SKiiNG iN FRANCE
Explore the most popular ski country in Europe when you go skiing in France! Whether you’re a group of friends or a family catching up on the slopes, it has a range of large linked ski areas that are suited to all ages and abilities. It’s famous for being the most popular ski destination from the UK, as it offers fantastic snow-sure slopes, accommodation for all budgets, one of the world’s most exquisite cuisines and easy accessibility for your well car shipping deserved fun skiing holiday in France.
The far-reaching skiing trails of the large French ski areas provide an abundance of pistes for all abilities. The world renowned Three Valleys links resorts Courchevel, Meribel, and purpose built Val Thorens. It’s one of the largest ski areas in the world with 600km of ski slopes and 200 ski lifts, ideal for your all your skiing holiday needs. The Espace Killy glacier region links resorts Tignes and Val d’Isere, giving a high variety of slopes with an enormous terrain of both on and off piste skiing. The Paradiski ski area links contemporary resorts La Plagne and Les Arcs via the Vanoise Express which has linked the two highly-rated resorts since 2003. Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes are neighbouring top ski resorts, with Alpe d’Huez particularly famed for its first-rate ski school and teaching. Portes Du Soleil offers a mixuture of smaller resorts, such as Avoriaz, Chatel, Les Gets and Morzine in France, crossing over to resorts such as Champery in Switzerland. There are also links over to Italy with the ‘Milky Way’ from popular French resort Montgenevre.
Rapid and well-planned development of the alpine country since the 1960s has seen 400 fully equipped resorts establish themselves. However, the scenic mountains haven’t lost their natural beauty as the resorts only cover 6% of the extensive area of the popular Alps range. The highest resort in France sits at 2,300m with skiing up to 3,600m. The French ski holiday season commences in early December and remains open until mid- April, providing one of the longest season periods in Europe to give you plenty of time to escape to the snow.
France is the easiest alpine country to drive to from the UK, and there are some resorts which are served by the Eurostar service. Moutiers is the best station to access theThree Valleys and La Plagne, Aime also serves La Plagne and Les Arcs, and Bourg St Maurice is the best station to reach resorts Val d’Isere, Tignes and La Rosiere. The accommodation on offer varies from self catered apartments and chalets to charming fully-catered chalets and hotels. The wealth of accommodation allows for amazing group ski deals and family ski packages so that whatever your budget, Eclipse Ski will have the perfect ski holiday for you in France.
Alpe d’Huez, Chamonix, Les Arcs, Meribel, Morzine, Tignes, Val d’Isere and Val Thorens.
With more Brit skiers travelling here than anywhere else, there are many access points. Switzerland’s Geneva or France’s Chambery, Grenoble and Lyon Saint Exupery airports are the main contenders for reaching the Alps.
If you are travelling independently by air, there are regular flights from budget airlines for skiing holidays to France. Chambery and Geneva serve the northern Alps. Skiholidayextras.com offer shared and private transfers to most resorts, even the little ones not listed below.
Chambery is the nearest airport to La Plagne and Les Arcs (Paradiski), Courchevel and Meribel (Three Valleys), and Tignes and Val d’Isere (Espace Killy). All transfers are roughly 2 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions.
Grenoble airport transfers are between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Grenoble offers Les Duex Alps and Alpe d’Huez transfers, plus transfers to La Plagne and Les Arcs (Paradiski), Courchevel and Meribel (Three Valleys) Montgenvre (Milky Way), Tignes and Val d’Isere (Espace Killy) and Serre Chavalier.
From Geneva airport there are transfers to Avoriaz, Les Gets and Morzine (Portes du Soliel), Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel and Val Thorens (Three Valleys), La Rosiere (Espace San Bernado) La Plagne and Les Arcs (Paradiski) and Chamonix.
Lyon airport has transfers to La Plagne and Les Arcs (Paradiski), Avoriaz, Les Gets and Morzine (Portes du Soliel), La Rosiere (Espace San Bernado) and Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel and Val Thorens (Three Valleys).
Flying into Turin airport is a popular choice for independent travellers to Montgenevre.
France is the easiest destination for self-drivers, you’ll need some cash or cards to pay the tolls as you head south easterly through France. Avoiding airports or flying and gaining flexibility of travel and extra days skiing can all be big selling points to self drivers. Val d’Isere and Tignes (Espace Killy), La Plagne and Les Arcs (Paradiski), Morzine (Portes du Soliel), Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens (Three Valleys) and Chamonix all have a pretty straight forward route takes roughly 10 hours.
For the winter December to April season, Eurostar offers the train service from London St Pancras to Bourg St Maurice travelling via Aime La Plagne and Moutiers. The Eurostar service serves ski resorts Val Thorens, Courchevel, La Plagne, Meribel, Tignes and Les Arcs.
Resorts located within France
Alpe d'Huez is aptly nicknamed 'L'lle au Soliel' or 'the island in the sun!' Situated on a high plateau in the Grandes Rousses mountainous area of the French Southern Alps, the popular traditional resort boasts glorious sunshine throughout the season. Alpe d'Huez skiing holidays are suitable for all levels of skier and surrounded by high-mountain breathtaking scenery.
