France’s Biggest Ski Resorts

The Biggest and Best Skiing in the French Alps.

Meribel

3 Valleys ski area , Excellent ski schools , Lively a...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Val d'Isere

½ of Espace Killy, Fantastic après, Traditional cho...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

La Plagne

Paradiski Ski Area, Bobsledding, High Altitude Skiing

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Glacier Skiing
  • Off Piste

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Courchevel

5 star luxury resort, Vast 3 Valleys, Traditional cho...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Luxury holiday

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Morzine

Family ski destination, Traditional Savoyard charm, 6...

Great for:

  • Beginners
  • Families
  • non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Tignes

Espace Killy ski area, Fantastic après ski, High alt...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Glacier skiing
  • Non-skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les Arcs

Paradiski Ski Area, Famille Plus Montagne label, High...

Great for:

  • Snowboarding
  • Off-piste
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Val Thorens

Highest resort in Europe, Top of the world's biggest...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Snow Sure
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Chamonix

Traditional mountain resort, varied, high altitude t...

Great for:

  • Groups
  • Off-piste
  • après ski

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Les 2 Alpes

Glacier Skiing, Awesome après, Loads to do

Great for:

  • Nightlife
  • Off Piste
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

In the world of skiing, France is a titan – and Brits ski here more than any other nation. You’ll find resorts ten times the size of places you’d find elsewhere, with more activities and accommodation than you can shake a ski pole at.

Then there are the ski areas: vast expanses with every type of terrain and some of the deepest snow in the Alps. In all, these resorts are the ultimate people pleasers, with enough on and off the mountain to keep everyone grinning for weeks.

France: Top 10 Biggest Ski Resorts

The local pistes alone cram in every type of terrain, but Meribel has a rather powerful trump card: it’s slap bang in the middle of the 3 Valleys, meaning speedy access all over the largest ski area on the planet (somewhere 4 times bigger than the surface area of Paris). A favourite of British skiers, the resort’s spread over five deliciously pretty bases. Les Allues is oldest, a Savoyard town with a parish church surrounded by tiny chalet hamlets. Méribel-Village is the newest, but you wouldn’t know it - a handful of renovated barns and traditional-style chalets keep things looking rustic. The biggest and liveliest of them all, Méribel Centre does what it says on the tin – it’s made up of seven hamlets housing oodles of bars, restaurants, shops and attractions. Méribel Les Hauts is surrounded by pines above the centre for those who want to feel away from it all, while Mottaret takes you straight into the action with a ski in, ski out location at the foot of the pistes.

Occupying one half of the epic Espace Killy - Val d’Isère’s among the world’s greatest in more ways than one. The local area has a lot when it comes to the white-stuff: nursery slopes, miles of blue, red and black runs, a snow park, a skiable glacier and some of the best powder terrain on the planet. And of course there’s also access to the rest of the ski area’s 300km blueprint that Val shares with Tignes. The Old Town dates way back to the 13th century; its enchanting stone and wood chalets huddle around the eye-catching church. It grew rapidly in the eighties in the build up to the ‘92 Olympics, but the whole place manages to retain a cosy feel. There’s a pedestrianised centre and new builds strictly mirror old ones. Stretching for 5km between the districts of La Daille and Le Fornet, you’ll find chalets, hotels and apartments sleeping something like 27,000 guests. And enough restaurants, bars and shops to see everyone fed, watered, suited and booted ten times over.

Established in the 60’s, La Plagne’s a collection of 11 villages – 7 purpose built at altitudes of 1800m to 2100m: Plagne Centre’s the core of the resort, with high-rise blocks housing shops, bars and restaurants. Aime takes the highest spot at 2100m, and though its tall buildings won’t be winning any beauty contests, the fact that it faces the mighty Mont Blanc more than makes up for it. You’ll find similar architecture in Bellecôte - the closest village to the glacier, and a hive of activities with the Snow Park, ice rink and heated outdoor pool. Belle, 1800, Villages and Soleil are easier on the eye, each a cluster of trad-style chalets. Completing the set are 4 old hamlets further down the valley: Champagny, Montchavin, Montalbert and Les Coches. But open the piste map and they’re all just tiny dots among the 225km of slopes of the local area, and almost double that in the wider Paradiski. There are plenty of nursery slopes but the rest is a blue and red bowl of spaghetti with 18km of black sprinkled on top for experts. And if you thought the villages had high altitudes, you should see the slopes. 70% of the lot sit above 2000m, including two equipped glaciers above 3000m, which all add up to some pretty incredible snow conditions.

Courchevel’s five villages are all located at different altitudes. At the top shines 1850 in all its champers-popping, designer-shopping glory. Also known as Courchevel, this is the centre-point of the resort with the best links to the skiing, and it has a reputation for serious luxury. With a little less razzmatazz (but still a nice buzz to it), 1650 or Moriond is a top pick for families thanks to the cruisey blues and green pistes that surround it. Accommodation’s cheaper over here, and the same goes for the bars and restaurants (which are more salopettes than stilettos). The fact that you can toboggan down from the main area makes 1550 or the Village another winner for families (it’s cheaper and quieter too). Diddy chocolate box 1330 Le Praz oozes old-school charm away from the hustle and bustle. Finally there’s 1100 Saint Bon where it all began – the original ski village which sits humbly on the outskirts, connected to the rest by a shuttle bus. The whole thing shrinks into a toy town when you take in the surrounding 600km 3 Valleys ski area that stretches up and out to the west – the biggest in the world. Courchevel hogs the best blues and greens around, and more experienced snow lovers are far from forgotten with steeps and off piste galore.

