Did you know that France has over 350 ski resorts?
Some of these iconic destinations have played a big part in the history of skiing, snowboarding and other mountain sports. The wide selection of French ski resorts means that there is something for everyone.
At Top Snow Travel, we have first-hand experience of many of these destinations, allowing us to select for you the very best France has to offer. This post will highlight the 15 best ski resorts in France, so you don’t have to spend hours trawling through the internet trying to find the right resort for you. We will give you a short overview of each resort and its unique qualities.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT FRENCH SKI RESORTS?
French ski resorts are popular for many reasons. Some of these may surprise you; for example, the French Alps are home to some of the world’s largest ski areas. Tignes-Val d’Isere, Portes du Soleil, Grand Massif, Mont Blanc, 3 Valleys and Paradiski are just a few of the vast ski areas available to you.
As there are so many ski resorts in France, they are all competing with each other. Therefore each resort does its best to attract guests. You can expect affordable prices, modern ski lift systems, superb facilities, and a wide range of activities to do.
Many of the best ski resorts in France have been, or are being updated. Therefore, gorgeous accommodation options, fine dining restaurants and trendy nightspots are abundant in the French Alps.
The best French ski resorts are also pretty easy to get to, thanks to their proximity to airports and train stations. If you have a car, you can even use it to visit other resorts to get the ultimate experience during your stay. Some of these ski areas straddle borders, so you can see France, Italy or Switzerland all in one day.
French ski resorts all offer different experiences to suit what you want from your trip. Do you want a family-friendly, laid back resort in a traditional alpine village? Or do you want a high-altitude resort with lively nightlife and a more contemporary feel? Maybe you want something in between? Whatever you want, France has you covered.
The Best Ski Resorts In France
Here is our rundown of the top 15 best ski resorts in France (by alphabetical order) and what you can expect from each one. This will help you decide which French ski resort is best for you.
Alpe d’Huez is part of the Grand Domaine ski area, consisting of five other resorts and two villages.
1. Alpe d’Huez
Alpe d’Huez is located in the Southern French Alps and has one of the longest winters seasons, thanks to its high altitude. Alpe d’Huez sits at 1,860m with the ski slopes ranging from 1,450 to 3,330m, and its location gives it around 300 days of sunshine each year. The resort’s wide range of pistes makes Alpe d’Huez suitable for all levels of skier and snowboarder. If you fancy a challenge, you can take on La Serenne, the longest black run in the world. If the 250km of slopes isn’t enough for you, neighbouring Les Deux Alpes is just a short drive away.
Pedestrian-only Avoriaz 1800 is 100% ski-in ski-out with easy slopes into the village catering well for beginners
2. Avoriaz 1800
Avoriaz 1800 is a purpose-built ski resort in Portes du Soleil, one of the world’s largest ski areas, straddling the French-Swiss border. Not only is Avoriaz one of the snowiest ski resorts in Europe, but it is easy to get to. The transfer time from Geneva airport is just 1hr 30 minutes, which is very much welcomed after a long flight. The architecture in Avoriaz may not be to everyone’s taste, but all of the accommodation is ski-in-ski-out, as it is a carless resort. Transport around Avoriaz is on skis, snowcat, or horse-drawn sleigh.
The range of pistes is extensive, giving you plenty of choice no matter what your level. Once you have skied everything Avoriaz has to offer, head over into Switzerland for quieter slopes and even more incredible views.
Chamonix has been a magnet for alpinists and skiers from all over the world since the 19th century. Its valley is famous for its imposing glaciers and towering peaks, the most significant one, of course, is Mont Blanc
Chamonix is iconic and France’s oldest ski resort. It lies at the foot of Mont Blanc, which towers over Chamonix at 4,810 m high. Chamonix is famous for its challenging terrain, both on and off-piste. It draws alpinists to explore its glaciers and imposing peaks every winter.
Chamonix is a large resort steeped in history. You can expect several high altitude ski areas, incredible accommodation and lots of places to go shopping. Due to its size, Chamonix has more choice when it comes to eating out than most French ski resorts. You will find Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Mexican options, but a firm favourite with locals and visitors is the Micro Brasserie de Chamonix. Chamonix is also very close to Italy, so a visit over the border is a great day out.
Courchevel is regarded as a ski resort that delivers a luxury experience. Its fabulous skiing, high-end restaurants, and extravagant five-star accommodation provide the highest standards to its guests
Courchevel is one of the best ski resorts in France, and set in the gorgeous 3 Valleys. Here you can expect fantastic skiing in 600km of terrain, spanning seven ski resorts. Courchevel itself is made up of six picturesque villages, connected by ski lifts or free shuttle buses. Courchevel is suitable for many people, as most of the accommodation is ski-in-ski-out, making it great for families and beginners. The local ski area makes life easy for beginners too, thanks to the 19 green runs and 35 blue runs to hone your skills on.
