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Ski resort of Savoie (commune of Belleville)

Population: 300. 3,525 in the town of Les Belleville

Personalities: Pierre Josserand (pioneer of Val Thorens), Jean Béranger (former high-level skier, former president of the French Ski Federation), Christine Goitschel (gold medal in slalom at the 1964 Olympic Games), Marielle Goitschel (Olympic gold medallist in 1964 and 1968), Adrien Théaux (bronze medalist at the Super-G world championships, 3 downhill wins), Julien Chorier (ultra-trail), Serge Betsen (rugby, Val Thorens ambassador), Thierry Bourguignon (cycling), Florian Hudry (cycling)

Specialties: rissoles and serac cheese from Pepe Nicolas (bread with thick crust), Beaufort, goat cheese Tomme and sheep, blueberry tart valthorinoises, sweet farçon (applesauce), Génépi.

Sport: World capital of ski cross for a decade, organization of two World Cups per season. Three permanent trail runs. Training ground for many international teams including the Chinese federation from 2019 to 2022. Events: Val Tho Summit Games (August, trail), Andros Trophy (December, car races on ice). Cycling club: An FFC club with youth coaching - 2 road bike clubs in Les Menuires and Val Thorens.

Economy: the first winter sports district in the world thanks to three resorts located in the same town: 55,275 tourist beds.

Festivals: Val Thorens Jazz Festival (April, 2nd edition), Baroque Music Festival at Saint-Martin de Belleville, August 15th Festival.

Websites / Social networks: / @Val_Tho #valthorens

The best ski resort in the world

Val Thorens was voted best ski resort in the world for the fifth time in November 2018, a distinction received at the World Ski Awards held in Kitzbühel. With 1.8 million votes, it beat other world famous resorts like Kitzbühel or Verbier. Val Thorens was also voted best French resort for the sixth time in a row.

A pioneer in innovation and customer service, Val Thorens offers new experiences every year in the ski area, new places to live, accommodation and restaurants. The resort plans to further improve its offer with new projects expected to be completed by 2025.

The construction of a new sports and cultural center should be completed for the winter of 2021. Eventually it will be available in any season for any type of event: concert, Christmas village, ice rink, outdoor cinema ...

Val Thorens aims to bring a unique and remarkable experience of the high mountains on Cime Caron. Pedestrians and skiers will be able to enjoy outstanding services and activities at 3,200 meters above sea level.

© CC-BY-SA 4.0
© T.Loubere / Office de tourisme Val Thorens

The Tour de France already climbed to the top of the highest ski resort in Europe in 1994. At the end of an eventful stage, Colombian Nelson Rodriguez outsprinted breakaway companion Piotr Urgumov of Latvia. The long climb to Val Thorens claimed a heavy toll as 68 riders missed the time cut before being allowed back in contention. Nelson Rodriguez, aka "Cacaïto", never repeated his success in the Tarentaise resort and the year 1994, when he took 6th place in the Giro, remains by far his best.


Visit of the villages and museum of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville
Saint Martin de Belleville and its villages are home to an important rural heritage, witness of the traditional life of the past. Chapels, bread ovens, ponds and "montagnettes" (chalets) are there to admire for lovers of history and tradition. To discover the history and the hidden treasures of the Valley, village guided tours by locals are available during the summer.

The mill of Burdin
It is a perfectly preserved testimony of agro-pastoral activity in the Belleville Valley, which has up to 9 mills. Designed to grind crops of rye, barley or oats grown by locals, it is a water mill typical of mountain areas, activated by a system of horizontal wheels, called "finned" wheels. An exhibition on the site proposes a historical and technical approach to the mills and traces the different stages from grain to bread.

Chemins du Baroque
Les Chemins du Baroque takes visitors on a tour of the Savoyard Baroque heritage and the life of the mountain communities of the time. Savoyard Baroque art iwas masterfully expressed in the s17th and 18th centuries, in religious buildings, which receive frescoes and richly decorated furniture and altarpieces.

The Brelin building
Located in Les Ménuires, this "liner" of the 1970s, is labelled 20th century heritage. With the whiteness of its lines and its beautiful grey slates, it is listed as an example of mountain architecture of the 1970s. The whole complex, which includes 563 studios and a hotel residence, is heated with electricity: central heating provided by resistors incorporated in the slabs to fight mountain pollution.

© CC BY-SA 3.0 / Raphodon
Chemin baroque - Église Saint Martin © G.Lansard
© Robin S. Kersbergen / CC BY 3.0

Smoked rack of lamb, roasted in cast iron casserole, light infusion of lemon thyme

Born in Val-Thorens, Edouard Loubet settled in Bonnieux, in the Luberon, where he proposes a natural cuisine based on simplicity. Here is his recipe of rack of lamb.

2 squares of lamb 9 ribs, 1 teaspoon of butter, 1 teaspoon of oil, salt & pepper

For the sauce
1 carrot, 1 onion, ¼ leek, 2 tablespoons sugar, potato starch, 2 bunches of lemon thyme, 4 sprigs of rosemary, 50 cl of red wine, trimmings of squares, salt.

Preparing the meat and cooking
Clean the squares by removing the meat between the ribs (remove the bone from the spine if there is any). Preserve the ornaments for the background. Heat a pan with a spoon of butter and a spoon of oil. Salt and pepper the lamb on both sides. Wait until the butter is hot enough to put the lamb in it. Stain for 2 minutes on both sides and bake at 250 ° C for 7 minutes (the lamb should be between raw and rare). Remove the squares and remove the fat from the pan.

Preparing the sauce
Make a lamb background. Sear the lamb pieces together with the onion, leek and diced carrot. Leave to taste well and deglaze with red wine. Wet with 2l of water and simmer for 2 hours, then get rid of the sauce by using a Chinois colander. 

Finishing of the sauce
Put 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3 stems of rosemary and 3 thyme to caramelise in the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of chicken broth. Deglaze the pan with the bottom and tie this to the potato starch. Strain the sauce with a colander and put 1 sprig of thyme and rosemary to infuse in it.

Pare the lamb by removing the dry edges on the square. Cut small ribs (5 per person) and put them "on horseback" in a circle on a plate. Heat under the salamander, cover the meat with the sauce and put a bouquet of thyme in decoration.

Rack of Lamb with Garlic, Rosemary and Peppercorns in a Cast Iron Skillet- Photographed on Hasselblad H3D2-39mb Camera © LauriPatterson / iStock / Getty Images Plus
© T.Loubere / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
© DR / Val Thorens
© C.Ducruet / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
© T.Loubere / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
© T.Loubere / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
© A.Bourgoin / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
© T.Loubere / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
© T.Loubere / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
© T.Loubere / Office de tourisme Val Thorens
La station, Val Thorens © GettyImages

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