Founded in the 60’s, the resort of Les Menuires was largely influenced by the architectural designs of its era, advocating practicality and urban comfort in the mountains. But it is also the witness of the successive phases of mountain tourism development. Return over the : history of it’s development.
In the 50’s
In the 60’sIn 1960, stimulated by the success of Courchevel, the mayor of Saint Martin de Belleville, Nicolas JAY, took the initiative along with his council start a study of tourist development in the valley. Following the example of Courchevel, they created a society associating the public authorities, (town council, district council) and private partners (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations) : this was the SODEVAB, Society for the Equipment of the Belleville Valley.
First of all it acquired property control of the whole of the upper valley, areas for urbanism as well as for skiing, and planned a first development plan. This very ambitious project, based on the optimistic perspectives of a market in full growth, planned the creation of 100 000 beds throughout the valley, divided up over the two main resorts (Les Menuires and Val Thorens) and five satellite resorts.
In 1964, the SODEVAB started the creation of Les Menuires with the building of the VVF Le Solaret and the installation of three drag lifts. The SCIVABEL (the Belleville Valley Building Company) was created to assure the promotion of the accommodation and the running of the ski lifts.
The real beginning wasn’t until 1967 when the first accommodation residences at the Croisette opened along with the second stage of the La Masse cable car, giving access to fabulous altitude snow fields.
In 1969, the West side of the mountain range, dominated by the Mont de la Chambre, was equipped. The Tourist Office was created as well as the first hotel in Les Menuires..
In the 70’s
In the 80’sAt the beginning of the 80’s, after an intense period of development for the two resorts, the town council, under the guidance of its mayor Georges CUMIN, decided to revise the initial development scheme. The new Tourist Development Plan voted in 1984 installed a new vision of the Valley development, its main principals being: controlled development and preservation of the environment.
The new plan proposed abandonning the projects to create satellite resorts, the completion of the resorts Les Menuires and Val Thorens, with a decrease in the amount of tourist beds (26.000 beds for Les Menuires, 20.000 for Val Thorens), the realisation of a small tourist unity at Saint Martin de Belleville, where 1200 beds were built, to create the village resort which the Valley was lacking. In the end, only 47 000 beds will be built, instead of the 100 000 initially planned.