France ski holidays
Why is France one of the world’s best ski destination?
- France has the world’s largest ski areas with 7 out of 10 of the world’s largest interconnected ski areas. Each year millions are spent throughout the resorts upgrading the lift and resort infrastructure.
- Over 350+ ski resorts to choose from!
- Because many of the French ski resorts are located at high altitudes, they have reliable snow conditions and longer seasons.
- France has a great variety of resorts to suit all requirements from traditional villages to high altitude glacier skiing to family friendly resorts.
- Great value for money. The lift passes are cheaper than most other countries and offer vast areas of skiing.
- The best chalets in the world are located in the French Alps.
- The food is second to none, from traditional savoyard cuisine to Michelin star restaurants.
- Ski schools in France have the highest qualified instructors in the world.
Why choose a ski holiday in France?
The ski resorts in France have good access from all major cities by plane, train or road.
Due to the high altitude of many of the resorts, the season starts in December (some late November) and can last until May ensuring reliable snow levels and with some of the best snowfalls in Europe.
The French resorts offer a range of options for all budgets from 2* studios to the most luxurious apartments, chalets and hotels.
French ski resorts cater for the needs of all levels of snow rider from beginner to the most adventurous. They are often purpose-built resorts with easy access to the slopes and around the resorts.
France ski resorts also offer a wide range of other winter experiences from aquatic centres, spa experiences, ice driving, ice climbing, snow tubing, speed-riding, igloo fondue diners, snow shoeing, dog sledding, shopping and many more.
Great après ski!
Entertainment and many events are scheduled throughout the season in the resorts.
Experience the cuisine!
From local specialities to gourmet, you can savour the local flavours in the resorts and on the mountain.
The natural beauty of the French Alps is extraordinary.
Where to ski in France?
France has a wide selection of resorts to choose from whether you want to explore the off-piste areas, test your skills in terrain park or enjoy a family friendly holiday or a combination of all.
The 3 Valleys area is world famous and the largest linked ski area in the world with 8 resorts linked including Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens. Three sophisticated resorts over 3 valleys with alpine skiing and treed runs through quaint villages.
Les Portes du Soleil is the 2nd largest ski area in the world with 12 resorts in France and Switzerland including family friendly Avoriaz with its pedestrian village.
Paradiski combines La Plagne and Les Arcs and is a collection of about 15 villages. From the 60’s look of Arc 2000 to the authentic mountain villages at the lower elevations, there is something for everyone here.
Tignes and Val d’Isère need no introduction to most, being two of the best-known ski resorts in France.
The two resorts are seamlessly connected by lifts and are quite different in character with the traditional village of Val d’Isere and the purpose built style of Tignes.
Megeve is known for its traditional buildings and shopping is a charming and elegant village. The pedestrian centre has cobbled medieval streets.
Chamonix nestled in a valley overlooked by Mont Blanc is known for its off-piste skiing and freeriding and is famous as a mountaineering town.
Alpe d’Huez located in the Oisans region reaches up to the Pic Blanc glacier at 3,300m. It boasts one of the best snowparks in France and from here you can ski across to the mountain environment in la Grave.
Experience the French Alps
Our ski resort partners:
The different ski resorts categories
Broadly the ski resorts are categorised to help you to choose the location that has the facilities most appropriate to your needs:
Large Domain Resort – with a large linked ski area this is ideal for skiers wanting variety and a large area to explore.
Family Plus Mountain Resort – the resort is accredited as an ideal destination for family holidays. This includes other activities in the resort suitable for all ages to participate in together as well as ski schools catering to the needs of both children and their parents.
Traditional Village Resort –an authentic village atmosphere with outstanding natural beauty as well as offering the full range of mountain activities.
Snow Rider Resort – dedicated and safe facilities for the most demanding snow riders for all levels and ages.
Club Resort – providing easy access to a range of leisure and après ski activities. Ideal for teenagers, groups of friends and young adults.
Spa Resorts – offering ‘wellbeing’ hot spring and thermal spa facilities. These resorts are great for anyone who enjoys pampering along with a ski holiday or for non-skiers who enjoy a wellbeing break in a mountain destination.
Adaptive Resorts – these resorts cater to guests who require adaptive ski devices including uniski, dual-ski, bi-ski, dual bar and tandem skiing.
Access to the resorts
By air or rail
Arriving by plane and train are the easiest options. The main airports servicing the French resorts are Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery.
Transfers to the resort from your point of arrival are best booked ahead of time and range from a scheduled coach service, shared transfer or a fully private transfer. Private transfers are are the fastest and most comfortable way of getting to/from your hotel/apartment/chalet but it can be more expensive compared to shared scheduled transfers which take longer and have more restrictions such as set departure times and dropping you off at the ski resort main bus terminal instead of your hotel which is not so ideal when travelling with luggage.
