Posted on 12 September 2023
When looking at France’s best family ski resorts, many destinations become ideal contenders for the podium. The French Alps offer breathtaking backdrops for your adventure. Whether your family comprises advanced skiers or first-timers, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Alongside the days of sunshine, ski touring and snowball fights, family skiing in France is a guaranteed win for lifelong memories.
Hence, some of our property buyers look at family-friendly activities, not just properties. Considering they are buying real estate they want to use for many years, ensuring the kids are occupied every occasion is vital.
Well, France boasts an impressive array of ski resorts for all abilities. From beginner slopes to challenging black runs, you’ll find terrain that suits everyone in your family. One hallmark of family-friendly ski holidays in France is learning to ski in fun and engaging ways. Many resorts offer specialised ski schools and dedicated instructors who know how to make learning enjoyable for kids.
But family ski holidays in France extend far beyond the slopes. Most resorts offer activities for non-skiers or those looking for a break from skiing. Before we look at alternatives, though, let’s discuss two tips that may influence your choice of where to head to in the French Alps with your family.
Best Family Ski Resorts in France
Look for the Famille Plus Montagne label
“Famille Plus Montagne,” a French certification program given by the tourist office, promotes family-friendly tourism in mountainous regions of France. The Famille Plus Montagne label is awarded to destinations that meet specific family-oriented amenities and activities criteria.
The destination should offer quality childcare facilities, like daycare centres and babysitting. There should be age-appropriate outdoor activities and entertainment options for children and families during winter (skiing, snowboarding, ice skating) and summer (hiking, biking, adventure parks).
Family-friendly accommodations, like hotels, apartments, or chalets, should have suitable family amenities, including rooms and cribs. Restaurants and eateries should offer kid-friendly menus and dining options ideal for families. There should also be a focus on safety measures, such as well-marked trails, ski areas, safety equipment, and medical services if needed. Check with local tourism offices to find out if that ski resort has the award.
Look for the Club Piou Piou Brand in France
Club Piou Piou, a well-known and popular snow club program in France for young children learning to ski in French ski resorts, will introduce children aged 3 to 5 years to skiing basics in fun and playful ways. Piou Piou is often associated with the French ski school organisation ESF (École du Ski Français) and is typically offered at many ESF-affiliated ski resorts across France.
Lessons focus on developing balance, coordination, and confidence on skis. At the same time, the snow club incorporates games, toys, and activities for kids. These activities often include sliding on gentle slopes, playing with snow, and meeting friendly mascots like Piou Piou, Sifflote, and Blanchot.
Safety is a top priority at Snow Club Piou Piou. Instructors ensure children are adequately dressed, use appropriate equipment, and are supervised during lessons. The program follows gradual progressions to help children build skills and become more comfortable with skiing. It focuses on building solid foundations for future skiing adventures.
Children usually participate in small group lessons with other kids of similar ages and skill levels. This encourages social interaction and camaraderie. Parents are encouraged to join by watching their children’s progress from the sidelines or actively participating in some activities.
Snow Club Piou Piou is an excellent way to introduce children to skiing and instil winter sports from a young age. This fun and memorable experience for children and parents is found in various ski resorts across France.
1: Family Ski Holidays in Morzine
The alpine village of Morzine, near the Swiss Border, excels in everything to do with kids, both on and off the slopes. Think swimming, tree climbing, mountain biking, pony rides, disc golf, skating, and free entertainment. Search online or look out for the Guide des Marmots 32-page brochure, listing everything parents want to know, including stroller rental and baby carriers, daycare, family-friendly hotels and more.
Kids’ activities include the Snow Garden, Zouzous path, Penguin border, toboggan runs, ice rink, and Aquatic Area. Morzine earned the Famille Plus Montagne label by providing families with family-friendly environments and several services and amenities. But it is also one of the most beautiful ski resorts in France.
Morzine’s experienced instructors specialise in teaching children on child-friendly slopes. Additionally, daycare facilities for younger children ensure parents enjoy their time with peace of mind. Family-friendly accommodations include chalets and apartments with spacious layouts and kid-friendly amenities. Buy family ski pass packages for discounted rates instead of multiple lift tickets.
Morzine prioritises safety by providing up-to-date safety information. Competent ski patrol teams have access to medical services for accidents or emergencies. It goes the extra mile to create family-friendly atmospheres, offering services and activities for parents and children, making it an ideal family destination for unforgettable French Alp holidays.
