How to Get to French Ski Resorts – The Fastest Way

How To Get To French Ski Resorts The Fastest Way

The French Alps are packed with top-rated ski resorts in some of the world’s largest ski areas. These mountain destinations offer incredible experiences that everyone, whether you are a skier, snowboarder or neither, should experience at least once.

So to make travelling to them as easy as possible, we have put together this guide on how to get to french ski resorts in the fastest way possible. You will learn about the best airports and how to get between the airport and your chosen resort quickly and stress free.

The Fastest Way To The French Alps

Most international flights to the French Alps usually come via Geneva Airport or Lyon Airport. Both of these airports are serviced by premium airlines from Australia such as Emirates & Qatar Airways but the closest airport to the French Alps is Chambéry Airport followed by Grenoble Airport for the Southern Alps.

But if you are on a European trip, you can access major French ski areas via high-speed train from Paris, London, or Brussels, but we will go into train travel in more detail later.

Some French ski resorts, such as those in the Maurienne and the southern Alps, like Alpe d’Huez, or even Chamonix, can be reached from Milan Malpensa airport or Turin airport in Italy if you are arriving from other European locations.

Flight Routes

Here you’ll find the latest airlines routes for the upcoming ski season, these are subject to change.

Flying to the French Alps

You’ll find below only airlines with direct routes for the upcoming ski season. Keep in mind that these routes are subject to change, but we’ll keep them updated.

with Emirates

  • Geneva (Switzerland) – From/to: Dubai
  • Lyon (France) – From/to: Dubai

with Qatar Airways

  • Geneva (Switzerland) – From/to: Doha
  • Lyon (France) – From/to: Doha

with Swiss

  • Geneva (Switzerland) – From/to: Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Lisbon, London City, London Heathrow, Madrid, New York City (JFK), Nice, Oslo, Porto, Stockholm, Vienna, Zurich

with British Airways

  • Chambery (France) – From/to: London City, Manchester, Stansted, Southampton
  • Geneva (Switzerland) – From/to: London City, London Heathrow
  • Lyon (France) – From/to: London Heathrow
  • Turin (Italy) – From/to: London Gatwick

    with Aer Lingus

    • Geneva (Switzerland) – From/to: Dublin
    • Lyon (France) – From/to: Dublin

    with easyJet

    • Geneva (Switzerland) – From/to: Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton
    • Grenoble (France) – From/to: Bristol, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Luton
    • Lyon (France) – From/to: Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester

    with TUI

    • Chambery (France) – From/to: London Gatwick, London Stansted, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester
    • Geneva (Switzerland) – From/to: Bristol, London Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle

    **Please note that we don’t book and arrange flights**
    We’re only providing valuable information so that you can better prepare and plan your ski trip to the French Alps

    Spring Skiing In Val Thorens
    Val Thorens ski resort © Top Snow Travel

    How To Get To The French Ski Resorts

    There are a few different ways of getting to the French ski resorts from the airport. Which you choose will depend on your circumstances and personal preferences. So let’s look at each one in detail:

    By Private Transfer

    Private transfer is one of the most popular ways of getting to the French ski resorts. It is possible to take a shared transfer, but at Top Snow Travel, we only provide private transfers, avoiding shared ones. Our experience has taught us that private transfers are much better for our guests for the following reasons.

    Shared transfers have set departure times, which is inconvenient for our guests, as it can delay your arrival time in the resort or back to the airport. On the other hand, it could also mean you arrive too early for your check-in time, which can be incredibly frustrating and tedious.

    These private transfers also provide a high level of flexibility. For example, if your flight or train is delayed, we can advise the transfer company to rearrange your pickup to meet your requirements. This is not possible with a shared transfer, as they are not flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen changes in your travel plans.

    Another disadvantage of a shared transfer is that it can take much longer to get between the resort and the airport, as there are often several pickups and drop-offs en route. Our private transfers are much faster and offer door-to-door service, making the beginning and end of your holiday much more pleasant and convenient. This is much better than dragging your luggage through the snowy streets while trying to find accommodation.

