11 of France's best ski resorts with Club Med

Few countries can rival France's ski resorts for their sheer variety. From the Alps just south of Lake Geneva all the way down to Provence, you have a mind-boggling choice of resorts, with everything from high-altitude slopes and party towns to gorgeous little villages perfect for families. Here's a selection to get you started.

  1. Alpe d'Huez
  2. La Plagne
  3. Les Arcs
  4. Méribel
  5. Peisey-Vallandry
  6. Samoëns/Morillon
  7. Serre-Chevalier
  8. Tignes
  9. Val Thorens
  10. Val d'Isère
  11. Valmorel
France - home to some of the finest ski resorts in Europe - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme
France - home to some of the finest ski resorts in Europe - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme

Hitting the slopes this winter? Check out the latest offers on ski breaks to France* and further afield with Club Med* to get your ticket to the snow for less - today.

1. Alpe d'Huez

  • When to go: early December to late April
  • Great for: beginners, mileage-hungry intermediates
  • Where to stay: L'Alpe d'Huez La Sarenne*

Alpe d'Huez is one of France's mega-resorts, with nearly 250 km of varied pistes sprawling across a huge, high-altitude sunny plateau. While the village won't win prizes for beauty, you can't fault the amount of terrain you can explore.

Beginners have the fun of learning how to ski at high altitude along a wide network of easy pistes. It's also home to one of France's epic runs - the Sarenne. Starting at the 3,330m Pic Blanc on the Sarenne glacier, this tough black run - complete with moguls - is one of the most exhilarating challenges for expert skiers and goes on for about 16 km.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Grenoble (GNB) 1 hour 30 mins
Chambéry (CMF) 2 hours 30 mins
Geneva (GVA) 3 hours

Please note: Club Med's L'Alpe d'Huez La Sarenne* resort is under renovation until December 2019, when it will reopen as a 4T resort ahead of the winter 2019/2020 ski season.

2. La Plagne

You've got 11 separate villages and 225 km of slopes to choose from in La Plagne, and that's only part of the story. With Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry, it forms part of Paradiski, one of the world's largest ski domains.

While there are plenty of easy runs for beginners plus some tough blacks and off-piste areas for experts, intermediates will find themselves in heaven as they get to know this enormous ski area. The choice of where to stay can be daunting, from high-altitude modernist blocks to old-fashioned villages below the treeline.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hours 30 minutes
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours 30 minutes
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours 30 minutes

3. Les Arcs

The other major part of the Paradiski domain, Les Arcs divides itself into four villages, including cute little Arc 1950 and snug Arc 1600 set among pine trees. If you're looking for variety, you're certain to find it among the resort's 200 km of pistes - everything from sheltered woodland trails to high-altitude slopes above the treeline.

The beautiful high altitude slopes of Les Arcs - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme
The beautiful high altitude slopes of Les Arcs - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme

Add to the mix a cable car to La Plagne and you have more than enough to cover. While there's excellent skiing for all levels, black-run addicts will be itching to tackle the fantastically steep slopes and off-piste areas.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours 30 minutes

4. Méribel

One of the central resorts in the Three Valleys, Méribel is a favourite among British skiers who like a touch of luxury combined with a seriously large ski area. It's also one of the buzziest, home to après-ski hot spots including La Folie Douce.

Sunny day in Méribel, France - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme
Sunny day in Méribel, France - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme

From Méribel, it's easy to nip into neighbouring Courchevel or over to St-Martin-de-Belleville, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. But there's so much to keep you occupied in Méribel itself, where all levels of skier are catered for, as well as some outstanding off-piste terrain.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hours 30 minutes
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours 30 mins
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours 30 mins

5. Peisey-Vallandry

  • When to go: mid-December to late April
  • Great for: families who like a low-key village ambience
  • Where to stay: Peisey-Vallandry*

The third part of the Paradiski domain, Peisey-Vallandry is made up of two villages: Plan-Peisey and Villandry. From Plan-Peisey you can take the double-decker cable car, the Vanoise Express, directly to Les Coches, and then onwards to La Plagne.

Both villages have their own ski areas as well, but it's so easy to reach Les Arcs and La Plagne that you don't need to miss out on a fair chunk of Paradiski's 425 km of slopes. You'll find a much quieter, more family-focused feel to both villages, a place to kick back with a beer rather than raucous partying.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hours 30 mins
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours 30 mins
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours 30 mins

6. Samoëns/Morillon

The only French ski resort to be declared a national historic monument, Samoëns is one of the prettiest places to ski in the Alps - a traditional mountain village with a life outside the ski world. Along with its attractive neighbour Morillon, it forms the 265 km Grand Massif ski domain with Flaine, Les Carroz and Sixt.

