© Gemma Hunt
Why not fill your backpack with a baguette, some local cheese and a saucisson and find yourself a picnic spot with a view?
If you want to save some pennies on your ski holiday instead of splashing out on lunch at a mountain restaurant, the Belleville valley boasts many locations for a picnic, here’s our top ten...
This picnic spot can be accessed by skiers and non-skiers alike without venturing too far. There are picnic benches just to the left of the Roc 1 lift in Les Menuires, near the sledging track. The views are amazing and if you run out of provisions the terrace of Chalet de Neige is close by with deckchairs to have coffee and a post-picnic snooze!
At the top of the Masse 1 lift is a great picnic spot with views right down the valley past St Martin up to Val Thorens. You will see the picnic tables as you pass over in the lift and this spot can be accessed by skiers and non-skiers with a pietons pass. Being at a lower altitude than the second section of Masse 2 you also catch more sun with warmer temperatures than right at the top.
St Martin 2
Further down the valley in St Martin de Belleville head up on the St Martin 2 lift to the have your picnic overlooking the Meribel valley. This is a popular spot so make sure you get there early to bag your table. On a sunny day it’s a good place to top up your tan and again can be accessed by both skiers and non-skiers with a walkers pass (two lifts needed).
If you're looking for a good central meeting point in the Three Valleys for a snack stop then at the top of the Granges lift out of St Martin is really convenient. They have picnic tables at the side and this is the top point for the Granges lift from St Martin, Roc 2 lift from Les Menuires and Pas du Lac 2 from Meribel Mottaret. It’s good for large groups as there is plenty of space around and afterwards there are four ski routes to choose from for your descent.
A great spot, particularly later in the season is Plan d’eau which is right at the base of Les Menuires next to the La Masse sector. This is mainly an area for walkers and cross country skiers but also accessed on skis with a short walk. There is parking close by and if the snow has melted there is a good area for a game of petanque too. There are several tables to choose from along with free standing bbqs’ to grill up a feast.
If you fancy a more lively picnic spot then head to the popular area just under the Plein Sud lift in Val Thorens next to La Folie Douce. This area is close enough to take in the live music without the hustle and bustle of the bar. This is a popular spot so reserve your snow area early on!
Over in the Orelle valley there are no official picnic spots, however there are many rocks with a view to settle down on. Whilst you are skiing around you will see people who have already grabbed the good spots, so find your view and settle down for your ski refuel.
At the top of the Peclet lift in Val Thorens you have a great view right back down to the resort for a picnic stop-off. After your picnic there is also the choice to either ski down, take the lift back down or sledge down from 3000m!
At 3200m this picnic spot can be a bit windy and chilly so check the conditions beforehand. It's well worth it though as here you have views right over to Italy and a 360 degree panorama view of the mountains.
If the weather turns snowy and you still want to picnic then head to the heated picnic rooms at either the Cairn lift in Val Thorens or La Masse 1 in Les Menuires. They have been well refurbished with drinks machines, wifi and tablets if you need to re-load your ski pass.
Wherever you go don't forget to put your rubbish in the bin or take it with you!