Skiing in France is a very attractive activity in winter and fun for sure! Tourists from different countries around the world visit the country every year looking for the excellent ski resorts in France and all the attractions they offer. In terms of quality, France has plenty, and some are even among the best in the world.
Therefore, in this post, I will bring you a selection of 11 top-rated ski resorts in France for you to discover. I have selected the locations taking into account different types of audiences (from beginner to expert), services offered, and prices charged for them. Thus, there are options for those who are going to spend more or those on a tight budget.
The European winter, which takes place between the months of December and March, is the ideal time to practice skiing, and it is also the period where the so-called high season in France takes place. In addition to France, also Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. These countries, especially in the Alps region, provide perfect conditions for skiing, which is wonderful for tourists looking for adventures in the snow. So, let’s go to the options of places to ski in France?
Where to ski in France: ski resorts in France
The French Alps have some of the best ski resorts in the range. They are famous, especially for having excellent offers to enjoy a few days of skiing with family or friends.
1. Skiing in Chamonix Mont-Blanc Resort
The Chamonix Mont-Blanc resort is where you should go if you’re looking for a ski resort that never runs out of space, no matter how many tourists. In reality, Chamonix isn’t one single resort but is an aggregation of different resorts, i.e., Grand Montets, Brevent, La Flegere, Les Houches, Les Tour, Les Vormain, and Le Planards.
This ski resort is located on the highest mountain in Europe, at the foot of the 4,810 meters high Mont Blanc. Cable cars link all of the resorts that comprise Chamonix. Therefore, it won’t be hard to transfer if you don’t like where you’re currently staying. As for the slopes, they consist of intermediate to professional trails. That’s why get a ski instructor if you’re an absolute beginner.
The exciting slopes, the colorful small town of Chamonix together with the breathtaking view of the Mont Blanc make the ski area undoubtedly one of the best ski resorts in France.
2. Skiing in Tignes
Tignes is a French commune located in the department of Savoy, very close to the border with Italy. It is one of the favorite French ski resorts of winter sports fans. Together with Val d’Isere, they form Espace Killy, one of the largest and best ski areas in the world.
Thanks to the La Grande Motte glacier, you can ski in Tignes almost all year round. In recent times, the glacier has been shrinking, forcing the station to close for a few weeks in summer. At La Grande Motte, the slopes are 3,450m high, guaranteeing good snow and epic descents for the most experienced skiers.
This station is famous for its demanding slopes, but also for not being too expensive and having accommodation at the foot of the slopes. This guarantees and greatly improves the comfort and user experience, as well as giving you great views from the window.
3. Skiing in Avoriaz
Avoriaz is a skier’s paradise. It belongs to the ski area of Les Portes du Soleil, made up of 14 different villages spread between France and Switzerland and which are connected to each other by skiing. Being the highest station in the area, the quality of its snow is excellent. In addition, from Avoriaz, you have access to 12 Swiss and French stations. A couple of facts to take into account when choosing where to ski in France.
At this resort in the French Alps, you will find one of the most difficult slopes in the world: the Swiss Wall. This steep 40-degree slope has a length of 1.3 km and a drop of 331 m. But what makes its descent more complicated are the innumerable and gigantic bathtubs that fill the track.
As a curious fact, Avoriaz is a skiable town and therefore sustainable. That is, the use of the car is not allowed, and the only possible transport is your skis or sleds.
4. Skiing in Alpe d'Huez
They say that it is one of the areas with less cold and more sun in the Alps. This fact, without any doubt, makes it one of the most desired by skiers. Since the Grenoble 68 Olympic Games (X Winter Olympic Games) were held in Alpe d’Huez, this station began to position itself as one of the best ski resorts in France and Europe.
The main ski area in Alpe d’Huez is the Pic Blanc massif, through which 250 km of slopes of varying difficulty run and more than 20 off-track routes. Among them, Le Tunnel stands out, one of the most difficult descents in the world. In addition, this station stands out for having a significant difference in altitude of 2,200 m and for having the longest track in the world: Sarenne.
5. Skiing in Val Thorens
Val Thorens is a ski resort and a town in the Terrantaise Valley of the French Alps. To get here, just head to the Savoie’s center (Chambery). From Chambery international airport, Val Thorens is 1 hour and 35 minutes away by a tourist bus.
With an elevation of 2300 meters, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort not only in France, but also in the entire European continent.
The suits, where you’ll be staying, are already on the slopes. Therefore, all you have to do is grab your ski and head out.
The Val Thorens area divides into two skiing sections: Val Thorens- Orelle and Three Valleys. The pistes of Val Thorens-Orelle totals 150 kilometers. On the other hand, the pistes of the Three valleys totals 600 kilometers. Pistes of both sections let you see the majesty of the Glacier de Peclet and the summits of the French Alps.
Aside from skiing, other fun activities that you can do are driving the snowmobile, ice climbing, paragliding, and ice driving. There are also dedicated trails for riding dog sleds. If you want to do something more laid back, go skating on Val Thoren’s 400 square-meter skating rink: the La Patinoire.
6. Skiing in Courchevel
Courchevel is a ski resort that’s part of the Les Trois Vallees, a ski area that France boasts as the widest in the world. This ski resort is basically a package deal: hotels, chalets, restaurants, slopes of different heights, and winter recreational activities are all in Courchevel.
