Attractive, traditional and oozing style, Courchevel ticks all the boxes for a first class ski holiday. With masses o...more ‣
Highlights • 5 star luxury resort• Vast 3 Valleys• Traditional chocolate box villages & chalets• Lots of ski in/ski out
This is Europe's highest resort, with incredible views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps and fantastic connection...more ‣
Highlights • Highest resort in Europe• Top of the world's biggest interlinked ski area• Foodie Favourite• Off-slope activities galore
Traditional in every sense of the word, bask in the calm and tranquillity of this mountain village in the French Alps...more ‣
Highlights • Snowparks and boardercrosses for all levels• Hidden gem in the French Alps• Lots on at Christmas and Easter
The opportunity of soaking up the alpine way of life makes proper mountain towns like Chamonix and gorgeous mountain villages like Megeve feature on many a ski bucket list. It’s the glamorous side of skiing that brings the hordes to Courchevel, world renowned for its elite clientele, designer boutiques and top notch accommodation. If convenience is the key, you can’t beat the hassle-free nature that attracts snow lovers by the dozen to purpose built resorts like Val Thorens– they’re higher in the mountains and access to the slopes is a no brainer.
With the mountains being so easy to get to and resorts that pull out all stops to keep children entertained, it’s no surprise France is so popular with families. Look out for the French Ministry of Tourism’s “Famille Plus Montagne” label, awarded to the best family resorts - Morzine and Les Gets are two firm favourites. Groups planning to party are rarely disappointed with the après ski offerings in the bigger towns– you can’t talk about the après in France without mentioning the legendary Folie Douce – originally in Val d’Isere and now also in Val Thorens and Meribel.
At the end of the day it’s the skiing you’re here for, which is why anywhere with a massive ski area is an easy favourite. You won’t have to ski the same slope twice in the 3 Valleys, the world’s biggest linked ski area, where you’ll find big names like Meribel and Courchevel. Sizeable ski areas don’t stop here – Tignes and Val d’Isere share the Espace Killy, Paradiski can be skied from La Plagne and Les Arcs and Portes du Soleil connects Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz. The presence of a skiable glacier seals the deal when it comes to the best resorts, which puts snow sure Val Thorens, Val d’Isere, Tignes and Les 2 Alpes high up on the leaderboard.
Catered chalets are France’s speciality. There’s so much choice – all shapes and sizes, styles, locations and prices. Some chalets properties are available on a self-catering basis if you prefer to do your own cooking and there are plenty of hotels and apartments throughout French resorts if those might suit you better.
Cheesy! Fondue, raclette and tartiflette are cheese-filled French specialities. Snacks like savoury crêpes and croque monsieur and bowls of frites (chips) will often be served in mountain cafes, as well as other favourites like burgers, pizza and soups. To accompany your food you might enjoy a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine), champagne, cocktails, beer or wine.
Winter sports enthusiasts have flocked to Chamonix for more than a century and it’s not hard to see why, with its world-class ski terrain and the spectacular setting of Mont Blanc and its surroundings. The resort also hosted the Winter Olympics in 1924. The town oozes with traditional Savoyard charm and has no shortage of bustling places to drink and dine.
Yes – though it’s not the law, you rarely see people skiing or snowboarding without helmets these days, and most ski schools will only teach kids if they have a helmet. It’s important that it’s a proper ski helmet and not a cycling or horse riding one, as they’re designed differently. Our Mountain Safety page gives more advice about staying safe on the pistes.
Chamonix is home to the longest skiable vertical, a whopping 2700 metres in drop and more than 22km in skiing distance. The spectacular Vallée Blanche is the biggest lift-served ski descent on Earth. In decent conditions, the run ends up in the resort’s town centre, where you can enjoy a well-earned vin chaud or refreshing beer.
These French resorts usually open their ski lifts around the end of November/early December, so are the best places to head for pre-Christmas skiing.
Our Summer skiing in France page gives more information about resorts where it’s possible to ski in the summer/autumn months.
Yes! The French are used to welcoming thousands of English speaking holidaymakers year upon year. Staff will certainly know the basics, and ski lessons are offered in several languages in most resorts, English being one of the most popular. Meribel – as well as being one of the biggest French resorts – is the most English-speaking resort of the lot, having been founded and largely run by Brits.
In most French resorts people will speak at least basic English, but you could jot down a few basic French words like:
Chamonix - The Chamonix Mountain Guide Company was founded in 1821, at which point climbing was the sport dominating the Mont Blanc region. The first cable cars were installed in the 1920s with the first ever Winter Olympics being held in the resort in 1924.
(this information was accurate when written)
Dozens but here are the 6 main ones, in order of size from biggest to smallest:
3 Valleys is the world’s biggest linked ski area, with 600km of connected ski runs across the resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, St. Martin, Val Thorens and Orelle. An area pass covers the whole lot if you want to cover a lot of distance, or stick to separate resort passes for a lower cost.
|Property||Resort||Price (per person)|
|Club Med Grand Massif Samoëns Chalet Apartment||Samoens||£ 2499|
|Chalet Hotel & Spa Le Savoie||Val d'Isere||£ 999|
|Chalet Hotel Le Savoie||Val d'Isere||£ 1079|
|Le Village, Chalet La Ferme||Alpe d'Huez||£ 1219|
|Hotel Koh-I Nor||Val Thorens||£ 1760|
|Hotel Daria-I Nor||Alpe d'Huez||£ 1246|
|Hotel Taj-I-Mah||Les Arcs||£ 1246|
|Chalet Beluga||Avoriaz||£ 1399|
|Le Village, Chalet Le Manoir||Alpe d'Huez||£ 1119|
|Le Village, Chalet La Maison||Alpe d'Huez||£ 1169|