8 Best Family Ski Resorts In France

8 Best Family Ski Resorts In France

The French Alps are well known for their world-class skiing. 30% of the world’s best ski resorts are scattered among these famous mountains. It can be tricky to determine which ones are best for family ski holidays with so much on offer.

There is a lot of information out there, and if you don’t know where to start, the choices can be overwhelming. However, we are here to share our experience and knowledge with you, so you get the best out of ski holidays with family in the French Alps.

TIPS FOR YOUR FAMILY SKI HOLIDAY

It is good to have a head start for your family ski holiday. Here are some tips to help you before you book your trip:

Try to book ski-in-ski-out accommodation – Ski-in-ski-out means you are on snow as soon as you step foot outside your accommodation. These could be chalets, hotels or apartments, and they make life much more manageable than other accommodation options. You don’t have to walk far with your family’s ski equipment, which can be hard work, especially if you are in a rush to get your kids to ski school.

Choose a resort with non-skiing activities – Often, young kids can’t ski all day, or bad weather means nobody wants to go outside. Therefore, a resort with lots of other things to do will keep everyone entertained.

Check out lift pass deals – Some resorts offer discounted lift passes for families. Take advantage of this to save you money during your trip.

See if the resort has dedicated areas for kids – Ski resorts often have safe areas for kids to learn how to ski. These are called snow gardens or snow zones. Most of the time, they are operated by ski schools, but there will be ones for older kids to practice in when not in lessons. These areas rarely have chairlifts, as they are intimidating for young kids. Therefore, they feature tow ropes or conveyor belts known as magic carpets to get you up the hill.

Courchevel ski resort - © Top Snow Travel
Courchevel ski resort - © Top Snow Travel

Ski-in-ski-out means you are on snow as soon as you step foot outside your accommodation. These could be chalets, hotels or apartments, and they make life much more manageable than other accommodation options.

How to tell if a French Ski Resort is suitable for Family Ski Holidays

A family ski resort is awarded “Famille Plus Montagne” (Family Plus Mountain) accreditation by the French Ministry of Tourism. To get this label, they need to meet the requirements of families with children aged 18 months and above staying in mountain resorts.

Ski resorts need to jump through lots of hoops to meet the requirements. In fact, there are 110 criteria to comply with all related to:

  • Infrastructure and information
  • Resort entertainment
  • Activities
  • The discovery of the environment and mountain heritage
  • Accommodation and restaurant facilities
  • Amenities
  • Transport and safety

To maintain their “Famille Plus Montagne” status, ski resorts need to cater for adults and kids in the following ways:

  • A tailor-made infrastructure for families
  • Entertainment and activities to suit all ages
  • A price to suit everyone: from the youngest to the oldest
  • Activities for adults and children to enjoy, together or separately
  • Professionals that are trained to take great care of children
  • Children to be taken great care of by professionals
  • Take guest’s requirements and suggestions into account
  • Many resorts also offer free skiing for young children and other family lift pass deals. as well as access to other activities apart from skiing. Ski schools aim to make the learning experience a fun one, with childcare solutions that allow parents that precious full day out on the slopes.

Therefore, when you see a “Famille Plus Montagne” ski resort, you know that it will offer a lot for family ski holidays.

However, this doesn’t mean that the resort is only good for families. There are many other categories the French Ministry of Tourism has for their ski resorts. You will also see, large domain resort, traditional village resort, snow rider resorts, club resort and spa resort, disabled ski resort and Nordic skiing.

Many ski resorts fit into several categories, so don’t worry about not being able to have fun while the kids are in ski school.

Le Grand Bornand 010 A Ski Lebeau H13
Le Grand Bornand - © Pascal Lebeau

France has so many family friendly ski resorts to choose from such as Le Grand bornand

THE 8 BEST FAMILY SKI RESORTS IN FRANCE

There are over 350 ski resorts in France, making it challenging to find the perfect one for ski holidays with family. The fact that there are so many of them means that there is a lot of competition, so they all do their best to attract visitors every winter. With the great family-friendly activities and amenities, you are spoiled for choice.

However, with our experience and expertise, we have put together a list of the top 8 best family ski resorts in France and describe why they are so great:

Avoriaz is a wonderful resort for a family ski holiday. The architecture is unique and may not be to everyone’s taste, but Avoriaz’s convenience keeps families returning year after year. Part of Avoriaz’s charm is that you get around the resort on foot or by horse-drawn sleigh as cars are banned and left at the entrance to the resort. The pedestrianised nature of Avoriaz makes it very safe to get around, and kids love the novelty of using horses for transport.

Avoriaz has some nice easy pistes for kids and beginners to learn how to ski and snowboard. The villages des enfants is the perfect spot for kids to learn their first turns while having lots of fun.

While the kids are in their lessons, adults have plenty of terrain to explore. Avoriaz is situated in the Portes du Soleil, one of the largest ski areas in the world that straddles the French-Swiss border.

