Which Airport to Use When Flying to the French Alps?

Posted on 03 March 2024

Flying to the French Alps from the UK is easy, thanks to international airports enabling you to reach your chosen ski resort in no time. Whether you are flying for an extended ski holiday or quick getaways during summer, most alpine resorts sit within a short drive of an airport. Transfer times vary, but numerous companies operate airport transfers at affordable costs and with comfortable, stylish transport.

Flight prices vary depending on which destination airport you fly into, but be assured of nonstop flight routes to quickly arrive at those beautiful alpine resorts. The one downside to flying is that bringing ski equipment drastically increases baggage costs, which makes driving or taking the train a better option. But each year, millions of foreign visitors arrive at the French Alps, thanks to smooth flight schedules worldwide.  So, with that in mind, let’s look at airports and which airlines to use.

Flying to the French Alps and Airports to Use

Which Airlines Fly into the French Alps?

Many airlines operate direct flights from London into the French Alps, including British Airways, TUI, Jet2, Ryanair, and EasyJet. There are also international airlines from many other countries. It is a popular destination, and the lack of flights isn’t a problem. Many people use flight booking websites like Expedia to find bargains and deals if they are not using package holidays and instead own their own ski chalet or rent. There are international flight schedules all the time except Christmas Day.

1: Geneva International Airport – Most Popular Option

Flying into Geneva International Airport for the French Alps often confuses first-time visitors because the airport is in Switzerland. However, the Northern part is along the Swiss-French border, and passengers go through to France without navigating Swiss border control. Geneva Airport has two runways and two terminals. Terminal 1 is the main terminal for direct flights, while Terminal 2 handles charter flights and seasonal operations.

This is also an ideal opportunity to twin your holidays in the Alps with a city break in Geneva, home to the lake of the same name. Geneva is also a short drive from Annecy, often called the “Pearl of the French Alps” due to its stunning natural beauty and medieval architecture. Annecy is at the northern tip of Lake Annecy, one of France’s most prominent and cleanest lakes, nestled between the French Alps and surrounded by mountains, providing spectacular backdrops. Annecy Haute-Savoie Mont Blanc Airport also connects to major cities in France by train and via the A41 motorway when driving.

Regardless of the resort, many people use Geneva simply because it has the best flight schedules and routes. However, it is closest to the Grand Massif, Aravis, Portes Du Soleil, Chamonix, or Val d’Arly Mont Blanc areas, and journey times are 60 to 90 minutes, depending on where you are headed. Arrange private transfers, get a taxi, or use the SAT Mont-Blanc bus route or SNCF train journey.  Closest resorts include….

Chamonix Centre: A 70-minute drive brings skiers to Chamonix Centre, formally known as Chamonix Mont Blanc. The ski resort’s height is 1305 meters between Italy, France and Switzerland. As well as being close to Geneva, the 15-minute drive to the Mont Blanc tunnel takes skiers to the train station and then onto Switzerland. Transfer times are approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes by road, which is excellent after nonstop flights.

Praz de Lys Sommand: Also, within 70-minute transfer time, Praz de Lys Sommand is ideal for staying off-grid and remaining a well-kept secret. Standing at 1500 meters, the town is quieter than other resorts, with less infrastructure. Expect family-friendly atmospheres twinned with walking trails and cross-country ski runs, making for perfect ski holidays.

La Clusaz: Sixty minutes by road reaches La Clusaz, a big-name ski resort. Standing at 1100 meters, La Clusaz doesn’t have high-altitude skiing but still delivers in abundance. The picturesque village with a pretty town square is home to a 200-year-old Savoyard church and is well worth a visit.

Le Grand Bornand: In the eastern Haute Savoie region, this famous ski resort is lesser known but still attracts fans. In 2004, Le Grand Bornand was the finishing destination for the Tour de France, and getting here takes just 65 minutes along a 70-kilometre journey.

Delightful Morzine: Sitting close to Switzerland, in the Auvergne Rhone-Alps region, Morzine preserves traditional Savoyard architecture in chalets and apartments. Morzine, an all-rounder on and off the slopes, promotes family-friendly atmospheres for ski holidays and is just 90 minutes away.

Les Gets: Within a 70-minute journey from Geneva, ski slopes accommodate beginners and experienced, and this resort was awarded the “top of the French Alps” label. With many winter opportunities, Les Gets taps into the Portes du Soleil ski area, and while there, sample delicious local Savoyard cuisine.

Combloux Resort: This Mountain village gives residents front-row seats to incredible skiing and views. Sitting near Megeve and Saint Gervais, skiers enjoy 445 kilometres of pistes accessed by 35 lifts. The closest airport is 40 minutes’ travel time. Still, many skiers use Geneva, which is 60 minutes away, simply because of more extensive flight frequencies.

alpine resorts

Stylish Samoens: Sitting at 1600 metres altitude, beautiful Samoens, often called the prettiest town, belongs to the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. For ski weekends, Samoens is ideal since there is much to do. Moreover, with a 70-minute travel period, getting to Samoens from Geneva is easy.

