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Summer News 2022 from the Belleville Valley

Located between 1,200 and 3,200 meters above sea level, the Vallée des Belleville with its flower filled meadows rises up to snow-capped peaks, from the authentic village of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville to the lakes of Les Menuires, the green meadows give way to the blue colours of the glaciers and the peaks of Val Thorens.  

Discover these three unique and contrasting areas via the free shuttle buses and lifts accessible to all, making trips between each resort extremely easy. Explore the valley by its many trail paths or by a mountain bike – find the secret valleys of Deux Nants and Les Encombres or discover the Belleville traditions.

New La Masse lift

The new Pointe de la Masse cable car is 3,318m long and covers a height gain of 1,050m at a speed of 7m/s or more than 25km/h. It is one of the longest in the Vallée des Belleville, but also one of the fastest in France and only the second one of its kind in the country. Hikers can go up to the top in less than 8 minutes and enjoy incredible views and hikes. Open from 9th July 2022

New eMTB bike track – ‘Via 3 Vallees’

This new cycling track is 34 km long and is asphalted from Courchevel to Val Thorens, passing by Méribel and Les Menuires. It’s both accessible to families on electric bikes and other riders on normal mountain bikes. It is dedicated to cyclists and stays away from hiking paths. One section is still to be completed, this new track opens for summer 2022 for bikers to experience the ‘Via 3 Vallees’. The whole valley offers 260km of bike tracks, with a new training area at La Croisette, ‘The Ludizone’ in Les Menuires.

Explore Vallee des Encombres

Relatively unknown, the Vallée des Encombres is accessible by mountain bike or on foot solo or with a guide.  When leaving Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, head towards the Châtelard hamlet, with its tiny, winding alleys and renovated chalets. Stop at the Gittamelon refuge in the hamlet at 1700m, this family chalet turned refuge is one of the last private refuges in the Alps.  A typical mountain hut, it sleeps 18 and belonged to the grand-parents of Marc Jay, the current guardian who has run it along with his wife Anne-Sophie since 1993.  The last ascent leads to the summit of the Col des Encombres at 2,325m with 360° views of the Ecrins massif and the high summits of the Vanoise National Park. 

Tarentaise Baroque Music Festival at La Bouitte in Saint Martin de Belleville

La Bouitte – a 3 Michelin star Belleville restaurant, hosts the 31st edition of the Tarentaise Baroque Music Festival. The Vallée des Belleville is a hotspot for alpine baroque architecture – with 36 chapels and churches -enjoy a Michelin-starred dinner accompanied by music performed by soprano, Maria Cristina Kiehr, and harpsichordist Jean-Marc Aymes from Concerto Soave.  Chefs René and Maxime Meilleur have a great rapport with the musicians who will taste each dish a few minutes before the guests, and then play music which takes into account the emotions that the food evokes. It is a true musical, culinary and wine focused experience. 

Glacier hike and the Three Lakes circuit

From the top of the new La Masse lift, after a fast eight minute ascent to 2,804m enjoy a 3hr 30 descent, via the Three Lakes Circuit taking in the Longet Lake, Black Lake and Crintalia Lake. From the heart of the Vallée des Belleville, you are surrounded by majestic alpine peaks that are reflected in roughly 15 mountain lakes spread out in this exceptional area.  Enjoy breathtaking scenery in the Lou Valley. Or take a guided day walk above Val Thorens to the Chavière glacier.

Kilbert Silvestre and the Black Honey Bee

Born in the Vallée des Belleville, Kilbert is a mountain guide and ski patrol member in winter and has been a beekeeper in La Biellaz since 2006. His grandparents already had beehives in Saint Marcel when he was just a boy, so the interest came naturally. He has been fighting to protect the black bee in Savoie. It is now threatened by hybridisation waves, a phenomenon that makes bees more fragile and less resistant. He also owns a hundred production beehives in the Vallée des Belleville and participates in a project to breed queens which allows him to give local beekeepers in the valley an isolated strain of black bees.  The beehives are kept with respect to the bee’s life, so the honey is harvested with care and sold in shops of the actual producers and in local Vallée des Belleville markets. You can visit his “honey house” in la Biellaz with the Bureau des Guides.

Key Diary Dates:

  • Every Monday: Solar workshops at the top of the Cime du Caron at 3200m
  • 1-3 July 2022: Ultra Cycling Tour de la Vanoise – Team or solo long distance cycling event
  • 16 July 2022: Craft Beer Festival, Saint Martin de Belleville
  • 28 July 2022: Dinner & Concert at La Bouitte, Saint Martin de Belleville
  • 30 July & 20 August The Tougnete Climb – depart Croisette @1800m to bike to 2304m
  • 5-7 August 2022: Val Tho Summit Games: Trail Running for all ages, Val Thorens

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