Posted on 19 October 2021
Whether you are just looking at a holiday or somewhere to buy property, the long list of ski resorts in France attracts millions of people from around the world. As a prime spot in the French Alps and Europe, some ski resorts count themselves as the world’s best, and they tap into ski domains that offer award-winning terrain for the ultimate skiing experience. Additionally, forget the old age assumption that the ski resorts are just for winter. Once the snow falls away, many resorts offer sports activities and spa and wellness centres. From the shops to the slopes to the après ski, we looked over the long list to pick our favourite ski resorts and why they stand out.
Guide to the Best Ski Resorts in France
1: Alpe D’Huez in France
Alpe d’Huez in the Central French Alps is the central resort of Grandes Rousses massif. Linking the traditional villages of La Garde, Auris-en-Oisans, Villard Reculas, Ozen-Oisans, and Vaujany, the area offers up 250 kilometres of linked pistes. The top station sits at an impressive 3330 meters altitude and gives up fantastic views over the French Alps.
Alpe D’Huez is popular throughout Europe because the French resort accommodates everyone from beginners to experienced skiers, with an extensive range of off-piste French alps activities, including ice-driving, skating, climbing wall, bobsleigh, and a cinema. In addition, Alpe d’Huez resort offers a range of sporty activities from spring to summer to autumn. Alpe d’Huez nickname’s “L’ile au Soleil” means “sun island”, which refers to 300 days of sunshine a year.
2: Family Friendly Chatel
Sitting in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of south-east France, the best ski resort of Chatel has stuck to its traditional French charm, despite the growing popularity on the skiing scene. Like Alpe D’Huez, the ski pistes suit all types of skiers, and a free ski bus gives easy access to all 45 ski lifts. There are two central feathers in this ski resort‘s cup; the big 49 kilometres of cross-country ski trails and the Famille plus Montagne accreditation which makes Chatel ski resort family-friendly certified and ideal for a ski holiday.
Like many other French Alps resorts, Chatel offers a wide range of summer activities, including mountain biking, windsurfing, sailing, white water rafting, zip-lining, paragliding, kayaking, and walking. Expect a varied Après ski social scene from the authentic French alp bars to friendly English pubs, but do take time to eat in numerous restaurants offering traditional French Savoyard cuisine.
3: Chamonix Mont Blanc Resort
Chamonix ski resort sitting at the junction of France, Switzerland, and Italy, is one of the oldest. Year-round cable cars take tourists to Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner peaks with fantastic views, and the nearby glaciers have attracted mountaineers since the early 1900s. The short transfer time from Geneva airport of 75 minutes makes Chamonix a popular weekend getaway resort in France.
Additionally, Italy is a 15-minute drive, and the train to Switzerland makes this French location strategic. There are 152 kilometres of pistes for skiers, but Chamonix resort also belongs to the Mont Blanc ski area, which offers up 490 pistes serviced by 248 ski lifts. When the snow falls away, tourists in Chamonix indulge in numerous activities, including a bowling alley, cinema, casino, helicopter sightseeing tours, golfing, swimming, ice skating, tennis, paragliding, and mountain biking.
4: Prestigious Courchevel Resort
Sitting in the Tarentaise Valley in the Rhône-Alpes region of Eastern France, Courchevel sits by the neighbouring Espace Killy and Paradiski ski areas. Belonging to the Three Valleys area of France, four different resorts at different altitudes make up Courchevel. They are Le Praz 1300, Courchevel 1550, Courchevel 1650 and Courchevel 1850. The first resort is the most traditional and is famous for having the Jean Blanc and Jockeys black ski runs.
At the same time, the last resort is notably the most famous and attracts wealthy skiers from all around the world. Snowboarders also love Courchevel. Naturally, in such a high-profile resort of France, expect to find the best in brand name shopping and, of course, Après ski, from the piano bars to giant nightclubs. Do take time out to dine in Michelin star restaurants, and during the day, head to local resort bakeries offering a delight of pastries and cheese fondue.
5: Lively La Plagne in the French Alps
Often called the best French Alps ski resort, La Plagne consists of ten small resorts linked by pistes, road and ski lifts. They all sit at different altitudes, and the centre and Aime-la-plagne and Bellecote give easy access to Paradiski, a perfect French alp skiing domain. Avid skiers enjoy 140 miles of slopes, suiting beginners to experts and impressive skiing infrastructure, including the chairlifts and gondolas.
Chambery airport is just 1 hour drive away, or fly into Geneva, 2 hours away for easy access. Off the slopes, expect a wide range of resort activities to keep the family entertained, including paragliding, mountaineering, ice hiking, rock climbing, canyoning, kayaking, horse riding, swimming, cycling, hiking, archery, and fitness and wellbeing.
6: Les Arcs for the Whole Family
Les Arcs offers an impressive 264 miles of pistes serviced by 54 ski lifts in the Paradiski ski area. Choose to stay in Arc 2000, Arc 1950, Arc 1800, Arc 1600, or Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Les Arcs, an original mega resort of France, accommodates everyone from the novice to experienced skiers, and the longest run is an impressive 2000 meters long.
Les Arcs is another family-friendly, French accredited ski resort, of which the best village is Arc 1800, thanks to family-friendly Après ski bars. Otherwise, head to Arc 1950 that offers a kids club with a variety of entertainment and games. During summer, visitors have easy access to France‘s beautiful Vanoise National Park with stunning views, flora, and fauna.