Samoëns - one of the prettiest places to ski in the Alps - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme
Samoëns - one of the prettiest places to ski in the Alps - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme

Despite Grand Massif's size, it tends to get overshadowed by glitzier regions, but anyone who's enjoyed Samoëns' relaxed village atmosphere and the area's varied terrain will fall under its spell.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Geneva (GVA) 1 hour
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hour 40 minutes
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours

7. Serre-Chevalier

  • When to go: mid-December to late April
  • Great for: laid-back, traditional French atmosphere
  • Where to stay: Serre-Chevalier*

In complete contrast to the purpose-built high-altitude resorts of other parts of the French Alps, Serre-Chevalier is a collection of rustic, traditional villages strung out along a valley in northern Provence. Choose from three main villages - Le Monêtier, Villeneuve and Chantemerle - along with the highest town in France, Briançon.

Unlike most mountains in this part of France, you get a lot of tree cover at high altitude, a definite bonus when the weather turns a bit nasty. While there are pistes linking the resorts, you can also get around by free shuttle bus.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Turin (TRN) 2 hours
Chambéry (CMF) 2 hours 30 minutes
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours 30 minutes
Geneva (GVA) 3 hours 30 minutes

8. Tignes

  • When to go: mid-December to late April
  • Great for: laid-back, traditional French atmosphere
  • Where to stay: Tignes Val Claret*

It's hard to beat Tignes for its snow record, thanks to its mountains that soar beyond 3,000m. Its 1960s' architecture might not be to everyone's taste, but the huge variety of slopes certainly will win you over.

You've got several villages to choose from - each connected by a free shuttle bus - but Val Claret and its neighbour Tignes-le-Lac have some of the best connections to the slopes. It's an intermediate's paradise, but advanced skiers have some of the finest off-piste skiing in the world at their feet. And the glacier at Grande Motte gives Tignes one of France's longest ski seasons.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hours 30 mins
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours 30 mins
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours 30 mins

Snow reports: whether you're planning a trip to France or elsewhere, use our expertly curated snow cover reports to get a clear idea of just how much snow you can expect on average at your chosen resort.

9. Val Thorens

Europe's highest ski resort soars above the treeline towards the end of the Three Valleys, making it one of the best bets in France for snow-sure slopes. Easy to reach from other parts of this vast ski domain, Val Thorens has superb skiing for all levels, especially intermediates and experts who love to go off-piste.

Don't miss the cable car ride up to Cime de Caron at 3,200m for breathtaking views of the Maurienne Valley, and you can always ride back down if you don't want to tackle the red and black runs hugging the mountain.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hours 30 mins
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours 30 mins
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours 30 mins

10. Val d'Isère

  • When to go: late November to early May
  • Great for: just about everyone
  • Where to stay: Val d'Isère*

Sharing the 300 km Espace Killy ski domain with its neighbour Tignes, Val d'Isère has been a popular haunt for British skiers for decades. That's not surprising, considering its enticing combination of an attractive village and high-altitude, snow-sure slopes spread across an enormous and varied ski area.

Val d'Isère, France - much loved for its vibrant après-ski scene - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme
Val d'Isère, France - much loved for its vibrant après-ski scene - photo courtesy of Savoie Mont Blanc Tourisme

Home to the original La Folie Douce après-ski restaurant and bar, which has its own direct gondola, Val d'Isère attracts a lively crowd - not to mention hungry expert skiers keen to explore one of Europe's best off-piste resorts.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hours 30 mins
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours 30 mins
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours 30 mins

11. Valmorel

One of the most sympathetically designed purpose-built ski resorts in the French Alps, Valmorel packs a lot of family-friendly charm into a relatively small area. At its heart is the very sweet Le Bourg, a pedestrianised street where you'll find most of the restaurants and shops.

It shares the 152 km Grand Domaine ski area with St-François and Longchamp, offering beginners some very good slopes to learn on and progress from. Intermediates have lots to keep them happy, and even experts have access to some seriously challenging off-piste terrain.

Airport name Approximate transfer time
Chambéry (CMF) 1 hour
Geneva (GVA) 2 hours
Grenoble (GNB) 2 hours

Have you found your dream ski resort? If the snowy slopes of France are calling, don't miss our collection of online deals and special offers from Club Med for great value breaks this ski season.

Mary Novakovich

Mary Novakovich
Posted on Friday 18th January 2019 in: Adventure Europe Season Skiing & Snowboarding

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