With France having been open to British skiers and snowboarders for a number of weeks now, we cannot wait to return to some of our favourite French ski destinations. So, here are five of the best ski resorts in France if you’re also looking to plan a getaway across the channel this year.
One of the most iconic French resorts, Val d’Isere (pictured top) links with Tignes to form the 300km Espace Killy, offering plenty of skiing to all abilities, whether you’re just finding your ski legs or are a seasoned skier. Whilst the ski area alone would be enough to tempt us, what Val d’Isere is most famous for is its nightlife. Home of the first Folie Douce, the après-ski scene here is near unrivalled, with options from lively clubs to cosy creperies and traditional restaurants.
Unlike some of the larger French ski resorts, Val d’Isere has an extremely picturesque town centre, making a gorgeous background for those Instagram worthy photos.
Why Val d’Isere?
Val d’Isere offers something for every type of skier. Whether your focus is skiing, the apres, great views or family time with lots of activities, this resort won’t leave you feeling disappointed.
And off the slopes?
Throughout the ski season, there is plenty to keep you occupied whilst you’re not on the slopes. There’s a weekly market with local specialities, an ice rink, helicopter rides, husky dog safaris and a sports centre that you have one day free access to with your lift pass.
Stay at: Ducs de Savoie
Set in a perfect location, just a few minutes walk from the town centre and the ski slopes, Ducs de Savoie is the perfect base for your ski holiday.
Part of the enormous Three Valleys ski area, Meribel offers 600km of world-class skiing as part of the largest ski area in Europe. Combining fantastic skiing with a lovely town centre, not only is this one of the best ski resorts in France, but it’s also arguably one of the most beautiful.
The resorts’ charming village offers a picture-postcard backdrop for adventures with family, friends and loved ones as you explore the area. Wooden chalet buildings with twinkling lights line the streets, while cosy bars and lively après establishments draw in those looking for the most enjoyable way to end their ski day.
With a huge variety of fantastic après options, but also a tonne of fun activities for families on and off the slopes, Meribel is one of those rare resorts that you can genuinely say is perfect both for families and friends.
And off the slopes?
The question in Meribel isn’t “what can you do off the slopes?” – instead it’s “what can’t you do?!”. Whether you’re a non-skier or you simply fancy an evening’s activity, there’s something for all tastes, from dog sledding and snowmobiling to ice skating and go-karting.
Adrenaline junkies can try their hand at hang-gliding and parapenting, while families are sure to absolutely love the resorts’ bowling facilities and plentiful sledging slopes.
Stay at: Chalet Hotel Les Grangettes
Sat directly opposite the Chaudanne ski lifts, the Chalet Hotel Les Grangettes is as close to the slopes as you can possibly get. With chalet catering included, it’s the epitome of comfort and convenience.
Part of the huge Paradiski area, La Plagne is a charming resort that offers 425km of impeccably groomed slopes. Linked with the neighbouring resort of Les Arcs, it provides exceptional snow reliability thanks to its glacier skiing, as well as plenty of tree-lined runs, accessible beginner areas and more challenging advanced routes.
The resort itself is actually comprised of about 10 villages, each with its own unique character and infrastructure. For accommodation in our favourite spots, check out Inghams’ top picks in Plagne Centre, Belle Plagne, Plagne Soleil and Plagne Villages.
Why La Plagne?
The stand-out feature of La Plagne simply has to be the variety it possesses in all areas of the resort. From the varied village centres to the vibrant nightlife choices and an enormous range of off-slope activities, you’ve got so much to explore in La Plagne.
And off the slopes?
In addition to the incredible skiing, winter adventurers in La Plagne can also enjoy an Olympic bobsleigh and skeleton run, an ice grotto, tobogganing, snowshoeing, parapenting and even ice hockey opportunities. In the town, you’ll find that the resorts’ many centres have led to a highly diverse après-ski scene, so you’re sure to find something for all tastes. Staying on the taste side, you’ll also be able to enjoy some of the Alps’ best food in La Plagne, with a whole host of bars and restaurants serving dishes from traditional French favourites to classic Alpine cuisine.
Stay at: Front de Neige Apartments
Stylish ski in/ski out apartments at the foot of La Bergerie chairlift, the Front de Neige offers the ultimate in slopeside convenience as well as an spacious spa area with indoor heated pool.
One of Europe’s top resorts (literally!), Avoriaz enjoys a high-altitude location in one of the world’s best and biggest ski areas, the Portes du Soleil. One of the reasons so many skiers return to Avoriaz time and time again is thanks to its incredible accessibility. The vast majority of accommodation here is ski-in, ski-out, which makes it a perfect destination for families and those looking to really maximise their ski time this winter – which, let’s face it, aren’t we all?!
In terms of location, this purpose-built resort is one of the highest in the Alps, yet is still just a short transfer from Geneva, so is incredibly easy to reach whether for a week’s getaway or a flying weekend trip. With a central position to the 400km of skiing in the Portes du Soleil, it’s a great option for skiers that like to rack up the miles.
Due to its high altitude, Avoriaz is one of the best ski resorts in France when it comes to snowfall, with exceptional snowfalls consistent throughout the season. As such, it allows you to squeeze in an epic early or late season ski break in an epic ski area (the world’s largest international linked ski area as a matter of fact) all while keeping transfer times to a minimum.
Awarded Best Family Resort at the Snow Awards 2012, Avoriaz also continues to be one of the best ski resorts in France for families, thanks to its traffic-free town centre and easy access to the pistes.
And off the slopes?
There’s so much to do in Avoriaz we’d forgive you for not having time to ski! Truly cementing its family-friendly nature, there are heaps of family activities, from snow scooting and tobogganing to horse-drawn sleighs, bowling and a huge swimming centre. Or, those adults who love the heights can try their hand at paragliding or even helicopter rides!
Stay at: Hotel Les Cimes du Soleil
In true Avoriaz style, this ski-in, ski-out hotel offers a spacious sun terrace, cosy indoor bar and fantastic evening entertainment to take your week on the slopes to the next level.
Not just one of the best ski resorts in France, Chamonix is undeniably one of the most famous resorts in the world, drawing skiers from all corners of the globe to its iconic high-altitude terrain. Indeed, 90% of the ski area here is above 2000m, resulting in some of the world’s best snow conditions as well as some spectacular mountain vistas. Up in the heights, you’ve got a vast ski area and options to ski across the border to Italy, while down in the town you’ll find some of the Alps’ best nightlife.
Throw in short transfer times from Geneva airport and we can see why so many skiers place Chamonix at the top of their list.
As the ski area here features a number of different ski areas to choose from, you can explore a different area nearly every day. However, experienced skiers won’t want to simply stick to the pistes in Chamonix. The resort is famous for its extensive off-piste opportunities and if you hire a guide, you’ll be able to ski day after day of incredible untouched terrain.
Set at the foot of the majestic Mont Blanc, Chamonix also enjoys some of the Alps’ most breathtaking scenery, making it a must-visit resort for skiers and non-skiers alike.
And off the slopes?
Keep up the high-octane activity with parapenting, ice climbing or speed riding, or spend an evening exploring the area’s open-air market, beautiful nature walks or entertaining husky rides. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood to seriously relax after a long day’s skiing, you simply can’t miss the incredible new 4,000m² spa, the QC Therme.
Stay at: The Hotel Heliopic
A chic, state-of-the-art hotel at the foot of the iconic Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Hotel Heliopic features a 500m2 spa area for the adults (open all day for hotel guests only) as well as a well-stocked playroom for children.