There’s an argument that all the bits around skiing are just as important as the skiing itself. Whilst we agree wholeheartedly we’ve never been up for the true après ski activities, partying until dawn and then hitting the slopes for the first lift of the day. However, skiing hotels – in France and Austria in particular – are shrines to lovers of comfort food. Hearty breakfasts, afternoon tea, and hot chocolate you can stand your spoon up in. The hot food too is, shall we say, sustaining for the cold outside; tartiflette, fondue and raclette. Lots and lots of cheese, wine, bread and potatoes. And don’t forget to order les frites with all of them.
Courchevel is one of those resorts which attracts good skiers from all over the world, as the ski area is very extensive – the Three Valleys (actually four) as it’s known – is reportedly the largest ski area in the world. It rivals the area around Val d’Isère [Espace Killy] and Avoriaz [Portes du Soleil] for cold weather playing. Courchevel, along with Val d’Isère, Zermatt and a handful of other European resorts attract the very rich and you’re as likely to find “designer” shops here as you are in Bond Street. It even has its own airport on the slopes for small planes and helicopters, if you’ve got one to hand. All of which makes it really quite expensive. Eye-watering, if you’re not careful. Usually, the higher up the piste and the better the view, the more eye watering. Courchevel itself has twelve Michelin starred restaurants, including one 3* and six 2*. And the wine? Chateau Cheval Blanc in your local supermarket?
So it’s all the more surprising to find a restaurant with good food and stunning view that’s actually affordable. And just one lift from the centre of Courchevel, skiing centre of the known world. Les Chenus has a stunning (we know, an overused word but entirely apt) view across towards Courcheval. Classic French mountain food – steak hachée, pizza bbq, moules frites and sausice frites. Although by no means unique, we think this counts as one of the Top Ten Settings. And, swamped by prices driven ever higher by Russian Oligarcs – or those still with money to spend – it’s very, very good value.
Restaurant Les Chenus Courchevel [beware, it has music!]