Greatest locations to ski in France – Lonely Planet

Video Greatest locations to ski in France – Lonely Planet

​​Be it hammering down heart-thumping blacks within the ice-blue shadow of Mont Blanc, ski-touring beneath glistening saw-chiseled peaks or tree snowboarding via picture-book forests, France sports activities an unmatched number of snowboarding – for all skills, types and budgets.

The winter ski season within the blockbuster French Alps, quieter Pyrenees and low-key Jura Mountains usually runs mid-December to April. The very best-altitude alpine resorts similar to Val Thorens (Europe’s highest), Val d’Isère and Les Deux Alpes are the primary to open in late November, relying on snowfall. Restricted downhill snowboarding on glaciers above 3000m (9842ft) in Tignes and Les Deux Alpes ensures a corduroy repair for 4 weeks or so in July or August: every year hotter temperatures and glacial soften shorten the summer season ski season slightly extra.

Christmas and February faculty holidays are peak season: count on sky-high transport and lodging costs, packed bars and eating places, queues for ski lifts. Guide months upfront to bag your selection of place (old-world alpine hamlet, car-free village, purpose-built resort) and bolt-hole (mountain hut with bunks, family-run lodge, self-catering chalet, luxurious cocoon with spoiling scorching tub and soul-soaring, snowy-peak view).

To chop carbon, practice it to the French Alps and use public transport or native car-sharing companies like BlaBlaCar or Morzine Co-Voiturage for the ultimate leg from station to snow. From the UK, trip the in a single day snow practice TravelSki Specific to Bourg St-Maurice or pair a Paris-bound Eurostar with connecting TGV and regional practice; Snowcarbon is a useful rail planner.


Greatest for eco riders

A resort’s ecological footprint is changing into more and more very important to skiers. Inexperienced-thinking Morzine-Avoriaz hits the spot with renewable energy-powered chalet lodging, electric-vehicle transfers and car-sharing, zero-waste initiatives and plant-based eating. Skiers can hire ski clothes from Crevasse Clothes, feast on artisan delicacies showcasing native produce at Avoriaz’s cool new hotel-restaurant hangout MiL8, drink zero-waste espresso roasted within the valley by Cafés Vorlaz and chink craft beer with native eco-riders at Morzine’s experimental microbrewery Bec Jaune. Each resorts, accessible by practice to Cluses or Geneva then shared switch, carry the Flocon Vert (‘Inexperienced Snowflake’) label, awarded for sustainable observe to 11 resorts in France.

Snowboarding for all ranges is classy. Morzine and Avoriaz lounge within the family-friendly Portes du Soleil ski space (400km/249mi of runs), however couldn’t be extra completely different in character: Brit-loved Morzine is a party-loving market city stitched from conventional wood chalets and slate-tiled roofs; increased up the mountain at 1800m (5906ft), ski-in-ski-out Avoriaz is a whimsical car-free cocktail of Nineteen Sixties avant-garde structure and snowy streets charmed with old-world, horse-drawn sleighs.

Megève is a success with foodies who like to ski with three Michelin-starred gastronomic eating places © andresr / Getty Pictures


Greatest for foodies

One other Chamonix Valley honeypot, this upmarket village-resort with baroque previous city and a photogenic fleet of chichi horse-drawn carriages was dreamt up within the Twenties by alpine escape-seeking Baroness Noémie de Rothschild (of vintner and banking fame). It has been a success with Parisians, gastronomes and well-heeled households ever since.

That is the one French ski resort to twinkle with three Michelin-starred gastronomic eating places (high French cooks Emmanuel Renaut, Anne-Sophie Pic and Anthony Bisquerra) and winter reboots of St-Tropez’s iconic Le Café and the Parisian piano-cocktail bar Le Piaf.

Lunching on the slopes is memorable. Rustic chalets d’alpage, as soon as utilized by summertime shepherds, pepper the resort’s family-friendly slopes within the Évasion Mont Blanc ski space. Some harbor atmospheric Savoyard eateries. Refueling on melted Comte on toast, tartiflette oozing gooey Reblochon cheese and blueberry tart at Chalet Le Forestier or Auberge du Bonjournal are ski-holiday highlights. Après-ski with truffle pizza and oysters at L’Idéal 1850, and dinner at Thirties mountain restaurant Les Mandarines (ski down by torchlight afterward) are equally wow.

The favored ski city of Val d’Isere is the dream all-rounder resort © ventdusud / Getty Pictures

Espace Killy

Greatest for households (particularly teenagers)

Gargantuan in measurement and selection, Espace Killy within the higher Tarentaise Valley is the dream all-rounder. From miles of jaw-dropping off-piste descents to inexperienced, beginner- and tot-friendly child slopes, this phenomenal ski space has your again – no matter age or stage. At its coronary heart sits blockbuster resorts Val d’Isère and Tignes. Each require money to splash, however compensate with world-class amenities, the entire gamut of lodging and eating, and sensible nightlife: legendary Folie Douce is the alfresco hotspot on the snow to kick off the après-ski get together with glitzy dancers on stage, DJs and rogue desk dancing.

Lakeside Tignes is for adrenaline junkies. On frozen Lac de Tignes, youthful kids can play in a snow labyrinth and igloos, ice skate and check out curling. Daredevil teenagers can fly down a ski bounce and hurl themselves bungee-jump fashion right into a 40m (131ft) void with Bun J Experience. Ice diving and ice floating are fairly cool too.

