ski resorts in France

8 top class ski resorts in France

France offers all the elements needed for a perfect winter holiday: charming mountain villages, spectacular alpine landscapes and sunny ski resorts with powdery slopes. In both the French Alps and the Pyrenees mountains, there are several ski areas known for their extensive routes and exceptional lift systems. Many of the resorts are so enormous that skiers can try a different route each time and enjoy the exhilarating sight of rugged mountain peaks as they glide through soft snow, often with beautiful, clear blue skies.

After conquering the ski slopes, take advantage of the cozy après-ski atmosphere and join the crowds gathering in cozy restaurants. Be sure to try traditional specialties such as cheese fondue, tartiflette (a hearty potato casserole), and raclette (melted regional cheese spread on crusty bread and potatoes). Another pleasure of a ski holiday in France is staying in a cozy little chalet or a rustic lodge, with traditional decor and a warm fireplace. And on days when you don’t feel like skiing, you and your family will have plenty of other things to do in these winter playgrounds.

Read also: 8 Best Ski Resorts in Lake Tahoe

1 Chamonix


The ultimate French ski holiday destination is Chamonix, in the French Alps, with its extensive ski area, charming mountain village and rustic lodges. Chamonix is ​​on Europe’s most legendary mountain, the snow-capped Mont Blanc which rises to 4,807 metres. The mountain and glaciers surrounding Chamonix create a cooling effect that ensures some of the best and longest-lasting snow cover in the Alps. This internationally renowned resort was the site of the first Winter Olympics and offers a chance to ski the most demanding terrain in the world. Chamonix includes several ski areas.

The Grands Montets ski area is located at an altitude of 1,235 meters to 3,300 meters and has slopes with the largest altitude difference in the world. The Brévent – Flégère ski areas contain a variety of slopes for all levels, and many of the runs offer spectacular panoramic views. The Balme – Vallorcine ski area, accessible from the villages of Le Tour and Vallorcine, has wide, gentle slopes ideal for beginners. Skiers of all levels will find suitable slopes in the Les Houches ski area, with its range of black, red, blue and green runs and cross-country skiing. Families with children can try the Domaine Skiable des Planards and the La Vormaine ski area for lessons.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Chamonix

2 Val d’Isere

Val d'Isere
Val d’Isere

The Val d’Isère flows into the 53,000 hectare Parc National de la Vanoise, the oldest and most beautiful national park in France, and extends over a high valley between peaks rising to 3,000 meters. The ski area, shared with the neighboring resort of Tignes, is the vast Espace Killy, named after Jean-Claude Killy, an Olympic gold medal winner who learned to ski here. Val d’Isère is a favorite destination because of its extensive 300 kilometer terrain with more than 150 ski lifts. The ski area has excellent ski lifts and cable cars, plus an incredible number of slopes (from a height of 1,550 meters to 3,450 metres) that offer plenty of variety. It is possible for skiers to try a new ski slope every time, even if you stay here for several days. Val d’Isère has a ski area with gentle slopes for children and beginners, but also offers plenty of challenging terrain, both on and off the slopes.

The long ski season here usually lasts from late November to early May, but skiing continues into summer in some areas. It is usually possible to ski Glacier du Pisaillas in June and July. Another highlight of Val d’Isère is the lively après-ski atmosphere and good restaurants in the village. Lodging, including the luxurious Hotel L’Aigle des Neiges, is within walking – or ski – distance of the lifts.

Official site:

Accommodation: where to stay in Val d’Isere

3 Courchevel

Courchevel Matt Squirrell / modified photo
Courchevel Matt Squirrell / modified photo

Also in the Parc National de la Vanoise, Courchevel is the most famous and luxurious of the ski resorts in Les 3 Vallées. This is the largest alpine ski area in the world, with 600 kilometers of interconnected ski slopes, four skiable glaciers and 10 peaks that rise above 2,500 meters. The Courchevel ski area is part of this group of exceptional ski areas and includes 150 kilometers of alpine ski slopes with 58 lifts, including a good mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes. Slopes and pistes are renowned for their excellent snow conditions, the combined result of an average annual snowfall of four meters and exceptional grooming. Additionally, several of the best slopes are on northern slopes that are protected from the warm afternoon sun.

Half the fun of Courchevel is its air of luxury, with chic mountain lodges and excellent gourmet restaurants. Courchevel is renowned for its gastronomy and 11 restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars. One of these, La Bouitte, has earned three stars and features a boutique hotel with 15 rooms and suites inspired by traditional Savoie design. When planning a visit, keep in mind that the ski area includes five villages at different heights on the mountain: Courchevel Village, Courchevel Saint Bon, Courchevel Le Praz, Courchevel Moriond and Courchevel. Each village has its own unique charm and they are all connected to the ski area with ski-in and ski-out convenience.

