St Martin de Belleville is a breath of fresh air. A calm, friendly place, its picturesque villages are distanced from the other mega-resorts and maybe that’s why people return here year after year.
This pretty village is on the edge of the Three Valleys, a huge linked ski area that you can spend the whole day quietly travelling across. You can also enjoy peaceful snowshoe walks and hikes around the other villages in the sculpted Belleville valley. In summer, retreat into the quiet of this backwater and follow some of the walking trails through the mountains and forests. There’s also more to the mountains than just being active; most of the mountain huts serve rich Savoyard dishes such as tartiflette and crozets made with local cheese. Just don’t expect to be able to ski quite so fast in the afternoon!
Did you know?
Number of lifts: 198 across the Three Valleys
There are over 250km of walking trails in this location.
Ecological policies: the lift company (SEVABEL) is ISO 14001 approved; reforestation policy; limit the number of ski lifts
Where to stay
En route to Megeve (40 minutes away; about 25km from Albertville), this wonderfully remote eco-gîte is of cordwood construction, which means that the walls are about 50cm thick; so you’ll certainly be warm on cold winter nights. With a rolling green hillsides in the background, and private terraces from which to enjoy the view, the chalet sleeps up to 10 people.
Address: 73270 Beaufort sur Doron
Website: La Cordée Eco-gîte Chalet Hôtel Kaya The Chalet Hotel Kaya offerins a new idea of the mountain, more spacious and comfortable, more urban and trendy, and a slightly Scandanivian feel. It opens onto the pistes at lunchtime for gourmet pauses under enjoying the snows landscapes, while in the evening there's an avant-garde Savoyarde cuisine. Find here as well a collection of original, natural and 100% biological treatments. The treatments are full harmony with the lavish massages: snow exfoliation and duet of hot towels, winter season massage (with the aroma of musky rose) and lastly exfoliation with a hot sheaf of hay. Address: Village de Reberty, 73440 Les Menuires, France Website: Chalet Hôtel Kaya Hôtel Les Bruyères
The hotel Les Bruyères is a traditional hotel with a difference. It offers cosy bedrooms looking out on the mountains, traditional french cuisine, with local Savoie specialities, as well as a bar, sauna and gym. But it's also been truly devoted to sustainability as part of the Temmos group, reducing its water & energy consummation, waste volume and using, as much as possible, local and seasonal products in its restaurants. The Temmos group has been awarded the double label Green Globe and European Ecolabel.
Address: Taille de Mas des Champs de La Plagne
In the small, traditional ville of Deux Nants, Claudette, Jean Yves and Jimmy welcome you to their gîte "le Nant Brun", at the heart of a wonderful and wild valley. Throughout the year, both Summer and Winter, the location is ideal for explorers, both on foot and on ski, with a great variety of different routes. Those up for climbing will have the chance to discover l'Arête Blanche du Fût, a spectacular mountain in a awe-inspiring landscape.
Website: Le Nant Brun
Where to eat
'Carte Blanche' is a beautiful French expression given full meaning in this restaurant. Capitalising on the excellent local produce, the cooks here provise to clients different meals and dishes, based on what it is in season and available. So in this gastronomic restaurant, you can never be quite sure what you'll be having, but you can be totally certain that it will of the up most quality and absolutely delicious.
Address: Hameau de St Marcel - 73440 St Martin de Belleville
An authentic Mongolian Yurt in Savoie Mont Blanc, decorated in traditional Mongolian style and with Mongolian art. Yurts are a symbol of harmony and stability and the welcoming hosts in this warm and unusual restaurant. Book in advance and either enjoy well made and wholesome food around a winter fire while watching the stars from the inside. Or come early and work up an appetite with the variety of activities on offer from archery to zipwire!
Address: At the bottom of the Masse1 ski-lift; Phone: +33 (0) 6 11 38 37 96
Website: The Belleville Yurts La Ferme de la Choumette
Set alongside the blue Biolley piste, you can easily ski to this unique restaurant/dairy farm whose produce is so fresh it comes from the working farm beneath. Expect a traditional range of savoyard specialities and yummy deserts, as well as a sunny terrace with fantastic views. Once you're done, look through the back windows and find a collection of goats, sheep and cows right outside. This little quirk makes it a great choice for those with children.