7: Morzine French Ski Resort
Morzine in south-east France gives direct access to Portes du Soleil ski area and is a leading French Alp resort. Belonging to the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region near the Swiss border, skiers enjoy a traditional ambience and plenty of panoramic mountain views. For hitting the slopes, expect seven green runs, 23 blue trails, 26 red and eight black trails, 81 pistes, 107 kilometres of downhill runs, and 95 kilometres of cross country runs, all serviced by 67 ski lifts that accommodate 256,000 skiers per hour.
As well as skiing, indulge in snowmobiling, ice hockey and ice skating. Otherwise, once summer arrives on Morzine‘s doorstep, tourists in the French Alps enjoy Lac Montriond, a perfect spot for swimming, paragliding, walking trails, kayaking, biking, rafting, canoeing, and paddleboarding. In addition, Lake Geneva is just a 60-minute drive away.
8: Les Gets in the French Alps
Popular Les Gets sits near France’s Portes du Soleil ski area and offers fantastic Mont Blanc Massif views. Nestled into a large valley, Les Gets has taken great lengths to preserve their French Alps Savoyard ambience, as seen in the architecture of chalets.
Sitting an hour away from Geneva airport, Les Gets ski resort is popular all year round with other activities besides skiing that include paragliding, ice skating, golf, hiking, tennis, archery, swimming, and fishing. Après ski is varied from the sit-down, family-friendly bars to pubs and nightclubs to party till dawn. Do take time out off the slopes to explore the centre of Les Gets ski resort, with its numerous activities, cultural fairs, French festivals, and small bakeries offering up tasty Savoyard pastries.
9: Upmarket Megeve of France
With a population of just over 4000 residents, everyone falls in love with Megeve ski resort. Known for its pretty aesthetics, Megeve sits near Mont Blanc, giving fantastic French Alp’s views. The ski resort also has a time-honoured popularity scale, having been a firm favourite of the Rothschild family, who ultimately put Megeve on the map of must-visit French Alp ski resorts. The skiing area known as Domain Evasion Montblanc comprises other ski resorts and 445 km of ski slopes, 116 lifts and 18 cross-country-skiing trails.
Sitting 56 miles from Geneva, skiers use Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport to get here. Megeve belongs to the Best of the French Alps ski resorts list, and with its traditional Savoyard ambience of charming narrow cobbled streets and exclusive designer boutiques is a place to put on your bucket list for France. Do not think Megeve is just a summer destination, though, because golfers flock from all over the world during summer.
10: Meribel Alpine Village
Sitting in the French Alps Tarentaise Valley, near the town of Moutiers, this typical Savoyard village offers fantastic mountain views and skiing opportunities. As a leading French alp’s resort, Meribel offers guaranteed ample snowfall thanks to its high altitude. With a short transfer time of 75 minutes, when they arrive, skiers will be more than pleased with the opportunities on the slopes, including 183 easy runs, off-piste skiing, glacier skiing, a snowboard park, and a ski and snowboarding school.
When the snow does fall away, tourism in Meribel ski resort carries on with many activities, including ice skating, snowshoeing, hang gliding, speed riding, parapenting, helicopter sightseeing tours, dog sledging, mountain biking, horse riding and hiking trails, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, paintball, bowling, and golf. Moreover, as the largest valley village, visitors enjoy a good après ski and shopping and dining out scenes. Indeed, Meribel is an all-rounder in France, providing the best for everyone.
11: High Altitude Tignes Ski Resort
Sitting close to the Italian border, Tignes ski resort taps into Espace Killy ski area, and comprises five villages; Le Lac, Le Lavachet, Les Boisses, Val Claret and Tignes-les-Brévières. Val Claret is the highest village at an altitude of 2100 metres, while Les Brévières is the lowest at 1550 metres. Tignes is also close to Val d’Isère resort which its shares the Espace Killy area with.
Skiers enjoy 300 kilometres of pistes, serviced by 78 lifts. Getting here is easy thanks to Chambery airport, 100 minutes drive away, and Bourg Saint Maurice train station, 40 minutes away. Known as a snow-sure winter destination of France, Tignes offers freestyling and heli-skiing. The nearby Grande Motte glacier opens for six weeks, offering skiing and snowboarding from June until August. Other activities during this time include hiking trails, golf, and a bike park.
12: Neighbouring Val d’Isère
Alongside Tignes ski resort, Val d’Isère at 1854 meters maintains an upmarket ambience and is a beautiful area to stay in, thanks to typical alpine charms. Also, sitting 5 kilometres from the Italian border and near the Vanoise National Park, the high-volume gondola gives easy access to Espace Killy ski area, Bellevarde ski area and central Solaise ski area.
What Val d’Isère does well is après ski, with vibrant bars offering live music and parties or skit down entertainment. Restaurants do an excellent job of delivering a variety of worldly cuisines, but we do recommend trying local establishments offering timeless French dishes. Despite the party atmosphere, there are many family-friendly establishments. Non-skiers love Val d’Isère ski resort thanks to many off-slope activities.
Find Out More
Our French ski blog talks more about other ski resorts in France like Val Thorens, Avoriaz, La Clusaz, La Tania, La Rosiere, Les Carroz, Les Gets, Les Menuires and more. We also talk about making the best of your time in the French Alps and tips for investing in the best ski resort French property.