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 this guide to the best French ski resorts will help you decide where to go!
Les Portes du Soleil
Known as ‘the gates of the sun’ this is the world’s largest linked ski area and 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 which is a huge bonus. Each village offers something slightly different – Châtel is a lovely village which retains a very French feel with traditional Alpine charm and beautiful chalets. Morzine is a larger resort nearby (very popular with the Brits) and offers great skiing for both intermediates and beginners who will especially enjoy the wide gentle pistes at nearby Les Gets. Avoriaz is a purpose ski-built resort a few kms up the valley and is completely car free. Another advantage is the resort offers a lot of ski-in ski-out apartments and is famous for its quirky 1960’s architecture.
Nearest airports: Geneva, 90 minutes.
Les Trois Vallees
A very well-known area and also one of the largest ski areas in the world, Les Trois Vallees offers more than 600km of pistes and 180 lifts which link the eight resorts and three valleys. Val Thorens is Europe’s highest at 2,300m, then there’s Meribel at 1,450m and Courchevel which covers three main areas at 1,150m, 1,650m and 1,850m. Courchevel is perhaps best-known for its champagne popping Russians, glitz, glamour and multi-million Euro chalets.
Nearest airports: Chambery 90 minutes, Geneva, 130 minutes, Grenoble 120 minutes, Lyon 145 minutes
Famed for its quality skiing and vibrant apres-ski scene, Val d’Isere offers some of the most exciting and varied slopes in the French Alps. The village is located at 1,850m and 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 – this last season, skiing was still taking place in July on the glacier! On the flip side, you can expect to pay high prices on the mountains which often rival those found in Switzerland.
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, with the highest lift at 3,842m. This resort will satisfy the most demanding skiers who will love its off-piste terrain – the resort neighbours the famous Vallée Blanche, the longest off-piste ski route in Europe! For Apres-ski there are plenty of bars and the music goes long into the night.
Nearest airport: 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, a rich medieval feel and is popular with affluent French clientele. Megeve is also home to Michelin starred restaurants and glitzy five-star hotels.The ski area is extensive and offers peaceful pistes for those skiers who are happy to negotiate the somewhat slow connections. Megeve has a laid-back feel and plenty of fantastic slopes.
Nearest airport: Geneva, 60 minutes away.
DIscover Chalet la Fontaine in the heart of the Portes du Soleil