    Val d'Isère village center
    Val d'Isère ski resort © Top Snow Travel

    Top 15 French ski resorts

    Here is a breakdown of our top 15 French ski resorts and their approximate transfer times* for the closest airports & train station:

    Alpe d’Huez

    • Grenoble train station – 65km (1 hour 15min)
    • Grenoble Airport – 106km (1 hour 30 min)
    • Chambery Airport – 131km (1 hour 45min)
    • Lyon Airport- 153km (1 hour 45 min)

    Avoriaz 1800

    • Cluses train station – 40km (55 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 90km (1 hour 45 min)


    • Chamonix has its own train station
    • Geneva Airport – 82km (1 hour 15 min)
    • Chambery Airport – 145km (1 hour 30 min)


    • Courchevel Altiport onsite (helicopters/private jets)
    • Moutiers train station – 25km (30 min)
    • Chambery Airport – 110km (1 hour 20 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 179km (2 hours 15 min)
    • Lyon Airport – 201km (2 hours 30 min)

    La Plagne

    • Aime train station –  18km (25 min)
    • Chambéry airport – 118km (1hr 30 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 195km (2 hours 30 min)
    • Lyon Airport – 218km (2 hours 45 min)

    La Rosière

    • Bourg St Maurice train station: (30 min)
    • Chambéry airport – 131km (1hr 45 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 208km (2 hours 45 min)
    • Lyon Airport – 231km (3 hours)

    Le Grand Bornand (Chinaillon)

    • Annecy airport – 33km  (35 min)
    • Annecy train station –  31km (40 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 65km (1 hour 10 min)

    Les Arcs

    • 7 minutes with the panoramic Funicular from Bourg St Maurice train station to Arc 1600.
    • Bourg St Maurice train station: 30 min (to Arc 1950/ Arc 2000)
    • Chambéry airport: (1hr 40 min)
    • Geneva Airport -215km (2 hours 45 min)
    • Lyon Airport – 238km (3 hours)

    Les Gets

    • Cluses train station (closest) –  21km (30 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 72km (1 hour 10 min)


    • Sallanches train station –  13km (20 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 88km (1 hour 15 min)


    • Moutiers train station – 17km (25 min)
    • Chambéry airport – 102km (1hr 15 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 179km (2 hours 15 min)
    • Lyon Airport – 202km (2 hours 30 min)


    • Bourg St Maurice train station – 30km (35 min)
    • Chambéry airport – 142km (1hr 45min)
    • Geneva Airport – 221km (2 hours 45 min)
    • Lyon Airport – 219km (2 hours 30 min)

    Val d’Isère

    • Bourg St Maurice train station – 31km (40 min)
    • Chambéry airport – 144km (1hr 45min)
    • Geneva Airport – 223km (2hrs 45min)
    • Lyon Airport – 221km (2 hours 40 min)


    • Moutiers train station – 18km (25 min)
    • Chambéry airport – 95km (1hr 10min)
    • Geneva Airport -174km (2 hours)
    • Lyon Airport – 172km (2 hours)

    Val Thorens

    • Moutiers train station – 38km (45 min)
    • Chambéry airport – 122km (1hr 30 min)
    • Geneva Airport – 154km (2 hour 20min)
    • Lyon Airport – 199km (2 hours 20 min)

    *Transfer time is approximate, by private transfer vehicle and subject to traffic, weather and road conditions.

    Shared shuttle/bus transfers have set departure times, take much longer to travel and don’t offer door to door service which is why we recommend private transfers only.

    Inter-resorts private transfers

    We can also organise private transfers between ski resorts, so you can experience two or three ski areas in one trip.

    This is not possible with shared transfers, as there are no buses that go between ski resorts. Our private transfers open up the possibility of seeing more of the Alps without any hassle.

    Courchevel Altiport © Top Snow Travel
    Courchevel Altiport © Top Snow Travel
    Courchevel Altiport © Top Snow Travel
    Courchevel Altiport © Top Snow Travel

    Courchevel Altiport enables you to access helicopter transfers, private planes, scenic flights and hot air ballon. Spend a few minutes slope-side to admire the take offs and landings

    By Helicopter

    A helicopter transfer is the fastest way to get to the French ski resorts. This is something we can arrange for you allowing you to get from any airport in the Alps.

