Leaving the many New Year parties and even more best intended resolutions behind us, we are ready for a new adventure! Let’s go explore the two largest ski areas in the world: Les 3 Vallées and Portes du Soleil. Because of our limited time we decided to take a flight from Brussels to Geneva International Airport (1h flight) and rent a car to explore the French Alps. First stop: Portes du Soleil, a 1.5 hour scenic drive from Geneva Airport in our Renault Captur. A car with plenty of space for our luggage and yet compact enough to hit the snowy mountain roads.
Our first discovery was Morzine, right in the heart of Portes Du Soleil. This authentic Alpine town is located at only a 1.5-hour drive from Geneva and easily reachable. We drove along the smaller roads in order to enjoy the beautiful landscapes. A useful tip: you can avoid the Swiss motorway vignette by taking local roads. That’s an extra € 40 that you can spend on local food & wine. The biggest advantage of renting a car is obviously that you win quite some time but also that you can stop wherever you want for a picknick and some drinks! A local supermarket satisfied our hunger and quenched our thirst.
Our second destination, Saint-Martin-De-Belleville in Les 3 Vallées, was awaiting us. Although it had started snowing the night before, we still opted for the mountain roads instead of the highway. Make sure your car is fully equipped with snow tires! The higher we drove into the mountains, the more amazing the views! I just couldn’t stop staring out of the window and gaze at the endless valleys with snow-covered trees and villages.
After a 3-hours drive, we finally arrived at Saint-Martin-De-Belleville, a charming village off the main track in Les 3 Vallées. Les 3 Vallées is known as the largest ski area in the world and the best ski resort in Europe for a French Alps holiday. It encompasses 3 valleys and 8 ski resorts. The largest valley in the ski area is the Belleville valley, which is home to three resorts: St-Martin-de-Belleville (1400 meters), Les Menuires (1850 meters) and Val Thorens (2300 meters). Did you know that Saint-Martin-De-Belleville has been awarded Gastronomic Resort in 2016?
All good things come to an end, and so did our adventure in the French Alps. We took the highway back to Geneva Cointrin International Airport and delivered our car before flying back home (tip of the day: hand in your car with a full fuel tank, fill up your tank right before the airport and don’t count too much on the accuracy of the fuel flow meter!).
When we are abroad, we always rent our car through Sunny Cars: they offer great service before, during and after our adventures. You can also find useful tips on their blog (in Dutch): https://blog.sunnycars.be.
So why fly to Geneva and rent a car to discover the French Alps? Here are some useful tips:
- It’s not more expensive than driving through France and pay toll (if you come from Belgium)
- It’s a lot faster (3.5 hours door-to-door from Brussels to Portes du Soleil)
- You’ll be less exhausted
- Avoid toll roads in Switzerland and take local roads, you get a beautiful scenery in return and you save € 40
- Choose a reliable all-inclusive partner like SunnyCars
- Make sure your rental car is equipped with snow tires
- Hand in your car with a full fuel tank (don’t count too much on the accuracy of the fuel flow meter)
- Choose the right side of Geneva Airport (there is a Swiss & French side), it will cost you about € 120 if you deliver the car at the wrong side.