to it.
The main road going from St Martin de Belleville to Val Thorens is diverted around Les Menuires (pistes cross over it on bridges) so there is very little traffic inside the resort.
The small hamlet of Le Bettex, which is just below Les Menuires and linked to it by lift, is officially a different village but is often considered part of the resort.
Wherever you stay, almost all the accommodation is either ski-in/ski-out, or only a short walk to the nearest lift.
Les Menuires: a guide to the different areas
Most visitors regard the centre of Les Menuires, called La Croisette, as ugly but convenient, so it might surprise them that much of it is now considered a fine example of 1960s and 70s brutalist architecture, and so is protected. This is where the tourist information office, sports centre, post office, Bureau des Guides and most of the shops are clustered. There is also good choice of bars and restaurants, although most are in the cheap and cheerful, rather than fine dining, category. The main ski school meeting place is on the flat area of piste near La Croisette where the Roc 1 bubble and the Menuires chair both depart, as does the Stadium draglift for skiers competing on the slalom course. This is also where many of the ski schools meet in the morning and the centre of the apres ski scene in the at the end of the day.
The top part of La Croisette is dominated by Brelin - a truly massive building, resembling a gigantic cruise ship marooned on a mountainside, although its long curving shape fits into its surroundings better than the amorphous tower blocks below it. As well as lots of apartments divided into residences including some smart ones with saunas and swimming pools, Brelin has a few shops including a supermarket and ski hire shop and there is also a ski pass office. It's great for children and good for disabled access. In the morning skiers and boarders ski down to La Croisette or beyond on the piste. There is also an 'ascenseur' (like a bubble lift on rails) that runs late into the evening, connecting Brelin to the main part of La Croisette.
Reberty is south west of the centre of Les Menuires (and therefore on the right hand side of the piste map and most village maps) and is split into two distinct levels: Reberty 2000 and Reberty 1850. It has the resort's best hotels and some of its smartest restaurants, chalets and apartment complexes. Reberty 1850 was built around 1985, while 2000 was built around the Millennium and is more upmarket. Between Reberty 1850 and La Croisette is La Sapiniere - a smart new suburb. Almost everywhere is close to the piste, with one piste going down to the Bruyeres lift station and ski school and the other to La Croisette, but both continue down to the bottom of La Masse where the main lift hub is. As Reberty has its own shops, ski hire outlets, lift pass sales desks, bars, and restaurants, people who stay here rarely visit La Croisette, except to ski through it on their way to La Masse.
To the west of Reberty and below it (and therefore on the far right hand side of most maps) is Les Bruyeres, which Hameau des Bruyeres, which is another self-contained mini resort that is filled mostly chalets and chalet-shaped apartment complexes. Like Reberty 1850 it's not as smart or as beautiful as Reberty 2000, but it's a lot more easy on the eye than La Croisette. It is also liked to Reberty via the Toblerone, a triangular shaped covered walkway which crosses the piste that separates them. Les Bruyeres has its own lifts (Bruyeres 1 and Sunny Express) but skiers can descend on gentle blue pistes to the main lift hub at the foot of La Masse.
Les Fontanettes is between Le Croisette and Les Bruyeres. It is strung out over quite a large area, but has fewer buildings than the other suburbs and very few shops and amenities of its own, so it feels like a suburb of the main resort rather than its own self-contained mini-resort. It has some good looking chalets and apartment complexes, however. Below it is the main lift hub from which the Reberty, Doran, Croisette, La Masse and La Masse 1 lifts all depart.
At the entrance to the resort on the road that leads from St Martin is Preyerand. There are several large, but sympathetically designed chalet-style apartment blocks, and some less aesthetically-pleasing older buildings. In general, the closer you get to La Croisette, the less beautiful, but more lively, Preyerand becomes. To reach the slopes you either take the bus to La Croisette, walk to the Preyrand lift or ski down to the Bettex lift.
Le Bettex is officially a separate village. It's small and quiet and at night a little bit isolated: bus services to the rest of Les Menuires are either rare or non-existent, and to reach Les Menuires by car you have to drive through Praranger, effectively two sides of a triangle. During the day, however, the Bettex lift provides fast access to Les Menuires' slopes and you can ski back on piste. The village has its own creche facility as well as a restaurant, bar and ski shop. Despite several new chalet and apartment developments, it has a traditional Savoyarde charm.
Les Menuires Apres-Ski, Bars & Restaurants
Apres-ski in Les Menuires is not as lively as in some other Three Valley resorts and with good reason too. The resort is popular with families and those on a limited budget but if you look hard enough there’s always somewhere to have a drink and a dance, and plenty of restaurants for those that want a break from self-catering.
Les Menuires Bars and clubs
La Croisette is the liveliest part of town. Le Mousse (Tel: +33 4 79 00 16 16) and above it, Bar le Challenge (Tel: +33 4 79 00 78 52), are two of the more famous bars. Le Mousse can get very busy later at night, while Le Challenge often has live music and stays open until 2am. L'Attelier is another popular late night bar. For a proper nightclub, go to Le New Pop in Immeuble Peclet (tel: +33 4 79 00 67 20).
In the other parts of resort, the piste-side complex in Reberty headed up by the restaurant La Ferme de Reberty, is a good place to stop for sundowners. In Les Bruyeres, Le Chouette (Tel: +33 4 79 00 21 26) is also good for a drink and the creperie next door provides good sustenance afterwards when the bar closes for a breather at 6.30pm before opening later at night. Le Plan B in Bruyeres is a good late night bar, and Leeberty is a proper nightclub for those who don't want to walk all the way to La Croisette.
