Skiing in La Tania: The best-kept secret in Les 3 Vallees, France | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog

Skiing in La Tania: The best-kept secret in Les 3 Vallées

At the heart of the Three Valleys, or Les 3 Vallées as the locals call it, is the village of La Tania. This relatively unknown resort is perfectly located if you want to explore the world’s largest ski area, and comes with a smaller price-tag than you might expect. Discover why I fell in love with this village, as well as tips for planning and enjoying your stay here, in my ski guide to La Tania.

Les 3 Vallées, or the Three Valleys as it’s sometimes known, is the stuff of legends. Situated in the Savoie region of France, it’s home to three world-class resorts, more than 600km of interlinked piste and high-altitude, snowsure runs. It’s one of the most desirable ski areas in the Alps, and for good reason.

I fell in love with the Three Valleys seven years on a trip to Val Thorens. I remember arriving at our chalet after a long journey and an early start. Stepping out onto our balcony, the most incredible ski area seemed to open out before me. Brilliant blue skies, wide inviting pistes and endless possibilities. As a novice skier finding my feet beyond ski school for the first time, it was heaven.

Fast forward to autumn 2018, and we’re planning our forthcoming winter ski trip. By chance, a couple of great options appeared for the Three Valleys. It didn’t take much thinking. With many more ski miles under our feet, it felt like time to head back and really give this resort a proper go. We’d only scratched the surface of this vast area on our previous trip, so this time we wanted to really exercise our lift passes.

La Tania fit the bill perfectly, and we booked our trip in a flash. The village sits equidistant between the bright lights of Courchevel and Meribel, with easy on-piste connections to both. And even Steady Eddies like ourselves can comfortably ski across to Les Menuires and Val Thorens in little more than an hour and a half.

In this post I’m sharing why I think La Tania is a great base for your stay in Les 3 Vallées. Plus, I’ve a few recommendations for where to stay, ski, eat and drink in this surprising little village.

Planning a trip to the Alps? Check out my complete guide to what to pack for your ski trip (and download the packing list).

Courchevel from Col de la Loze in La Tania, the Three Valleys, France | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog

Why choose La Tania

The location

Hidden in plain sight between Courchevel and Meribel, you’re no more than two runs from these popular and prestigious resorts. Being closer to the centre of Les 3 Vallées than Courchevel 1650 or Val Thorens, it’s also easier to access the whole of the ski area. Whilst the village is only at 1400m, there’s fast access to the higher slopes. Plus, you’re nestled amongst the beautiful pine forest that sits below the tree line, so it’s there’s plenty ofall pretty picturesque.

It’s great value

Let’s be honest. Courchevel and Meribel attract the jet-set, and prices here reflect this. This isn’t a cheap part of the world to stay and ski. La Tania however offers a huge selection of suprisingly budget-friendly, comfortable apartments that come without the luxury price tags you’ll find just across the mountain.

It’s quiet, but not too quiet

This isn’t a party capital. If you’re planning on late nights out rather than early mornings on the piste, you might enjoy the bright lights of St. Anton or even Mayrhofen more. But that’s not to say this is a sleepy town. There’s a handful of good bars hosting après, live music and regular events.

It’s got everything you need

For a small resort, La Tania is impressively well appointed. Aside from a good choice of hotels, apartments and chalets, there are attractive restaurants, cafes and useful shops at the foot of the piste. There’s even a local boulangerie to satisfy your patisserie cravings.

La Tania village in from Les Grands Bois apartments, the Trois Vallees, France | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog

Why did we choose La Tania?

We were keen to return to the Three Valleys ski area and La Tania met our brief perfectly. Budget-friendly self-catering in a pretty resort with easy access to the ski area. You don’t get much better than this.

Booking well in advance of the season starting, we had a pick of places to stay and were also able to take advantage of buy one, get one free lift passes with British tour operator Crystal. This meant we were able to get our hands on 6 day lift passes for €146 per person, exceptional value for one of the most expensive ski areas in Europe.

The important stuff. Skiing in La Tania

La Tania is part of Les 3 Vallées ski area, but you’ll have a choice of two lift passes.

Intermediate and experienced skiers and boarders will want to opt for the full 3 Vallées pass for the freedom to explore far and wide. But novice skiers and families with smaller children might be happy to opt for the Courchevel Valley pass. This offers access to all the pistes in Courchevel and La Tania – and impressive ski area in itself – without paying for further afield pistes in Meribel and Val Thorens you might not reach.

Check out the 3 Vallées lift pass options on their official website.