Ideally situated within the Morzine-Avoriaz super Portes du Soleil skiing area, Avoriaz skiing holidays combine wooden-clad alpine award-winning architecture with impressive snow-secure slopes. It's the perfect location if you are self-driving down through France or prefer a short airport transfer. Benefiting from ski in/ski out accommodation, the car-free streets mean taking a fun traditional horse-drawn sleigh ride whilst getting around the resort!
Bride Les Bains
A cheap ticket to the world's most famous and well-connected skiing area, the exciting Three Valleys skiing area, Brides Les Bains is a traditional picturesque alpine village with great bargain ski deals. Brides Les Bains is the charming old spa town which is gondola-linked to Meribel 1450.
Nestled at the foot of the iconic Mont Blanc is Chamonix - one of Europe's most famous ski holiday resorts. Staging the first winter Olympics in 1924, the ski holiday destination remains popular with thousands of winter sports connoisseurs loyally returning every year. It boasts rocking night life, some of the most breathtaking scenery in France with challenging runs and epic off-piste terrain.
The most prestigious resort of the largest linked ski area on the planet, The Three Valleys, Courchevel is a haven of deluxe hotels, designer shops, and superior restaurants situated alongside immaculate pistes. A vibrant and chic resort, Courchevel resembles the perfect ski holiday playground for the rich and famous, who come back year after year to this exclusive and highly-rated French resort. Eclipse ski can give you access to the best ski deals for Courchevel skiing holidays.
The Espace Killy is a haven of extensive and challenging terrain. The high-altitude French domain is the collective name that links popular ski resorts Tignes and Val d'Isere and their subsidiaries. The snow conditions on enthralling 3650m high La Grand Motte glacier are known being snow-secure throughout the season. A popular Brit destination, it's one of the largest and most varied areas of the Alps.
Espace San Bernardo
Ski holidays in France! Ski holidays in Italy! An international connection between French La Rosiere and Italian La Thuile, the border crossing opens up varied and exciting skiing options. Still a well kept French secret, up and coming La Rosiere is bursting with Savoyard charm with its pretty low-rise wooden clad chalet buildings. Italian La Thuile has quaint eateries and a large apartment complex at the bottom of the slopes.
Perfectly situated in the centre of a giant bowl at the heart of the Grande Massif, the ski lifts of Flaine give great access to its surrounding areas. The shops, bars and restaurants at the bottom of the piste cater for every taste. Strategically placed and purpose-built Flaine has a friendly and laid back atmosphere. The resort has two 'centres,' one at the base, and one half-way up the hill with a funicular connecting them. Offering some of the best snow coverage in France and a pedestrianised centre, it's a particular favourite for family skiing holidays.
A collection of 10 small villages with oodles of character, La Plagne is situated amongst the Savoie French Alps. Overlooking the Tarantaise Valley, Mont-Blanc and Beaufortain ranges, skiing holidays to La Plagne are picturesque and memorable. The uncrowded high-altitude slopes are quiet compared to Les Arcs. Each purpose built village boasts shops, bars, restaurants, ski schools and fun children's villages. Placing all amenities within easy reach contributes towards having a top ski holiday!
At the heart of the Haute-Tarentaise area, the picturesque south-facing plateau of La Rosiere has breathtaking views over Les Arcs and St Foy. The purpose built resort is lift linked with Italian resort La Thuile to create the Espace Bernardo 150kms skiing area. With an excellent playing area at the bottom of the slopes and other child-friendly facilities, it's the perfect resort for a family skiing holiday. With a few good lively bars in the evenings, the chalet style resort is popular for group ski holidays.
The newest resort in the Alps, La Tania was purpose built for the spectators attending the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. Low-key value for money skiing holidays, the pretty village grants access to the world-class Three Valleys skiing area. Perfect for those looking for a bargain family or couple's skiing holiday, it's the hidden gem of the Alps.
Skiing in Les Arcs guarantees great snow with its north facing snow fields linked to La Plagne. The modern resort is spread across 4 different linked village bases in the Haute Savoie. Boasting easy access, car free zones and a well designed and varied ski area, it doesn't disappoint for family or group ski holidays.
Les Deux Alpes
One of France's oldest and most prestigious resorts, Les Deux Alpes has challenging off-piste routes, and slopes ideal for beginners, experts and those looking to party. The lively ski resort has a welcoming and friendly atmosphere with an excellent variety of attractive shops, boutiques, lively bars and charming restaurants. The village is situated in the historical Dauphine region, boasting high altitude ski runs at one of Europe's highest ski resorts.
The pretty and charming farming village has a very French chalet-style feeling. It has good local skiing and access to the one of the largest skiing areas on the planet, the Portes du Soleil. The Savoyard charm makes Les Gets an ideal family skiing holiday destination.
