St Martin de Belleville Ski Resort
St Martin de Belleville, a small village in the very large 3 Valleys ski area, has managed to maintain its French character despite the arrival of chairlifts in the 1980s. St Martin is now a quiet, classy ski resort and a convenient gateway (2 hours' drive from the airport) to the 3 Valleys.
Skiing & Boarding in St Martin de Belleville
There is single gondola rising out of St Martin which links to a chair lift from which the whole of the vast Trois Vallées’ ski area can be explored. This wider area is described in more detail in the Les Menuires, Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel sections, but don’t be too hasty to leave the local slopes above St Martin, as these are fun too, whatever your standard. There is also a cheaper lift pass that covers ‘just’ St Martin and Les Menuires which may be all you need if you’re a beginner, a fairweather skier or staying for less than a week.
There is a nursery slope in the village. When beginners have mastered this, the blue run Gros Tougne descends from the top of the St Martin Express chair to an easy green run called La Violette which goes all the way into Les Menuires. That’s a long journey for a beginner but it’s very gentle and road-like. (The steepest part is at the start and the Grand Lac Mountain Restaurant is just below this, so you can stop for a break if necessary!) There is another green run (Montagnette) in Les Menuires, and nervous beginners can return to St Martin by bus. More confident novices will want to wander around, because the whole of the St Martin-Les Menuires mountainside is crisscrossed by blue pistes. The blues leading into St Martin itself (Biolley and Loy) are not steep, but at the bottom they can be icy early in the morning and slushy in the late afternoon. If you don’t like the look of them, come down in the bubble instead.
For keen intermediates, St Martin’s pistes will be a mere taster before exploring the rest of the 3 Valleys, but a special mention must go to Jerusalem at the top of the St Martin Express. It’s a north-west facing blue run, and late in the afternoon it’s often sunny and empty with gorgeous views, making it a superb home run. For a sightly tougher challenge, the nearby red run Pramint is a bit steeper.
Advanced and Off-Piste
St Martin itself does not have any black pistes but just across the Tougnete-Roc de Fer ridge on the Meribel side, is the black ‘Face’ piste, used as a downhill run in the Olympics. It faces due east so is at its very best first thing in the morning, when it’s often empty and immaculately groomed. If you want something bumpier, the nearby black Bosses run is top-to-bottom moguls.
Freeride enthusiasts in St Martin have their own avalanche-controlled, ungroomed ‘Liberty Ride’ area to the left of the St Martin Express chair. The ridge that runs between the top of this lift and 3 Marches above Les Menuires is also home to plenty of unofficial between-the-piste freeriding on both the Belleville valley side and the Meribel valley side, which is best explored with a guide. If you don’t have one, there is another small avalanche-controlled Liberty Ride area near the Sunny Express lift. Be very careful descending all the way to the road that runs between Les Menuires and St Martin: below the Gros Tougne piste, it gets very rocky and dangerous if you don’t know the route.
Strong keen skiers will also want to head to La Masse which is on the other side of Les Menuires but included in the St Martin-Les Menuires local area ski pass. This has good black pistes and another Liberty Ride area for freeriders, but is also the starting point for much longer off-piste expeditions that guides can show you. One of the most scenic is the Vallee des Encombres which ends in Le Chatelard, a small village less than 2km (1.25 miles) from St Martin.
Accommodation in St Martin de Belleville
Hotels in St Martin de Belleville
La Bouitte might be more famous for its food than its rooms (the Michelin-starred restaurant is supposed to be the best in the Alps), but it is also a 5-star Relais & Châteaux hotel, complete with swimming pool, spa and sauna. It’s just outside St Martin in the hamlet of St Marcel but it has a shuttle bus service to take people into the resort so the 15 minute walk/push/ski to the lift is strictly optional. (At the end of the day, good skiers in good snow conditions can ski back off-piste almost all the way.) The 4-star Lodji Hotel & Résidence is in St Martin itself, only a few yards from the lift and piste, on the site of the former Alp Hotel, although the Lodji is larger and noticeably more luxurious. It has a spa and swimming pool. As well as normal single and double rooms, it has a few family rooms and some serviced apartments for those who want more space or a ‘flexi-catering’ holiday. The 4-star Hotel M Lodge has a 16m swimming pool. The 4-star Hotel St Martin also has wellness facilities and a choice of restaurants. The 3 star Edelweiss is in a central position in the village and has a sauna.
Search these and other hotels in and near St Martin de Belleville and book online >>>
Self-catering apartments in St Martin de Belleville
St Martin has plenty of self-catered apartments. Those in the Chalets du Gypse (for example Apartment A01) are among the most luxurious because they have access to a heated indoor swimming pool. One down from these (but well liked by previous guests) are the apartments in Chalet Renouveau But there are dozens of others so use the link below to search, check availability, see map locations and read previous guest reviews and ratings.
Search apartments in and near St Martin de Belleville and book online>>>
Chalets and Chalet Holidays in St Martin de Belleville
Alpine Answers have more than 25 chalets in and around St Martin on their books. Most (but not all) are catered chalets, and some include the option of flights from the UK (ask for a discount if this included and you don’t want this. Search their St Martin chalets here >>>.
You can also book self-catered chalets direct. Search these St Martin chalets here >>>
Getting to St Martin de Belleville
Distances and drive times (in good conditions).