Les Carroz: Les Carroz in the Haute-Savoie department also has a snow park and boardercross course for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. Les Carroz is approximately 50 kilometres from Geneva Airport, so this resort’s transfer period is ideal for short ski breaks.

Les Houches: Les Houches sits 87 kilometres from Geneva International Airport. Still, bus and train services run from Geneva and nearby towns and cities, and Les Houches is on the Tramway du Mont Blanc line.

Val D’Isère and Tignes: Although these resorts are closer to Chambery Airport, many people use Geneva, which has better flight options. They are roughly a 3-hour journey in the Tarentaise Valley of the Savoie region, and having co-hosted the Winter Olympics in 1992, this international attention solidified the reputation. Both belong to the vast Espace Killy ski area, named after French skier Jean-Claude Killy and boast high-altitude skiing with slopes over 3,450 meters above sea level.

2: Chambery Savoie Airport for the 2nd Option

Chambéry Savoie Airport, also known as Chambery Savoie Mont Blanc Airport (IATA: CMF, ICAO: LFLB), sits near Challes-les-Eaux, approximately 10 kilometres northeast of Chambéry city centre. LFLB Chambery features a single airport terminal building that serves domestic and nonstop flights operated by various airline companies, and flight routes peak during winter due to the influx of tourists visiting ski destinations.

Airway companies offer both scheduled and seasonal flights to multiple destinations within Europe. These airlines include British Airways, easyJet, Air France,, Transavia, and more. In contrast, destinations include major UK cities like London and other European countries. While relatively small, LFLB Chambery Airport provides essential services, accessed from Chambery, with parking facilities for short-term and long-term stays.

Fly to Chambery airport for the closest ski resorts in the 3 valleys, Paradiski, Savoie Grand Revard, Maurienne Valley, Grand Domaine, Tignes-Val d’Isère, and Espace San Bernardo ski areas. Journey times vary between 40 minutes to 3 hours.

Luxury Courchevel: Courchevel forms part of the expansive Les Trois Vallées in Tarentaise Valley and boasts altitudes ranging from 1,300 meters. Courchevel caters to all skiers by separating into five small villages and offering 150 kilometres of ski runs. Known for upscale amenities, Courchevel features exclusive hotels, chalets, Michelin-starred restaurants, and designer boutiques.

Nearby Méribel: Méribel lies in Les Trois Vallées, neighbouring Courchevel, and spans altitudes from 4,593 to 9,685 feet. With access to bountiful slopes, Méribel offers varied terrain suitable for all abilities, and the lively après-ski scene includes cosy mountain bars, vibrant clubs, and restaurants serving local Savoyard specialities.

Val Thorens: As Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens is perched at 7,546 feet in Belleville Valley. The area reaches 10,597 feet, ensuring exceptional snow conditions throughout the season, and boasts 600 kilometres of interconnected slopes and extensive skiing opportunities for all skill levels. Val Thorens has reliable snow cover, with seasons often lasting from November to May.

La Tania: Tucked between Courchevel and Méribel, La Tania, a picturesque forest resort, sits at 4,593 feet, providing access to diverse ski runs. With gentle slopes and relaxed atmospheres, La Tania is popular among families and beginner skiers, and many hotel accommodations in La Tania offer convenient ski-in/ski-out access to slopes, enhancing overall skiing experiences.

Les Arcs and La Plagne: As part of the Paradiski area, La Plagne ranges in altitude to 10,663 feet. With 225 kilometres of slopes and access to the Paradiski area, La Plagne caters to British visitors of all levels and offers activities like bobsleigh, ice climbing, and paragliding. Opposite La Plagne, Les Arcs spans altitudes from 2,657 to 10,584 feet and boasts diverse terrain, earning fame for distinctive architecture and featuring modernist design and ski-in/ski-out accommodations.

Les Gets: Nestled in the Portes du Soleil ski area, Les Gets, a traditional alpine village at 1,172 meters, offers panoramic Mont Blanc views, as well as varied terrain. The authentic charm features wooden chalets, cobbled streets, and welcoming atmospheres.

Flaine: In the Grand Massif area, Flaine is known for striking modernist architecture and panoramic views. Flaine ranges in altitude from 1,600 to 2,500 meters and features an open-air sculpture park showcasing works by renowned artists like Picasso and Dubuffet, adding cultural dimensions to skiing experiences.

3: Grenoble Alpes-Isère Airport

Grenoble Alpes-Isère Airport (IATA: GNB, ICAO: LFLS), approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Grenoble city centre, features a single asphalt runway. The airport primarily serves seasonal flights catering to winter sports enthusiasts, with a significant increase in international visitors during ski seasons. Still, it also handles some year-round flights and charter operations.

Several airlines offer scheduled and charter flights to various European destinations, and the airport is accessible from Grenoble and surrounding areas, with regular services like buses and shuttles. Additionally, private transfer services and taxis are also available for passengers. The closest resorts are…

flying into the French Alps

Alpe d’Huez: Perched at 1,860 meters (6,102 feet), Alpe d’Huez overlooks Oisans Valley in the Grandes Rousses Massif. The resort reaches 3,330 meters at its highest ski point. Alpe d’Huez offers excellent slopes, including the challenging Sarenne, one of Europe’s longest black runs. Renowned for abundant sunshine, Alpe d’Huez boasts an average of 300 sunny days yearly.