As soon as you arrive in Courchevel, you will notice its high-end sophistication. Its classy architecture and designer shops create an elegant atmosphere. But, it is also home to six Michelin-star restaurants and some of the best chalets in the world.
Located in the French Tarantaise Valley, La Plagne is the most popular ski resort in the world, seeing 2.5 million visitors every winter.
5. La Plagne
La Plagne is the world’s most popular ski resort. It is one of the best ski resorts in France for those on a budget, thanks to its wide range of accommodation options and variety of ski slopes.
La Plagne consists of eleven villages at varying altitudes. Together, these villages make up the Paradiski area, the 4th largest linked ski area in the world. But there are additional 4 purpose-built villages of Les Arcs or Peisey-Vallandry to explore that are also linked to La Plagne.
This resort is best suited to families that want to experience the French Alps without breaking the bank. Much of La Plagne’s accommodation is ski-in-ski-out, making it super convenient to get on the slopes in the morning.
A unique attraction to La Plagne is that it is home to France’s only bobsleigh run. So if you have ever fancied giving bobsleighing a try, La Plagne is one of only ten places in the world you can do it.
La Rosière’s dual country linked ski area (Espace San Bernardo) allows you to ski in 2 countries on the one lift pass by connecting La Rosière ski resort in France and La Thuile in Italy.
6. La Rosière
La Rosière is one of the few ski resorts that allow you to ski in France and Italy on the same day. It is located in the Tarentaise Valley but offers a much more laid-back atmosphere than neighbouring Val D’Isere or Tignes. The more relaxed nature of La Rosière means that lift queues are much shorter and the pistes are much quieter.
La Rosière is ideal for families and beginners, but there is some excellent off-piste terrain for more advanced people. You can experience two different lifestyles on both sides of the border using just one lift pass.
Off the slopes, there is plenty to do too. The igloo village, X Treme luge, and Snakegliss are great fun and popular with kids.
Le Grand Bornand is a traditional mountain village brimming with charm. It has over 400 wooden chalets that have retained their Savoyard style, providing the backdrop for an authentic French ski holiday
7. Le Grand Bornand
Le Grand Bornand is as traditional as old French ski resorts get. It is actually a farming village, but when the snow falls, the cows are taken inside, and the ski lifts are opened. The village atmosphere is enhanced with traditional chalets and authentic alpine French cuisine.
This is a ski resort for people that want exceptional value for money and for families. It is one of the most accessible ski resorts, and is a great base to visit other fantastic destinations, such as the stunning Lake Annecy. The Le Grand Bornand ski area is suitable for families and beginners, but it is also home to one of the best snowparks in France.
Les Arcs is made up of four purpose-built ski resorts, 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000, each offers direct access to the slopes and lifts.
8. Les Arcs
Les Arcs is in the same ski area as La Plagne, the Paradiski, giving you a vast area to explore. Consisting of four purpose-built villages, Les Arcs has reliable snow cover all winter and incredible views of Mont Blanc. Each of the villages is pedestrianised, making it a safe resort for families with young children. But the expansive ski area and great value for money accommodation make Les Arcs an excellent choice for groups too.
A unique attraction to Les Arcs, is the largest igloo village in the French Alps. Both kids and adults love it, especially after snowshoeing to it for a traditional Savoyard meal in the evening.
Les Gets is a very family-friendly resort in one of the world’s largest ski areas, Les Portes du Soleil
9. Les Gets
Les Gets is one of the 12 ski resorts within the Portes du Soleil and maintains a village-like atmosphere. The buildings are a mix of traditional chalets, apartments and hotels, with some more modern ones that compliment them well.
Families love how easy the beginner slopes are to access. At the same time, the more experienced skiers can explore the whole Portes du Soleil. Les Gets is an attractive ski resort with some excellent bars and restaurants to satisfy your après and nightlife needs.
Megeve is a beautiful traditional old French farming village, bursting with life all year round.
Megève is a high-end ski resort with a charming atmosphere. You can expect to see horse-drawn carriages and traditional markets in the picturesque historic cobblestone streets.
The ski area around Megève is varied enough for all abilities, but its proximity to Chamonix and Courmayeur in Italy, allows you to explore more challenging terrain.
