Apres Ski in Courmayeur
Courmayeur needs little introduction to the keen skier and mountain enthusiast. Its superb location at the foot of Mont Blanc ensures wonderful skiing in spectacular scenery, and the chic mountain town has plenty to offer skiers and non-skiers alike.
The Town of Courmayeur
Courmayeur is a charming old town with narrow streets, old stone churches and an attractive pedestrianised centre. The streets come alive in the evenings as the Italians take their ‘passegiata’ along Via Roma and the skiers head to the bars to enjoy a well deserved drink. Shops are varied and interesting with plenty of high quality clothing, sportswear and equipment shops alongside more traditional antique shops, galleries, delicatessen and other specialist food stores.
Since the 18th century, Courmayeur has been a favoured destination with climbers and mountaineers, but the origins of the town lie in the Roman era, when both gold and silver were mined locally. In the 17th century the therapeutic spring waters attracted visitors and the opening of the Mont Blanc tunnel in 1965 ensured a good flow of traffic, and expansion of the town. Despite the addition of some modern buildings, Courmayeur still retains its Italian charm and character and it has a wide range of accommodation options.
Courmayeur becomes very busy with Italians during peak holiday periods such as New Year and the Carnival week in mid February, but the nationalities of the guests outside these periods is fairly mixed with visitors coming from all over Europe, as well as further afield.
Apres-Ski Bars in Courmayeur
Courmayeur is an attractive town for après ski and has a great evening atmosphere. It offers a selection of stylish bars and some of the centrally located bars stay open until late.
Courmayeur has a great evening atmosphere with a selection of stylish, traditionally furnished bars to choose from. Both the Caffe della Posta and the Cadran Solaire have a sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere, whereas the Bar Roma is more lively. Features of all the bars are the comfy furnishings and the delicious free canapés served with drinks before dinner.
The back room at the Caffe della Posta is very popular for drinks in the early evening, and usually has a roaring open fire. It is also good for a civilised cup of tea and cake, or a tasty day time snack. Bar Roma is a beautiful stone-walled bar full of ornate Italian furniture. It’s a hive of activity around 5 o’clock and later into the evening when a lavish, complementary spread is laid out, and after a drink here you may not actually need dinner!
The bar at Le Grand Chalet, close to the bottom of the Courmayeur cable car, is a popular stopping off point after the day’s skiing. The centrally located Bar delle Guide is relaxed, informal and offers satellite TV. The American Bar also airs many of the major sporting events throughout the season, and is another popular choice which is open until late. The Prive is a more sophisticated cocktail bar.
Though there are a couple of night clubs in the outlying hamlets, the best night life is normally found in the central bars of the Via Roma like the Prive Cocktail Bar and the more informal American Bar, both of which stay open until late.
Restaurants in Courmayeur
Courmayeur is world famous for its food – both on and off the mountain. The town offers a number of excellent restaurants as well as some good value pizzerias and traditional restaurants.
In many cases, and especially at weekends, advance booking is advised. The following restaurants listed below are all recommended for the quality of their food as well as service and atmosphere:
An excellent, traditional Italian restaurant on Via Roma in central Courmayeur Tel: +39 0165 844609
Close to the Grand Chalet apartments the Etoile has a lovely modern Alpine ambience, great meat dishes and pizza. Don’t be put off by the exterior! Tel: +39 0165 848157
Ristorante lo Sciatore
This new grill restaurant in Dolonne offers excellent charcoal grilled meat dishes. It is very popular with the Italian weekenders. Tel: +39 0165 844788
The Vieux Pommier is a good value, traditional restaurant serving many local meat and cheese specialities and is a great place to try fondue and raclette. Tel: +39 0165 842281
Under the same ownership as the famous Christiania at Plan Checrouit, the Mon Frety offers excellent food in a sophisticated and modern environment. Tel: +39 0165 845095
Al Vecchio Torchio
A great new wine bar with friendly service, Al Vecchio Torchio offers a delicious selection of good value, informal meals and pasta dishes alongside a good glass of wine. Tel: +39 0165 842258
In the centre of town, La Terrazza offers fondue and raclette specialities, pizza and excellent charcoal grilled meat dishes. Tel: +39 0165 843330
Hidden up a narrow side street off Via Roma, the Pierre Alexis is an excellent restaurant serving traditional Italian dishes and some good vegetarian options. Tel: +39 0165 843517
l’Ermitage in Ermitage
The food is good traditional fayre, and the views from the terrace of this charming mountain restaurant are spectacular. You will however need to travel either by car, taxi or local bus up to the hamlet of Ermitage. Tel: +39 0165 844351
La Maison de Filippo in Entreves
In the hamlet of Entreves, the historic but rather touristy Maison de Filippo is justly famous for its fixed price gourmet feast, currently priced at around €45.00. Tel: +39 0165 869797
La Tavernier del Pilier in Entreves
A good quality restaurant located within the Hotel Pilier d’Angle in the hamlet of Entreves. Tel: +39 0165 869760
Miravalle in Val Ferret
A traditional and cosy wood panelled restaurant in the scenic Val Ferret. Tel: +39 0165 869777
Pizzerias, Crepes & Snacks
For a more economical meal try one of the many pizzerias like Du Tunnel, which has a wood burning oven and serves huge pizzas, or head to the Petit Bistrot which is famous for its crepes, but also offers a good selection of salads, snacks and simple meals throughout the day. At Pan per Focaccia, on Via dei Giardini, just off Via Roma, you can eat in or take out tasty slices of pizza, focaccia and chick pea farinata.
