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Paris to ??? early April

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thinking (dreaming) of a ski trip with family early April 07. Wife (non-skiing) is in Paris on business late March. Let's say I could meet her there with the kids (ages 13 - 16) and spend a few days on city stuff, then off to the mountains ... any tips where to go and how to get there that time of year?

Other factors:
-- I'd much prefer train to car travel.
-- Kids are all good, experienced skiers. Most are budding powderhounds and prefer expert runs and charge into ungroomed; but one is a little more cautious. So decent groomed options are important.
-- Wife does NOT ski. So an isolated, charmless location with great skiing won't work, no matter how great the skiing.
-- Cost is a factor. Sure I'm talking about taking a family to Europe ... it's going to cost ... but wife's travel is covered and I've got a lot of airline miles banked. Family vacations tend to be renting an apartment or house, so we can save on hotel and restaurants. Can that be done in France (or Switzerland)?

Thanks for any suggestions.
post #2 of 16
Trains are nice but you'll have to buy tickets for everyone, so the car will be cheaper I think. Then you can stay just outside of the resort and save some serious money.

Two towns to look into: Bourg d'Oisans and St Jean d'Maurienne. Both are near Grenoble, not an bad drive from Paris at 160kph.
Neither are ski towns..that makes then cheaper, more charming, and the flowers will be poking up by then.

Both have good high altitude skiing very nearby. From St Jean you take the incredible 45 minute gondola to the top of Val Thorens, clear up to the glacier. From Bourg d'O it is an easy drive to l'Alpe de Huez and not too far from Les Deuz Alpes.

Go to http://www.gites-de-france.fr/eng/index.htm to look for a Gite to rent. These are guest houses and B&B's one can rent quite reasonably.

Three days in Val D'Isere cost us $700. We found a B&B in Bourg d'Oisans for $50 a night, run by a ski guide, with a traditional meal each night, and discount tickets to the local areas.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks newfy, these sound like really good options. High altitude is key I suppose for this late.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog
... an easy drive to l'Alpe de Huez ...
Would that be the same "easy drive" they ride on the Tour de France?
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ts01
Would that be the same "easy drive" they ride on the Tour de France?
The one and only! It has been done in 37 minutes on a bike, so it actually is pretty easy in a car. Each switchback has the name of a cyclist who won that stage. I was there for the first American victory, Andy Hampsten in '91 or something.

Send me a PM if you want hotel names, ski reports etc.
post #5 of 16
Get an overnight train from Paris to Bourg St Maurice, or Moutiers. From Moutiers it is a 45 minute bus ride to Val Thorens - less to other resorts lower down the valley.

Early April isn't really late. I was skiing in VT in the last week of April, and it was still well covered with snow.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wear The Fox Hat
Get an overnight train from Paris to Bourg St Maurice, or Moutiers. From Moutiers it is a 45 minute bus ride to Val Thorens - less to other resorts lower down the valley.

Early April isn't really late. I was skiing in VT in the last week of April, and it was still well covered with snow.
Moutiers is another nice town which fits my strategy. Our room in Moutiers cost the same as a parking place and a round of beers in Courcheval. Moutiers is a nice old town with a kayak slalom right through the center of it.
post #7 of 16

misunderstanding.....?

"wed" ....in early April...no:

:
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
HaveSkis -- don't understand your misunderstanding ...

Newfy, Fox -- thanks. These places look incredible. I can't believe the size of these places. Now lets see if I can convert June daydreaming into April (or anytime) reality ...
post #9 of 16
Here's the place we found in Bourg d'Ossans. Eric and Pauline were so nice thet deserve a plug here. They are a short walk from town on an idylic little farm, with several nice little lodges.

http://www.likhom.com/site_adherent....code=RA3806003
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Newfy.
post #11 of 16
Don't stay in Moutiers.. You're going to commute for 1.5 hours to get up the hill. 1 hour on a good day. At least in Bourg you can grab the funicular up to les arcs. Early april is hit or miss in that area. Very likely that it's 10 degrees c. Also very likely that you'll find the deepest pow of your life. No worries about snow cover though.. there will still be meters of snow. 3 Valleys is amazing. I'd recommend staying in les menuires. It's more of a family oriented spot whereas val thorens is more full of crazy 20 year old dutch. Meribel is too English and Courchevel is too ritsy. Plus you have the best access to terrain. Not to worry for the non-skiier; there's tons of shopping, snowshoeing, gyms, skating, cafes rides up the lifts, excellent pubs, and whatever else in any of those resorts.

If you go to the three valley's, go from cime de caron down the back side to lac du lou; it's the best most easily accessible off piste I've ever skiied. There are 20 routes down there that are all untouched after 2 weeks without a flake.

How many days are you going to stay/ski? If you're looking at a full week you can probably find a great chalet to stay in somewhat cheaply. (probably $1800 US for 4 people for a week.) That would include meals and drinking as much wine as you can handle.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Srozing
Don't stay in Moutiers.. You're going to commute for 1.5 hours to get up the hill. 1 hour on a good day. .
Sroz my friend are you traveling by bike? Propaganda from their website:


Resort transfers from Moutiers Station

Courchevel 35 minutes
Les Menuires from 35 minutes
Meribel from 15 minutes
Val Thorens from 30 minutes


Public transfers from Moutiers Station

The Altibus service runs to and from 60 train stations to the French Alps. For more information and booking please visit www.altibus.com

Private transfers from Moutiers Station

3 Valleys Transfers offer a comprehensive 24/7 reliable service incorporating Eurostar rendezvous at Moutiers from just £7.50 per person.

For more details and booking, please visit www.3vt.co.uk or call +44 (0) 1782 644420.

Humbert taxi offer services to and from the station. For more information and booking please visit www.taxi-humbert.com or call +33(0) 479 24 22 30

Where is Moutiers?


Situated in the northern Alps in Savoie at an altitude of 482m, Moutiers is 610 km from Paris, 830 km from Lille, 180 km from Lyon and 120 km from Geneva.

Moutiers lies at the heart of the large winter ski-resorts and is 16 km from Valmorel, 18 km from Meribel and Champagny-en-Vanoise, 25 km from Courchevel, 20 km from La Tania and St Martin de Belleville, 25 km from Les Menuires, 28 km from Pralognan-en-Vanoise and 30 km from Val Thorens.
post #13 of 16
I've driven (well within the speed limit) from Moutiers to Val Thorens (the furthest up the valley) in about 45 minutes on a busy Saturday.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. Oddly my wife is less into this than I am so I doubt it's happening next year. But someday ...
post #15 of 16
Honestly, for a non-skiing spouse all suggestions so far aren't exactly appealing except she is at least into hiking o.e. The villages down in the French valleys ensure major boredom.

Maybe it's better to ride the train all down to the Cote D'Azur (Nice, Cannes), lodge there and do day trips to Isola, Valberg or Auron (2hrs drive each). So the spouse could spend the day on the beach or stroll around the pricey boutiques to spend your cash while you hit the slopes.
Else for the purpose you are looking for the greater Zurich or Innsbruck area fit the bill better but it's not France - the train ride is longer in exchange for good shuttle service on site into surrounding ski areas.

Only skiing places with entertainment for non-skiers are St. Moritz or Davos - both very pricey.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by PowHog
Only skiing places with entertainment for non-skiers are St. Moritz or Davos - both very pricey.
Wengen as well - with ice skating, curling...
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