Best for charm and romance
French resorts major on convenience rather than charm, so attractive villages with large ski areas are notable by their absence. St Martin, the prettiest and quietest destination in the giant Trois Vallées ski area, is an exception.
An old cheese-making centre below better known Les Menuires in the Belleville Valley, St Martin has raised its traditionally sleepy profile in recent years. It offers a radically different experience from neighbouring Trois Vallées resorts and will bore the pants off party animals – but that’s how its growing band of fans likes it.
A fast gondola and a chair take you up to the ridge above the Belleville and Les Allues valleys. From there you can head over to Méribel, Les Menuires and the rest of the Trois Vallées, or coast back down the local red and blue runs to St Martin.
In the village, modern architecture respects the old farmhouses and 17th-century church. La Bouitte in the adjoining hamlet of St Marcel has two Michelin stars.