The French Alps is the part of the Alps massif that’s located within French territory. Divided between the regions Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the French Alps border Switzerland and Italy. This mountain range attracts thousands of travelers in the winter months when the towering peaks are covered in snow, and the winter sports resorts are humming with activity.
Top 6 Places to Ski in France
1. Courchevel, Les Trois Vallées
The commune of Courchevel tops the list of many skiing fanatics. The eponymous ski area has an extensive network of ski lifts and slopes. In fact, Courchevel has the largest ski area in the world. Courchevel hosted the Ladies Alpine Ski World Cup in 2016, but that shouldn’t scare less experienced skiers off. The site has a mind-blowing 180 green and blue slopes, an indication for ‘very easy’ and ‘easy’ slopes. Do you have more experience? This famous ski area has no less than 140 challenging red and black slopes for the seasoned winter sporter. In total, Courchevel has over 600 kilometers of slopes.
Courchevel has several villages, all of which have designated ski areas for dummies and kids. These so-called ‘magic carpets’ are gentle ski slopes with rope lifts, perfect for practicing. These magic carpets are free to use, perfect for beginners who don’t know if they’re totally into skiing.
Best accommodations in Courchevel
This 4-star property is located right next to the slopes and has an outdoor terrace overlooking the ski fields. Mercure Courchevel 1850 has a bar and two restaurants. The rooms come with a flat-screen TV and a balcony with either lake or forest views.
For the kids, a play corner with toys and pinball machines provides plenty of entertainment.
A holiday in Courchevel is so much more than skiing when you stay in Hôtel La Sivolière. This wonderful inn has a heated indoor pool, a sauna, hammam, and a gym. Two restaurants and a bar serve all your culinary needs. The family rooms have rustic timber furniture and come with conveniences such as a minibar and a TV with streaming services.
2. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, first Winter Olympics in 1924
Chamonix is a famous resort town near the borders with both Switzerland and Italy. It’s known as the gateway to Mont Blanc, the highest summit in France. Apart from the incredibly scenic cable car rides with views of Mont Blanc, Chamonix has a lot to offer for skiing enthusiasts. Thanks to the steep mountains, Chamonix has some of the best selections of black slopes in France. This resort has 157 kilometers of on-piste skiing and a lot more off-piste skiing opportunities. The Teleski du Savoy comes highly recommended for those who just start skiing: the graduate slope is located in Chamonix’s center and is a perfect fit for newbies.
Best accommodations in Chamonix
The studio apartments have a furnished kitchen, a dining table, and a coffee machine. More importantly, several ski slopes are only a 10 to 15-minute walk, and the accommodation has a storage room for winter sports gear. The rooms sleep up to 4 people.
This charming hotel has a couple of draws that contribute to an enjoyable holiday.
Hôtel de L’Arve houses a game room with a billiard and table soccer table, a terrace with Mont Blanc views, and the ski slopes around the corner. When traveling with a family, you can ask for connecting rooms.
3. Alpe D’Huez, Central French Western Alps
Alpe D’Huez is a paradise for winter sporters, as this resort east of Grenoble is blessed with enchanting landscapes. Slopes here have a wide difficulty range, making this a haven for both green and seasoned skiers. At an altitude of nearly 2000 meters, Alpe D’Huez always receives a pack of snow in winter. This legendary winter destination in the Alps packs no less than 84 ski lifts and 250 kilometers of piste. For confident skiers, Alpe D’Huez has boundless slopes away from the groomed slopes, and even a handful of halfpipes for tricks.
Alpe D’Huez takes pride in hosting the longest ski slope in Europe, La Sarenne, which ascends for 16 kilometers.
Best accommodations in Alpe D’Huez
This cozy property houses spacious suites and chalets that can accommodate up to 12 people. The chalet has a private pool, a sauna, and a fully equipped kitchen. On top of that, you can hang out at night with complimentary board games, books, and DVDs.
