St Martin de Belleville

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Villarenger is a delightful hamlet nestled  just below St Martin de Belleville with an easy 4.4km drive to the lifts, restaurants and shops in St Martin de Belleville itself.  The location of Villarenger is truly magical, flanked by the waterfall on the Doron as the small river arrives and the Roman bridge and it’s cupola stones over the river, in the hamlet just as the river leaves and cascades down the valley. The hamlet has fabulous mountain views with walks both for summer and winter.

In winter the lifts at St Martin de Belleville are an easy 4.4km drive and from there the lifts link to "Les 3 Vallées", the largest ski area in the world. St Martin itself is built in traditional style at an altitude of 1450 metres, with chalets clustered around it’s steeple and the narrow streets. It is a family resort with 600 kilometres of slopes and known for the quality of its equipment. The resort also has 28 kilometres of cross-country ski runs, 81 runs including 8 black runs for experienced skiers, children's clubs and several play areas (snowpark, speed and slalom area). There is a wide range of activities in addition to skiing : sledding, torchlight descents, paragliding and via ferrata (in summer), horse riding, VTT and more.

The area is great for winter walking and snowshoeing with walks and snowshoe or cross country paths concentrated along the Doron valley close by, including a lovely walk from Villeranger itself up to le Chatelard beside St Martin.

During summer the hamlet provides the ultimate location to escape and write that book or recharge batteries. It is surrounded by fabulous walking with more than 50 marked itineraries through the Belleville Valley including a lovely and very easy walk from Villeranger along the river valley to see the “Les demoiselles coiffées de Villarenger” or the ladies with hair-dos, rock pillers eroded into fascinating shapes on one side of the ravine. There are mountain lakes with transparent waters, like Lake Lou, and the chance to see marmots or even chamois, both of which we have watched playing for hours in the area. Fishing in the valley is famous with ten high altitude lakes and numerous rivers within the Belleville valley alone. And of course cycling and mountain biking is legendary with some of the Tour de France alpine routes nearby. Lifts have attachments for taking mountain bikes up the mountains and once up there the bike trails extensive and you can cross from one valley into another.

The hamlet itself is a paradise for families. Although parking is good and very easy, the hamlet itself feels from a different age with chickens running freely and the Roman bridge to explore. At the same time it has a surprisingly good children’s playground for such a small hamlet, which you can see from the apartment’s balcony. There is a delightful farm, the Chèvrerie de Villarenger with goats and ponies and who offer a variety of experiences for all ages. From a  4x4 ride to the mountain pastures with the shepherds and to help feeding goats and milking to pony rides and walking for all ages or riding ability (or none!) they cater for families with small children right up to experienced horseriders. They even offer a foraging walk and then you return to cook up your finds in the farm kitchen.

For adventurers young and old there is the La Forêt des Aventuriers open in July and August with two routes through the trees for different abilities and suitable even for tinies, as well as a minigolf course and  tennis courts. Down in the main valley on the Isere there are all sorts of whitewater activities available, with rafting, kayaking  and canyoning to name but a few.

If you want a break from cooking in the apartment’s own and rather fabulous kitchen then "La Bouitte" is close by and was the very first restaurant in Savoie to be awarded 3 stars in the Michelin guide, or there is "Le Montagnard", also mentioned in the Michelin Guide and whose sunny terrace overlooks the village of St Martin. There are also numerous restaurants in the area offering great food and regional specialities for very reasonable prices!