France is known for having a good number of the world’s largest linked ski areas, with some of the ski areas measuring over 600km of pistes at altitudes of more than 3000m above sea level. But that’s not all France has to offer, and skiers and snowboarders are starting to discover the smaller resorts whose pretty scenery, village atmosphere and varied terrain can easily compete with the biggest names in the Alps. In our list of the top 15 French ski resorts, we've selected some up-and-comers along with the usual players.
The five villages of Les Arcs have something for everybody, from lively après-ski to traditional architecture and gourmet restaurants. Linked to the enormous Paradiski area with its 425km of slopes and two glaciers, the skiing here is pretty much unbeatable!Paradiski
Chamrousse is conveniently located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France, just 30km from Grenoble and two hours from Geneve airport. This family-friendly ski area offers a decent 90km of pistes in a charming setting. Plus, new skiers can practise in total safety in the separate beginner’s area.
Chic and yet authentic, the beloved ski resort of Megève has a beautiful pedestrianized village centre with lots to see and many bars open until the wee hours. In terms of skiing, there is plenty to keep even the most energetic skiers busy. Megève links up with the Evasion Mont Blanc ski area for an impressive 440km of pistes!
Morzine has attracted winter sports fans from all over Europe since 1934. The village centre has managed to preserve its traditional Savoyard architecture, and the small streets are lined with cute shops and cosy cafés. Morzine is linked to Les Portes du Soleil ski area, one of the largest linked ski areas in the world with around 650km of pistes.Les Portes du Soleil
The relatively unknown ski resort of St. François Longchamp is located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Two small villages accommodate skiers as well as those interested in hang-gliding, dogsledding and a range of other outdoor activities. St. François Longchamp is part of the Grand Massif ski area, with its 220km of slopes and plentiful off-piste skiing.
In tenth place on our list of the best French ski resorts is the popular Val d'Isère, with its adorable old town centre and guaranteed snowfall. The recently renovated Espace Killy has 300km of pistes for all levels, from wide beginner slopes to steep black runs and off-piste. Boasting a few famous après-ski establishments, this resort is popular with the party animals!Tignes - Val d'Isère
Les Deux Alpes is home to the second-oldest ski resort village in France, Venosc, as well as an ugly concrete jungle of holiday accommodation. That doesn’t stop skiers and snowboarders who come for the animated party scene, excellent snowpark installations and 230km of slopes! Visit in the summer for some sweet blue-sky glacier skiing.
France’s fifth-largest ski resort enjoys an average of 300 sunny days every year so you are practically guaranteed good weather on the slopes! Aptly nicknamed “The Island in the Sun,” Alpe d'Huez can also claim the longest black piste in Europe, as well as 250km of slopes. The resort offers good value for money, just one of the many reasons it placed in our top 10 French ski resorts.Alpe d'Huez
Méribel is nestled in the heart of the Three Valleys ski area, one of the largest ski areas in the world. In contrast to many other French resorts, Méribel’s quaint village centre is comprised mostly of rustic chalets. The high-altitude ski area gets great snowfall and expert skiers will be kept busy by piste after piste of challenging terrain.
Sixth on our list of the best French ski resorts is Chamonix, at the foot of the towering 4810m peak of Mont Blanc. Over 120km of pistes spread over several ski areas and awe-inspiring views of the highest mountain in Europe make this one of the most popular mountains with British skiers. Chamonix is known for its off-piste skiing, lively nightlife and long ski season.
Made up of several villages including Champagny en Vanoise, Belle Plagne and Montchavin Les Coches, La Plagne lies at the heart of the well-known Paradiski area. Over 425km of pistes and two glaciers lying over 3000m above sea level draw hordes of ski and snowboard enthusiasts to this winter paradise every year. In the evenings, the towns light up with bars, nightclubs and various concerts and other events.Paradiski
The four villages at the multifaceted ski resort of Courchevel each have something to offer in their own original way. Courchevel 1850 is the biggest and the most popular thanks to its large, stylish wooden chalets and first-class facilities, but those with tighter purse strings can easily find accommodation at a more reasonable price tag with the other three stations. The linked 3 Valleys ski area has over 600km of pistes.
Avoriaz scores third on our list of the best ski resorts in France this year. The unique wooden chalets blend harmoniously into the mountain scenery at this high-altitude resort, and the car-free village centre is always bustling with not only pedestrians but also horse-drawn carriages and children with sledges. Skiing at Les Portes du Soleil ski area gives access to 600km of pistes, and heli-skiing is possible on the Swiss side of the border.Les Portes du Soleil
In second place this year among the best ski resorts in France is Tignes. With several villages reaching up as high as 2100m, Tignes and the Espace Killy ski area are equipped with all the latest and greatest facilities for a splendid ski holiday. 300km of pistes welcome skiers and snowboarders from around the world who come for the varied terrain and exciting village atmosphere.
And the first place winner is… Val Thorens! The highest ski resort in Europe at an altitude of 2300m above sea level, Val Thorens boasts endless pistes, exceptional snowfall and over 600km of world-class terrain. Elegant wood and stone buildings in the pedestrianized ski-in, ski-out village centre stand out against the backdrop of the expansive Three Valleys ski area.Val Thorens
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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