April is the perfect time for hitting the ski-slopes – not just for the good snow, but also for the Easter festivities! One of the best French resorts for families, spring celebrations and high-altitude snow is Courchevel. It has a wide range of luxury catered chalets to stay in, excellent shops and restaurants, and plenty of ways of keeping the kids entertained in-between the gondola rides and slalom runs.
With so many events in Courchevel taking place this spring, it’s a great chance to combine skiing with some seasonal family downtime. April is also a fantastic month for catching some of the best conditions of the year, with pistes that are ideal for skiers of all abilities, big or small. If you’re a regular visitor to Les Trois Vallées, why not consider timing your next visit for the holidays?
Every year on Easter Saturday, the festivities kick off with a children’s dance party. This “Party on the Piste” has music, fireworks and lots of dancing in the snow, followed by The Enchanting Stroll, a magical night-time walk through the woods with some ‘surprising characters’ guiding you along the way! This is one of the biggest events in Courchevel of the year, so get your day’s skiing in early – you don’t want to miss out on the fun!
Easter Egg Hunts
With over 900 eggs hidden all across Courchevel on Easter Sunday, there’s plenty for kids to get stuck into on this mammoth treasure hunt. With chocolate eggs hidden on the gondola lifts, what better way to give your Sunday skiing that extra boost? It’s brilliant for helping the youngsters practice their skills on the slopes and pick up rewards along the way.
If that’s not enough, there is also live gospel music and mass on the ice rink in town on Easter Sunday. After all that partying and egg-hunting, this is the perfect time for those little ones – and perhaps, more importantly, parents too! – to sit back, have a bit of rest, and savour the meaning behind Easter.
Looking for a quick get-away? Geneva airport transfers make this Swiss city the perfect Spring break destination. This April, discover Geneva’s buzzing cultural scene with superb concerts and films festivals, as well as food and drink tasting sessions. You can also go bargain hunting at one of its many fleamarkets.
Concerts and Film Festivals
International Jazz Day
From 28-30 April, a festival entirely dedicated to pianos will be held at the AMR, Sud des Alpes Genève. Over 100 pianists will perform, with 16 local talents playing solos and duets on the night of the 30th. You can enjoy an emotive night of music for just CHF 10.
100 Voices of Gospel
The world’s largest and most extraordinary Gospel show is coming to Geneva on 29-30 April. Conveying the struggles of black slaves and the joys of life in the Caribbean, it’s a fantastic show that spills over with energy and good spirit. Get your ticket from CHF 59.
Vision du Réel Film Festival
The Vision du Réel Nyon International Film Festival is one of the only Swiss festivals to present most its films as international premieres. Held from 21-29 April in Canton Vaud, its program includes close to 200 films from over 50 different countries. Single entries are CHF 15, or you can get daily cards for CHF 45.
Food and Drink
Indian Food Festival
Held between 13-16 April at the Village du Soir, this Indian food festival is the largest in Geneva. Its colourful decorations, wonderful music and energetic dances create a vibrant atmosphere. There are many authentic spicy dishes to sample here – and best of all, entry is free!
Whisky tasting in Lutry
On 28 April, Whisky Time, a shop in Lutry, is hosting a whisky tasting event. From 5-9pm, savour up to 10 different whiskies from a selection of 635 single malts. The entrance price of CHF 45 also includes amuse-bouches.
The notion that this resort offers little in the way of advanced skiing needs to be eradicated. La Plagne also has it all in terms of accommodation, offering traditional chalets and cosy hotels as well as apartments perfect for partying with friends.
Despite the large percentage of family guests, La Plagne does have some decent nightlife. La Mine Bar is an English pub with a twist: it’s mining themed. There’s a DJ and regular live music as well as live sports shown on TV. Le Saloon Bar in Belle Plagne has a late-night disco open till 5am, if you can stay on the dancefloor that late after a day of intense, adrenaline-fuelled skiing…
Although it is primarily known as an intermediate resort, there are opportunities aplenty for advanced skiing in La Plagne. The black runs of the Montalbert Valley and the bumpy runs of Les Charmettes are usually reserved for mogul competitions, but if there’s no event on feel free to tackle them if your skills are advanced and you dare…
The steepest runs are to be found on the Bellecôte Glacier and are a really stern challenge. There are a couple of great blacks up there to test you, and they’re worth trying in any snow conditions. If there’s fresh snow, there’ll be plenty to enjoy between the runs as well.