Other Activities in Courmayeur
In a dramatic location at the foot of Monte Bianco, Courmayeur is an attractive town and a great all round resort with plenty of other activities for skiers and non-skiers alike amid stunning views.
The local scenery is simply stunning with spectacular mountain peaks and pleasant wooded valleys. The Courmayeur ski area offers a good range of pisted runs, easily accessible off-piste itineraries, heli-skiing, fabulous cross-country ski routes, pleasant walking and a wide range of sporting and other leisure activities.
An Italian style ‘passegiata’ with optional shopping, is a popular evening pass time, and there is also an Alpine Museum. Dolonne houses a large sports centre with a full size ice rink, squash, tennis, climbing wall and gym as well as table tennis, table football, sauna and steam facilities. The nearest public swimming pool is in neighbouring Pré-St-Didier, which is accessible by local bus.
Cross-Country Skiing in Courmayeur
The cross country skiing is found in the Val Ferret, which is easily accessible by bus from central Courmayeur. The trails are easy to follow and well groomed, and the scenery is outstanding. Equipment can be hired and lessons booked, close to the entrance to the pistes.
Ice Skating in Courmayeur
There is a large ice skating rink in the sports centre in Dolonne.
The Monte Bianco Cable Cars
On a clear day it is well worth taking the three stage ride in the cable car from La Palud up to Punta Helbronner (3,462m). The views of the mountains and surrounding area from the top are quite breathtaking. Europe’s highest botanic garden is to be found part of the way up, but needless to say there is not much to see during the winter months!
Shopping in Courmayeur
Shopping comes high on the list of non-skiing activities in Courmayeur. Shops are varied and interesting with plenty of high quality clothing, sportswear and equipment shops alongside more traditional antique shops, jewellers, galleries, delicatessen and other specialist food stores.
Swimming, Sauna & Spa Facilities in Courmayeur
Many of the hotels have saunas and spa areas that are open to the paying public, one of the best being the spa at Le Grand Chalet Apartments. The Hotel Gran Baita also has a small swimming pool which is open to the public.
There is a large public swimming pool in neighbouring Pre San Didier and the thermal baths in Pre St Didier offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor spa pools and treatments in superb surroundings, with views towards Mont Blanc. Hotels will arrange for transportation.
Children’s Play Areas
The fun park in Dolonne offers a playground and other facilities for children, including a bouncy castle. Snow tubing and tobogganing are also available!
Ski Hire and Equipment Rental in Courmayeur
There are plenty of ski rental shops, but their prices are quite high if you simply walk into them when you arrive. Some hotels and tour operators have recommended shops, but they rarely offer the best value even if they give a small discount (usually 5% or 10% at most) to the hotel or tour operator’s guests. Generally, if you want to save money, you’re much better off booking in advance with a reliable service provider like the one below.
Pre-book with Skiset in Courmayeur and save up to 50%
Skiset has an excellent reputation for hiring out good modern equipment for skiers and boarders of all standards and has an outlet in Courmayeur Plan Checrouit which is very convenient for the slopes. If you book online in advance, you can save up to 50% on what you would pay if you walk into the shop. You will also save time when you arrive in the resort, because your ski rental equipment is reserved, fully prepared and ready and waiting for you.
Courmayeur Tourist Information
For more information contact the tourist office in Courmayeur:
AIAT Monte Bianco Tourist Office
Piazzale Monte Bianco, 13, Courmayeur
Tel: +39 0165 842060
Email: [email protected]
Consorzio Operatori Turistici
Piazzale Monte Bianco, 14, Courmayeur
Tel: +39 0165 842370
Email: [email protected]