Sprawling over a large area, the purpose-built village acts as a base to the world-famous Three Valleys skiing area. The functional 'build-'em-quick' architecture gave the resort a bad name for skiing holidays, but over the last decade there has been considerable fresh investment into building pretty wooden and stone chalets to increase the resort's charming alpine appeal. The location is ideal for family skiing holidays looking for a small resort, or groups looking for cheap ski deals for the Three Valleys.
One of the big French Alp resorts, Meribel is at the heart of the largest ski area on the planet, The Three Valleys. A model example of a fluid modern ski lift system, the total skiing area encompasses over 600km of pisted skiing and snowboarding. Originally developed by a Brit, the resort is very much favoured as the British home from home ski destination. The purpose built area is teeming with traditional style chalets strengthening its character and appeal for your all important skiing holiday to the mountains.
Encompassing a considerable 400km of pisted runs, The Milky Way circuit is made up of resorts Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx, Sansiscario, Cesana, Claviere and Montgenevre. Locally speaking, beginners are well catered for with nursery slopes right next to resort. Intermediates will have 60kms of local trails to choose from, and can head over into Italy for further adventure, but beware of the low points getting across and back as you may end up walking a little at the beginning and end of season. Experts will find some difficult terrain locally, but will find more over the border.
Morzine is an historic town at the heart of the superb Portes du Soleil skiing area. The thousand year old town's architectural style is full of rustic alpine charm and lends itself as a perfect base to access the world-class skiing area comprising of more than a dozen skiing villages. The location of this lively town has always made it a popular choice for self-driving skiing holidays and those looking for a short airport transfer. The vibrant town is full of ambience, Morzine skiing holidays have something for everyone!
Meribel-Mottaret, or Mottaret as it's widely known, is the smaller sister to Meribel that sits a few kilometres away slightly higher up the valley. With an excellent position that grants easy access to Val Thorens and Courchevel, purpose built Mottaret acts as a fantastic base for those seeking to ski the world-famous Three Valley skiing area.
The Paradiski area links two popular highly-rated French resorts, La Plagne and Les Arcs. The world's largest cable car, the Vanoise Express, can carry up to 200 people across a wooded valley to make one of the best skiing areas in the Alps.The 425km appeals to intermediate mileage seekers, with more than enough green, blue, red and black runs to keep a week's skiing jam-packed. Experts should take on the north face of Bellecote on the La Plagne side which finishes in Nancroix or the dizzy heights of Aiguille Rouge on the Les Arcs side.
Portes du Soleil
The exciting Portes du Soleil encompasses resorts Abondance, Avoriaz, Champoussin, Chatel, Les Gets, Morzine, Champery, Saint Jean d'Aulps, Montriond, Morgins, Val d'Illiez and Torgon. Spanning across the French-Swiss border, the Portes du Soleil is one of the largest combined skiing areas in the world. Its low altitude, mostly intermediate circuit has a variety of resorts, with several small Swiss resorts and two French ones.
Known for its sunny days, Serre Chevalier is the collective name for 13 villages spread across a valley offering over 250kms of pistes. With very welcoming and friendly locals, France's largest unknown resort caters for family, group or couple skiing holidays. Outside the school holidays, those in the know loyally return year after year to some of the emptiest south-facing sunny slopes in the Alps.
The Three Valleys
A mixture of big name and small low-key resorts, the Three Valleys encompasses Bride-les-Bains, Courchevel, La Tania, Les Menuires, Le Praz, Meribel, Mottaret, Orelle, St Martin de Belleville and Val Thorens. Britain's favourite place to ski, the vast and exciting skiing area attracts around 300,000 of us each year. It's the ultimate absolute 'must' during any skiers or borders career. Founded by a British colonel, Meribel alone attracts 150,000 Brits a year.
Tignes is a top ski resort nestled high in the Savoie French Alps boasting year-round skiing and snowboarding. With consistently excellent snow conditions to whiz around the mountain on, it's one of Europe's highest resorts situated at 2,100m above sea level. The purpose built resort is surrounded by a giant bowl that is ideal for skiing around the exciting Grande Motte glacier.
A premier ski resort offering world-class skiing, spectacular views combined with a buzzing après ski scene makes Val d'Isere an unquestionable 'must' to visit during your skiing or boarding career! The traditional pretty village dates back to the 13th century and still possesses its authentic Savoyard allure. One half of the famous Espace Killy region, skiing holidays in Val d'Isere gives access to 300km of linked pistes with neighbouring Tignes.
The highest resort in Europe, Val Thorens is lift-linked to arguably the most popular ski area in the world, the Three Valleys. The compact purpose-built resort is laden with skiing holiday apartments with swift lift access. High-altitude skiing up to 3,200m grants some of the most snow-sure slopes in the Alps, perfect for early or late season skiing holidays. The large ski resort has seen heavy fresh investment in recent years introducing a sports centre, swimming pool and even shopping complexes. Prices are also surprisingly reasonable, making Val Thorens a bargain choice for your skiing holiday!