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Les Menuires Family Holidays & Breaks

Speed Mountain.Speed Mountain.© @les.menuires
Sunset view of Les Menuires.Sunset view of Les Menuires.© Gilles Lansard - Office de Tourisme Les Menuires
Wildlife in Les Menuires.Wildlife in Les Menuires.© @les.menuires
Family skiing in the Three Valleys.Family skiing in the Three Valleys.© G Lansard - Office de Tourisme Les Menuires
Les Menuires in summer.Les Menuires in summer.© @les.menuires
Flying Time 3hrs
Timezone GMT +1
Currency Euro

Today

Overview

A bearer of France’s Famille Plus label, meaning it has a fantastic array of family activities and good, locally run childcare, Les Menuires is in the middle of the Three Valleys or 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 those here to hike and/or go mountain-biking.

Things to do with kids in Les Menuires

Enjoy the regular shows, fireworks and other events hosted in the village square.

Ski. There are beginner areas in the village plus good family skiing around it, up to La Masse or down to Saint Martin de Belleville, with blue and moderate red runs, all in an open, obstacle-free environment.

With more confident youngsters, head off in either direction, to Val Thorens or Méribel. The latter tends to be the more family-friendly; its Altiport area with wide runs through the trees is a delight (take a picnic lunch to enjoy on a log bench near the bottom). Fast families (or parents who’ve left their kids at ski school) can get to Courchevel but won’t get much time before having to chase back.

Head for the pool complex for an après-ski treat, as well as the Fun Park, with trampolines and suchlike. There’s also a free four-kilometre toboggan run, a freestyle park, and a family ski obstacle course.

For childcare and children's ski tuition, check out the Piou-Piou Club (babies from three months, the active Village des Piou-Piou (2.5 years and up), and lessons with the ESF (ages 3+).

Rent snow-bikes, go for a spin on the Speed Mountain railed luge-track or go for a splash at Aquafun with its wellness centre.  

The luge-track and pool complex remain open in summer. In the warmer months, Les Menuires is a low-key, great-value base for enjoying the mountains in summer, with hiking, mountain-biking, lakeside walks and beekeeping tours.

Eat

Les Menuires is worlds away from Courchevel with its Michelin-starred eateries. Most people come here for a reasonably priced ski holiday in an apartment, so most dining is done at the kitchen table, although the number of restaurants is gradually growing, reflecting the smartening up of the resort.  

When to go to Les Menuires

The slopes of the Three Valleys are relatively high (Les Menuires sits at 1,800m, with the high-point being the Val Thorens glacier at 3,230m) and you’ll find skiing from late November until well into April, though some of the beginner slopes around Les Menuires are big and open and can suffer from the sun later in the season. The slopes on La Masse above the resort keep their snow, and there is continued investment in snowmaking.

Cost

Les Menuires is a relatively good-value way of skiing in the Three Valleys, especially if you choose self-catering accommodation. 

By Nick Dalton

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