2: Les Gets French Resort
Les Gets, a family-friendly ski resort, offers ski slopes for skiers of all levels, including gentle beginner slopes and challenging runs for more experienced skiers. Families enjoy skiing together, regardless of skill level, and family ski passes are sold. But for parents who want time alone, Les Gets offers various childcare options, including in-house childcare and dedicated daycare facilities. Kids’ clubs and organised activities ensure children are entertained throughout.
Les Gets also won fame because it is a summer resort. It suits property buyers who want to enjoy their French alpine getaway with the kids during the summer holidays. Les Gets Bike Park is unique, with 128 kilometres of marked trails, 3 lifts, and an 18-hole golf course. Les Gets is only an hour from Geneva Airport and two hours from Lyon. Transfers are swift by shuttle bus, taxi or private car. These are ideal travelling times if younger family members are with you.
3: Fun Activities in Meribel
Méribel, a fantastic family destination, offers various family-friendly activities during school holidays. Méribel belongs to the vast Three Valleys ski area, providing excellent opportunities for all levels, including advanced skiers. Enrol the family in lessons if needed, and explore numerous slopes together. Do check out Yeti Park by taking the chair lift from Méribel-Mottaret. They have a comprehensive, green slope with interactive features.
Afterwards, if your kid still has lots of energy, head to Meribel Ice Palace to experience the indoor skating rink. Once again, instructors and lessons are available. Other than that, Meribel Sports Center features indoor swimming and relaxation, and kids can also try their hands at indoor rock climbing. The official website for Meribel also lists loads of kids’ clubs from 18 months to 16 years of age if they want to meet other kids and make friends. Meribel is on the official Three Valleys app, listing all family-friendly information at your fingertips.
4: La Plagne Resorts for Families
La Plagne ski resort in the Tarentaise Valley belongs to the larger Paradiski ski area, which includes neighbouring Les Arcs. La Plagne is divided into several distinct villages and resorts, each with unique character and amenities. The main ones include La Plagne Centre, Plagne Bellecôte, Belle Plagne, Plagne Soleil, and Aime-la-Plagne. Several accommodation options include hotels, chalets, apartments, and self-catering residences to suit various budgets and preferences.
Now, let’s talk about skiing. The Paradiski ski area, one of the world’s largest, has ample green pistes. The ski area also sells special deals on family lift passes. Paradiski piste terrain includes 425 kilometres (264 miles) of interconnected ski slopes. La Plagne alone offers approximately 225 kilometres (140 miles) of ski runs, and the network of modern ski lifts includes gondolas, chairlifts, and surface lifts, ensuring efficient transportation for families.
La Plagne features terrain parks and freestyle areas for snowboarders and intermediate skiers to practice tricks and jumps. There are two magic carpets for skiers to get used to their equipment and various events and competitions throughout the ski season, including snowboarding contests, freestyle shows, and cultural festivals.
In addition to skiing, expect various winter activities like snowshoeing, ice skating, paragliding, and snowmobiling. For après ski, there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants and cafes. The nearest major airport, Geneva Airport, is approximately 200 kilometres (124 miles) away. Other nearby airports include Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport and Grenoble Alpes-Isère Airport. La Plagne is also accessible by road and train, with train stations in nearby towns like Aime and Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
5: Family Commitment in Val Thorens
Val Thorens’s ski schools ensure kids go from beginner to intermediate skiers, while childcare options include daycare facilities and babysitting. Dedicated learning areas and terrain parks designed for children make this resort an excellent place to learn and play in safe environments. Val Thorens sells family ski pass packages, making the holiday more affordable. But beyond skiing, visit the sports centre for skiing and swimming.
Val Thorens is an accredited family resort, and they promise six things.
- Personalised welcomes for families
- Activities suitable for all ages include tobogganing, snake sliding or dog sledging.
- Discounts on ski passes and free admission for children under five.
- Activities for young and old, to enjoy together or separately, such as snowshoeing, bowling or the sports centre.
- Medical services for minor ailments
- Children pampered by professionals: daycare, snow garden
Val Thorens’ dedication to providing family-friendly atmospheres, the high-altitude location, and extensive ski terrain make it an excellent choice for families to create memorable winter vacation experiences. Head to their website and check out their 14-page guide for families called Guide Des Famillies.
6: Family-Friendly Skiing in Alpe D’Huez – France
Alpe d’Huez, a fantastic destination for family-friendly skiing vacations, features green slopes and blue pistes. The extensive ski area with slopes and snow parks is suitable for all levels, and families enjoy skiing together on networks of well-groomed runs. With excellent snow conditions throughout winter, the kids won’t be disappointed.