    But your helicopter experience doesn’t have to end after you’ve arrived at the resort. We can organise helicopter transfers between resorts allowing you to experience multiple ski resorts during your trip in the fastest and easiest way possible.

    Flying between resorts will take a matter of minutes rather than hours as you don’t have to contend with twisty and snowy roads and traffic. You also get to take in some of the most incredible mountain views in the world from a unique viewpoint.

    The main French ski resorts with Altiports include Alpe d’Huez, Courchevel, Megève and Meribel. All of these resorts are worth visiting if you have time during your trip. But many other ski resorts have helipads, so you have many options for days away.

    La Plagne Top Snow Travel (135)
    La Plagne - © Top Snow Travel

    By Train

    The most eco-friendly way of getting to the french ski resorts is via train. Train travel through France is a pretty fantastic experience as you can take in the landscape as you blast through it at high-speed. However, you should know a few things about the French rail system, especially when using it to get to the mountains.

    Firstly, there are very few French ski resorts with a train station. Therefore, taking a train requires you to also take a taxi or private transfer to complete your journey to the resort. The closest ski resorts with train connections in France are Les Arcs and Chamonix.

    You can get to the town of Bourg St Maurice via train from Geneva airport in just under 5 hours or Lyon airport in under 4 hours. From here, you can catch the funicular lift to Les Arcs. Or continue your journey to the other Tarentaise Valley ski resorts, such as Val D’Isere, via a private transfer.

    The train to Chamonix from Geneva takes about 3 hours 30 minutes, and about 6 hours from Lyon. Once you arrive, you will have a short walk or taxi ride to the centre of town.

    It is important to realise that although French trains are reliable and fast, they are often disrupted by workers going on strike. French workers tend to go on strike quite often, which causes mayhem and has the potential to ruin travel arrangements.

    With this in mind, we recommend flying to and from one of the closest airports to the Alps and getting to the French ski resorts with a private transfer.

    Les Arcs Top Snow Travel (9)
    Les Arcs - © Top Snow Travel

    The high altitude ski resort of Les Arcs makes it a reliable & snow guarantee destination all winter season

    By Hire Car

    The great thing about hiring a car to get to and from your ski resort is that it gives you a lot of freedom during your stay. For example, you may want to drive to other resorts or take a detour to see more of the country before catching the plane back home.

    However, there are several things you need to know about when driving a hire car in France, especially in the winter and in the mountains. Here is a rundown of the things you should know about driving a hire car in the French Alps:

    French Hire Cars Are Not Always Kitted Out For Winter

    Driving around in the Alps during winter is best done in a four-wheel-drive car fitted with winter tires. The problem is most French rental cars don’t have winter tires fitted, which can lead to a lot of skidding around. If you intend to drive into Switzerland or Austria in a French rental car without winter tyres, you must be aware that it won’t be legal.

    If you rent a two-wheel drive car, make sure you request snow chains when you book it. Driving in the winter in the French Alps without snow chains inside the vehicle is illegal. If you happen to drive in the mountains during a snowstorm, the local police won’t let you proceed, which is incredibly frustrating.

    It’s a good idea to know how to fit snow chains before you drive. There’s little worse than trying to work it out with cold hands on a dark snowy road while holding up all the traffic. It would also be best to put them on your car before you need them, as you’ll stand a better chance of continuing your journey to your chosen ski resort on snowy roads. However, you probably won’t need them.

    In addition to this, not all rental companies provide cars with ice scrapers or winter windscreen washer fluid etc. Therefore you may have to buy these on your way to the resort. All these things are available in most supermarkets and petrol stations.

    Understanding The Autoroutes

    If you’re not used to driving in Europe, France may seem a little different. The motorways (known as autoroutes) through France are excellent and rarely have traffic problems. However, they can be expensive, as you need to pay tolls to drive on them.

    As you join an autoroute, you will be required to take a ticket from a machine. Then when you get to your exit, you will drive into a “pèage.” There are lots of signs pre-warning you as you approach a pèage. You can pay with cash, coins and cards, but you must drive into the correct lane. Check the overhead signs that indicate what payment method each lane accepts.