- Chambery – 105km, 1 hour 20 mins
- Geneva – 185km, about 2 hours drive
- Grenoble – 170km, about 2 hours drive
- Lyon (St Exupery) – 183km, about 2 hours drive
Airport transfers to St Martin de Belleville
Ski-Lifts Airport Transfers
Each year Ski-Lifts helps thousands of skiers and boarders get to their accommodation in ski resorts, with a range of hassle-free, door-to-door transfer options from all major airports and train stations, and 24/7 English language assistance if needed. Get an immediate quote and book online >>>
Alps2Alps Airport Transfers
Alps2Alps provides private and group transfers to all major Alpine ski resorts from airports in France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany. Our 24/7 multilingual customer service assistance and dispatch centre keeps you informed. Book online and get a real time quote in seconds!
Mountain Rescue ski resort transfers offer low cost and reliable airport transfers to St Martin de Belleville. Mountain Rescue are fully licensed and insured and operate with comfortable 8 seater minibuses. Offering private transfers that suit your flight times and with no waiting for other groups this service is the perfect way to get from the plane to the powder of your chosen ski accommodation. Last minute bookings available and secure online booking and payment system. Tel: UK +44 203 287 4588, France: +33 977 217 766. Request a ski transfer quote >
Airport Car Hire /Driving in and around St Martin de Belleville
If you’re in the centre of St Martin de Belleville, you won’t need a car. But if you’re on the edge of the village, or in one of the outlying hamlets, having access to one can be useful. And wherever you’re staying, a hire car can still be the most flexible way to get to and from the resort.
Compare hire car prices and save money with RentalCars.com
RentalCars.com lets you see the best deals from multiple car-hire firms including big brands like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, Europcar, Dollar and Thrifty. Free cancellations on most bookings and a price match guarantee means you can lock in the best offer. See the latest deals and book online >
Getting from the Airport by public bus
There are also scheduled bus services which are cheaper but slower (you usually have to change buses and wait for 20 minutes at Moutiers) and they won’t wait for you if your flight is delayed. See www.AltiBus.com for details. St Martin is too small to be listed as a ski resort so look for the service to St Menuires and check it stops at St Martin – it usually does.
Getting to St Martin de Belleville by train
The train connection to St Martin is excellent, thanks to the link with the international railway station at Moutiers-Salins-Brides les Bains, which is less than 30 minutes’ drive away. At Moutiers station you can either take a taxi /private transfer (you can book these online via Ski-Lifts) or wait for the bus. AltiBus and Mobisavoie run services that stops in St Martin on the way to Les Menuires and Val Thorens.
Ski hire and equipment rental in St Martin
There are several ski rental shops, but not as many as in larger resorts and their prices are quite high if you simply walk into them when you arrive.
ALPINRESORTS.com work with several shops in the resort and in the surrounding villages to give big discounts on the ‘walk-in’ price. Check shop locations and savings currently on offer >>>
SKISET also has an outlet in the resort and gives advance booking discounts to Ultimate-ski readers booking here >>>
Ski Lessons & Guiding in St Martin
The largest ski school is still the slightly old fashioned ESF. But there are small ski schools and individual guides and instructors.
CheckYeti work with leading ski schools and ski instructors in over 350 ski resorts throughout Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland including St Martin so you compare prices and book online. Compare prices for ski schools, private instructors and mountain guides >>>
Mountain Restaurants in St Martin
For a lovely table-service restaurant rather than self-service cafe, look no further than Le Corbeleys, which is one lift up from the village on the Biolley blue run. It has a sunny terrace outside and a cosy indoor dining room. It specialises in Savoyard dishes and prices are mid-range. Booking ahead is recommended: Tel +33 4 79 08 95 31
La Loy (also on the Biolley run) is one step down in price, cuisine and service.
Grand Lac is a large restaurant/cafe/bar near the Gros Tougne/Grand Lac/Pezolet/ Teppes crossroads and close to the Granges lift on the way over to Les Menuires, with good burgers and other simple dishes. To book ahead in the table-service restaurant, call +33 4 79 08 25 78.
The Maya Altitude restaurant and bar probably wins the prize for the best views, because it’s at 2300m above sea level, on the Tougnete ridge between St Martin and Meribel, and accessed from St Martin Express lift. From its terrace, look one way and you can see all the way down the Belleville valley, or turn around and you can gaze across the Meribel valley all the way to Mont Blanc. It has a smart table-service restaurant for which you should book ahead (tel +33 4 58 24 07 07), and a cheap and cheerful snack-bar.
Those on a tight budget can use the picnic tables on the ridge line at Roc de Fer and Tougnete.
Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants in St Martin
St Martin is a relatively quiet ski resort with bags of charm, a few stylish bars and restaurants and a nice church (mostly 18th century) that overlooks the village square. It’s not really the place for throbbing night life – which makes it rather ironic that there is a long running myth that the village inspired the Marquis de Sade’s infamous book ‘120 days of Sodom’, although there is very little evidence for this!
Most of the restaurants in town are in the centre near the church, including:
Le Montagnard, 1 rue des Places, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, 73440 Les Belleville
L’Etoile des Neiges, 32 rue Saint-Martin, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, 73440 Les Belleville.
La Voute, 537 rue Saint-François, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, 73440 Les Belleville
L’Art B, 2 place de l’église, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, 73440 Les Belleville.
Art B and la Voute are bars as well as restaurants. Other bars include Le Joker, Pourquoi Pas, and the Yeti Escape Bar.
For gourmands there is also the Michelin starred La Bouitte in the next door village of Saint Marcel; this is Michelin-starred haute cuisine at its best, but at a price. Tel:+33 4 79 08 96 77.
A visit to the village museum is well worth the time. It’s daunting to learn how brutal farming life was before the ski industry changed everything. St Martin had its first ski lift before it had mains water.