For those of us who have been spoiled by the unparalleled reliability of ski terrain in the American Rockies, schlepping to the French Alps might seem like a gratuitous expenditure of time and money. But what you can’t do in, say, Montana is tack a few days in Paris onto your ski vacation, which is why we always suggest the moneyed ski resort of Courchevel, a collection of five interconnected villages in Les Trois Vallées, the world’s largest ski resort. This is hardly one of those charming Savoyard wooden towns but rather the kind of place where you’ll see sable on sable, and it has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants anywhere in Europe outside of Paris.
The key is to start and end this trip with a night or two in Paris. It’s the low season, and the dollar is strong against the euro, which means you’ll score better-than-usual rates at the George V or the recently reopened Ritz, not to mention prime dinner reservations at Septime and L’Arpège. From there, getting to Courchevel is fairly straightforward—and better yet, there’s no plane involved. Trains depart from Paris’s Gare de Lyon about seven times daily during ski season (December through April) for Moutiers, about a 30-minute drive from Courchevel. The train ride is just over four hours (have your hotel arrange for a driver to pick you up at the station).
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Photograph by Bruno Malegue © Condé Nast Traveler December 2016