The vastness of the ski area means there is something for all levels of skiers. The blue tree-lined runs towards the Linderets bowl are great fun, while the longer and wider blues and reds of the Arare and Fornet areas are ideal for getting some speed up. If you have older kids that can ski for longer, why not head over to Switzerland? Here you will find quiet sun-drenched slopes, which are great if you visit in peak weeks.

Avoriaz has lots of non-skiing activities too. Husky rides are very popular, as is the indoor tropical swimming complex and bowling alley.

celineaudetoursdunchemin Avoriaz1800 1
©celineaudetoursdunchemin Avoriaz1800

Avoriaz 1800 is 100% ski-in ski-out with easy slopes into the village catering well for beginners

Located in the Three Valleys, Courchevel is a beautiful destination for ski holidays with family. It is famous for being chic and stylish, but its amenities and layout make it excellent for family holidays too.

Courchevel is made up of five villages situated in the largest ski area in the world; the ones most popular with families are Courchevel Village and La Tania. But you won’t be disappointed by staying in any of the other villages.

All the villages are linked up via pistes, lifts and a shuttle bus service, making it easy for families to get around.

One of the benefits of being a beginner in Courchevel is that you don’t need to buy a lift pass. The ESF ski school provides free lift passes with the “Kids Up” package, while The Magic Snowsports Academy has its own special snow garden dedicated to beginners.

When they are not in lessons, beginners can practise their new skills on the free lifts that service a range of easy green runs. To give you more of an idea of how child-friendly Courchevel is, it was the first ski resort to use the Magnestick. The Magnestick is a magnetic vest kids wear over their ski jacket to hold them on to some chairlifts. It is a great invention that gives you peace of mind while your child is riding the lifts.

When off the slopes, each village has a great range of family-friendly activities to enjoy. These include the bowling alley, games arcade, ice rink and snow-rafting.

Chalet Or Blanc - Courchevel Village (1550)
Chalet Or Blanc - Courchevel Village (1550)

Courchevel is home to the most beautiful chalets in the world such as Chalet Or Blanc in Courchevel Village

Les Gets is one of the villages that make up the Portes du Soleil. But, it is the closest one to Geneva airport, giving you the shortest transfer time. The village has a traditional feel to it, thanks to authentic chalet-style buildings decorated with twinkling lights lining the streets. It almost feels like Christmas all winter in Les Gets, which kids love.

One of the things that make Les Gets ideal for ski holidays with family is that everything is easily accessible. Everything is within walking distance, but there is also a fun mini-train. The train drives around the village, stopping at the main lifts, making getting around effortless.

The main piste on the Chevannes side of the valley is the perfect gradient for learning to ski. Once your kids have got their ski legs, they can enjoy the several themed pistes. These are decorated with native American motifs, snake eggs and totem poles.

Les Gets is great for kids and adults alike thanks to excellent skiing, but there are many non-skiing activities. Dog sledding, ice skating, ski joering, electric snowmobiles and paragliding are just a few of the many things to do in Les Gets. The tourist office often puts on child-friendly activities such as face painting workshops, storytelling and drawing competitions. The local chocolate shop also has weekly chocolate making workshops to keep children entertained for hours.

Les Gets Ski Resort (3)
Les Gets ski resort - © V.Ducrettet / OT Les Gets

The village has a traditional feel to it, thanks to authentic chalet-style buildings decorated with twinkling lights lining the streets. It almost feels like Christmas all winter in Les Gets, which kids love.

La Plagne’s reliable snow cover, great value for money and terrain make it one of the world’s most popular ski resorts. The resort’s snowy streets are mostly pedestrianised, making it safe for families to get around. But, they also make it easy to get to the lift system. The well-connected lifts service long gentle slopes, perfect for beginners and kids to make their first turns. The wide range of snow gardens are accessed by baby tow ropes and magic carpet lifts, making their ascent up the mountain stress-free.

La Plagne has 16 nurseries spread between its villages; therefore, there is no shortage of excellent childcare options. But, it is best to book them in advance to avoid disappointment.

However, try to avoid the French school holidays for your trip to La Plagne. Due to the resort’s popularity, these weeks get very busy. But, you will find that the family-friendly pistes, accommodation and activities make La Plagne an excellent destination for family ski holidays.

La Plagne Top Snow Travel (187)
La Plagne - © Paul Skinner / Top Snow Travel

La Plagne’s reliable snow cover, great value for money, huge choice of accommodation and large terrain make it one of the world’s most popular ski resorts.

Les Arcs is made up of four purpose-built ski resorts, with Arcs 1950 and 2000 being the newest additions to the area and regarded as the most attractive of the four. They also have the best amenities, making them the best choices for family ski holidays. All of the villages are mostly pedestrianised, making them safe and child friendly.

Arcs 1950 has its own ski school and kids club while providing lots of family-friendly facilities. Here you can also take advantage of the swimming pool and kids’ corner when your kids are not skiing. You can even rent board games and PlayStations to keep them entertained.