An empty slope within the fairly area of Les Will get, a part of the Portes du Soleil ski space © antb / Shutterstock

St-Martin de Belleville

Greatest for fairly village vibe

With its cute steepled church and cluster of conventional Savoyard homes, this Actual McCoy village within the Tarentaise Valley is straight out of a fantastically illustrated storybook. Skiers spill off the bed and onto snowy slopes at 1450m (4757ft), linked by lifts to the snow-sure Trois Vallées – the world’s greatest ski space stitched from 600km (373mi) of slopes. Its seven resorts embody Brit-loved Méribel, sky-high Val Thorens, family-friendly Les Menuires and A-lister Courcheval the place the super-chic hobnob. Snowboarding is for all ranges, though intermediates and above have an actual blast.

Different fairly ski villages: Les Will get and St-Jean d’Aulps (Portes du Soleil); Lanslebourg-Mont Cenis, Lanslevillard and Bonneval in backcountry Val Cénis.


Greatest for funds skiers

Little-known Hirmentaz in Haute-Savoie’s Vallée Verte is among the tiniest resorts going, with 25 slopes and 15 lifts appropriate for freshmen and unambitious intermediates. A decrease altitude of 1100m (3609ft) means snow may be patchy at both finish of the season. However when it comes to bang on your buck, funds skiers gained’t ski for much less – an grownup one-day ski cross prices €22.30 (or €19.60 for 5 hours) in comparison with €67 in Chamonix (no half-day cross obtainable).

A lot-loved by native households, younger children tumble out of the automobile and onto the slope. Sports activities retailers renting ski gear are likewise snowball-throwing distance from the automobile park, and the crepes cooked up on the slope-facing terrace of Hôtel Les Skiers are certainly the most cost effective within the Alps. Bernex (forest trails in pine woods) and Thollon-les-Mémises (panoramic views of Lake Geneva) are different small, excellent-value resorts within the space.

A gaggle of skiers heading for Valle Blanche, probably the most well-known off-piste run within the Alps © Roberto Caucino / Shutterstock


Greatest for superior skiers

Propped up by a Herculean alpinist heritage and ski icons in spades, this historic city in Haute-Savoie’s Chamonix Valley is spectacular. Mountains loom massive in each route, climaxing with Mont Blanc (4807m/15,771ft) – Europe’s highest peak – and Aiguille du Midi (3842m/12,605ft), accessible year-round by cable automobile. From right here, skilled skiers cruise throughout crevasse-chiseled glaciers with a information on the 20km-long (12.4mi) Vallée Blanche descent, one in all Europe’s most legendary off-piste runs.

Freeriders after huge traces head to the steep difficult slopes (many unbashed), moguls and gnarly pow of the Grands Montets ski space in Argentière and to white-knuckle blacks in Les Houches; the vertical Kandahar on the Verte des Houches piste is known. The sunny slopes of Brévent-Flégère are additionally glorious for superior skiers. Pamper aching muscle mass post-ski with an excellent spa dip with a view at QC Terme.

Chamonix downtown is equally excessive octane. Ingesting, eating and buying ops abound. Don’t miss raclette and different native cheeses on the boutique of dairy cooperative Coopérative Fruitière en Val d’Arly (93 rue Whymper) and one of the best waffles within the Alps, cooked to order in a humble wood road hut at Gauffres de Chamonix (65 rue Whymper).

Alpe d’Huez

Greatest for pageant junkies

Alpe d’Huez is famed for its snow-sure altitudes, plentiful intermediate reds, and one in all Europe’s longest black runs – the virtually vertical, 16km-long (10mi) La Sarenne (high tip: catch the sundown on the final run down of the day from the Pic Blanc cable automobile). The resort’s steep and sinuous, 14km-long (8.7mi) entry highway with 21 hairpin bends is a frequent star within the Tour de France. However for pageant lovers, the resort is about dancing to reside home, techno and different digital music carried out by world-class artists on a number of indoor and out of doors phases – some at 3300m – on the week-long Tomorrowland Winter pageant every March.

Different unmissable music fests within the snow: Snowboxx (Avoriaz), Rock the Pistes (Portes du Soleil), Rise Pageant (Les Deux Alpes).

Métabief Mont d’Or

Greatest for cross-country

Ski life unfolds at a slower, gentler rhythm within the sparsely populated Jura Mountains which prolong northeast alongside the Franco-Swiss border from Lake Geneva to Belfort. Cheese-making, cross-country snowboarding and melodic cowbells chart out the hours of the day, and little beats cruising at a gradual tempo alongside 214km (133mi) of cross-country trails round Métabief Mont d’Or. One elevate within the pastoral ski station whisks downhill skiers to the highest of Mont d’Or (1463m/4800ft), from the place serene views of Lake Geneva, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc unfold on the horizon. Heat the cockles after with a fiery, après-ski shot of native liqueur de sapin (pine tree liqueur).

Different scenic cross-country resorts: Autrans within the Massif du Vercors (Isère); Domaine du Chioula, an hour’s drive from Toulouse (Ariège).

You may also like: Snowboarding in France throughout COVID-19: What to find out about entry, passes and testsFrance’s 10 most beautiful highway tripsFirst-time France: the place to go and what to do

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