Skiing in France - top tips for the perfect ski holiday

November 05, 2012

France is one of the all time favorite skiing destinations in the world. The country is home to a host of mountains ranges, most notably the French Alps. As a result France offers a wide selection of ski resorts that are perfect for winter holiday fun. The French have been skiing as long as any other nation although it is a matter for some debate as to whether alpine ski racing started in America, Europe or Australia.

What is more sure however is that France offers the widest range of ski accommodation in the Alps. Everything from small ski studios, to self catering ski apartments to top end luxury catered chalets is available. Whatever you ski holiday budget you will find something suitable in France. Let us have a quick look at some of the most famous French ski resorts so that you have an idea about where to search for the best ski chalets in France.

The Alps

On the south eastern border, where France is joined by Monaco and Italy, is located the French section of the Alps. Stretching across Europe, this world-renowned mountain range has the largest share of French ski resorts and high quality skiing destinations.

In the extreme north of this range is located Morzine, a top-class skiing resort which is equally liked by both seasoned and beginner skiers as it boasts a diverse range of easy and challenging slopes and oof piste. Located about 1000 metres above the sea level, Morzine has a wide selection of ski hotels, restaurants and private accommodations to entertain you when you are not on the slopes. Morzine ski chalets are a popular choice but the town also offer plenty of ski apartments to rent. You and choose between catered and self catering accommodations.

If you go further south along the Alps, you will come across the Three Valleys, locally known as the Les Trois Vallées. This area consists of some great resorts including Courchevel, Meribel , La Tania and Val Thorens, with each resort having a wide variety of slopes to suit skiers of all abilities. It is hard to choose the best resort in the Three Valleys as they all have unique characteristic. If you are looking for glitz and glam and can afford the cost then Courchevel or Meribel offer some truly amazing ski chalets. For a more relaxed and family friendly ski holiday if a worth trying La Tania or even Les Menuires which offer slightly cheaper accommodation yet all the benefits of skiing in the Three Valleys.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right to discuss the Alps without mentioning Mont Blanc. Known in English as ‘White Mountain’, the peak is the highest in Europe. The area around Mont Blanc offers the highest alpine skiing and some great, eye-catching landscapes amongst its various ski resorts. Here skiing destinations range from family friendly chalets in Les Houches, to the more expensive and challenging Chamonix. Chamonix is often know as the home of alpine sports and is very popular with extreme sports enthusiasts both in winter and summer. The town offer a mix of ski accommodation including chalet rentals and ski apartments.

The Pyrenees

Located on the border joining France with Spain, the Pyrenees Mountains, while often considered the second cousin to the Alps, still offer a large number of ski resorts. Skiing in the Pyrenees is often a good option of a budget ski holiday without compromising on a quality of the skiing or accommodation.

Very close to the Spanish Border is located one of the oldest ski resorts in the Pyrennes. The Domain du Tourmalet links the villages of Bareges and La Mongie and offer skiing up to 2500m. Likewise, in the eastern section of the Pyrenees lie Les Angles and Font-Romeu. Though closer to the Mediterranean coast, these resorts are still high up at about 2000m, and offer a wide selection of snowy slopes to everyone, regardless of their skiing level. While speaking about the Pyrenees we should mention Andorra the charming tax free principality set high in the mountain. It is a popular choice for beginners and intermediates looking for a budget ski break.

On the whole, the Pyrenees region, offer a super variety of slopes and ski resort and has the major advantage of offering calm slopes when compared to the often over crowded pistes in the Alps. If you are looking for a more tranquil ski holiday the Pyrenees is a good choice.

When to visit?

Keep in mind France does not have snow-capped mountains throughout the year. Therefore, the best skiing season is between December and April. There is still no denying the fact that some higher resorts retain snow longer, while a few of the highest in Mont Blanc sustain snow almost the whole year round and offer summer skiing on their glaciers.

In a nutshell, France is one of the most popular Europe destinations for skiing, and its ski resorts boast a huge variety of ski accommodation options for both experienced and novice skiers. With the diversity of on and off piste snow conditions, as well as the unique fun experience of a French ski holiday, there are many reasons why you should spend your next ski trip in the French mountains.

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