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Brides-les-Bains, France

This charming old spa town below Méribel in France's Three Valleys has more to offer than hot steam.

Brides-les-Bains is not just a spa town; it is also a ski resort. Located right next to the La Vanoise Nature Park, at an altitude of 600m, Brides-les-Bains has all the charm of an authentic Savoy mountain village, to complement its unique qualities.
It was 'the Olympic Village' and home to the athletes participating in the 1992 Winter Olympics. You get the 'real small town' feel when you arrive at Brides-les-Bains and this greatly contrasts with the internationally better known resorts up the mountain which include arguably France's choicest resort Courchevel, Europe's highest major resort Val Thorens and Europe's ugliest resort - Les Menuires. One thing is certain though; it also offers better value for accommodations than the altitude resorts and is quieter in the evenings, although it is the main administrative and shopping centre of the Valley.

The ski car that connects Brides-les-Bains to the 3 valleys

It was 'the Olympic Village' and home to the athletes participating in the 1992 Winter Olympics. You get the 'real small town' feel when you arrive at Brides-les-Bains and this greatly contrasts with the internationally better known resorts up the mountain which include arguably France's choicest resort Courchevel, Europe's highest major resort Val Thorens and Europe's ugliest resort - Les Menuires.

One thing is certain though; it also offers better value for accommodation than the altitude resorts and is quieter in the evenings, although it is the main administrative and shopping centre of the Valley. A ski car seamlessly connects Brides-les-Bains to the Trois Vallées where qualified ski instructors are ready to teach skiers of all ages and levels. The unique quality of the resort is the slimming spa status the town holds. This dates back to the last century and continues to be a second string to its

Children at the Ski School

tourism bow, with the emphasis today on health and weight loss. The thermal resort at Thermes d'Orsi employs specialists and professionals including doctors, masseurs, dieticians and psychologists who can work out special weight loss and fitness programs, often involving a pleasurable dip in the 36 Celsius thermal pool at Salins, a hydro massage and a visit to the mud bath.

 

It is a peaceful, quiet countryside that hasn’t been spoiled and remains simple and accessible where you can gaze in awe at the lakes and villages. From Lake Bourget to Lake Annecy, from Mont-blanc to la Vanoise, passing through Les Bauges Regional Nature Park on the way, and historic capitals such as Chambéry or even Turin. At the same time the town folks have managed to instill some nightlife into the town.

Nightlife in the resort is generally quiet and limited to hotel bars and a few other small establishments in addition to a cinema and two discotheques. If they wish, guests can choose to stay up the mountain at Meribel after skiing for a `full-on` action packed evening. However the casino at Brides Les Bains casino draws guests back down the mountain to play roulette, black jack or the games machines.

The Casino at Brides-les-Bains
The resort also stages classical, jazz and rock concerts as well as exhibitions and other entertainments at regular intervals.
Lake and Mountain view at Brides-les-Bains

Located in the very heart of the Vallée de Tarentaise, this outstanding Alpine village has managed to keep intact the charm of a modestly sized resort with a friendly atmosphere. In summer and winter alike, you can enjoy mountain activities as well as slipping into your bathrobe in a cutting-edge spa centre.

Brides-les-Bains is the only resort in France where there’s truly something for everybody and for all tastes, from the most sporting to the most thought-provoking. And these surroundings will play a large role in ensuring the success of your slimming course, if like me you need one!

The Hammam Steam room at the Spa

How to get there
Nearest airports are Geneva and Lyon. However you can also travel by the ski train.

A winter weekend in Tallinn, Estonia

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Executive Traveller 2003