For younger children, daycare facilities allow parents to hit the slopes while their little ones are well cared for. Visit various kids’ clubs and organise activities with plenty of activities, including games, arts and crafts, and outdoor adventures.
In Alpe d’Huez, nearly 40 partners are committed to offering families the best services according to the Familie Friendly accreditation by the tourism board. They include accommodation and restaurants, concierge service, crèche multi-reception and school support service. Services for toddlers include ski equipment, baby strollers for rental, geolocation beacons, delivery of equipment, children’s packs, and snacks.
There is also an ESF chalet, which is 285m² dedicated to children and features an open-air ice rink, a heated outdoor and indoor swimming pool – and numerous possibilities to enjoy the snow and the great outdoors!
7: French Ski Resort of Val D’Isère
Even though Val d’Isère has several black pistes, families love the Espace Killy ski area the resort taps into. Val d’Isère family-friendly activities and things to do beyond skiing extend to the ice-skating rink in the village centre, where families can rent skates at the rink. Also, take your family sledging on designated slopes or hire sledges for some exhilarating snow fun. Guided snowshoe hikes are ideal for families to explore pristine winter landscapes. These hikes are typically suitable for different fitness levels.
Visit Val d’Isère Leisure Centre, which features a pool and wellness area for indoor swimming and relaxation and multiple bowling lanes, providing enjoyable indoor family activities. On occasional evenings, Val d’Isère resort hosts family movie nights featuring popular family-friendly films. Check the event schedule for details. Try indoor rock climbing at the Val d’Isère Sports Center. It’s safe and exciting for kids and adults.
Explore Val d’Isère town centre through narrow streets, local shops, and tasting traditional Savoyard cuisine in family-friendly restaurants. Val d’Isère Ski and Snowboard Museum also teaches about the history of skiing and the development of winter sports in the region.
Val d’Isère has several dining options, including restaurants with kid-friendly menus. Try local specialities such as fondue, raclette, and tartiflette. Some hotels and resorts in Val d’Isère have spa facilities, allowing parents to relax while children are entertained. Val d’Isère also has two nursery slopes, one in the centre of the resort village and one in La Daille at the bottom of the pistes. On some nights, you can even go sledging under the lights.
8: Courchevel Village – The Pride of France
Courchevel is often associated with fame, glitz, and a place where the royals, celebrities, and high-flying business people go skiing. Yet despite this reputation, many people are surprised to learn that Courchevel is highly family-friendly. Tapping into the Three Valleys ski area, choose from several resorts. All do a worthy job of ensuring the little ones are kept happy.
Courchevel Monriond has a creche that also takes kids. There are pushchairs and buggies to rent in the resort, and a free bus service gets between them all. Aside from skiing, visit the Aqua motion complex for indoor and outdoor swimming pool, climbing wall and other activities. Additionally, if you want child-friendly restaurants, stay in Courchevel Moriond or La Tania, as these have the most concentration.
Regarding skiing, La Tania has a nursery area for beginners, and various family ski passes are available, but children under five go for free. Most ski schools won’t accept kids under the age of four, and if you are unsure whether they will like skiing, visit rental shops first for the equipment rather than splashing out.
Wood Park (beginner freestyle park) and Stop Zone (learn about stopping distance and speed) are family-friendly zones. Snake Park and Fun Park are family-friendly parks on the Combe lift. Below here is the Indian Camp, where kids can enjoy American Indian games.
Also about French Ski Resorts
Closest Ski Resorts to Geneva: When looking at family-friendly ski resorts, many clients often look at the nearest resorts to Geneva Airport, and we understand why. Geneva Airport, a smooth-operating air travel hub hosting flights worldwide, is a gateway to Swiss and French ski resorts. This article discusses the nearest ski resorts to Geneva and what to expect.
Popular Ski Foods: Naturally, you’ll want to get the little ones to taste some genuine, authentic Alpine cuisine, of which you can expect delicious tastes and fresh ingredients. This article discusses the sweet and savoury dishes you can try after spending quality time with your kids on the slopes.
Summer in French Ski Resorts: The French Alps are perfect for summer getaways of activities and fun. From canoeing to spectacular views, glorious weather, paragliding and hiking, the French mountain resorts have something for everyone outside of winter. This article provides an overview of summer activities and French resorts in this region, highlighting their cost, difficulty, and unique features.