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 linking to a chair lift from which the whole of the enormous ‘3 Vallees’ ski area can be explored. This wider area is described in more detail in the Les Menuires, Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel sections, but St Martin’s local slopes are appealing too for skiers of all standards.
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 lift 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 there is a restaurant straight after this in which you can recover, 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, you can always come down in the bubble instead.
For most 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. There is an optional short red section at the start if you want something challenging, but if that is not tough enough, the red run Pramint goes more or less in the same direction and is steeper.
Advanced and Off-Piste
There is freeriding on the patrolled but ungroomed ‘Liberty Ride’ area to skierss’ right of the St Martin Express chair. On the other side of this chair, the ridge that runs between here and 3 Marches has plenty of unofficial off-piste on both the Belleville valley side and the Meribel valley side which is best explored with a guide. La Masse in neighbouring Les Menuires has good black pistes, another Liberty Ride area for freeriders, and plenty of unofficial off-piste. Closer to St Martin, but on the Meribel side of the Tougnete-Roc de Fer ridge, 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 from the night before, so it’s a favourite of speedsters. If you want something bumpier, the nearby black Bosses run is top-to-bottom moguls.
Accommodation in St Martin de Belleville
Hotels in St Martin de Belleville
There are two luxury hotels in/near St Martin. La Bouitte might be even more famous as a restaurant than as a hotel, but it is a 5 star Relais & Châteaux hotel, complete with swimming pool, spa and sauna and gets superb reviews. It’s just outside St Martin in the neighbouring 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 with good visibility should be able to ski back off-piste almost all the way.) The other nearby luxury hotel, the 4 star Hotel St Martin also has wellness facilities and a choice of restaurants. The 3 star Alp’Hotel is practically on the piste whilst the 3 star Edelweiss is in a more 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.
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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
AlpyBus offers simple, reliable, affordable transport from Geneva to your accommodation in St Martin de Belleville. Our new fleet of comfortable minibuses are specially adapted for mountain roads, and we have priority parking at Geneva Airport, so there are no long walks. Choose either low cost shared services or ultra-convenient private transfers – both come with an unbeatable price match guarantee and no hidden charges. Get a transfer quotation and book online >>>
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
Once you’re in St Martin de Belleville there is little need to use a car but it can still be the most flexible way to get to and from the resort, and if you’re doing your own catering, it also gives you the option of driving down to Moutiers where the shops are cheaper. Check that your hotel provides private parking, however.
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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
There are four mountain restaurants in the St Martin sector; two are near the top of the St Martin 1 lift; one is near the Gros Tougne/Grand Lac/Pezolet crossroads; and the other is on Crete just before the Liberty Ride turn off. All can be reached on blue runs so mixed-ability groups can meet for lunch. Food is generally good but they get crowded at peak times in peak season. Prices tend to be mid-range (by 3 Valleys standards). Those on a tight budget can use the picnic tables on the ridge line at Roc de Fer and Tougnete. For a real blow-out, the famous Michelin starred restaurant La Bouitte down in the valley at Saint Marcel is just about reachable on skis if snow conditions are good and you’re comfortable skiing off-piste. Booking ahead is essential – tel:+33 4 79 08 96 77.
Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants in St Martin
St Martin is a relatively quiet ski resort with bags of charm and a few cosy bars and nice restaurants rather than throbbing night life – which makes it rather ironic that the village was allegedly the setting for the Marquis de Sade’s infamous book ‘120 days of Sodom’.
For gourmands there is the Michelin starred La Bouitte in the next door village of Saint Marcel; this is 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.