Are you planning a ski trip? Then France turns out to be the right destination. This region’s high-mountain ski resorts are said to be some of the best in all of Europe, and the well-maintained and groomed slopes will entice you to spend the entire day on the slopes cheering frantically.
France is a true paradise for those who love art, sightseeing, exquisite cuisine and excellent wines. But don’t forget that the country on the Seine also offers ideal conditions for winter sports.
When many people think of France, they immediately think of the bustling streets of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. But we should not forget that this beautiful country also has another, completely different face, because in addition to the flat areas there are also extensive mountainous regions. The landscape of the southeastern and southwestern part of France is characterized by two high mountain ranges: the Alps and the Pyrenees. This is where most of the most renowned (and expensive) winter sports resorts are located. However, there is no shortage of more popular places that offer slightly lower prices.
A stay in such a place will be no more expensive than skiing in Italy. It should be noted, however, that in terms of costs to be borne by slope shovelers, some ski resorts approach the prices one has to pay for skiing in Switzerland. Which French ski resorts will prove to be the best choice? Our suggestions are listed below.
Many people assume that “if you ski in France, you only ski in the Trois Vallées.” No wonder, because the largest winter sports area in the Alps (the total length of the slopes is more than 600 km) guarantees ideal conditions for skiing on the slopes. This beautiful region consists of several ski resorts that, as the name suggests, are located in three valleys: Courchevel, Méribel and Belleville. Each of them is worth a visit and, thanks to the convenient gondola connection, skiers can ski different slopes every day. Where should one go first? In our opinion, the biggest jewel in the crown of the Trois Vallées is Val Thorens, a ski resort in Belleville.
In this resort, located at an altitude of 2300 m (Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe), the snow lasts until the end of spring. The total length of the 88 ski slopes (1800-3230 meters above sea level) is about 150 km. Most of the slopes are suitable for beginners who are refining their technique (44% of the slopes are marked with the color blue and 13% with the color green). There is also plenty of room for experienced and intermediate skiers (34% of the slopes are marked by the color red and 9% by the color black). The longest slope in the ski area – Laudzin Pass – is an impressive 12 km long.
Skiers who trust their skills can take advantage of the freeride areas. In terms of the length of the area for cross-country skiers, Val Thorens does not impress. 5 km is not very impressive, but keep in mind that the trails here are quite challenging.
There are 10 gondolas, 12 express gondolas for 6 people, and 2 express gondolas for 2 people. In total, there are 31 lifts available to visitors. These are modern and fast elevators that offer a high level of comfort.
What other attractions does the resort offer? They are countless, so no one runs the risk of getting bored. In crazy free time on the slopes, you can climb the glacier, rent a snowmobile, take a ride on a dog or horse-drawn sleigh. A flight in a hot air balloon or helicopter is also a must-see attraction.
Another interesting proposition is one of the most famous and also oldest ski resorts in France. Today, this beautiful ski resort attracts ski fanatics from all over the world to France.
The resort consists of six stations: Chamonix Mout Blanc, La Flégère, Le Brévent, Les Grands Montets, Les Planards and Domaine de Balme. The total length of the trails is 194 kilometers. 36% are marked in blue, 35% are marked in. – red, 15%. – green and 13%. – black. So there is something for all skiers, regardless of their level. It should be noted, however, that Mont Blanc in Chamonix is best known for its more difficult runs. The best conditions for the less experienced are created by the Domaine de Balme and Les Planards.
The resort has no shortage of terrain for freestyle and freeride enthusiasts. There are also slopes specially built for those who enjoy cross-country skiing more than downhill skiing. The total length of the cross-country trails is several dozen kilometers and one cannot complain about their preparation. Another strong point of the resort is the availability of elevators. A total of 67 elevators are in operation, including 13 modern cable cars.
What entertainment awaits you when you leave the slopes? The town has no shortage of good restaurants, clubs with loud music and quiet, atmospheric cafes. An evening stroll through the picturesque streets will be a real treat. Moreover, you should know that Chamonix has an extraordinary charm. Do not forget the attractions of the place. A streetcar ride to the flank of Mont Blanc is an unforgettable experience. The top of the Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace, the longest glacier in France, are also worth a visit.
The next resort on our list is aimed primarily at families with children and those learning to ski on the slopes. Alpe d’Huez is a ski resort on the southern slopes of the Massif des Grandes Rousses, at an altitude of 1,860 meters above sea level. In addition to the main station, there are five other stations within its boundaries: La Garde, Oz en Oisans, Villard Reculas, Vaujany and Auris en Oisans.
This huge complex offers 111 ski slopes, with a total length of more than 250 kilometers. The green and blue marked slopes predominate, accounting for 31% and 28% of the total respectively. Twenty-five percent of the slopes are marked red and 16% black. – black. The statistics clearly indicate that Alpe d’Huez will be frequented primarily by inexperienced skiers. However, this does not mean that those who are confident in their abilities have nothing to look forward to. On the contrary, the ski resort is home to the longest black run in France. This is the Sarenne, which is 16 kilometers long and characterized by a high level of difficulty.
The ski resort offers excellent conditions not only for alpine skiers, but also for cross-country skiers. The total length of the cross-country trails is more than 50 km, and the longest – the Boucle des Lacs – is more than 20 km long. About the number of ski elevators, no less than 70 in total, there are no reservations. The 8-, 6-, 4- and 2-seater elevators (3, 3, 16 and 3 respectively) predominate. There is also no shortage of comfortable gondolas (14).
Non-ski attractions are also a strong point of the resort. There is an on-site sports center with a swimming pool, gym, miniature golf and an ice rink. The more adventurous can opt for a paragliding flight, ice karting or a snowmobile ride, while those looking for a little less excitement can take a ride on a dog sled. There is no shortage of scenic trails with fantastic views. A visit to the ice cave, located at an altitude of 2,700 meters, is also an interesting option.