Picturesque St Martin de Belleville is the gateway to the Trois Vallées ski system, and what you might call the quiet little brother of the famous ski family. Not much goes on at this resort except for high-quality snow sports, and that’s just the way we like it. St Martin remains an old Savoyard village with a majestic church tower at its centre and more locals than tourists. Its charm lies in small-scale excellence and a well-kept sense that you are not staying at a ski resort but in an old alpine community. Life here is slow-paced, relaxed and quintessentially French – all elements that make St Martin an excellent base for your all your explorations of the Three Valleys. It is also the place to stay if you like coming home to a peaceful and cosy chalet after a long day on the slopes.
This family resort is excellent for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Across the 78 slopes, the best runs are long, rolling, and just the right degree of challenging. In the winters you are pretty much guaranteed good snow coverage due to the close proximity to Val Thorens, but because of the relatively low altitude of St Martin village, you might want to rethink a late-season even though pistes stay open until April. Sailing down the slopes of St Martin de Belleville you’ll get familiar with some seriously attractive views and gorgeous wooded landscapes. Overall there are 1448 metres of downhill skiing available and on top of that you can, of course, gain access to the rest of the Three Valleys system. Some of the best slopes with easy access to St Martin are actually located in its sister resort Les Menuires, and luckily there is a smooth lift connection between the two.
One of St Martins biggest highlights is the fantastic La Jérusalem, which is a red run starting at the ridge between Méribel-Mottaret and St Martin. It is made special by the fantastic rollers that allow for good speed as you ski past the beautiful landscape. It is a long descent which drops off into the blue run Biolley leading all the way into St Martin town. This is an especially beautiful run to do at sunset so there’s really no better route back to your chalet in the evening.
Fair warning, St Martin is not the place to go for parties. If its après-ski you’re after, then you’re better off staying in neighbouring Méribel. There are a few bars around town, but no real nightclubs. Instead, spend the evening at one of the many top-notch restaurants as the village is known for its gourmet cuisine (including the triple Michelin starred La Bouitte). Although it is a small town, there is a lot of variety when it comes to food and skiers from all over the Three Valleys stop in St Martin for lunch. But before heading to your restaurant, make sure to catch one of the après-ski concerts held in the town church.
Best for: Peace and quiet
Popular villages: St Martin de Belleville, St Jean de Belleville & Les Allues
Airport: Chambery Savoie Airport (1hr 20 min transfer)