Address: Villarabout, 73440
Website: Web address not available
Where to visit
Selection of relaxed, guided snowshoe walks in the secluded Three Valleys. Various walks are available, changing according to the weather and season, for example walking to the Lac de Lou, or descending from 3,000m. There's also the chance to learn while you walk, as your guide teaches you about the winter adaptation of the water wildlife as well as the natural and artificial lakes.
Address: +33 06 09 56 75 00
Website: Walking in the Wilderness
The Belleville Museum Inside of an restored old farm house, the Belleville Museum invites visitors to retrace and share in the bellvillois collective memory. Over three floors and through different rooms, the museum illuminates the history of St Martin over the past 150 years, showing the peak of St Martin's agro-pastoral civilisation in the 19th Century and the tourist revolution which started in the sixties. Address: 73440 Saint Martin de Belleville, France Website: The Belleville Museum
Torch Lit Tour of St Martin de Belleville Discover another side to St Martin with a rustic night walk through the town and its countryside, with a guided torch-lit tour. The art, history and rich culture of St Martin will be revealed as you wander through the lightly lit streets while your guide tells St Martin's stories and tales. At the end of the tour, enjoy a tasting of local products. Address: St Martin de Belleville 73440; Phone: +33 (0) 4 79 00 20 00 Website: Torch Lit Tour of St Martin de Belleville
Things to do
Hit the slopes, but this time with a team of trained dogs. Dany, a musher, and his pack organise trips every week that will whisk you through forest and river, exploring the wonderful snowy landscape around St Martin de Belleville.
Address: Dog sleigh outings 73440 Saint-Martin-de-Belleville; Phone: + 33 (0)4 79 00 20 00
Website: Dog Sleighing in the Snow
Eco-friendly snow scooters sounds like magic. Well, no need to believe in miracles: these are fitted a new generation of scooters with 4 stroke injection engines, are silent, have no exhaust pipe smell and give out minimal CO2 into the atmosphere. When the pistes are shut, the ski area becomes a different kind of playground, with the scooters zipping along the now silent mountain paths.
Address: Brasserie de L’Oisans Croisette 73440 Les Menuires; Phone: + 33 (0)4 79 08 56 75
Website: Scoot Evasion
Paragliding in St Martin Take off from the mountain top and see the snowy slopes, and the distant peaks, from above. Paragliding is a unique, exhilirating experience and St Martin de Belleville offers an ideal landscape to be explored by air such as the Belleville Vally or the 3 Vallées. Land at Bruyères refreshing and ready for more. Address: Meet at the Bruyères 2 skilift. Reserve on +33 (0) 6 80 10 79 20 Website: Web address not available
A recent addition to the snow activities at Les Menuires, the Roc'n Bob is a huge 4 km long toboggan, open to all, fun for everyone. Perfect for families whether you're looking to relive childhood pleasures or watch your kids make their own or even, later in the day, compete against your friends on the 22 raised bends and 450m of vertical height fall. The run has several different stages, starting with the big bends of 'The Roc Rapids', then the 'Endless Canyon', a series of tight turns before the final long straight run, 'the Long Run'.
Address: Accessible from La Croisette via the Roc des 3 Marches lift
Website: Roc N’ Bob Toboggan Run
The nearest train station for St Martin de Belleville is Moûtiers. [note: The full train station is Gare de Moûtiers/Salins/Brides-les-Bains and is not (!) to be confused with Moutier, no 's'.]
Day train (11h35 weekend)(10h weekday): It is advisable to coordinate your train times with the bus times between Moûtiers and St Martin de Belleville . Time table for buses between Moûtiers and St Martin de Belleville [.pdf document in French] If you are travelling on the weekend, take the 5.25 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, arriving at 8.50 and then transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon. From there take the 10.50 train to Moûtiers with a transfer at Chambéry. You will arrive at 15.40, in time for the 16.30 bus to St Martin de Belleville, completing your journey at 17.00. If you are travelling during the week, take the 7.22 Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, arriving at 10.50 and then transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon. From there take the 11.54 train to Moûtiers with a transfer at Lyon Part Dieu. You will arrive at 17.13, in time for the 17.45 bus to St Martin de Belleville, completing your journey at 18.15.
Sleeper train (12h15): Take the Eurostar at 19.02 to Paris Gare du Nord then transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon in time for the 23.02 sleeper to Moûtiers. Arrive refreshed at 7.07 in time for the 7.45 bus (weekends) or 8.00 (weekdays) to St Martin de Belleville.