Finally, down in Preyerand is the Dutch-run Yeti bar, which is about the most fun bar in town.
Les Menuires Restaurants
Les Menuires is so family orientated that nightlife is not top of the list of most people's priorities, although there are a lot of restaurants that cater for those who want a night away from the stove in their residences and apartments.
La Croisette has a lot of mediocre takeaway outlets, but La Brasserie des Belleville (in the same building as the Hotel Pelvoux) has good quality simple food and a nice atmosphere. It's telephone number is +33 4 79 00 68 93. There are also most traditional restaurants such as L'Etoile (Tel: +33 4 79 00 75 58) and Au Coin du Feu (Tel: +33 4 79 09 97 52) which are worth investigating as a change of scenery if you are staying in one of the many apartment blocks in the centre of resort.
In Reberty, the restaurants in the Hotel Kaya (Tel: +33 4 79 41 42 00), and the Hotel L'Ours Blanc (Tel: +33 4 79 00 61 66), are both good, as you would expect from 4 star hotels. They also have nice terraces for lunch or late afternoon drinks.
Another star in Reberty is La Ferme de Reberty (Tel: +33 4 79 00 77 01), which also is a fine spot for lunch. The fixed price dinner menu is excellent value for the quality of food received. Le Maison de Savoy, near the top of Reberty 1850 so easy to get to from all parts of Grand Reberty, is another good, slopeside restaurant, that is popular at lunchtimes and in the evening (Tel: +33 4 79 00 61 06).
In Bruyeres, L'Alpin Steak House (+33 4 79 00 61 01) is near the Toblerone walkway so attracts visitors from Reberty as well as Les Bruyeres. It does very good pizzas and steaks. The more traditional La Marmite du Geant (Tel: +33 4 79 00 74 75) serves up large portions of duck, trout and steak, and branches out into scallops and foie gras on occasion. It also has a fine pizza menu.
If you don't mind travelling 6 km for a really stellar dining experience (and spending a lot of money), the famous La Bouitte restaurant is in the small village of Saint Marcel, between Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville. It has won multiple awards and is considered by many to be the best restaurant in the Alps. It is open for lunch (good skiers in good snow conditions can almost ski to it) and for dinner. Booking ahead is essential - tel: +33479089677.
Les Menuires Activities There has been a lot of investment in Les Menuires over the past few years, especially in non-skiing activities. Although the architecture may grind some down, if you want a day away from the slopes Les Menuires has enough to keep most people busy for at least a day or two.
Les Menuires is quite a big resort, with many sections that boast their own character. There is quite a lot to do in resort and the sports centre is first rate. To keep in touch with all the resort developments, ski lift information and other activities, the resort has a radio station sponsored by Virgin radio (101 and 92.3 FM). Activities for non-skiers in Les Menuires include the following:
Cross-country skiing in Les Menuires
Les Menuires is not the most committed resort to cross-country skiing but there are 28km of marked trails in the Belleville valley. The trails start from Plan de l'Eau in Les Menuires and traverse through the village of Chatelard and Saint Martin de Belleville. There are also snowshoeing expeditions from the Plan de l'Eau area. Tel: +33 4 79 00 73 00
Parapenting in Les Menuires
One of the non-skiing activities that is currently finding favour throughout resorts in the Alps, parapenting is a perfect way to enjoy the majestic views of the Three Valleys. Tel: +33 6 80 10 79 20
Snowscooter, quad or buggy in Les Menuires
Val Thorens may have its ice racetrack but Les Menuires has a 1,800m circuit for all sorts of snow mobiles.
Scoot Evasion provides 1 hour guided snowmobile outings every evening from its base in La Croisette. Tel +33 6 46 10 88 93.
Altana Bikes offers instruction on the use of each of their vehicles and also have two-seater buggies for children. The firm also provide free transport from the Reberty and La Croisette cable cars. Tel: +33 6 11 38 37 96.
Roc n Bike /Fat Bike Sur Niege (Cycling on the Snow) in Les Menuires
Bicycles with fat, studded tyres which can go up and down a dediacted snow-covered track underneath the Roc 1 lift, giving what is described as an 'unforgettable glide sensation'. Rent them from the Roc n Bob office at the foot of the Roc 1 bubble lift in la Croisette, giving at least one day's notice.
Snowshoeing in Le Menuires
Every day except Saturdays the French ski school organises two different itineraries accessible on snowshoes. A half day is around €30 and six half days cost in the region of €150. Equipment hire is included in the price. Tel: +33 4 79 00 61 43
Swimming and wellbeing in Les Menuires
Les Menuires sports centre measures 4,500m2 and features a large indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, solariums, Turkish baths and a wellbeing area for facials and other beauty treatments. There are also other activities such as squash and badminton as well as a large fun park for children. There is an outdoor heated swimming pool at Les Bruyeres, where costumes and towels can be hired. Tel: +33 4 79 01 08 83
Roc n Bob /Sledging andTobogganing in Les Menuires
The toboggan run in Les Menuires is an impressive 4km long and features 22 bends. There is a vertical of 450m, which makes for breakneck speeds. The Roc 'n Bob is only open in the afternoons. Tel: +33 4 79 00 62 75. Or just turn up at the Roc n Bob office at the bottom of the Roc 1 Bubble in La Croisette.
Speed Mountain / Bobsleigh on rails in Les Menuires
A family oriented bobsleigh track that does not require any snow or ice because the sledges are fixed to a steel rail. Based in Les Bruyeres. +33 4 79 00 62 75.
Club des Sports / Sports Centre in Les Menuires
For all kinds of indoor sports such as badminton, table tennis and basketball.. Based in La Croisette. tel + 33 4 79 01 08 83.