Growing up, the nearest ski resorts were in the Poconos. On family trips and for my high school’s ski club, we’d pack up the car, get all bundled up and make the trip to nearby Pennsylvania for some fun on the slopes. But ski resorts in France are an entirely different ball game. The French Alps are spectacular and for this lover of winter and snow, they’ve been on my bucket list forever. Let’s take a look at some of the best French ski resorts!
Best French ski resorts
Chamonix Valley Ski Resorts
Chamonix Valley is one of the most sought-after locations in the world for winter sports lovers and enthusiasts because it is home to the highest peak in Western Europe — Mont Blanc. For this reason, Chamonix on a yearly basis receives a huge number of alpinists and snow sports-seeking visitors from all over the globe, including participants of The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. The single-stage ultramarathon has been held in August of each year since 2003.
The stunning resort itself is situated within Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, commonly referred to as Chamonix, a valley town with a population of almost 9,000 people. The town is located in the French Haute-Savoie department within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeast France. This ski resort town is very highly acclaimed and probably the most well known, which is no surprise since it was the host of the very first Winter Olympics back in 1924.
Considered to be one of the best freeride resort in the whole world, the Chamonix Valley has a ski route of 20km and has not just one but five ski resorts: Grands Montets, La Flegere, Les Houches, Le Tour/Balme, and Le Brevent.
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These resorts offer multiple options to guests from moderate level to expert level skiing, there is surely something here for everyone in the family. Not into skiing? Why not come in the summer instead.
If you love the winter but aren’t into skiing, no worries there. Chamonix Valley all kinds of activities to keep everyone busy. Guests can take a scenic walk around the beautiful grounds or indulge in a little retail therapy. There’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants if you’ve got a foodie in your group. Other facilities include an ice rink, a public swimming pool, and a bowling alley. Transportation in Chamonix is also quite convenient with rail and bus connections available.
Ski rental services are also available here as in all French resorts, some of which include Intersport, Chamonix Ski Rental, Bozon Sports, and Onskioo. Guests who might not be great at skiing may also enroll in one of the Chamonix Ski schools including ESF, which is the main ski school here. Others include Evolution 2, Ecorider, and Sensations ESI. Mountain guides and private instructors are also available for hire. Safety first!
Courchevel Ski Resort
The Courchevel Ski resort in the French Alps is part of Les Trois Vallées which is known as the largest linked ski area in the world.
Courchevel is nestled in rich pine forests and beautiful mountains including Aiguille du Fruit, Vizelle, and the magnificent Sommet de la Saulire. The resort is a great destination for families all year round, in the summer multiple lakes in the resort and surrounding mountains are great spots for guests to unwind and be one with Mother Nature, if that’s your thing.
Just like Chamonix, Courchevel also has multiple villages, six of them to be precise, with each one having its own unique attractions. You really can’t go wrong.
Courchevel: This is the highest resort in the area with a 1,850-meter altitude. This is also the most luxurious of all the best French ski resorts in Courchevel, it is known to attract only the crème de la crème. You will find 17 5-star hotels and 3 palaces as well as state-of-the-art restaurants, exclusive clubs, bars, spas, clothing stores, and lots more.
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Courchevel-Moriond: With an altitude of 1,650 meters, this resort basks in the sun and offers guests a breathtaking view of surrounding mountains. Other attractions here include the forests and La Rosière Lake.
Courchevel-Village: At 1,550 meters in altitude, this is a family favorite because of the friendly slopes, restaurants, and skiing.
Courchevel-La Tania: This resort is car-free and rests in the forest, also another family-friendly option at 1,400 meters in altitude.
Courchevel-Le Praz: Here you will find countryside farmhouses and stone chalets, this resort is nice and quiet at 1,300-meter altitude.
Saint Bon: Known as the cradle of Courchevel, the entire Courchevel Valley resort started with Saint Bon in 1908. The resort is rich with history and wonderful attractions for guests to enjoy including holiday homes, and the Baroque Church.
Guests do not need to worry about commuting between the six resorts as there are free buses for this purpose. Access to the resort is also convenient with four surrounding airports. With all of these great features, the Courchevel Ski Resort is certainly one of the best French ski resorts or even one of the best ski resorts in the world.
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Val d’Isère Ski Resort
Val d’Isère, which translates to Valley of Isère, started as a little farm village in the Savoie region. Today, it has grown into one of the best French ski resorts out there. The resort does well to retain its rustic origins and feel, making it part of the resort’s signature and brand which is loved by its visitors.
At the Albertville Winter Olympics in 1992, Val d’Isère hosted the men’s downhill race in the Face de Bellevarde ski resort. A number of other notable winter games were held here, including the World Championships in 2009.
Located in a steep valley, the area since it opened for downward skiing in the 1930s, offers a great skiing location for expert-level skiers and other thrill-seekers. There is a variety of slopes within the resort for skiing of easy to expert difficulty.
The ski area has three arms with each having its own unique features:
Le Solaise: This is the resort’s central skiing location; it is a favorite because it is the best skiing area for beginner to expert skiers.
Bellevarde: This section of the resort also offers a range of skiing levels. It has three different slopes which face three different directions in a triangle-shaped bowl.
Le Fornet: This section is the serene area in the resort, with easy and long open pistes for skiing. Definitely more my style! Val d’Isère is known to have spectacular and heavy snowfall providing skiers with some of the best snow coverage in all of Europe all season long, so it’s definitely worthy of being one of the best ski resorts in France for that reason alone!
Val d’Isère has many unique facilities including spectacular chalets made out of wood and stone, world-class hotels, restaurants, and boutiques. Other attractions include luxury spas, a cinema, a sports center which has a really nice swimming pool, a climbing wall, a squash court, and a gym. It is no wonder this resort is a top pick for a lot of French and British vacationers, making it one of the best French ski resorts to visit. Val d’Isère is a great spot for a family visit. There is something for people of all ages to enjoy here.
Have you been to one of these French ski resorts? What are some of the best French ski resorts out there?
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