The French Alps have the biggest mountains in Europe, (including the mighty Mont Blanc) and France leads the world in creating huge ski
regions, often linked by modern and efficient ski lifts and covered by one regional ski pass. The French resorts are some of the most popular
anywhere with Val d'Isere, Courchevel, Les Arcs and Meribel at the top of the list of places to ski amongst many British skiers. For
piste-hungry skiers France certainly delivers - French ski resorts can provide hundreds of kilometres of wide cruisers to keep the large
numbers of visiting skiers on the move. French ski resorts offer great skiing for all levels of skiers. Some resorts are better suited than
others so when it comes to finding the right resort why not let Skiline advisers help you choose the best resort for your party's ski
ability. Whether you are skiing alone, as a group of friends, a family ski trip, or corporate ski trip, our staff will help you find the
best resorts to ski.
French ski resorts can be divided into two camps, purpose-built high altitude resorts and traditional mountain villages that have developed into
ski resorts over the years. Of the high altitude resorts, Val Thorens (Part of the massive 3 valleys ski area) is one of the most popular and
is the highest ski village in the whole of Europe at 2300m. Although cold in early January and sometimes wind swept, the snow cover is guaranteed
from late November to the end of April so demand is always high. The smaller mountain villages such as Courchevel Le Praz which is
located at 1300m (also linked to the 3 Valley ski area) is a very attractive village with cobbled streets and fine old buildings yet despite
being 1000m lower than Val Thorens the snow cover is still normally good from late December to early April. This simply means that here most
of your skiing is done above the village rather than below in resorts like Val Thorens.
France has 4 main linked ski areas, these are the Espace Killy, which is a linked area of 400km between the villages of Val d'Isere and Tignes.
This is high altitude skiing at its best. The 3 valleys ski area that covers 600km of piste over (not surprisingly over 3 valleys) between Courchevel 1650
to Val Thorens. This ski area includes some wonderful small villages such as the Meribel village (not to be confused with Meribel centre),
and the very attractive village of St Martin de Belleville. Ski Paridise is the newest of Frances linked ski areas between La Plagne and
Les Arcs covering 420km of piste which are mainly purpose built resorts with high altitude skiing. Finally the Portes du Soleil which lays claim to
the largest international ski area in the world with 650km of piste across both the French and Swiss side of the mountains.
This is a low altitude cruising ski area, with some rustic mountain restaurants.
Unfortunately, many of France's post-war ski developments were architecturally insensitive to their majestic mountain settings.
But fortunately, the majority of them have, by now, been redeveloped in much more harmonious styles. Les Menuries is a prime example of
architecture gone mad, but that said, all new buildings are now being built in a Savoyard chalet style and sit far more at ease with the
mountains that surround them. The lift systems in French resorts are mostly state-of-the-art with lots of high-speed 4 and 6 person chairlifts
replacing the older and slower lifts, not to mention very fast underground funiculars. The French are, well ... French. This some times means, but
not always, that service in the mountains is at best rude and at worst very rude. But with that said we Brits love their ski resorts and that
explains why France is the most popular destination in the world for British skiers.
« Back to Homepage