Official site:

Accommodation: where to stay in Courchevel

4 Morzine-Avoriaz in Portes du Soleil

Morzine-Avoriaz in Portes du Soleil
Morzine-Avoriaz in Portes du Soleil

Morzine-Avoriaz is the most popular of the 12 connected ski areas in the Portes du Soleil ski area. The Morzine sector offers 64 slopes with access to 49 ski lifts; the Avoriaz sector has 49 slopes and 36 ski lifts. Both Morzine and Avoriaz have a good representation of intermediate and beginner running, but Avoriaz is best known as a beginner’s paradise, with five different terrain parks and a superpipe. Avoriaz has two parks especially for children, Lil’Stash and the Burton children’s parkway.

For authentic mountain charm, stay in one of the cozy chalets or rustic lodges in the traditional alpine village of Morzine. In contrast, the modern resort of Avoriaz has purpose-built ski accommodation created in the 1960s, including the five-star residence L’Amara, with its own swimming pool and on-site ski hire. At the end of March 2017, the Rock the Pistes festival will combine skiing and live music at the Portes du Soleil ski area, with concerts on the slopes and 70-plus après-ski concerts in the towns.

Official site:

Accommodation: where to stay in Morzine

5 Gourette

Gourette Jerome Bon / photo modified
Gourette Jerome Bon / photo modified

The Gourette ski area is located in the Pyrenees, just eight kilometers from the elegant spa town Les Eaux Bonnes with its pampering thermal baths and beautiful English gardens. This historic ski area was the first ski area in the Pyrenees. At an altitude of 1400 metres, the grandiose mountains of Gourette face south, allowing skiers to enjoy maximum sunshine. With slopes stretching over 1000 meters, the Gourette ski area offers challenging, fast descents in its spacious domain. A seven-hectare beginner area allows students to improve their skiing skills. The resort is well designed to welcome holidaymakers and has an inviting village atmosphere with restaurants, shops, accommodation, cinema and other entertainment.

Official site:

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Gourette

6 Cauterets


Another ski resort in the Pyrenees in southwestern France, the high mountain village of Cauterets is a popular winter sports destination near two ski areas. The Cirque du Lys domain offers 36 kilometers of ski slopes for all levels, but mostly intermediate, as well as a ski area for beginners. Extreme skiers and snowboarders will love the Oakley Freestyle Park at the Cirque du Lys, with slopes, twists and other terrain features. The Pont d’Espagne domain also has 36 kilometers of slopes plus an area for snowshoeing.

Accommodation: where to stay in Cauterets

7 Font Romeu

Font Romeu
Font Romeu

Font Romeu is another ski resort in the Pyrenees, although closer to Catalonia in the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes. This natural regional park is located near Andorra and the border with Spain. An exceptional winter destination, Font Romeu is appreciated for its sunny weather and pristine forests. With its wide range of terrain, the ski area is suitable for skiers of different abilities, but the resort is especially suitable for beginners as it has many green (easy) slopes.

Official site:

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Font Romeu

8 La Clusaz

La Clusaz
La Clusaz

Just an hour’s drive from Geneva Airport just over the border in Switzerland, La Clusaz is often overlooked by skiers heading to the glitzier and more famous Trois Vallées resorts. But there’s plenty to draw skiers here: well-groomed intermediate and advanced slopes and the challenging long runs in the La Balme area of ​​the resort. In total, La Clusaz offers five interconnected mountain peaks with 130 kilometers of groomed trails and 84 ski slopes.

But the appeal of la Clusaz goes beyond the skiing. Unlike the surrounding modern resorts, it is a real village with its own traditions and its own local life. This gives it an alpine charm that other nearby resorts do not have. But it is not without its tourist facilities, with the only five-star accommodation in the area, the chalet-style Hotel Au Coeur du Village, at the foot of the slopes. A full calendar of festivals and events brings locals and skiers together, from a rugby tournament played in the snow to a Rio-style carnival and the mad-cap ski race across the melting ice at the end of the season.

Official site:

Accommodation: where to stay in La Clusaz

More related articles at

  • Skiing Elsewhere in Europe: Once you’ve skied in the Alps and the Pyrenees, you’ll be hooked and longing to try the Swiss and Italian Alps and the Dolomites. Our articles on the 10 top-rated ski resorts in Italy and 10 top-rated ski resorts in Switzerland can make planning these adventures easy.
  • Ski the American West: PlanetWare can also help you explore America’s beautiful western ski area. Check out our articles on the 9 Top Rated Ski Resorts in Utah, 11 Top Rated Ski Resorts in Colorado and the 8 Best Ski Resorts in Lake Tahoe and get ready to ski west.
  • Ski New Hampshire and Vermont: Right next to each other, Vermont’s Green Mountains and New Hampshire’s White Mountains offer excellent skiing and a variety of resort styles. Plan to ski them with the help of our articles on the 10 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in New Hampshire and 10 Top-Rated Ski Resorts in Vermont.

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