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HEIDI GUIDE TO
France Ski Holidays
Think of France, and the first things that come to mind are cheese, wine and croissants.
All of those are ‘très bon’, but for those who love to hit the slopes, skiing is epic there too!
Why choose to go skiing in France?
Huge choice of resorts for all abilities
Massive, high-altitude ski resorts
Great food, apres, and accommodation
French ski resorts are arguably the creme de la creme. Packing high-altitude ski areas, pumping party apres and enough pastries to fill your (ski) boots with.
From purpose-built resorts to more traditional hidden gems, the choice is pretty endless. So whether long cruisy blues or steep blacks are your thing, you’ll find exactly what you need on a France ski holiday.
A great place to start your search, and with something for everyone, is charming and traffic-free Avoriaz (sleigh-ride anyone?). Meanwhile, those looking for world-class advanced and off-piste terrain can’t go wrong with Chamonix. And with huge, snow-sure ski areas, Val Thorens or Tignes should be on your radar too.
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Family skiing in France
With heaps of convenient accommodations, fun and relaxed pistes, and high-quality instructors, a family ski holiday in France is dreamy, even with little ones in tow.
Resorts such as Avoriaz and Les Arcs have proven themselves as some of the best ski resorts for families, with Avoriaz consistently earning the coveted 'Famille Plus Montagne' certification. For big family-friendly ski areas, head to Flaine or La Plagne. Both are packed with miles of fluffy white pistes, great self-catered accommodation and plenty of kid-friendly restaurants.
And if short transfers are essential, La Clusaz gets our vote. It’s a cosy, traditional resort, only 50km from Geneva - with the added bonus of plenty of ski-in, ski-out options available.
Group skiing in France
Whether with friends or family, a group ski holiday in France is a great bet, with big accommodations, big ski areas and even bigger après-ski.
Groups looking for an après-ski holiday should slide down to Val Thorens or Meribel. Combining lively boots-on-the-table après-ski with loads of accommodation options, it’s easy for the whole group to have fun together.
France Ski holidays Your questions answered by our French ski holiday expert
Alexander Blunt (Co-Founder)
When is the best time to ski in France?
Luckily, on the whole, the ski season in France is longer than many of its Alpine neighbours, as it runs from December until the end of April.
In January, you’ll stand the best chance of bucketloads of powdery goodness. And while March and April typically bring on sunnier days, big dumps of late-season snow are not unheard of.
If a snow-sure resort is a must-have for your holiday, without the need for planning around the best time to ski, then check out high-altitude ski resorts, like Val Thorens or Tignes with their consistent snow conditions all season long.
And finally, if you want to know the best time to ski in France to skip the crowds, then avoid the school holidays if you can, or choose from one of many lesser-known, quieter resorts.
What are the best ski resorts in France for beginners?
If you’re just getting started with skiing, or travelling with someone who is, then France is a great choice for a beginner's ski holiday.
Arguably one of the best ski resorts in France for beginners has to be Flaine. With heaps of nursery slopes only moments from the main town, as well as highly regarded English-speaking ski instructors, you’ll find it hard not to come back.
In La Plagne, the free beginner slopes give you all the time in the world to build your confidence. Then when you’re ready to step it up a gear, the countless cruisy blues become your playground. And beginners will also feel right at home in Montgenevre, with its gentle nursery slopes and super-easy green pistes running from the peak of Les Gondrans right into the village.
What are the best ski resorts in France for advanced skiers?
France ski holidays are perfect for advancedskiers looking for hair-raising terrain and steep pistes. One of the best ski resorts in France for advanced skiers has to be Chamonixwith five locations in its ski area, all with a tendency for steep and challenging terrain. With monstrous runs like ‘Sarenne’ or the infamous ‘Tunnel’, advanced skiers looking for one of France’s most challenging ski resorts, will find themselves at home in Alpe d’Huez.
Fans of Olympic quality resorts should head to Val d'Isère and its infamous black ski run ‘La Face’.
What are the best ski resorts for off piste skiing in France?
Solely reserved for strong and experienced skiers (and ideally, a guide), if you’re all about the challenge that the powdery goodness brings, then look no further than our tips for the best ski resorts in France for off-piste skiing.For a French off-piste ski holiday like no other, it has to be Chamonixwith incredible freeriding on offer in areas like ‘Argentière’.
Avoriazwith its huge Portes du Solei ski area, is a playground for skiers and snowboarders wanting dreamy off-piste skiing in France. Outside of the multiple options for back-country skiing throughout the ski area, the resort also hosts four official ‘freeride’ areas, where you can experience off-piste within areas actively monitored by ski patrol.And for high-altitude lovers, Val Thorensor Tigneshit the spot with their array of couloirs and chutes. Grab a guide and be ready to hike, because the best terrain is accessed by those brave enough to traverse the spines and peaks of two of France’s off-piste palaces.
What are the best high-altitude ski resorts in France?
If you’re all about snow-sure skiing and looking for the best high-altitude ski resorts in France, then you’re in the right place.
The king of the mountains is Val Thorens. Its base resort height starts at a whopping 2,100m making it the highest ski resort in France. With pistes covering the snow-filled valley up to the highest points of Pointe du Bouchet (3,230m) and Cime de Caron (3,200m), you’ll struggle to find higher-altitude skiing anywhere else.
