Battle of the Two Courchevels

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The resort needed a name, Chappis wanted to keep the Plateau des Tovets but others thought the new resort needed something punchier. Pierre de la Gontrie suggested Courchevel, the name of a hamlet situated some way down the mountain. Just before Christmas De la Gontrie ran the idea passed Mugnier in whose commune the old hamlet of Courchevel was situated. Mugnier wasn't opposed to the idea. The decision was taken and the sign for Courchevel was changed to Courchevel-Dessous (Lower Courchevel)

courchevel, par dessus les autres

Courchevel, the others down below!

Although few in number the residents of the real Courchevel were incensed. The name implied they were situated way down, in the shadow of the mountain and gave little hope they would share in the tourist boom. The sign disappeared almost immediately. De la Gontrie decided the situation needed his personal attention and organized a meeting with the locals in the hotel du Roc Merlet in the real Courchevel.

With the dirigiste tone of a functionary of the French 4th Republic, De la Gontrie laid into the populace. Didn't they know how much these signs cost? It was outrageous, preposterous, an act of pure vandalism, the local mayor had agreed after all, he spluttered. At this Mugnier got to his feet, Agreed? Maybe he wasn't against the vague idea of the name change when it was mentioned but when the proposals became concrete it might meet with other objections, in any case, the precious road sign was safe and sound, the local peasants who scraped a harsh existence from the mountain knew better than some city slicker lawyer the costs of things.

The matter was resolved with the real Courchevel being called Courchevel 1550 and le Tovets baptized Courchevel 1850. 1850? but surely the highest point in the station was only 1747 meters and the high point on the plateau was 1827 meters? It was pure marketing, Mr De la Gontrie had sexed up the name after bitter rivals Val d'Isère (at only! 1800 meters) had criticized the need for the new resort.

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