This guide to the best French ski resorts will help you decide where to go. France is blessed with some of best skiing resorts in the world but if you don’t know your Courchevel from your Portes du Soleil, read on.
LES PORTES DU SOLEIL
Known as ‘the gates of the sun’ this is one of the best ski resorts in France. It’s also one of the largest linked ski areas in the world. It comprises 12 villages on both sides of the France-Swiss border. One of the major selling points is the resort’s close proximity to Geneva airport. It can be reached in 90 minutes by car.
Each village offers something slightly different. Châtel is a lovely village with a very French feel, traditional Alpine charm and beautiful chalets. Morzine is a larger resort nearby and very popular with the Brits. It offers great skiing for both intermediates and beginners. They especially enjoy the wide gentle pistes at Les Gets. Avoriaz is a purpose ski-built resort a few kms up the valley and is car free. Avoriaz offers ski-in ski-out apartments and is famous for its 1960’s architecture.
Nearest airports: Geneva, 90 minutes.
LES TROIS VALLEYS
A very well-known area and also one of the largest ski areas in the world. Les Trois Vallees is another of the best ski resorts in France. It offers more than 600km of pistes. There are 180 lifts which link the eight resorts and three valleys. Val Thorens is Europe’s highest at 2,300m. Meribel is at 1,450m and Courchevel covers three main areas at 1,150m, 1,650m and 1,850m. Courchevel is well-known for its glitz, glamour and multi-million Euro chalets.
Nearest airports: Chambery 90 minutes, Geneva, 130 minutes, Grenoble 120 minutes, Lyon 145 minutes
Val d’Isere is one of the best ski resorts in France. Famed for its quality skiing and vibrant apres-ski scene, it offers some of the most exciting slopes iin the world. The village is located at 1,850m. The highest point is 3,456m at the top of La Grande Motte glacier area it shares with Tignes. Snow conditions are invariably among the best in Europe. Sometimes skiing still takes place in July on the glacier. On the flip side, you can expect to pay high prices.
Nearest airport: Chambéry, 120 minutes and Geneva, 170 minutes.
Chamonix has an iconic location in the shadow of Mont Blanc and at the junction of France, Italy and Switzerland. The four main ski areas are spread out across the valley and the resort sits at 1,035m. The highest lift is at 3,842m. This resort will satisfy the most demanding skiers who love its off-piste terrain. The resort neighbours the famous Vallée Blanche, the longest off-piste ski route in Europe. The après-ski scene includes lots of bars and the music goes long into the night.
Nearest airports: Geneva 60 minutes, Chambery 90 minutes, Lyon 120 minutes,
Megeve is the main part of the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area, the 4th largest in France. It’s a charming old town with lovely horse drawn carriages. There’s a rich medieval feel and it’s popular with affluent French clientele. Megeve is also home to Michelin starred restaurants. There are glitzy five-star hotels and the ski area is extensive. Ski here and enjoy peaceful pistes if you are happy to negotiate the slow connections. Megeve has a laid-back feel and plenty of fantastic skiing.
Nearest airport: Geneva, 60 minutes away.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, discover Chalet la Fontaine in the heart of the Portes du Soleil. Located opposite the bus stop and a few minutes away from the chairlifts.