Chamrousse: This popular ski resort in the Belledonne mountain range is approximately 30 kilometres southeast of Grenoble and has gained international recognition as the host of the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Foreign visitors ski on the same slopes where Olympic athletes competed. “Sunpark,” which offers obstacles including jumps, rails, and boxes, is famous for honing skills and performing tricks. Chamrousse is easily accessible from Grenoble by car within 45 minutes. It also offers shuttle services from Grenoble, providing convenient transportation for visitors without private vehicles.

Les Deux Alpes: In the Oisans region, Les Deux Alpes is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Grenoble and sits at 5,413 feet but reaches an impressive 11,706 feet at the Glacier du Mont-de-Lans. Les Deux Alpes offers one of Europe’s largest skiable glaciers, providing year-round skiing opportunities. Glacier du Mont-de-Lans offers reliable snow conditions throughout the year, making Les Deux Alpes famous for summer skiing. The world-class snowpark called “Freestyle Land” has jumps, rails, and obstacles suitable for riders of all abilities, attracting professional athletes and enthusiasts alike.

Vaujany: Vaujany mountain village and alpine resort authentic alpine charm with picturesque stone buildings, narrow streets, and stunning mountain vistas.  At approximately 4,101 feet, Vaujany offers breathtaking views of the majestic Grandes Rousses Massif and the iconic La Meije, and the resort caters to all levels, with terrain from beginner slopes to off-piste descents. Vaujany’s leisure centre features indoor and outdoor facilities, including an Olympic-sized ice rink, swimming pool, and wellness area, and foreign visitors also enjoy ice skating, swimming, and relaxation. Vaujany’s rich cultural heritage includes the Eglise Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, a stunning 19th-century church.

4: Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport

Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport, often referred to simply as Lyon Airport (IATA: LYS, ICAO: LFLL), is not in the French Alps but can be used to reach all resorts. The one reason that people don’t often use it is the limited flight schedules and distance. Sitting approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) east-southeast of Lyon city centre, several major highways, including the A43 and A432, connect to the airport and the city centre via public transportation, including trains, buses, and the Rhône Xpress tram service.

Lyon Airport has terminals Terminal 1 (T1) and Terminal 2 (T2). T1 primarily handles domestic and Schengen area flights, while T2 serves international and non-Schengen flights. Lyon Airport, named after Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, an author best known for his literary work “The Little Prince”, also features a railway station connecting to high-speed TGV networks.

Alternative Options for Travelling to the Alps

Eurostar Ski Train: Eurostar runs regular services every winter that allow 2 bags plus ski equipment. Departing from London St Pancras train station, connect at Lille Europe, and get off at Chambéry train station, Albertville, Moûtiers-Salins-Brides-Les-Bains, Aime-la-Plagne, or Bourg-Saint-Maurice station. The Bourg-Saint-Maurice station enables easy access to popular resorts like Les Arcs, La Plagne, Tignes, and Val d’Isère. It is an essential stop on the SNCF’s (French National Railway Company) TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) network connecting major cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille to the Alpine regions.

From Bourg-Saint-Maurice, travellers quickly access nearby resorts via shuttle buses, taxis, or rental cars, and the station provides connections to regional and local train services. Regular services to Bourg-Saint-Maurice offer passengers stunning views, including snow-capped peaks. See their website for prices and departure times.

Driving Around the French Alps

Whether renting a car from the airport or driving directly to the French Alps, it is an exhilarating experience. Typical routes include driving from Geneva or Lyon in France or cities in neighbouring countries like Switzerland and Italy. The A40 and A41 highways are popular routes from Geneva, while the A43 connects Lyon to the Alps.

Check road conditions and weather beforehand because certain mountain passes may be closed during winter or require snow chains. If you rent a car, also check for snow tyres. Some highways in France, like the Autoroute network, require payment of tolls, so use toll calculators or GPS navigation systems to estimate costs. During peak holiday periods, traffic congestion is significant, particularly on Saturdays, so plan your journey and travel outside peak times to avoid traffic jams.

Check in advance for parking options and have emergency kits with essentials like blankets, food, water, and a flashlight in your car, and familiarize yourself with French driving regulations, including speed limits, alcohol limits, and rules. Drive carefully because roads are narrow and winding in mountainous areas, with steep gradients and hairpin bends. Also, fill up your fuel tank before heading into the mountains, as petrol stations can be sparse in rural areas and may close early, especially in smaller villages. Lastly, signage is limited in some places, so use GPS navigation systems or maps to navigate mountain roads, particularly in smaller towns and rural regions.

About Us

We are Skiing Property, and we sell chalets and apartments in all major resorts of the French Alps. From the closest ski resorts near airports to high-altitude resorts offering glacier and summer skiing, our portfolio will interest anyone looking at Alpine real estate investments. Thanks to the ease of flying to the French Alps, you can access your weekend getaway all year round, from winter to summer.