If you are thinking about booking a skiing holiday in Europe, the French Alps are a skier’s paradise. The only problem you might face is that there are so many great resorts in this region, you might have difficulty deciding which to choose, depending on whether you will be holidaying with friends or a family with little ones.
Of course, it’s not just skiing you need to think about. You might be excited about trying some of the region’s challenging black runs, but you might also want some nursery slopes and snow parks for the kids, and what about those après-ski activities?
We here at Belvilla have some great ski holiday accommodations to offer you, and we’d like to tell you about what you can look forward to in seven of France’s top ski resorts, all within easy reach from one of our fabulous holiday rentals.
1- The Ski Resort of Alpe d’Huez
When you are going on a skiing holiday with a diverse group of people, including children, choosing the right resort is crucial. It’s a case of trying to keep everyone happy with plenty of activities to suit all age groups and skill levels. An Alpe d’Huez ski holiday is the perfect answer. It is one of the oldest and best ski areas in the area.
If you are looking to test out your skiing skills, the Sarenne black run, at 16 km, is reputedly the longest of its kind in the world. Meanwhile, the lower slopes are perfect for those who like to take things at a slower pace, and there is also some wonderful nursery skiing for the inexperienced and any youngsters among you.
After everyone has skied to their hearts’ content, you can unwind in the comfort of a Belvilla luxury ski chalet, complete with a welcoming, blazing, open fireplace.
2 – Chamonix Ski Resort
Skiing may not be your favourite winter sport. You might, for example, prefer snowboarding. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go on holiday with a group of avid skiers. You can do your thing while they do theirs, and you can compare notes during the après-ski get-together. If this sounds like you, the ski resort of Chamonix is the ideal destination.
Jump aboard the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi mountain station at 3,842 meters in the shadow of Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in Europe. It’s a ride that will live with you forever.
For ski fanatics, Chamonix is the ultimate. The steep runs and the slopes of unknown powder around Grands Montets and Vallée Blanche will test your skill to the limit. You’ll find new runs to try out every day.
It’s a skiers’ and snowboarders’ paradise.
3 – The 3 Valleys (Les Trois Vallées) Ski Resort
The celebrated 3 Valleys connect a number of ski areas that go together to form the largest alpine ski area in the world. The most famous of the resorts here in Les Trois Vallées is the beautiful Courchevel, with its 60 lifts that transport eager skiers and snowboarders to 150 km of alpine pistes to die for.
The expanse of the 3 valleys covers 600 km in all and incorporates 10 peaks that reach over 2,500 metres in height.
The expert groundsmen and women have their work cut out, keeping the 4 metres of annual snowfall that gathers here in perfect condition for skiers of all abilities to enjoy. The lift system has been boosted by three new 10-person gondolas so everyone can get where they need to go without too long a wait.
For skiing newbies, the five villages of Les Trois Vallées each have practice facilities where wannabe skiers can practice and hone their skills in safety. Learners are catered for with 23% of green slopes and 35% for intermediates. There are free chair lifts nearby, and for extra protection, children are fitted out with magnetic vests.
4 – The Paradiski Ski Resort
The Paradiski ski area covers 425 km, with 264 slopes, the highest of which are perched at 3,250 feet above sea level. La Plagne, Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry provide beautiful snow for skiers and snowboarders alike, with each area offering its own special contribution with something to suit all comers.
The La Plagne region boasts ten gorgeous villages spread across the valley, and Belvilla has some ideal ski holiday home rentals awaiting your arrival. The five villages that overlook Mount Blanc are known as Les Arcs, and Peisey-Vallandry is the jewel in the crown, offering superb skiing together with French hospitality at its traditional best.
5 – Serre Chevalier Ski Resort Region
Nestling in the basin of the Guisane Valley is a small cluster of beautiful cobble street villages known collectively as Serre Chevalier. It is an area for the more serious skiers as the après ski is less abundant than in some other areas. There are six peaks within the area, and the majority of the ski runs wend their way around the villages of Villeneuve and Chantemerle halfway down the valley.
These lovely villages still hold their traditional character. One of them – Briançon – is little changed from its 17th century roots as a fortified settlement built by the military mastermind – Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Seigneur de Vauban, later to be Marquis de Vauban as a fortification against the Austrians.
6 – Tignes Ski Resort
There is nothing more soul-destroying than going on a skiing holiday only to find the snow is not up to par. The good news is that it is unlikely to happen in the Tarentaise Valley. The snow here is pretty well present in abundance all year courtesy of the Grande Motte glacier, which you can access via an underground funicular railway.
Here are also easy connections to Espace Killy with its facilities for advanced skiers and snowboarders and Val-d’Isère on the border of the Vanoise National Park.
With wonderful facilities for everyone, from beginners to ski experts, Tignes is a great destination where you can visit Val Claret and Tignes-le-Lac – the highest villages in the area from where you can get easy access to the snow-powdered slopes.
7 – The Val d’Isère Ski Resort
This resort of Val d’Isère had a brief mention in the section above, but so good is it that it deserves a mention of its own.
Situated at the end of the Tarentaise Valley, Val d’Isère was the site of the men’s downhill event at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. It is also a regular venue of the FIS Ski World Cup.
It’s best described as a high-end winter sports destination with its luxurious après-ski activities, fashion emporia and some of the chicest hotels in the Alps. Val-d’Isère is one of the best resorts in the French Alps, with terrain to suit all abilities.
They also have a fantastic ski lift system, as shown in the photograph above.