Visiting the French Alps in December

Posted on 20 November 2021

As the seasons move from Autumn to winter, many people think about the French Alps in December. After all, the Alps offer everything a typical winter should, from white blanket landscapes to festive spirits and a traditional alpine ambience we often see on Christmas postcards. Anyone dreaming of a fantastic December holiday in France will find what they want and more.

Ambience and snowfall differ in each French Alpine resort throughout the winter season until the first signs of spring kick in. Not all ski resorts are snow-sure in December either. So, let us look at the best early-season ski resorts for delightful December in the French alps.

Best Resorts in the French Alps in December

1: Alpe d’Huez in December

Snow-capped mountains and the crunch of crisp white snow under your feet is the perfect way to start your December holiday in the French Alps. Sitting in the Grandes Rousses massif, roughly 37 miles from Grenoble, the top station in the Alpe d’Huez area, Pic Blanc at 3330 metres offers unrivalled French alps views to make the perfect photo to send friends and family back home. Skiers easily reach the mountainous point via the gondola and cable car ride.

Alpe d’Huez

The local council joins in festive spirits around Christmas and often holds events, shows or festivals to boost the ambience. Enjoy the fireworks and local stalls selling traditional goodies, and a must-do during December is a visit to the ice caves with sculptures known as Grotto de Glace. The first part of the skiing season is early December, so there are fewer crowds during this time, but as the month progresses, increasingly more skiers arrive to spend Christmas in the French Alps.

2: Tignes Resort in the French Alps

Tignes starts its celebrations in the first week of December and never fails to amaze all who choose to spend Christmas there. Sitting close to the French Alps’ Italian border and belonging to the Espace Killy ski area alongside neighbouring Val d’Isère, Tignes breaks down into five smaller villages. Altogether 78 lifts give direct access to 3,653 metres of pistes. But off the slopes, we love the December spirit Tignes offers.


The local Christmas market is a great place to buy French Alp presents for friends and family back home. Imagine everything from local hand-crafted goods to foodie delights. Sant Claus tours all French Alp villages to see the children and make sure they behave for their Xmas presents. Ski schools also organise events for pupils to enjoy. Tignes in December is indeed a great time.

3: Val Thorens in the French Alps

As the most snow-sure resort in the whole of the French Alps and Europe, Val Thorens wins much praise and admiration from all who visit her in December. For Christmas, skiers enjoy a whole social agenda arranged around the festive period, including fireworks, ice carvings, local stalls and more. Father Christmas shows his face for the kids to share their wishes, and with the French Alp slopes typically covered from late November, skiers enjoy a white Christmas.

Val Thorens

Other events expected for this December include the Audi World Cup, the Andros car race trophy, ski, and boarder week is when Val Thorens fills up with university students. Finally, let’s not forget that one of the French alps most popular bars, La Folie Douce, will easily arrange their own December parties to match any other festive celebration.

4: Festivals in Les Deux Alpes During December

December festivals are one thing Les Deux Alpes does well. From the 11th to December 18, the Rise festival promises an action-packed week of snow, music, and festivities. Organisers call it the party on top of the world, which explains what to expect. Magic Avenue, which happens on December 21 and December 28 from 6.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., is a family-friendly event with bands, parades, and street entertainment.

Les Deux Alpes

Meanwhile, the December Ski Show happens each Friday from December 24 until the 31 and includes fireworks. Wine and hot chocolate, ski instructors and snow groomers demonstrations. Without a doubt, Val Thorens goes far out on celebrating Christmas, and for family, the ski resort provides the perfect setting for December in the French Alps.

5: Val d’Isère

Sitting side by side with Tignes, Val d’Isère is another suitable option with guaranteed festive events. December marks the opening of the ski lifts, and everyone eagerly anticipates the Christmas ambience. The first two weeks are quiet, but then schools break up, and Val d’Isère steps up a notch. The place to head is the village centre, where snow sculptures and concerts kick off the fun until Father Christmas arrives on December 24. Santa has been spotted on the slopes since skiing is one of his favourite pastimes.

french alps in december

Naturally, the famous La Folie Douce, a branch of the same franchise seen in other resorts, goes far out with December champagne parties and music to ensure a good après ski session. One word of advice is ski schools usually are fully booked up during December so book any lessons well in advance. Otherwise, look out for the Yooner sledge fun, the snake gliss chain, the Dynastar parallel slalom, and the torchlight descent with mulled wine. When you first arrive in Val d’Isère, visit the local tourism office to see a full agenda of their December events and festivities.

Also Read

Ski Resorts with Guaranteed Snow Fall: France delivers in abundance with many towns and villages offering swift access to the best conditions for snow-sure resorts. Mountainous alpine getaways above 2000 metres that have north-facing slopes guarantee the powder. This article looks at the best French alps towns and villages for a flying high ski holiday in the French Alps in December.

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