The various babysitting options offer indoor and outdoor activities. They will also introduce your kids to skis for the first time, which is great for children too young for ski school.

Many of the buildings in Les Arcs are ski-to-door, including bars and restaurants. Therefore, eating, drinking and getting on the slopes is very easy for those on family ski holidays.

Mini Motoneige 4 ©raj Bundhoo (large)
Les Arcs - © Raj Bundhoo

Kids can race with mini electric snowmobiles from the age 5 to 13 years old in Arc 1800 

The authentic alpine ambience of Megève offers something very different from the purpose-built French ski resorts. The cobbled streets, lined with stylish buildings, make Megève a charming ski resort. But it is also an excellent destination for a family ski holiday.

Kids can enjoy a range of family-friendly activities available in Megève. Snowshoeing is a very popular activity for all of the family, especially when you get to see the local wildlife hiding in the surrounding forests.

With your lift pass, you get free unlimited access to Megève’s sports centre. Here you will find a swimming pool, Olympic ice rink and many other family-friendly activities. There is also a reading corner for toddlers in the library, where you can borrow books, CDs and DVDs. The library is a great option for lazy afternoons or bad weather days.

Many of the pistes around Megève are rated green and blue, which are perfect for young families. Kids from three years old love the “Piou Piou” Club. This is where ski instructors mix indoor and outdoor activities with ski lessons. It is a great introduction to skiing and enhances your child’s skiing holiday while developing their skills. Older kids can join ski lessons based on their ability and age, so they get the necessary level of tuition.

Megeve Simongarnier 311214 013
Megève - © Megève Toursime - Simon Garnier

There are plenty of winter activities to choose from in Megève including ice skating in the heart of town

Valmorel is a family-oriented ski resort in the Tarentaise Valley. It is a purpose-built ski resort, without really looking like one. Its layout and design give it a charming and traditional feel while providing the convenience of ski-in-ski-out accommodation.

Throughout the resort, you have the choice of some excellent family-friendly self-catered apartments. Their locations provide easy access to everything needed for family ski holidays.

Valmorel has a “Piou Piou” Nursery run by the ESF. Here children from the age of 18 months can benefit from excellent child care. But, kids from 3 years old can take their first ski lessons in the dedicated snow garden. The snow garden is full of colourful obstacles for kids to negotiate to develop their skills.

Valmorel has a wide range of non-skiing activities to enjoy. A great example of these activities is air-boarding. An Airboard is an inflatable sledge that takes you down a designated slope at high speed. Kids also love the Snakegliss, which is a long articulated sledge that runs down a winding course. These activities make Valmorel an exceptional resort for family ski holidays.

©escapades Nordiques Valmorel 2013
Valmorel - © Escapades Nordiques

Valmorel is one of the best locations for dog sledding in France. Every winter, Valmorel plays host to the La Grande Odyssée dog sledding race. If you happen to be in Valmorel from 8 – 19 Jan 2022, it is well worth seeing

Val Thorens is one of the ski resorts that make up the Three Valleys ski area. It is known for its lively atmosphere, but it also lends itself to family ski holidays.

Out of all the resorts in the Three Valleys, Val Thorens offers excellent value for money, which is why it is popular with families. It also provides families with lots of convenience, as 90% of its accommodation is ski-in-ski-out.

Families buying their lift passes together can benefit from the special family discount, making it kinder to your wallet. Val Thorens has a great choice of family-friendly places to eat, which won’t break the bank too.

Val Thorens is regarded as a party town, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for kids. Many families love the zip lines, toboggan runs, and ice rink when they are not skiing. There is an excellent sports centre with swimming pools and a sports court. It also has a vast indoor fun park just for kids, featuring trampolines, bouncy castles and ball pits.

The excellent nightlife in Val Thorens means you may want to book a baby sitter for a night. You won’t find this a problem, as there are several childcare options, including a nanny service.

Photo Pascal Tournaire
Val Thorens © Pascal Tournaire

Après-ski (after ski) treats with the family – bars are not the only things to enjoy at the end of the day 

You may also want to check out… 

We know for a fact that the 9 resorts above are perfect for ski holidays with family. However, you may also want to check out Les Menuires and Sainte Foy.

Les Menuires is home to one of the largest ski zones dedicated to children. Its great value for money accommodation makes it very attractive for family ski holidays. Most of the accommodation is ski-in-ski-out too.

Sainte Foy sits right on the French Italian border, allowing you to experience two countries in one day. It is a cosy pedestrianised resort, perfectly suited to the family skiing holiday. Here you get the authentic Savoyard village atmosphere, with lots of child-friendly activities and childcare options.

Book Your Family Ski Holiday to France 

All the French ski resorts in this list have been awarded the “Famille Plus Montagne” label. But we know from personal experience that these are well worth looking into when you are booking your family ski holiday.

Check out our “ultimate guides” to each of the resorts to really learn about what they have to offer. Alternatively, contact our experts to help you decide which one is best for you and where the best places to stay are.

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