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 beginners, there is a nursery slope in the village. When they have mastered this the blue Biolley run under the gondola is not steep but can be icy first thing in the morning, so a better route is probably the blue Le Gros Tougne from the top of the chair lift which turns into the green run La Violette and goes all the way into Les Menuires which is covered on the St Martin local area pass. That's a long journey for a near novice but it's very road-like (the steepest part is at the start) and there is a restaurant a quarter of the way down. There are good green runs in Les Menuires, and beginners can either return on the bus to St Martin, or go back on blue runs like Grand Lac and Pezolet. Once they are confident on blue runs like these, they can go almost anywhere on the St Martin-Les Menuires mountainside as it crisscrossed by easy blue pistes.
For intermediates, St Martin's blue runs 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 North West facing and late in the afternoon, it's often sunlit and empty with gorgeous views and so is a perfect run to ski back home on. There is a 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 even steeper.
For experts there is a patrolled but ungroomed 'Liberty Ride' area to skiers's right of the St Martin Express chair and good off-piste that St Martin shares with Les Menuires as well as the Meribel off-piste on the other side of the mountain. If they prefer pisted challenges there are good black runs at La Masse in neighbouring Les Menuires or they can start the day taking the lifts from St Martin to the Tougnete ridge, descend towards Meribel on the North East facing Cretes, Choucas and Gelinotte blue runs to the mid-mountain Olympic chair, which goes up to Roc de Fer. From here, there is only one way down on the Meribel side, the black 'Face' piste, used as a downhill run in the Olympics. It faces due East so is at its very best in the morning. It's usually well groomed so can be taken at speed. If you want something bumpier, the black Bosses run which is in the same area is top to bottom moguls.
There are plenty of mountain restaurants all over the 3 Valleys, and four in just the St Martin sector alone. All of them can be reached on blue runs so mixed-ability groups can meet for lunch. Food is generally good but keep an eye on prices.
Accommodation in St Martin de Belleville
Given it's size there is actaully quite a wide variety of accommodation in St Martin de Belleville to choose from, including apartments, chalets and some fine 3 star hotels to choose from. Worth a special mention is the Hotel St Martin. The hotel is convenient for the slopes and has an attention to detail that makes a stay here an exceptional experience. It has wellness facilities and a choice of restaurants. Search Accommodation in St Martin de Belleville and book online>>>
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 and can secure discounts of up to 60% if you book online here. SKISET also has an outlet in the rersort and will offer advance booking discounts of up to 50% if you book online here .
Ski Lessons & Guiding in St Martin de Belleville
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. Search ski schools and instructors and book online.
Apres Ski Bars & Restaurants in St Martin de Belleville
St Martin is a relatively quiet ski resort with bags of charm rather than throbbing night life. For a smaller village, there’s plenty of choice for eating out. Some of the husband and wife Fermes are delightful and for the gourmands there is the two Michelin star La Bouitte; this is haut cuisine at its best but at a price.
A visit to the village museum is well worth the time. It’s daunting to learn how brutal the farming life was and alarming that this existence was common until recent times. Rightly or wrongly, it was the ski industry that ended it. It’s notable that St Martin had its first ski lift before it had running water in the mains! The village was also the setting for the Marquis de Sade's infamous book 120 days of Sodom, althogh this does not seem to have affected the resort's nightlife much!
Getting to St Martin de Belleville
There are four airports within about 2 hours drive of St Martin de Belleville. Chambery is the quickest but has the least flights. Although Lyons and Grenoble are fractionally closer to St Martin than Geneva airport, Geneva still has the widest choice of bus and transfer services to the resort.
- 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
Getting to St Martin de Belleville from the Airport
From the airport, the easiest way to get to St Martin is by using a specialist ski airport trasfer company like the ones below. AlpyBus has cheaper shared transfers to and from Geneva Airport as well as private transfers.
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 >
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. Of course you can also rent a car but it's unlikely that you will use it much when you get to the resort and parking can be expensive, so booking an airport transfer is probably more convenient.
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 (or Moutiers-Salins-Brides les Bains to give it its full name), which is less than 30 minutes drive away.
Trains from Paris for Moutiers depart from the Gare de Lyon and normally take between four and six hours. There are direct trains from Paris and also indirect services which usually involve taking a TGV to Chambery, Aix Les Bains or Lyon, then completing the journey onto Moutiers on either a regional TER train service or a bus.
From the UK, Eurostar operates services to Moutiers from London St Pancras, which takes between seven and a half hours and ten hours. There are some direct trains with no changes, but these can take longer than services with one change in Paris, which necessitates getting from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon. If you take the Metro this is just two stops on RER line D (Direction Melun). Even allowing time to buy tickets and walk to and from platforms, this should not take more than 30 to 40 minutes. But if you have a lot of baggage, a taxi ride might be a better option.
There are also international Thalys train services direct from Belgium and the Netherlands to Moutiers. From Southern and Eastern Europe, services from Geneva and Milan go via Chambery.
To get from Moutiers train station to St Martin, either take a taxi (20 - 30 minute journey) or wait for a bus - AltiBus and Mobisavoie runs a service that stops in St Martin on the way to Les Menuires and Val Thorens. But check times before you go at www.Altibus.com and www.mobisavoie.fr. For AltiBus look up the Les Menuires service. For MobiSavoie T3 is the name of the line to St Martin.