Morzine’s the biggest (and most central) resort in the socking great Portes du Soleil – and it’s a charmer, complete with a church steeple and ancient village square. The cosy factor is quite a feat when you look at how big it is. Sleeping 21,000 guests in a legion of chalets, apartments and hotels, the town is crammed with more restaurants, bars and shops than you can explore in a week. Then there’s the ski area: 120km of local corduroy becomes 650km with the full area lift pass. Linking Morz with eleven other French and Swiss resorts, PDS was the world’s first major international ski area. There’s a lot to say for the mix of cultures here: For starters, the food’s incredible (rösti for lunch, tartiflette for supper…) and we’re still trying to get to all 90 restaurants dotted on the mountains.

Purpose built Tignes puts skiing before looks and has earned itself a loyal following. It’s a high-altitude hodge-podge of villages, surrounding an enormous lake at 2100m. Le Lac is the chilled-out hub of the resort, while lively Val Claret has the fastest access to the most snow-sure, powdery slopes around. For a quieter (often cheaper) base, Lavachet’s a few minutes out by bus. There’s also Tignes-les-Boisses, a newer village built of wood and stone to resemble an old one. The lowest base, Les Brevieres is the real McCoy – a traditional village that harks back to the 19th century. In all, there’s room to sleep 31,000 in the apartments, chalets and hotels here, with more than enough for every last visitor to ski, see and do. Tignes takes up half of the mammoth Espace Killy, and its local 150km of slopes have one of the longest seasons in the world (the Grande Motte glacier’s skiable in the summertime). Get the full area pass and you’ve a whopping 300km to explore all the way over to Val d’Isere. Off the skis, you’ll find a bundle of scrummy restaurants, 60+ bars and pubs, and all kinds of activities from bungee jumping to ice diving.

Four purpose built villages sit under the Les Arcs umbrella. Arc 1600 was the original, a family favourite linked to Bourg Saint Maurice for easy train access. Next up in altitude, Arc 1800 is a big ‘un - made up of four smaller villages with a real buzz to it as the lifts close. Newcomer Arc 1950 is a colourful American-style collection of posh apartments. And at the highest (but quietest) point we have Arc 2000, best placed for access to the slopes and powder. Which is handy, as with a ski area like this you’ll be itching to get up and out each morning: A medley of open and wooded runs, steep off-piste drops and big freestyle terrain can be found in the 200km area. But that’s just the start of it… Thanks to the arrival of the Vanoise Express cable car, it’s possible to cover a grand 425km of slopes with the Paradiski pass - which happen to be some of the most snow sure in the Alps.

It might not be steeped in olde-worlde Alpine charm, but what’s a crumbling shepherd’s hut when you’ve got direct access to the most snow sure slopes of the world’s biggest ski area? This is Europe’s highest resort at 2300m – and it’s huge. 150km of corduroy (including some fabulous glacier runs) serves the immediate area alone, which seamlessly connects to another 450km in the rest of the 3 Valleys. Hats off to Pierre Schnebelen, who took a gamble to build VT in the seventies, which has seriously paid off. There’s a lot packed into this mountainside: a 7500m² sports and wellness centre, 40 bars, 60 restaurants and hundreds of apartments, chalets and hotels. You’ll also find a shedload of activities - from France’s longest toboggan run, to the Tyrolienne zip wire that zooms over to Orelle. And on top of skiing and snowboarding, you can explore the surroundings on Segway, husky sledge, snowmobile or mountain bike.

Host to the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix is a living, breathing mountain town with a whole valley to its name – all under the eye of Mont Blanc. It’s crammed with everything you’d expect of an average town: shops, cafes, restaurants (from Michelin stars to McDonalds), a cinema, spas, gyms and all kinds of accommodation. It also has its own train station, a fleet of free buses and a number of taxi companies to take you from A to B. And for a smaller, cosier base, you’ll find the surrounding hamlets of Les Houches, Servoz, Argentière and Vallorcine, each as gloriously traditional as the next. Buy the Chamonix Le Pass and you’ll have access to not one but FIVE local ski areas totalling 173km: Aiguille du Midi, Les Grandes Montets, Brevent/ Flegere, Les Houches and Balme. Besides the usual mix of groomers, this packs in some of the most challenging off piste on the planet, not least the Vallee Blanche which is the longest lift-served run in the world. If these don’t clock you up enough mileage, opt for the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass and you can ski three countries in one week with access to Italian Courmayeur and Swiss Verbier.

LDA came to be in the forties, when an army of hotels and chalets cropped up along the valley to join the villages of Venosc and Mont de Lans (the two ‘Alpes’ it’s named after). Most of the action happens along the Avenue de la Muzelle, where a Michelin-starred restaurant’s just one of 50-something scrummy eats, and the après ski’s some of the liveliest in France. 223km of slopes drizzle down to the town from 3600m on the Glacier de Mantel, the biggest skiable glacier in Europe (making the area one of the most snow sure around). Big claims don’t end here – rather than a park, this place has gone for a Freestyle LAND (we’re talking kickers the size of houses – and lots of them). You get a load of pistes for your pennies here, as the ski pass also includes access to (bus linked) Alpe d’Huez for an extra 250km.

If you want to ski or snowboard really big miles, the, the very biggest French ski resorts and linked ski areas in France are what you need, this is a list of France's biggest ski resorts.

All of these ski and snowboard mountains have at some stage held titles like "largest ski resort in France" or "biggest French ski resort"... the biggest ski areas in France.


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