A holder of France’s Famille Plus label due to its fantastic array of family activities and good, locally run childcare, Les Menuires is in the middle of the Three Valleys (Trois Vallées), the world’s biggest ski area. But though it rubs shoulders and shares a lift-pass with jolly British chalet favourite Méribel and posh Courchevel, it’s a far cheaper way to ski the area.
That used to be because it had the physical beauty of Stevenage, with lots of gloomy 1970s apartment blocks in the midst of pristine snow (made particularly obvious by the treeless, snowfield setting), but it’s much better now, with newer wood-and-stone architecture.
Les Menuires is ideal for family holidays: car-free, with lifts that head off one way towards the resort of Val Thorens and in the other to Méribel, then Courchevel. The slopes surrounding the village are some of the region’s easiest, with whole fields of green runs. There’s plenty of fun if you’re all skiing together, plus lots for energetic parents if the youngsters are in ski school.
The neighbouring, more modern (yet perversely more traditional) hamlet of Reberty is also a good choice, and attracts family-friendly tour operators.
In summer, Les Menuires opens some of its lifts for hikers and mountain-bikers.