Small Resorts, Big Skiing

Back to A Guide to Skiing in France

The Small Villages in the World’s Biggest Ski Areas

This winter, priorities have somewhat changed when it comes to ski holidays: no longer are we choosing resorts for their lively après-ski. Instead, why not take this opportunity to experience the unique charm of a smaller, more relaxing resort, with access to the same huge ski areas, but where lift queues are a rarity and first tracks are easy pickings?


Champagny is the epitome of a small village with big skiing, with access to 425km of pistes in Grand Plagne. A family favourite, its unique charm, authentic atmosphere and stunning landscapes make this a highly recommended destination.

Saint-Jean-d’Arves & Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves

For true relaxation, head to the quaint and quiet village of Saint-Jean-d’Arves, or its slightly bigger brother, Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves. Both provide access to the 310km of slopes available in Les Sybelles, an exceptional, uncrowded ski area criminally overlooked by British holidaymakers.

Serre Chevalier

With several villages to choose from, this sun-drenched valley is the perfect spot for a different type of ski holiday, whether you want to explore the 250km of slopes and plentiful off-piste opportunities, or visit the stunning UNESCO-listed town of Briançon.

Small Resorts, Big Skiing

Serre Chevalier


A true hidden gem, Arêches-Beaufort has visitors returning time and time again, and not just for the fantastic local cheese! This traditional village places huge importance on the environment and agriculture, as well as offering a wide range of non-ski activities.

Les Carroz-d’Araches

Les Carroz is a gorgeous village with a strong environmental commitment, set within the huge Grand Massif ski area. Wooden chalets and tree-lined slopes with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and Mont Blanc make this an incredibly picturesque spot to switch off and breathe.


Vaujany is a remarkable ski village with a true sense of community and impressively easy access to the vast, sunny ski area of Alpe d’Huez. The cable car that whisks you up to the slopes is one of the world’s largest, taking you from 1250m to 2800m in a matter of minutes.

Villard de Lans

Villard de Lans is the ultimate small village destination for serious downhill and cross-country skiers, with 125km and 150km of routes respectively. The vibrant village centre offers shops, restaurants, architectural sights and even a museum.

Les Contamines-Montjoie

The idyllic slopes of Les Contamines provide a far less hectic holiday than their neighbours in the Mont Blanc massif. Here you will find 120km of pistes for all abilities, with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc and Beaufortain mountain ranges.