With some of the world’s biggest ski areas and a huge variety of resorts, it’s no surprise that many people absolutely love skiing in France. However, with such a vast amount of areas and resorts, it can be hard to decide which is best for you.
However – never fear! We are here to help, with a breakdown of the French resorts you simply CANNOT miss. Whether you are travelling as a family, with après-lovers, with beginners, or on a budget, we will have the resort for you.
Skiing in France for Families
Named Family Resort of the Year at the Telegraph Group’s World Snow Awards in 2015, Les Menuires is a brilliant family option, well equipped with children’s activities, enhanced safety systems and a variety of beginner areas and runs. Not only is this a great resort for families, it is also great for your bank account! Among the least expensive of the French resorts, particularly in the world famous 3 Vallées. They offer great value on family ski passes to save you money, as well as offering free ski passes to those under 5. It’s also got a good record for sunshine, which we all know can be a definite benefit when it comes to skiing with children.
This is a fantastic family resort, with a large, varied ski area stretching across to Italy. It’s less frequented by the English due to the popularity of other resorts in the area such as Les Arcs or La Plagne. This means that it is much more quiet than these busy resorts, a hidden paradise if you like. One of the highest resorts in the Alps at 1850m, it has a brilliant snow record, and is often blessed by the sunshine. It is perfect for families, with great off-slope facilities like ice skating and bowling, as well as a host of new developments for the 2017/18 season. These include a new family fun run, a Christmas Forest and a new spa for the adults. To read more about the new developments and view some deals for this year, click here.
Skiing in France for Après
One of the highest resorts in France, Val Thorens has a snow record to die for. It’s part of the largest ski area in the world, the 3 Vallées, meaning the action on the slopes is almost as good as the action off the slopes. With the famous Folie Douce on one side of the resort, and the beloved 360 Bar on the other, you are spoilt with on slope après here. Down in town, you have a huge choice of bars for your evening’s entertainment, from the crowd favourite Saloon Bar, to Malaysia, the biggest nightclub in the Alps. Just make sure you get enough sleep in to enjoy the slopes too!
There seems to be a 3 Vallées theme appearing here, as Méribel is the central resort of these 3 areas. As a result, there’s no surprise that this resort is so popular with Brits with its combination of amazing skiing and anarchic après. Of course,Méribel also offers a Folie Douce (that age old staple of a good French resort…) but we would suggest bypassing this for Le Rond Point – one of the best après bars in the 3 Vallées, with the added benefit of great live music. Meanwhile, Jack’s Bar and O’Sullivans serve up the goods down in the town for a holiday to remember (or not).
One of the most famous French resorts and part of the huge Espace Killy ski area, an area generally regarded as one of the world’s best. An extremely popular resort, Val d’Isere is the birthplace of Le Folie Douce and boy does it know it. The atmosphere here is brilliant and an absolute treat for anyone who has not experienced the wonders of dancing in their ski boots before. In the town itself, there are bars and clubs aplenty, including the English favourite, Dicks Tea Bar.
Skiing in France for Beginners
Set within yet another of the world’s largest ski areas, the Portes du Soleil, Morzine offers a great variety of skiing for beginners. The nursery area is a good size, with magic carpets rather than chairlifts for the total beginners (trust me this is a great benefit). There is also a good amount of green and blue runs in the area that will provide you with more than enough practice of your new found skills! There are also a lot of lovely cosy ski huts in which to relax and wind down with a hot chocolate or a vin chaud if all that learning just gets a bit much!
Boasting one of the biggest beginner ski areas in Europe just above the main resort, Alpe d’Huez is a great place to learn to ski. There is a good variety of ski schools and a very large choice of easy and intermediate runs to choose from once you have got your ski legs! It also isn’t hard to find accommodation with a ski in/ski out label. With many of the slopes south facing, Alpe d’Huez is said to get 300 days of sunshine a year, which can make that beginner experience a whole lot more enjoyable!
Skiing in France for Off Piste
Chamonix is widely renowned as one of the best ski resorts for off-piste in the world, let alone France. Many travel from far and wide, year upon year, to make the most of its incredible off piste offerings. 90% of Chamonix’s skiing is located above 2000m, making it one of the most snow-sure resorts in France. The Mont-Blanc Unlimited pass gives you access to a staggering 900km of ski terrain, so you will never be bored! Chamonix also offers the world’s greatest lift-served vertical drop, just in case you hadn’t enough adrenaline for one week.
With some of the most easy-to-reach off piste in the French Alps, Avoriaz has a lot to offer when it comes to getting off the beaten track. This resort has some amazing terrain for powder days as well as insane routes for the more adrenaline-fuelled amongst us. If you’re brave enough, why not tackle the legendary ‘Swiss Wall’, a 50 degree descent that links Avoriaz to the Swiss resorts in the region. There are also five blacks for those that like an on-piste challenge, as well as a variety of runs for intermediates and beginners, so the whole family can come along!
The Espace Killy ski area offers a lot for the keen off piste skier. An absolutely huge area, there is always a lot of easily accessible off-piste terrain to be explored, spanning a huge variety of difficulties. Here there exists a large amount of ‘naturides’, marked off piste runs, that offer a safer alternative to the totally untracked terrains. However, if you are after this extra boost of adrenaline, there are a lot of options for you too. Just remember to be careful and never ski off piste alone.
Skiing in France on a Budget
Like Alpe D’Huez, Serre Chevalier boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year and has a very decent sized ski area. That in itself is reason enough to visit, but if you needed slightly more convincing, it also offers some of the best rates in the Alps. Made up of 13 villages (3 key ones), you have an abundance of choice when it comes to choosing where to stay. Read more about why Serre Chevalier is a great choice to visit this season here.
A beautiful, small, traditional Savoyard village which has lift links into the vast 3 Vallées ski area, St. Martin De Belleville offers incredible value for money for the skiing on offer. You can get so much more for your money here than in Méribel or Val Thorens, while still having access to the same ski area.