Posted on 20 February 2017
How did a small farming community become the world’s most luxurious ski resort? It was created from scratch in 1946 – a dash of palatial hotels and luxury chalets here, followed by a gentle sprinkling of boutique shops and Michelin star restaurants there – and now Courchevel is celebrating its 70th anniversary in fine style.
First class skiing
In between the Petrossian caviar and designer handbag shopping, the skiing’s not bad either. Situated in Les Trois Vallées, at one end of the largest ski area in the world, the resort features 600 kilometres of pistes and more than 170 lifts. Its north-facing slopes ensure the dumps are plentiful, with terrain to suit all tastes and skill levels. Thanks to this favourable geographical location, combined with the resort’s pioneering work in snow-making, grooming and maintenance, you’re guaranteed excellent snow cover throughout the season.
Things aren’t done by halves in Courchevel, so you won’t be surprised to hear it hasn’t been scrimping on its birthday celebrations. A month-long firework festival is under way, an anniversary photo exhibition is open and there are a series of walking tours exploring the resort’s history. Meanwhile high-level investment – something Courchevel has never struggled to attract – has gone hand in hand with the festivities, particularly in exclusive areas such as Jardin Alpin, home to some of the world’s grandest hotels and chalets. Aman Resorts recently relaunched the Le Mélézin hotel in time for Courchevel’s big season, after a total renovation. And Hôtel Barrière in Les Neiges is the resort’s latest — and 17th — five-star hotel to open its doors.
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Royals in residence
If you’re considering joining the alpine elite by buying a home in Courchevel’s lavish surroundings, it’s worth noting that the resort actually consists of four separate villages: Courchevel Le Praz 1300, Courchevel Village 1550, Courchevel Moriond 1650 and Courchevel 1850 – the largest of the quartet. Populated by wealthy Parisians and Russians, celebrities – including A-listers like George Clooney – and royal families it’s easy to see why Courchevel 1850 is known as the St. Tropez of winter sports. Even our very own Wills and Kate holidayed there only last year, so you could end up sharing the slopes with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge while you take in the views of the majestic Mont Blanc.
If the overall French Alps property market is considered fairly bulletproof in the face of economic adversity, thanks to its stunning setting and world-class resorts, the Courchevel market must be atomic bomb proof, thanks to its status as the world’s most luxurious ski resort. Meaning you can hit the slopes safe in the knowledge that your alpine investment will be a very sound one indeed.
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