The sophisticated atmosphere of Megève is enhanced by tasteful après venues, Michelin star restaurants and superb shopping.
Méribel is in the heart of the largest ski area in the world: The 3 Valleys
Méribel is suitable for families, groups and couples, thanks to its wide spread of activities and nightlife. It is situated in the heart of the Three Valleys, so you get to enjoy the largest ski area in the world during your stay. But with its wooden alpine chalets, Méribel is one of the more charming of the larger resorts in the Three Valleys.
Méribel’s immediate ski area offers some excellent green and blue runs for beginners and intermediates to enjoy. The DC Area 43 is a fantastic snowpark, that allows you to progress your freestyle skiing and snowboarding no matter what your level is. Start your freestyle carrier in the rookie zone, while the pro-zone caters for experienced freestylers. You can expect kickers, rails and a superpipe.
The après ski starts on the slopes at La Folie Douce, but there are some lovely mountain restaurants for a leisurely lunch. In Méribel village there are some fantastic restaurants, including the Michelin-starred L’Ekrin.
Tignes is located in one of the best ski areas in France. Its high altitude gives Tignes a more extended winter than many French ski resorts and makes it a very snow-sure destination
Also located in the Tarentaise Valley, Tignes is one of the best ski resorts in France, as it caters well for everyone. Some of Tignes’ architecture isn’t the prettiest, but its high altitude and superb pistes make up for it. There are some incredible chalets to choose from too.
Tignes is linked to Val D’Isere via pistes and ski lifts, creating a vast ski area with 300km of slopes. The varied terrain makes Tignes suitable for all abilities, but there is a lot to experience during a visit. The nightlife and après scene is excellent and unique activities to create lifelong memories.
Val d’Isere is one of the most well-known and iconic ski resorts in the world. Its picturesque villages are brimming with luxury accommodation, fantastic restaurants, and bars
13. Val D’Isere
Val D’Isere is one of the most famous ski resorts in France. It offers incredible skiing, outstanding accommodation and is the epitome of what you can experience on a French ski holiday.
The village itself is picturesque thanks to its baroque style and snow-covered buildings and streets. You can expect boutique shops and many bars, restaurants and cafés.
As Val D’Isere is the highest authentic mountain village in France, you can expect excellent snow cover all season. But to enhance the snow-sure nature of Val D’Isere, it is home to the largest artificial snowmaking facility in Europe. The choice of lively bars on and off the mountain make Val D’Isere a fun ski resort for couples and groups. Après starts on the mountain and can continue throughout the night, making it a real party town.
There are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained and some excellent childcare options. The way Val d’Isere caters for all types of people makes it one of the best ski resorts in France.
Valmorel is a cute little skiing village located in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps
Valmorel is a ski resort with a focus on family ski holidays. Even though it is purpose-built, this pedestrianised resort still manages to create a pleasant atmosphere, thanks to its wood, stone and slate buildings.
The ski area is excellent for beginners and intermediates, but there are lots of other activities too. Valmorel is a great place for trying out snowshoeing, paragliding and dog sledding. Kids love Valmorel thanks to the range of child-friendly adventures and après activities. A firm favourite, is the spectacular torchlit descent, which is excellent while sipping a vin chaud or hot chocolate.
Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe (2,300m) and is snow guarantee from November to May
15. Val Thorens
Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe which means the snow is excellent throughout the winter. It is also located in the Three Valleys, the largest ski area in the world. However, much of the accommodation is ski-in-ski-out and better value than some of the other Three Valleys resorts. These characteristics make Val Thorens very popular with families. Another attraction for families and beginners is that there are some very easy green and blue runs to perfect those first turns. More experienced skiers have lots of terrain to explore and a great snowpark.
There is plenty to do when you are off your skis too. There is a lively après and nightlife scene, but there are lots of other activities. The six kilometre-long toboggan run is popular with kids, while ice diving, ice-driving, mountain biking, snowmobiling and paragliding are also on offer.
WHICH ONE WILL YOU CHOOSE?
Our French background and extensive experience of the best ski resorts in France means we know what our guests want from their French skiing holiday. We have a fantastic network of trusted partnersall over the French Alps that will ensure that you have everything you need for your holiday.
We have hand-picked the best chalets, apartments and hotels in the best ski resorts in the world. With their combined characteristics and the expertise of the Top Snow Travel team, we are confident that your holiday will exceed your expectations and create lasting memories.
If you would like further information on any of these ski resorts, check out our Ultimate Guides to each of them. Alternatively, contact us, where one of our experts will be on hand to advise you on the best resort and accommodation option for you.