Serre Chevalier – The French ski resort secret
6th November 2015
I’m quite sure the French would rather we didn’t encourage more British skiers and snowboarders to visit Serre Chevalier because up until now they have enjoyed one of Frances biggest ski resorts to themselves.
With 250km of piste spread across a string of villages and Frances highest town Briancon (1200m) A fortified 17th century town. Some of the villages are really attractive, some sadly rather ruined by brutal architecture from the 1960’s and 70’s in the days before planners understood that attractive stone and timber buildings are more pleasing to the eye than concrete blocks. When covered in snow even the concrete blocks look more attractive.
The three principle villages where most tourists stay are spread along a 8km valley and include Le Monetier (also known as Serre-Che 1500m) Villeneuve (1400m) and Chantemerle (1350m) Then further along to Briancon (1200m) All four have access to skiing without the need for a bus. Local buses circle all the villages and run until 11:30pm.
In addition there are some 9 other smaller villages many of which have small cobbled streets lined with shops and bars and has an almost Provencal style and a real French feel.
What’s so special about Serre Chevalier?
If like me, you like skiing within the tree line, you are going to love it here, the tree line extends to an incredible 2200m, some 400m higher than in many alpine ski resorts. 65% of the runs here are tree lined, so in poor weather Serre Chevalier is a clear winner. Even in sunny weather the trees protect the largely Northeast facing slopes from afternoon sun so the snow tends to last well into the season.
When skiing in Serre Chevalier you feel you are touring and covering a good distance as the ski area is so spread out across the four main villages below. The largest sector is above Villeneuve with five distinct bowls to ski.
Serre Chevalier is ideal for all levels of skiers there are 13 black runs, 35 reds, 23 blue and 35 greens and is probably best for intermediate skiers who can bomb around all sectors without finding any slopes that are too tricky.
Where to stay in Serre Chevalier
Ski Line offers a choice of 12 catered ski chalets and 9 different apartment residences for self-catering options. 6 hotels, including one from Club Med, which is our most popular accommodation in Serre Chevalier.
Club Med Serre Chevalier is a 3 trident resort is superb value for money and is located in Villeneuve right on the slopes so you can ski in ski out. The resort caters for families very well with childcare available from 4 months. Being all-inclusive the cost of the holiday includes a ski pass, 5 full days ski lessons, all meals including lunch and a free bar, so bear this mind when comparing costs with other non-inclusive ski holidays.
For non-skiers Serre Chevalier works well
Head for Briancon with its ice rink with weekly ice hockey games and the leisure complex with swimming, saunas and hot tubs. There are around 30km of walking trails too.