Incredible Slopeside Accommodations and Endless Terrain in Courchevel
Courchevel is most well known as France's premier luxury ski resort, the reasons for which were immediately apparent upon my arrival. This large resort features 4 different village areas that wind up the slopes, putting nearly all of the area's dining, lodging, shopping and nightlife options within steps of the slopes. As the area has expanded over the years, it has moved up and down the slopes out of these village centers, keeping everything in close proximity to the skiing itself, as opposed to other resorts that sit in valley floors and expand away from their base areas.
When I first arrived I expected the area to be a large network of well-maintained and easy-to-ski groomers with little available for the more advanced skier. While there are plenty of the former (there really has to be considering the amount of slopeside lodging, the interconnecting villages and size of the resort), I was shocked by the massive expanse of terrain, offering more than enough to entertain any level of skier for a lifetime. This resort is also connected to Meribel and Val Thorens, along with a few smaller resorts.
Here is a brief rundown of each village area--they get progressively larger and higher-end as you work up the slopes.
Le Praz/Courchevel 1300 - this area sits at the base of the resort, is off of the main road and has an entirely different feel than the other villages. The more rustic base area features a few dining options worth visiting that provide a traditional French country feel that is much diff from the rest of the resort and is far quieter than the larger villages.
Courchevel 1550 - I did notice a number of chalets and simpler looking hotels, along with direct lift access to Courchevel 1850 but there wasn't much in the way of dining or other activities to explore in the area.
Courchevel 1650 - This village, though not as large as 1850, still provides a large number of lodging, dining, shopping and nightlife options (along with the area's indoor waterpark), all at far more reasonable rates than can generally be found in 1850. This village had the most dramatic effect on my view of the area simply because I had previously thought it was all either extremely high-end or more remote and basic and this area instead provides a slopeside village with all the amenities one might look for at rates most can afford.
Courchevel 1850 - this is the village that provides the area with its fame. This huge slopeside luxury resort features the absolute best in slopeside accommodations, multiple pedestrian village areas complete with a plethora of both fine dining and more traditional cuisine, an endless amount of shopping and a nightlife atmosphere that centers more around higher-end clubbing than traditional ski town après and dive bars. Simply put, if you want it, Courchevel has it and if they somehow don't have it, they will immediately send someone to get it for you.
Courchevel is all of the glitz and glamour that you've heard about but, beneath that, is actually a far more well-rounded resort than you might anticipate. It's large variety of slopeside lodging and huge amount of terrain make it a worthy destination for the vast majority of travelers.