    Some pèages have manned and unmanned stations and both are effortless to use. The unmanned ones make it easier for travellers by allowing you to select English as a language, so you don’t get confused.

    There are two different kinds of tolls to pay on French autoroutes. Some short sections require a fixed toll, while others get more expensive the further you travel.

    Crossing Borders

    One of the great things about visiting the French Alps is that you can easily drive across the borders into Italy, Switzerland and Austria. But there are a few things to consider before you do so.

    First, you need to know that a French hire car won’t have a motorway vignette for the main routes through Switzerland and Austria. These vignettes are a little bit like the tolls you get in France, and you can buy them at the border. Some people take a risk and do not bother purchasing a vignette. If you choose to do this, it will cost you if you get stopped by the border police or are pulled over for any reason.

    You can cross the French-Italian border in the Alps through two major tunnels called the Frejus tunnel, near Modane in the Maurienne area heading toward Turin, and the Mont Blanc Tunnel, which takes you from Chamonix into the Aosta valley near Courmayeur. Both tunnels are costly to drive through, but they are fast ways to visit fantastic ski resorts and experience Italy from France.

    There are, of course, many other border crossings in the Alps. Most of them have no tolls or are very cheap. For example, if you drive through the northern Alps, you can easily go across the French-Swiss border through Geneva or further around Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) toward Montreux.

    There is also an Alpine route from Chamonix over the Col des Montets. This takes you to Vallorcine and then to Martigny in Switzerland.

    Driving In France

    If you’ve never driven in France before, they’re a few things you should know that will make it more pleasant, safer and stress free.

    Firstly, France and its surrounding countries take speeding very seriously. There are many speed cameras on busy routes that take you to and from ski resorts. Even though auto routes are big and quiet, don’t be tempted to break the speed limit of 130 kph. This also goes for driving through tunnels, as they often have speed cameras and lower speed limits, which are strictly enforced. Tunnels also have enforceable distances between vehicles, adding an extra safety element.

    When driving through built-up areas, the speed limit is 30 or 50 kph, but this depends on the road’s width. 50 kph speed limits are enforced with speed cameras in most towns, and you’ll often see French police parked up and randomly pulling people over, especially if the weather is nice.

    Getting to the French ski resorts by road is easy as long as the roads are clear of snow and traffic. Please bear in mind that the roads can get exceptionally busy during peak weeks at the weekends, especially if there is a significant snowstorm.

    When driving in the mountains, you need to be aware that mountain roads, especially through ancient villages, are often narrow with many tight bends. When these roads are covered in snow and are busy, they can be pretty stressful if you are not used to this style of driving.

    If you’re driving while it is snowing, there’s a good chance you will see snowploughs operating on the roads. It’s best to give them as much space as possible because they don’t stop for anything. You will notice an oncoming snowplough will cover half of your lane, which can be disconcerting. But there’s no need to worry, as the snowplough driver will expertly retract the extended blade in time for you to pass by safely.

    Like snowploughs, giving coaches and trucks plenty of space while driving on mountain roads is a good idea. They take up a lot of room on the road and cannot reverse, especially on tricky bends and icy slopes, but you may have to reverse to keep the traffic flowing in exceptional circumstances.

    Final Thoughts On How To Get To French Ski Resorts

    This may seem like a lot of information to take in. But we have purposely made this article comprehensive to give you as much detail as possible for getting to the French ski resorts. In our experience, the best way to get to French ski resorts is via private transfer or helicopter from Geneva or Lyon airports.

    A private transfer will get you straight to your door quickly and efficiently, and of course, it’s the same for your return journey to the airport. You also don’t have to worry about being late or driving on snowy mountain roads, as your well-trained and experienced driver will take care of everything for you.

    Private transfers provide a seamless and smooth beginning and end of your holiday. This goes hand-in-hand with the hassle-free, and flawless holidays in the French Alps Top Snow Travel delivers.

    Flying from the airport into the resort by helicopter is the fastest and most scenic way. Once you’ve landed in the resort, you will be picked up by a private car that will take you to your accommodation, giving you a high level of convenience.

    When you book your french ski holiday with us, please speak to our experienced travel experts, who will organise everything for you that take care of all the details for your trip to the French Alps.

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