For nature lovers, the French Alps (skiing in France) is the ultimate destination in France. This area boasts some of the most magnificent natural scenery in Europe, with awe-inspiring mountains, crystal-clear lakes, rushing waterfalls, and pristine forests. The French Alps are home to iconic snow-capped peaks and the highest mountain, Mont Blanc, in western Europe.
The combination of charming old towns and impeccable ski slopes cater to every traveller who wants to spend quality time in this scenic wonderland.
Explore the Roof of Europe from the picturesque Chamonix region, winter walhalla Val d’Isère or the unspoiled Mercantour National Park. Expect an outdoor playground with perfect slopes, thrilling activities and plenty of time for relaxation.
The picturesque French Alps are situated in southeast France in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Rhône-Alpes regions. They border Italy and Switzerland, and many people land in Geneva before heading into France’s mountainous towns and villages.
Also called the ‘White Mountain’, Mont Blanc is Europe’s second-largest mountain trailing Mount Elbrus. It prides itself as the Alps’ highest mountain, towering 4,808 m (15,774 ft.) above sea level.The Mont Blanc massif (French: Massif du Mont-Blanc; Italian: Massiccio del Monte Bianco) is a mountain range in the Alps, located mostly in France and Italy, but also straddling Switzerland at its northeastern end.
The three towns and their communes which surround Mont Blanc are Courmayeur in Aosta Valley, Italy; and Saint-Gervais-les-Bains and Chamonix in Haute-Savoie, France
How to get to Mont Blanc?
Mont Blanc is actually quite accessible, as it can be reached via road, rail, or air. Fly into Geneva, Lyon, or Haute-Savoie Mont Blanc Airport with Geneva providing closest access (just under 90km away). Otherwise, drive to Chamonix, or catch a train from London.
Here are some of the most visited ski resorts
1.Less Trois Vallees/ Val Thorens
The 3 Vallèes includes Courchevel, Les Menuires, Meribel, St Martin de Belleville & Val Thorens & a fourth valley reaching into the Maurienne at Orelle. With over 600km of ski trails, 166 lifts & more villages than one can possibly poke a ski pole at, the biggest question for visitors is where to stay to get the most out of the area
Val Thorens– resort that combines of skiing with the best of atmospheres for fun-filled stay! Val Thorens is the highest resort in Europe (2,300 metres). At the top of the 3 Vallées, it opens out onto the largest ski area in the world, with 600 kilometres of equipped slopes, 339 signposted runs, and some 160 ski lifts.
There are clear benefits to being at such a high altitude: Val Thorens is quite rightly renowned for the incomparable quality of its snow, which is guaranteed between November and May. Its site, boasting remarkable sunshine and snow cover, is surrounded by 6 glaciers and 6 equipped mountain peaks at altitudes of more than 3,000 metres.
Enjoy unique panoramic views over more than 1,000 peaks in the French, Swiss and Italian Alps from La Cime Caron (3,200 metres); a vast, diverse, naturally international vision.
Situated in the centre of the biggest linked piste network in the world Meribel is ideal for intermediates who love covering the miles.
There are great ski schools many of which cater especially for the British market, lots of après ski options and further activities to do off the slopes. Meribel is very difficult to beat with over 200 lifts (generally queue free) and over 600km of pistes.
Meribel should not be confused with Meribel Village, Meribel Les Allues or Meribel Mottaret as all four are quite distinct villages with their own characters.
Meribel is the main resort with the largest choice of accommodation, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Meribel Village and Meribel Les Allues are smaller, quieter and more traditional villages.
Skiing in Meribel, complete resort giude, piste maps
Courchevel village is a glamorous ski resort in the Three Valleys Ski Area which includes Val Thorens and Meribel. With 600 kilometres of ski runs and covering an area of 105 square kilometres, it is the largest ski area in the world with some superb skiing on offer.
Courchevel ski resort is comprised of four settlements: Courchevel 1850 has the best skiing, shopping and plenty of family friendly activities. Courchevel Moriond (formerly known as Courchevel 1650) is more traditional, and more reasonably priced.
Courchevel 1550 is quieter with a mixture of accommodation, and lastly, Courchevel Le Praz (formerly known as Courchevel 1300) is an authentic Alpine village full of character.
With 410 hectares of marked runs and 3901 hectares of total influence, Serre Chevalier Vallée ski area is one of the largest in Europe, a great destination for your next ski holidays.
Although Serre Chevalier is a vast ski area there is generally not a large foreign contingent, predominantly French and their families, and therefore it’s not as expensive and friendlier than some of the more famed/international French resorts.
Serre Chevalier Piste Map download
5.St Martin de Belleville
St Martin de Belleville is a proper, lived-in and authentic alpine village. Still unspoilt and totally charming with narrow cobbled streets, an old church and traditional buildings constructed of wood and stone. St Martin de Belleville offers quick access to the 3 Valleys but is secluded and tucked away from the commercialisation of the rest of the ski area.
At an altitude of 1,450m, St Martin de Belleville guards the entrance to the Vallée de Belleville and offers skiers and snowboarders of all levels the perfect resort to learn, develop and perfect their riding, having some great beginner slopes in resort and fast connections to the rest of the superb Three Valleys ski area.
St Martin de Belleville Piste Maps
The ski area is very big. More than that it is very varied and home to some of the longest lift-accessed ski runs in the world. The lift served vertical of nearly 2100 metres places Alpe d’Huez in the world top ten for vert and the 250km of runs is also amongst the world’s biggest ski areas.
The hub of the ski area is at the peak of the triangle with lifts radiating off in all directions – drag lifts serving local training runs, a combination gondola and chairlift accessing a huge beginner’s zone as well as the main fun park, and a high capacity funitel that marks the first leg of the ascent to the Pic Blanc, the area’s highest point.
La Clusaz has managed to maintain its traditional mountain village charm and very French atmosphere despite developing into a fairly major resort. The pistes, although spread out, are largely suited towards intermediates and beginners, but experts will struggle to find any truly challenging terrain (worth trying is the Le Vraille in Torchere area).
La Clusaz is close to Geneva & Annecy, meaning that the resort gets busy with weekend skiers from the surrounding area, and its low altitude often leads to variable snow reliability.
La Plagne is big – one of the biggest ski resorts in the world – and while some of its architecture may not be the prettiest, it is surrounded by stunning scenery high on a plateau on the edge of the Parc régionale. La Plagne is made up of six high-altitude resorts and four further down the mountain.
A few of the villages are very attractive, most noteably Belle Plagne. La Plagne’s six altitude resorts containing the bulk of the accommodation, are all around 2,000m. There’s plenty of ski-in/ski-out accommodation and none are further than 100m from the slopes.