Experienced skiers and boarders will have no trouble covering huge distances from La Tania each day. Intermediates, like us, will enjoy being able to ski new pistes daily and should comfortably be able to get over and back to Val Thorens or Les Meniures in a few hours . There’s no risk you’ll get bored skiing here.

Getting onto the mountain is easy thanks to the fast La Tania gondola. It departs from the village centre and was never busy during our stay. A couple of wide runs bring you back into the resort, where many places are ski-in ski-out. We skiied the tree-lined Folyères run most days as it’s a gentle blue (great for tired legs) and was in very good condition during our stay.

View of Mont Blanc from Col de la Loze in La Tania in Les 3 Vallees, France | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog

Where to stay in La Tania

La Tania might be small, but there’s selection of accommodation options to suit most travellers.

  • Apartments. At the heart of the village you’ll find three large apartment complexes – Le Grand Bois, Saboia and Kalinka. They’re purpose-built but newer than many in the French Alps and offer a range of different-sized apartments available through either private hire or tour operators.
  • Hotels. Hotel Montana is the only hotel in town but occupies prime position between the bottom of the Folyères piste and the La Tania lift. It’s worth noting that it’s home to the only pool and spa in the resort, so it’s a good choice if you’d like a little R&R at the end of your ski day.
  • Chalets. The rest of the village is made up of pretty timbered chalets. Many are available for catered chalet stays, with others available for private hire.

We stayed in a studio apartment in Le Grand Bois and, to be honest, we couldn’t fault it. Small but well laid-out, it featured a good size balcony, surprisingly generous bathroom and just enough room for four of us to eat, drink, be merry and sleep. The views from the balcony were spectacular on clear days.

La Tania in the Three Valleys, France, at dusk during th winter | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog

Eating and drinking in La Tania

Just as you’ll find with accommodation, what La Tania lacks in quantity it makes up for with quality.

A cluster of reassuringly affordable restaurants, bars and shops sit in the sun at the bottom of the Troika lift and offer almost everything you could want in a small resort.

For self-caterers

You’re in for a treat in here. Unlike most ski resorts, Courchevel is home to a traditional family-run boulangerie. Au Pain d’Antan is based in Courchevel 1850 but bring their delights daily to their small store in La Tania. Fresh French-style loaves line their shelves, alongside decadent pastries and patisseries. We shopped here daily for breakfast treats and picnic lunch essentials, but you can also pull up a pew at one of their bistro tables if you’d prefer to stop in for a coffee and a croissant.

Just around the corner there’s also a small but well-stocked Sherpa supermarket. The deli counter offers a surprisingly good selection of local cheeses and charcuteries, plus you can hire a raclette here for the evening (if you’re feeling ambitious). Stock up on locally-produced Tomme de Savoie for your lunchtime baguettes.

Light bites

For casual food or a coffee, try Creperie Les Chanterelles or Snow Food at the foot of the piste. Snow Food offer delicious homemade pizzas to take-away or eat on their terrace. It’s a fun and easy option if you’re self-catering like us. Try the cheesy Savoyarde for some local alpine flavours.

Dining out

Les Marmottons and La Ferme are charming little Savoyard-style restaurants that face the piste and serve hearty alpine favourites. But I’d thoroughly recommend taking a few steps further to La Taïga. A pretty little chalet down on the main road, La Taïga serves outstandingly food upstairs in it’s tradtional-style restaurant. Try the tartiflette that’s topped with lashings of local Reblochon cheese, or the astonishingly good seafood salad. Downstairs you’ll find a cosy bar that hosts live music most nights, it’s perfect for a pint at the end of a day on the piste.

We liked it so much we headed here twice, once for dinner and again for après.

Pastries in the window of Au Pain d'Antan boulangerie in La Tania, France | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog
I didn’t take this photo for the blog. It was actually taken so we could choose our pastries without all trekking downstairs at dawn!

So that’s a wrap. Everything you need to know about La Tania. If you’re planning a trip to the Three Valleys, it’s a surprise option that’s well worth considering.

If you’d like to find out more about what we got up to on the piste, I’ll be back very soon with my ski guide to the whole 3 Vallées. Now I just need to stop dreaming about the those pastries, and crack on with my writing…

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Skiing in La Tania: The best-kept secret in Les 3 Vallées, France | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog
Skiing in La Tania: The best-kept secret in Les 3 Vallées, France | Girl with a saddle bag travel blog
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Alice
girlwithasaddlebag@gmail.com
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