If you’re great at skiing, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t visit. Courchevel has six legendary ski areas that are only for hardcore skiing fanatics: L’Eclipse, La Jean Blanc, La Saulire, La Vizelle, Le Grand Couloir, Courchevel La Tana, and The Freeride Lab.
Aside from the legendary ski areas, Courchevel also offers enjoyable gimmicks for guests. You can go for a relaxing winter walk on the 87-kilometer dedicated groomed footpath. You can also arrange for an aerial tour and see the caps of the Le Trois Vallees from above. Of course, a visit to the Courchevel for a cup of hot chocolate is great before skiing again.
7. Skiing in Serre Chevalier
In southeastern France, on Provence Cote de Azure, is Serre Chevalier. What this ski resort offers is a unique skiing experience that is accompanied by good weather where the sunshine is overhead and thick snow underneath your feet. The snow cannons ensure the integrity of the snow on the slopes, even if sunshine is present.
Serre Chevalier is one of the ski resorts in France with the most expansive skating rinks. As a result, professional figure skaters never fail to visit. The presence of the figure skaters makes the skating rink an enticing place to visit. Head to it and watch the grace twist, turns, and flips of the figure skaters. If you want to, you can even ask to skate with them.
Furthermore, Serre Chevalier also offers cultural activities. The guided tours will take you to the nearby Brancon and its Old Town, Vauban Fortifications, and historic college. If you don’t like Brancon, then the guided tours will take you to Salle instead to see its Vauban Fortifications and Salle Painted Churches.
8. Skiing in Meribel
Meribel is a ski resort village that’s part of the Les Trois Vallees of the French Alps. Though it has numerous good slopes for practice and for polishing skiing techniques, Merivel is more famous for the fun wintertime activities that it offers. The skiing landscape of Meribel consists of easy and difficult through the woods, intermediate level drops, and the humble houses of the villagers that peek from a distance.
Fun activities that you’ll love in Merivel, apart from skiing, are the horseback riding tour, ice sculpture family workshop, private horse riding lessons, and moon day yoga.
The horseback riding tour lasts for two hours and will let you explore the peaks that surround Meribel. On the other hand, the ice sculpture family workshop is where you’ll learn how to make ice figures such as ice houses, ice animals, and ice figurines. The moon day yoga is a full-hour session that will loosen your stiff muscles and nerves.
9. Skiing in La Plagne
2.5 million Tourists visit this resort in Tarentaise Valley every year. You have three options you can use to reach La Plagne: train, bus, and car. Riding the train or bus to La Plagne usually takes 3 hours. On the other hand, renting a car and driving your way to this resort only takes 1 hour and 28 minutes.
70% of La Plagne’s 425-kilometer runs are slopes that have an elevation exceeding 2000 meters. Moreover, they are categorized into beginner, immediate, and professional zones that have markers for you to know which is which. Aside from the slopes and their runs, La Plagne also has 186-kilometer cross-country skiing trails and 40-kilometer ski touring trails.
Aside from offering skiing activities, you can also enjoy a bit of a cultural trip in La Plagne. Spend a bit of money and arrange a tour that will take you to the Pierre Borrione Museum, St.Martin’s Basilica, Joanne’s House, and Montagne Mines.
10. Skiing in Les Arcs
Les Arcs is another popular resort that’s found in the same region in the French Alps as La Plagne. This ski resort offers a magnificent view of the mountains that comprise the Tarentaise Valley as well as the town of Bourg-St. Maurice on their foot.
The runs of Les Arcs total 425 kilometers. And just like La Plagne, most of the slopes stand higher than 2000 meters. Out of all these, the most challenging are the runs on the slopes of Col De La Chal, Grand Col, and Aiguille Rouge. Col De La Chal has an elevation of 2600 meters, Grand Col – 2800 meters, and Aiguille Rouge – 3000 meters.
Aiguille Rouge is the highest point in Les Arcs, where you can try paragliding. The view of the entire Les Arcs landscape is also very spectacular from Aguille Rouge. If you’re afraid of heights but want to do something equally fun, riding the electric winter scooter on the trails will be worthwhile.
11. Skiing in Les Deux Alpes
The Le Deux Alpes is a resort village in the Isere-Auvegerne-Rhone-Alpes district of the French Alps. It’s famous due to the inverted characteristic of its slopes. The slopes are steeper on the lower locations of the resort and get less steep as the elevation gets higher.
That said, the runs of this resort are what you’re looking for if you’re not fond of riding the cable car for long. Challenging runs aren’t many, and you can get to them in a minute or so. Moreover, the fact that the easy slopes have higher elevation means you can do a relaxing ski and watch the overlooking views.
Les Deux Alpes also entices tourists to come with its Avenue de La Muzelle. In Avenue de la Muzelle, you can find great deals on skiing equipment and traditional food. You can also purchase rare clothing, perfume, and jewelry. Ilearned that Les Deux Alpes isn’t only about skiing, but also about shopping too.
As you can see, France has incredibly diverse and large ski areas up its sleeve. So, how about your next ski holiday going to one of the 11 top-rated ski resorts in France?