Not far behind is Les Arcs. Arguably one of the best ski resorts in France for high-altitude skiing, it packs big altitudes with heaps of ski-in ski-out purpose-built accommodation. For a head-in-the-clouds experience, hit up Aiguille Rouge (Red Needle) at 2,700 metres to admire the exceptional view and all 9km of incredible skiing on the way back down.
Elsewhere, Tignes and Val d'Isère both offer a stunning high-altitude experience, with glacier skiing backing up an incredible network of some of France’s highest-altitude pistes.
What are the best resorts for snowboarders in France?
With a long history of developing European snowboard culture, it’s easy to find the best resorts for snowboarders in France that cater for your specific needs.
One of France’s best resorts for snowboarders has to be Avoriaz. Its diverse pistes, four incredible freestyle parks (like the wooden ‘Stash Park’), oodles of freeride terrain and top-notch apres, make this a perfect pick for mixed-ability snowboard groups.
For off-piste snowboarding in France then Chamonix is for you. Five ski areas, challenging pistes and incredible off-piste, make it one for the bucket list.
One of the best French ski resorts for beginner snowboarders has to be Les Arcs. With lots of mellow terrain and cruisy groomers, it's a perfect starting point for those looking to get into the sport.
Which French ski resorts are best for food and drink?
Whether it's the wafting smell of pastries from the alpine boulangeries, the bucketload of choice when it comes to cheese, or the ready supply of red wine flowing in the bars, French ski resorts are incredible when it comes to food and drink.
Fromage lovers really can’t go wrong; choose from gorging cheesy Raclette, Fondue or even the alpine staple of Tartiflette. And while on the slopes, the multitudes of on-mountain pit stops provide ample opportunities for big lunches.
Typically drenched in sun during the later months of the season, ‘Les Lindarets’ in the Avoriaz Valley, is stuffed full of options for big mid-day lunches.
For those looking for traditional French haute cuisine, one of France’s best ski resorts for food and drink has to be Chamonix, with plenty of traditional restaurants offering the best of French cooking.
And if you’re looking for real luxury, why not head to Courchevel or Megeve. Between them, they have over half of the eight Michelin Star restaurants found in the French Alps.
What are the best French resorts for après-ski?
Whether you prefer a few quiet drinks off the slopes or want to party in your ski gear all night long, French après-ski has you covered.
While many resorts vie for the crown of being the best French ski resort for apres-ski, one of the most well-known has to be Val Thorens and its pumping Bar360 and Folie Douce options.
Another popular après-ski resort in France is Chamonix, with plenty of live music, big atmospheres and of course - happy hour.
Elsewhere Val d'Isere and Tignes combine incredible slopeside après-ski with incredible skiing. Dancing on the tables at Cocorico anyone?
What are the best ski resorts in France for ski weekends or short breaks?
France is fantastic for short ski trips because so many resorts have short transfers and ski-in ski-out accommodation. This means you can maximise your time on the slopes and pack in plenty of skiing.
For a French ski resort that's quick to reach from Geneva airport, try Morzine. With over 500km of pistes, terrain for all abilities, and a lively apres-ski scene for off-the-slope fun, it's the perfect French resort for a ski weekend.
Also only an hour from Geneva, is Chamonix, another of France’s best ski resorts for a short ski holiday. With a long season, a big ski area and some of the best snow conditions in France, this playground for advanced skiers is a perfect resort for a quick getaway.
And if you’re all about convenience then Flaine is a sure bet. With an easygoing resort built close to the slopes, its quick transfer makes it ideal for a short ski trip to France.
What is the ski accommodation in France like?
From simple, cheap apartments to slope-side hotels and cosy comfortable self-catered chalets, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to choosing ski accommodation in France.
If you’re looking for ski-in ski-out, your best bet is to aim high. High-altitude resorts typically have the most choice for this. Avoriaz is a great choice if this is high on your list.
Meanwhile, purpose-built resorts such as Tignes and Flaine provide plenty of self-catered accommodation in large central locations - perfect for families and groups prioritising convenience.
And if you’re looking for traditional and charming ski accommodations in France, then it helps to look for older, lower altitude resorts, like the village of Chatel.
What are the entry requirements for France?
Entry requirements for France are completely dependent on your nationality. Things can change, so for the most up-to-date visa and passport information, we advise checking the international travel advice for your nationality, below are two examples.
Tignes has evolved into a vibrant Alpine resort with fantastic freeriding, ideal slopes for beginners and intermediates, and a lively après scene. Situated at 2,100m with access to 300km of pistes, including powder and tree runs, it offers exhilarating skiing experiences
Striking Avoriaz 1800 sits highest of all resorts in the vast Portes du Soleil ski area. The resort itself is entirely car free and ski-in/ski-out, making a ski holiday to Avoriaz the perfect choice for those looking for a snow sure getaway that maximises time on the slopes.
Val Thorens offers more than just being the highest ski resort in Europe; it grants access to Les Trois Vallées, the world's largest ski area, with reliable snow and a vast network of 600km runs. Ski-in and ski-out convenience trumps rustic architecture, and the resort caters to all riding styles and skill levels.
Just over an hour from Geneva, Morzine is one of the most accessible of the big, interconnected resorts, giving access to the vast playground that is the Portes du Soleil area. That’s 12 resorts with 580km of pistes and 30 snowparks, all on one pass.