A fabulous retreat for non-skiers too, St. Martin is at its picture-perfect best on a crisp blue-sky morning following a night of steady snowfall. The picturesque village has only had a ski lift since 2003, which means St. Martin retains its authentic Savoyard character. As well as chic chalets and company 4x4s, don’t be surprised to see farm trucks and tractors – in summertime the pistes are lush pastures for our local cow population!
The emblematic 17th Century baroque church is at the heart of St Martin- and indeed the whole Belleville Valley – life. The spectacular Notre Dame de la Vie chapel sits just above the village and you can visit daily to see the splendid interior which has just opened after 3 years of renovation work. At the village’s museum, you can uncover the history of St Martin from its Neolithic beginnings to today, via the arrival of electricity in 1953 and the connection with Les Menuires and Val Thorens as a ski area.
A multitude of walking routes are suitable for non-skiers (and those who would enjoy a closer look at the scenery) and don’t require snowshoes, although these add an element of fun to a walk! Maps are available in your chalet or join a guided walk with a local guide, available daily.
It’s also possible to use St. Martin’s ski lifts with a ‘pieton’ pass, which enables those on foot to meet up with skiers in the mountain restaurants as well as seeing the incredible views from the tops of the mountains.
Husky sledding and spa indulgence
Other activities include the popular husky sledding (N.B. this must be booked in advance!) which is a magical way to view our beautiful valley. You could also try cross-country skiing, renowned for being the very best way to get aerobic exercise (although you can enjoy a slower pace if you prefer!). On Tuesdays you can join in with a yoga class, and for sheer indulgence you must visit the spa at La Bouitte (even better if you combine it with lunch in the 3 Michelin star restaurant).
For children (and big kids!), the sledging possibilities are endless. Whether it’s a ‘bum board’ on the St Martin nursery slopes or the dedicated Roc’n’Bob toboggan course which stretches for an incredible 4km (helmets and gloves essential!) we have tobogganing covered. Afterwards retire to one of St Martin’s many bars and restaurants for a restorative coffee or vin chaud.
The Sports Centre at Les Menuires, 8km up the valley and offers a swimming pool, spa area, gym and badminton and squash courts. There are also fitness classes available.