Deep within the French Alps, Bourg St. Maurice exemplifies the idea of “mountain life” to visitors. Nestled in the Tarentaise Valley, the town is the gateway to 2 large ski domains Paradiski and Espace Killy that consist of several dozen ski resorts. Nonetheless, the area has managed to retain its charm, local traditions, and customs.
The town itself has a population of just over 7,000 full-time residents. There is a wide range of restaurants, hotels, bars and unique shopping options for visitors to choose from. Besides skiers, the town welcomes tourists and outdoor adventure tourists all-year-round with activities including hiking, swimming, and golfing.
The name Bourg dates back to the Gallo Roman period name “Bergintrum” and the “Maurice” is the name of the patron saint in the area. The town is not far from the Italian border, and during the era of the Roman Empire, the road to Turin and Rome used to go through it. At the time, nearby Lyon was the most important city in Gaul (old France), so easy access was required through the Alps.
Things to do in the area
1. Stroll through the town
Bourg St. Maurice has a delightful little town center, with plenty of shops and restaurants featuring Savoyard specialties such as dry-cured hams and sausages, and local wine and cheese.
The town center is within walking distance from the main train station, so you can easily have a look around before heading up the slopes.
2. Visit the markets
If you find yourself in Bourg St. Maurice, you should take advantage of the weekly markets where vendors line up along the main road selling everything from cheese to homemade trinkets.
If you are visiting in winter, Christmas markets light up the area with festive cheer.
3. Go up the mountain
There are several dozen world-class ski resorts in the area, if you want to stay at Bourg St. Maurice and just go skiing for the day, you can take the funicular up to the Les Arcs village of 1600. It has great skiing for beginners (I would know, I’m not a great skier!), as well as easily connecting to the reds and black runs of the Paradiski domain. You can find out more about picking the best time to go skiing here.
If you prefer not to ski, you can either just enjoy the beautiful view of Bourg from above or you go on a hike.
The funicular makes Bourg an attractive middle-ground for everyone in your party, as there is plenty of entertainment, sports, and the accommodation is more budget-friendly than on the mountain, with transport to the slopes quite easy.
☞ READ MORE: France in Winter: Visiting when it is cold (Brr)
4. Try the tartiflette
Another thing that you should make sure to do in Bourg is to go to one of the cozy restaurants for a true Savoy region dining experience, the tartiflette.
This rich French winter dish made with potatoes, onions, lardons, and most importantly, reblochon cheese, is a local specialty and delicious taste of the flavors that are loved in the Alps (get tartiflette recipe).
Another local favorite is raclette, a type of cheese that is melted off a wheel onto potatoes, meats, or other rich foods and enjoyed warm.
☞ READ MORE: French Comfort Food: 9 Hearty Recipes you will love
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get to Bourg St. Maurice?
The easiest way to get there is by train, as there are direct high-speed TGV trains from Paris, London, and Amsterdam during the winter. There are also regular trains from Chambery the rest of the year (and you can get to Chambery via a direct train from Paris).
The train station is in the heart of Bourg St. Maurice, so no extra transportation is needed. If you want to fly, many people fly into surrounding airports like Lyon, Grenoble, or Geneva and then drive or take the train to Bourg.
How many days should you spend here?
The number of days you decide to spend will really depend on all the activities you feel like doing. If you are planning to hike or ski, you should plan at least 3-4 days for your visit.
Where should you stay?
Depending on how “sporty” you are feeling, you can either stay at one of ski resorts and travel down to Bourg St. Maurice, or stay in town and take the funicular up to the slopes:
So take the train out to Bourg St. Maurice for some fresh mountain air and enjoy this little mountain town.
Bon voyage and à bientôt!
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