With historic ski villages, vast mountains and extensive slopes, the French Alps are widely regarded as the epicentre of skiing and snowboarding in Europe.
Each winter, skiers and snowboarders of every nationality flock to the French Alps, drawn to excellent quality skiing, fantastic cuisine, European atmosphere, alpine charm and all kinds of off-slope activities you won’t easily find elsewhere. There are three departments in the Northern Alps (Haute-Savoie, Savoie and Isère), which are home to three main ski areas, Paradiski, Les Portes du Soleil and of course the famous Trois Vallees. All of the resorts are within three hours of Geneva and each has its own unique character.
The most well-known of these regions is Les 3 Vallees in the Tarentaise Valley, which is home to one of the world's largest ski area. Incorporating eight resorts, including Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens, skiers have access to 600 km of pistes linked together by a unique network of ski lifts and ski runs. Within the Tarentaise Valley are various other resorts including Paradiski and Espace Killy which covers Val d’Isere and Tignes giving access to 300 km of pistes.
Translated as “The Gateway to the Sun”, Les Portes du Soleil encompasses thirteen resorts and 286 ski slopes between Mont Blanc in France and Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Most of these resorts such as Les Gets and Morzine have grown around traditional valley villages, preserving a sense of heritage and mountain soul. With the quality and range of skiing available, these resorts cater to a range of abilities, thus are particularly well suited to families with many excellent luxury ski chalets.
Other French resorts which deserve a mention include the charming town of Megeve, an authentic mountain village combining rustic style and sophistication in the Mont Blanc Massif. Also within touching distance of Mont Blanc is the bustling town of Chamonix, one of France’s oldest ski resorts and the centre of the most radical off-piste terrain in the Alps.
Many of the best luxury ski chalets in France are found in the glamorous resort of Courchevel 1850. Hailed as the most luxurious ski accommodation in the Alps, Chalet Edelweiss houses a cinema, nightclub and an incredible spa with a 16-metre swimming pool, whilst artwork by Salvador Dali adorns the walls. It’s neighbours Courchevel 1550 and 1650 also have some great family-friendly friendly properties that are excellent value for money like Chalet Elista and Libellule.
Val d’Isere is another resort with a fantastic array of accommodation from stylish apartments like Etoile Filante to vast chalets such as Le Chardon and Machapuchare. Under-the-radar resort St-Martin-de-Belleville has some hidden gems including Chalet Pure White Crystal whilst Morzine is paving the way for luxury chalets in the Portes du Soleil with mega chalets Sapphire and Joux Plane setting the trend.