From the village of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville to the high ridges of Val Thorens and to the crystal-clear waters of Les Menuires, never has there been a better time to discover the flower laden mountain pastures and snow-capped peaks of the Vallée des Belleville, in the French Alps.
ALPINE SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS 2023
NEW SOAP BOX CHALLENGE – ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, GO!
Amateur racers go head-to-head – handmade, motor-less vehicles, judged for their aesthetic, speed and handling, careering down mountain roads and paths – a feast for the eyes awaits! With three soap box races to enjoy this summer, soak up the atmosphere at these three locations:
02 July – Saint Martin de Belleville
14 July – Les Menuires
13 August – Val Thorens
Entry: €20 for one race or €50 for all three
MAGICAL “LE NANT BRUN” REFUGE OPENS ITS DOORS
Located in the heart of the charming Nant Brun Valley, lies a namesake refuge hideaway at 1,500m. Closed for four years, two friends have renovated this labour of love into an unmistakable bolthole. Stay the night or drop by to wine and dine, during a day of trail hiking or biking.
NEW HIGALIK 4* HOTEL OPENS IN LES MENUIRES – PERFECT FOR GOURMETS
The new state of the art Hotel Higalik “ice house” in Les Menuires wows guests with a vast spa complex, set against commanding views over the breath-taking peaks. Le Telemark restaurant serves selected cheese specialities and a refined brasserie menu. Arranged over 10 floors, this Alpine jewel blends modernity and traditional wooden design harmoniously into the landscape and opens for it’s first summer in Les Menuires.
Double rooms from €100 per night: www.higalik-hotel.com/en
NEW “HAMEAU DE KASHMIR” RESIDENCE, VAL THORENS – PERFECT FOR FAMILIES
This summer sees the opening of the luxurious Hameau de Kamir Residence on 8th July. Inspired by the colours of the Kashmir region, this family focussed apartment hotel of unsurpassed luxury invites guests to relax and unwind in the pool, sauna and spa, with unparalleled views of the surrounding spectacular mountain range of Val Thorens.
Namaste! Hameau de Kashmir are hosting “Altitude Yoga” sessions on the terrace each Tuesday morning or Thursday afternoon for 15 euros per session.
NEW UNIQUE BRAVA VELA MICROBREWERY AT 1,400M
Bellville’s first microbrewery tempts visitors from across the globe in Le Chatelard. Housed within a former goat farm, owners *Julien and Sophie proudly showcase their collection, from “La Masse” (brown beer), “La Belleville” (a golden, light blonde version) to Le Thorens (pale ale with citrus notes). The niche “Brava Vela” brewery began life with Julien creating ales using his mother’s old cooking pot. With 97% of all ingredients being locally sourced, this microbrewery is making a name for itself on the world brewer’s map.
NEW CRAFT BEER FEST, ST MARTIN DE BELLEVILLE 15-16 July
Sample the delights of Brava Vela* and a host of other local producers at the Craft Beer Festival in St. Martin de Belleville from 15 – 16 July, with workshops, demonstrations, tastings and a competition to discover the finest craft beer.
RAILS, SKILLS AND BIKING TRICKS FOR HIGH KICKS
Tots, tweens and teens will thrive this summer in the natural bike park at La Croisette, modelled on terrain found in the mountains. This mini bike park consists of 4 trail levels (green, blue, red and black). Dedicated to beginners, the park features moguls, arches and small jumps to build confidence and speed with ease.
Meanwhile, a new skate park has opened in Preyerand. Free and open to all, this high alpine delight at 1,800m features steps, rails, slides and pyramids for high kicks.
SAVE THE DATE:
18-20 August: MOUNTAIN BIKE FRENCH CUP
Les Menuires plays host to the Mountain Bike French Cup this summer from 18 – 20 August. The best French cross-country and downhill riders meet to battle it out across technical and dramatic terrain.
9-10th September FRENCH RIVER TROUT FISHING CHAMPS
Les Menuires and the Belleville Valley are set to host the French River Trout Fishing Championships from 9 – 10 September. Fishing enthusiasts from across France work in pairs to battle it out for the highest catch of the day. All fish are released at the end of the competition and hooks are barbless.
3* MICHELIN-STARRED DINNER CONCERT AT LA BOUITTE
Take a seat for the evening of a lifetime on 27 July, where guests are indulged with a 3* Michelin starred tasting and wine pairing menu, to the unsurpassed musical charm of world-renowned Cellist Ophelie Gaillard.
Tickets from: €390, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PROFILE OF AN ENTHUSIAST:
HIVE OF ACTIVITY – KELLY DUQUEINE
Having spent 12 years working as a beekeeper for an industrial conglomerate, Kelly returned to the traditional side of the profession in France. Operating closely with the Conservancy, working to safeguard the European dark bee, Kelly is aiming to re-establish the bee’s genetics and ensure its safeguarding in the Belleville Valley.
Every Friday, Kelly offers tours and discovery workshops to raise public awareness for this fragile species.
*HOMEBREW – JULIEN & SOPHIE
Julien, a former restaurateur and Sophie, a former scientist, joined forces to embark on a brewing love story. Julien has been brewing his own ales for 10 years in his cellar with his mother’s old cooking pot. Turning this project into reality, following training courses to hone their skills, the goal is to combine art and science to create high quality, memorable brews.
The launch of Brava Vela is the culmination of beers brewed with love at 1,400m.
HIGH ALTITUDE ICE CREAM– MARTIAL VUILLEMIN
Chef Martial Vuillemin creates homemade, local and ethical ice creams and sorbets, with full control over all aspects of traceability. The cows graze on luscious pasture at 2,000m and the milk is churned into sumptuous scoops without any use of pesticides, colouring or artificial flavouring. Martial’s latest mission is to develop savoury sorbet recipes using herbs from the doorstep.