08 May The best holiday ski resorts in France
When winter arrives, many families chose to cocoon inside, opting to play board games, watch TV, and huddle by the fire until spring arrives. Not your crew – you and your kids relish the opportunity to hit the best slopes America has to offer.
You’ve even travelled to Canada to sample some of the best peaks in BC, Alberta, and Quebec – however, in recent times, you have cast a lusty gaze over to the amazing ski resorts which can be found in the French Alps.
Finding a quality mountain isn’t the problem here – it is choosing between the abundance of options available. In this guide, we’ll talk about the best holiday ski resorts in France, explaining who will enjoy each destination best.
Have some extra money to spend? If you are looking to take a family ski vacation in luxury after a quick visit to the French Riviera, Courchevel will easily be among the best holiday ski resorts in France in your books. Choice is this resort’s strong suit, as it is composed of four separate resort villages (Courchevel 1300, 1550, 1650, and 1850), each with its own distinct character.
Courchevel 1300 (also known as La Praz) has an old-fashioned vibe and is home to the Olympic ski jumping facility which saw action in the 1992 Albertville Games.
Courchevel 1550 is delightfully quiet, making it a great option for those looking to avoid parties.
Courchevel 1650 (also known as Moriond) is loaded down with shops, restaurants, and a new aquatic facility, which will satisfy those looking for a family-friendly apres-ski scene.
Lastly, Courchevel 1850 is the place to be for families who demand luxury. Here, you’ll have your pick of a variety of fancy hotels and exquisite chalets.
As for the hill itself, a well-regarded ski school will teach your kids how to shred better as you challenge harder runs, and a number of nurseries in some of the bigger resorts will keep smaller children occupied.
Another thing worth noting – Courchevel offers the Magnestick, a magnetic vest which keeps kids anchored to the chair during ascent. If you worry about whether they will be able to sit still on their own, this will alleviate your concerns.
Bummed out by less-than-ideal snow conditions? This won’t be a concern at Val d’Isere even during Easter weekend, as one of the best holiday ski resorts in France sits at an elevation of 1850 metres above sea level.
With plenty of green runs available, your little skiers and boarders will be able to have fun without stressing out too much.
If you want to cruise off on your own one day, there are ski schools, ski and play areas, and nurseries which will occupy your children as you challenge the best runs this world class resort has to offer.
On days when you aren’t hitting the mountain, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in the resort village.
With an amazing swimming pool and climbing wall in its sports center, and an outdoor skating rink in heart of the community, you won’t be left reaching for things to do if you are too tired to hit the hill.
Searching for a French ski area replete with numerous options? Plan a family activity holiday in Les Arcs, as this winter sports destination boasts multiple village centers like Courchevel does.
While Les Arcs 1800 may be a bit too adult-centered to be a suitable base for your clan, the other three will appeal to different groups for varying reasons. Les Arcs 1600 is best for those seeking peace and quiet and a more old-style alpine village feel, while Les Arcs 2000 offers the best ski-in, ski-out access of all the centers.
However, we feel that Les Arcs 1950 is the best choice for most families, as it is home to a resort which emphasizes pedestrians, offers a ski school which caters to kids, has an activity center with video and board games, and offers a babysitting service for those under 13 years of age.
The mountain is best for beginner to intermediate skiers and boarders, although there are a few blacks which will keep you and your older, more skilled teenage kids interested. Accordingly, those who fear accidentally going down a dangerous steep run will love this ski area, which we consider to be among the best holiday ski resorts in France.
La Plagne is another mountain which fares well as the French Alps moves into spring skiing season. If you can’t get away during Christmas or school holidays, this resort should be on your list when considering destinations during Easter.
Like Les Arcs, a majority of the runs on the slopes of La Plagne are intermediate in difficulty. What’s more, many chalets are located slope-side, making it easy to glide to the chairlift first thing in the morning.
Your kids will have plenty of starter runs to hone their skills on, and with cable car connections to adjacent aligned resorts, you’ll have plenty of terrain to tear up with your older children.
A storied snow resort which played host to the very first version of the Winter Olympics, Chamonix has evolved in modern times to become a friendly place for families wanting to ski or board its slopes, making it easy to put together a case that it is one of the best holiday ski resorts in France.
Unlike some of the ski areas listed above, Chamonix is well-balanced between beginner and intermediate runs, and those more suitable for advanced and expert skiers/boarders.
If this isn’t your first alpine excursion together and many of those in your clan are proficient when it comes to shredding powder, this resort is the ideal choice, as there is no shortage of challenging trails on this mountain.
The town at the base of this resort has an old Europe feel and is clean, safe, and replete with entertainment options.
When you aren’t skiing or boarding, the town offers hiking trails where you can snowshoe with your clan and a skating rink where you can glide on some of the smoothest ice in the Alps.
Want to spend your family ski holiday in the French Alps in a place where every aspect comes easy? We recommend La Tania, as this resort is easy to get around (cars are banned from the center), and those working in hospitality jobs speak better English than most places we’ve been in the French Alps.
The slopes offer a balanced assortment of runs, ranging from nursery slopes serviced by two magic carpets to bedevilling red and black trails which will put the skills of your most experienced family members to the test.
Back in town, there is a great deal of choice when it comes to restaurants, but be sure to book reservations at the ones you want to sample, as spots book up fast, especially in high season.
Tired of making difficult transfers from train stations or airports to ski resorts in the French Alps? Morzine is a mountain you’ll want to consider, as it is located within one hour of Geneva Airport in nearby Switzerland, on this point alone, it is already in the running to be one of the best holiday ski resorts in France.
Upon arrival, you’ll find free transit from the front of most hotels which will take you to the base of this resort’s ski lifts, thus negating the need to book ski-in/out accommodations.
On the mountain, most runs are green or blue, with a selection of reds and blacks higher up the peak. If your kids would rather practice tricks in a bid to become the next Shaun White or Mark McMorris, they’ll love the six freestyle areas found within this resorts and adjacent areas to which you have access.