By rail, there are good services from all main European locations to Chambery, Albertville, Moutiers, Aim-la-Plagne and Bourg St. Maurice. From there, we arrange a private transfer that will meet & greet you at the train station and drop you off at the door step of your hotel/apartment/chalet. You can also fly or helicopter to some of the resorts, for example Courchevel, Val d’Isere & Megeve. These, of course need to be booked ahead of time!
Car hire/Self Drive
Car hire is readily available and is best booked ahead of time too. If you are driving be aware that road conditions can change quickly with the weather and make sure to take refreshments and wear sensible clothing in case of a delay. Check with the car hire company for any alerts of which you should be aware and make sure your vehicle includes snow tyres.
Transport around the resorts
Most resorts offer free shuttle services around the resorts for access to the lifts or the village centres. The larger resorts can have quite comprehensive bus networks and may operate in the evening as well. Details can be found on the resort website or at through the local Tourist Office.
With restaurants for every taste and budget, you will not go hungry.
Whilst in France, why not indulge in the local cuisine of the region or savour traditional French delights. For the gourmet, over 600 restaurants in the French Alps are listed in culinary guides with many Michelin starred restaurants in the Savoie Mont Blanc resorts. There is also a great selection of quality international cuisine available.
There are many charming restaurants located on the slopes, often in converted farmhouses or mountain refuges. Service can either be quick, thanks to buffets, or enjoy a more leisurely dining experience.
For the more adventurous, some of the mountain restaurants are open in the evening and are accessible by snow mobile or snow shoeing. At the end of the day, there are always numerous options for après ski festivities. Be it a lively bar with live music to a more refined experience fireside or on a deck with mountain views.
Ski Accommodation in France
Hotels range from family run pensions to luxurious 5-star hotels. Typically, breakfast will be included in your tariff although half board may also be an option and maybe a requirement at certain times of the season especially Christmas and New Year.
Ski Chalet accommodation is perfect if you are seeking private accommodation. They are typically catered, providing breakfast, afternoon tea, 3-4 course dinner with house wine prepared by chalet hosts who may either live in or come in daily. They will also take care of the housekeeping and general chores. The hosts will usually have one day off a week which is a good time to eat out in a local restaurant. Chalet accommodation is great for a group of friends and large family groups. The larger chalets may have facilities such as a spa, sauna, swimming pool or fitness equipment and separate living spaces which is perfect if you have a group with children.
Self-catered apartment accommodation is a popular option with many located in a convenient and centrally located position. They cater for those on a budget to those wanting luxurious facilities. Many complexes offer facilities such as spas, swimming pools and concierge service. Please be aware that all apartments are rented weekly from saturday to saturday only!
For something different?
Mountain Refuges and huts although not common are available. They may be traditional refuges or converted from another use. Le Refuge de Solaise in Val d’Isere was originally the location of the upper cable car station of Val d’Isere’s first lift built in 1939. It has now been transformed into a luxury hotel located at 2551m.
Equipment and clothing rental
These days the range of rental equipment available is very affordable and more convenient than the prospect of transporting your own skis from overseas. Skis and snowboards are available for all standards. The premium ranges are updated every season with the latest skis and boards.
Ski-Chic provides quality options for clothing hire as well as the convenience of having it delivered to your accommodation. Great if you are travelling from far away and want to minimise luggage and for growing children.
Whether you are a beginner or experienced, you can improve your skills with one of the many professional instructors in the French resorts. It is also a great way to have fun and familiarise yourself with the resort area.
For the children, lunch is included in many of the programmes allowing the parents a full day on the pistes. ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais) has fun, safe and regulated programmes for children. English is widely spoken and used by the instructors.
Resorts all have a weekly entertainment programme including Festive Season celebrations, torch light descents, ski competitions, music and art events, film festivals, ice sculpting, food and wine weeks, and many cultural celebrations. Christmas markets are often a feature of the resorts in December and are a great place to pick up a last-minute Christmas gift or memento of your trip.
France knows how to party and no resort is without some serious après ski! It can start as early as lunch and last until the very early hours of the morning! Be it a long lunch, a music venue, night club or a DJ ..your choice! There are also many music events during the season.
There are many activities that families can engage in together such as water parks, indoor leisure facilities and snow shoeing. Depending on the resort, you may be able to night ski, watch an ice hockey game, a ski race or freestyle competition. Val d’Isere and Avoriaz both have full scale water parks and recreation centres.
Many resorts have long been a destination for spa holidays with thermal spas, hydrotherapy and wellness centres. Combined with the fresh mountain air and scenery, many are attracted to the resorts for well being and relaxation.
There is often very good shopping for both snow related activities and also for interesting designer wear, arts and crafts, souvenirs and local food items.