The mogul field reachable by the Traversee chair lift is visible for miles and miles, the moguls are that big! The field itself is over 200m long and will be a real test for even the most advanced skiers.
This is where La Plagne really offers some spectacular skiing. The areas around Macot, the Coqs couloirs and the Montalbert Valley offer a real draw to advanced skiers. For these options, be warned that you will need excellent snow conditions to be able to tackle them, and that you will end up beyond the lift system and need to catch a taxi back to the resort.
There is also incredible lift-accessed tree skiing in the resort, not to be missed by those who can tackle it. The best is situated on the wings of the resort, while there are also some really nice itineraries leading down to Macot at 800m.
No skiing enthusiast is truly a connoisseur until they have taken a trip to Les Trois Vallées! There are enough slopes, bars and restaurants in the world’s largest ski area to keep you entertained for far longer than whatever the duration of your stay. Furthermore, for those looking for a bit of advanced skiing, the Val Thorens glaciers and winding reds off Mont Vallon (plus all of the off-piste in between) are second to none.
Situated at the heart of this skiing mecca is Méribel-Mottaret which, at 1700m, promises excellent snow coverage all season, a wealth of convenient ski-in/ski-out accommodation options and direct access to the 600km worth of piste across Les Trois Vallées.
Where to Ski
Méribel-Mottaret is perfectly situated in the middle of Les Trois Vallées, giving you unparalleled quick and convenient access to Courchevel, Val Thorens and the wider Méribel valley. (It is in fact quicker to get to the Courchevel valley pistes from Méribel-Mottaret than it is from the Courcheval resorts themselves!)
Close to home, don’t miss the idyllic Combe de Vallon that winds down from the top of Mont Vallon, a perfect place for a race to the bottom. Next up, take a trip to the high-altitude conditions of Val Thorens and journey up the Funitel Péclet to access Christine, where you can really put your parallel turns to the test on the sharp bends. Lastly, for some of the most advanced skiing that Les Trois Vallées has to offer, make your way to the Grand Couloir, a treacherously bumpy black run accessible from both the Courchevel and Méribel valleys that offers the added bonus of incredible vistas from its summit.
Within the Méribel-Mottaret valley, La Folie Douce has more or less become an institution on the après scene and is a must visit at least once during your trip. Expect pumping live music, free flowing drinks and dancing on tables. Similarly rowdy is The Ronnie at the Méribel Rond Point while, if you have the appetite to continue into the night, O’Sullivans in Méribel centre will offer up cocktails, clubbing and DJ events.
If you’re looking to get away in the summer, but are feeling guilty for taking time off from studies and want to build up more experience, why not try taking up an international summer school course? See another country, meet great people, learn new things, and come away not just with amazing memories but a valuable qualification to boot!
One of the best places for this is Geneva, which not only offers high-quality courses – it’s ranked as one of the top 20 universities in Europe – but also has brilliant opportunities to get out among its dramatic Alpine landscapes and lakes. This is the home of skiing, water-sports and woodland hiking, and that’s not to mention the local nightlife, which, like the mountains, is on top of the world. Interested? Here’s why you should be!
The Study Part
First you need to find your course. There are plenty of short courses available in a variety of fields, all taught in English, and offering an international perspective on interdisciplinary subjects. Geneva offers a particularly strong range of modules on law, such as International Humanitarian Law, Global Health and Human Rights, and in Sustainable Development. Study doesn’t just consist of attending academic lectures, but also round table discussions and debates with experts from leading worldwide institutions based in the city.
It’s not just the lecturers, however, who are worth hearing from, but your fellow course-mates. Geneva is a great melting pot of cultures and an international hub, of which the university is a central part. Taking up a summer school course means you’re perfectly placed for meeting new like-minded people and building friendships not just for a month, but for life.