January 27th, 2018 | Updated on June 16th, 2021
French Alps are home to three largest ski areas on the planet. If that’s not a good reason to visit the French alps this year, I don’t know what is.
However, if you’re still thinking about it let us throw this in for you – ski vacations in the French Alps don’t just offer great skiing and snowboarding opportunities, they are also way more affordable than US ski vacations.
And if you think you’re too late for the party, fear not, because agencies such as Snowchateaux have a number of last-minute offers that will help you spend a few days in Europe this year.
Now, it’s time to take a look at resorts in the French Alps that offer magnificent vacations.
1. Les Portes du Soleil
Les Portes du Soleil has more than dozen connected stations across Switzerland and France. One ski resort here has around 400 miles of trails and 200 ski lift.
The thing that differentiates this part of Alps is that the mountains here have real towns at their bases.
These towns offer you a huge number of shopping, entertainment and dining options. Two main towns, Les Gets and Morzine, are a few miles apart, and they are linked by free shuttles that take your from one to the other in a matter of minutes.
Along with the usual activities – skiing, sledding, etc. – Les Portes also offer ski-joring, where you can be towed being horses on skis.
If you go at the right time, you can catch the annual Rock the Pistes festival, which sets stages across ski slopes. This means you can ski and see performances at the same time.
It is part of the Portes du Soleil ski domain, and is located a short distance from Morzine. It offers over 650 km of skiable area.
Cars are forbidden in the ski resort, and it’s fully skiable. Horse-drawn sledge is the only mode of transport at hand besides walking and skiing.
3. Les Trois Vallees
Here we have the most expensive, and the “fanciest” resort on our list. This one is close to the last entry on our list, although, their location is the only thing they have in common. In fact, they couldn’t be more apart in terms of clientele.
This resort is mainly filled with “high-rollers” who want nothing less than true luxury service and accommodations.
This is the home of one of the biggest ticket ski complexes in the world that has more than 300 trails and stretches over 400 miles.
These trails are connected by 170 lifts, and staggering 33 gondolas. Here, you can take an amateur speed-ski course, visit the longest toboggan course in France and take up ski biking.
Located in the Tarentaise Valley, Méribel is part of the Vanoise National Park. This resort features a genuine wooden chalet-style architecture in a family-friendly village atmosphere.
Established since 1938, this resort offers plenty of slopes. In addition t these, it also offers restaurants, night clubs, shopping venues, as well as leisure activity facilities such as swimming pool, indoor ice rink and fitness center.
Its full name is Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. One of the oldest ski resorts in France, it had held the first ever Winter Olympic Games in 1924.
It gives you access to 119 km of ski pistes, including one run of 19 km from top to bottom.
Its proximity to the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc, means the alpine backdrop is incredible. From a museum to casino and from theme parks to dogsledding, Chamonix has lots to enjoy.
It is one of the largest ski resorts in France. It offers plenty of slopes for beginners, and also opportunities for off-piste sking.
It is the closest major ski area to the city of Grenoble, and therefore attracts plenty of day trippers as well as staying guests.
Further west, in the Vercors area, the resort of Villard de Lans, southwest of Grenoble, is reputed as the most environment-friendly ski resort in the French Alps, and also a good family resort.
6. Serre Chevalier
This is one of the best ski resorts in the French Alps. After skiing here, the whole resort rushes to the Bain Nordique to meet friends for drinks in a vast, scented hot tub – while at the Grand Bains du Monêtier, mineral-rich spring water rich gushes forth at 44°C. Serre Chevalier is the place to indulge in that contrast between hot and cold.
Serre Chevalier, in the French Alps, is a long south-facing valley between the Col du Lautaret and Briançon with several villages and hamlets dotted along the way, ranging from the ultra modern to the most traditional.
Serre Chevalier is in France’s Hautes-Alpes department, part of the PACA or Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.
The Hautes-Alpes is France’s only department in the alpine chain situated entirely in the mountains, making it the highest department in the Alps.
The last place on our list isn’t a resort per se. It’s actually a complex comprised of two resorts – La Plagne and Les Arcs.
These two resorts are connected by the largest ski cable car on the globe that spans the valley in just four minutes.
So where should you stay? The choice is all up to you. La Plagne is a little bit more family-oriented; it has wide runs that are perfect for beginners.
The other resort is a little bit challenging, so we would recommend it only to more experienced people.
Both resorts are pretty luxurious, with more than 50.000 beds in condos, chalets and family-run lodges.
Each village here has a unique feeling to it, with Plagne Centre being the largest one and Belle Plagne being the most visited and most attractive.
With the French Alps, you simply can’t go wrong. The European atmosphere, the delicious food and alpine charm will make you fall in love in this place and will have you coming back to it, year after year.