Although this accommodation is a 12-kilometer drive from the village of Huez, it offers fantastic value if you’re traveling on a tight budget. With an apartment that can sleep up to 10 guests and a quadruple room, La Marmotte De La Meije is an excellent choice for a family trip. This place has an outdoor hot tub, and massages can be arranged for relaxation after a long day on the slopes.
4. La Plagne, the most popular ski resort in the world
La Plagne is one of France’s most popular ski resorts, with an average of 2,5 million visitors in the winter season each year. You can choose from 11 different ski areas, ranging in altitude from 700 to 2100 meters. With the Paradiski pass, you can use lifts in La Plagne, Peisey-Vallandry, and Les Arcs, an extensive area with a slope network of 425 kilometers. This pass is available for 1, 3, or 6 days, and gives access to various beginner to expert level ascends. La Plagne has a snow park with several jumps, a moguled course, and a mini halfpipe for confident freestylers. If you’re an early riser, the First Track experience is well-worth waking up for. You’ll be the first skiers to hit the slopes, and you can enjoy breakfast while the sun rises over the Alps.
Best accommodations in La Plagne
If you’re looking for an accommodation with the best possible slope access, this is the one to go for. Plagne Bellecote Apartments has ski-to-door access, arranges ski gear rentals, and sells ski passes at the reception. Inside the lodging, you’ll get to enjoy board games, a TV with streaming services, and a kitchen.
With ski lifts within 1-kilometer distance and ski gear storage rooms, Maison Caramel is an exceptional option for families aiming for a skiing adventure. Maison Caramel has cozy cottages for up to 4 people. With a complimentary breakfast and dinner provided, you can just focus on a fun winter sports adventure.
5. Haute Maurienne Vanoise, home to 20 ski resorts
Although this commune’s 350 kilometers of slopes seem smaller than other resorts in this list, this area has a significant trump. Haute Maurienne Vanoise is one of the most budget-friendly winter sports destinations in the country, with affordable ski passes and gear rental. For skiing rookies, the Haute Maurienne Vanoise area houses 12 ski schools. The La Norma area is a great location to kick off your skiing adventure, as this spot has 7 green and 7 blue slopes to entertain beginners. Aussois offers more challenging routes, including the iconic Les Balmes slope for ski experts. Haute Maurienne Vanoise also has 200 kilometers of nordic skiing, a more relaxing way to soak up the wondrous alpine landscapes.
Best accommodations in Haute Maurienne Vanoise
This low-budget hotel offers apartments aimed at winter sports lovers. Rent and store your gear within the property, and enjoy the nearby ski lifts. The staff can also arrange ski classes for you and the kids. Apartments here come with a furnished kitchen and a dining table.
Located in the favored ski area Aussois, La Roche du Croue couldn’t be more perfect for a wintertime family trip. The quadruple and triple rooms provide mountain views, and a continental breakfast is served daily in the common area. Eateries, ski schools, and slopes are just around the corner.
6. Les Gets, where the first single-person chairlift opened in 1938
Les Gets ski area is only 1 hour by car from Geneva Airport, making it a compelling spot for international travelers. This resort town near the Swiss border is specially chosen by more experienced winter sporters, as the majority of the slopes here are marked red (advanced). However, the Les Chavannes district is home to more graduate mountains, perfect for those who just get started. With 23 ski lifts and just over 100 kilometers of slopes, Les Gets isn’t the most prominent on this list. But the surprisingly varied difficulty levels and the presence of numerous (international) ski schools make this little gem worth visiting.
Best accommodations in Les Gets
Hôtel Alpina is an inviting place to hang out after a long day of skiing. A swimming pool, hammam, spa bath, and a gaming room await after you come back from the slopes. This hotel also has a bar with comfy couches and a fireplace. Family rooms have a balcony and a private bathroom.
Charming timber chalets provide a home for holiday goers. The family apartment is packed with fun features, such as a Blu-ray DVD player and books. The closest ski lift is only 800 meters away from this accommodation, surrounded by bright foliage.
Check out our guide to The Ultimate Family Ski Trip to Europe.