Guest Post | Skiing in France

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French Alps- Photo courtesy of Henning Leweke

 

It’s Ski Time!

Winter is coming and that only means one thing, it’s time to dig out your ski gear and hit the slopes. Home to the largest ski area in the world as well as some of the best resorts, there is nowhere better, in our opinion, to spend a week or two in the mountains than the beautiful French Alps. With so many resorts to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to go, especially if it’s your first time visiting the area. That’s why we have selected our top three favourite resorts in France to give you holiday inspiration. Keep reading to find out more about our top three resorts Méribel, Val d’Isère and Tignes.

 

 

Méribel- Photo courtesy of Vad Z

 

Méribel

Located at the heart of the world’s largest ski area, the Three Valleys, you won’t find a ski resort with a better location than picturesque Méribel. With over 600 km of pistes on its doorstep as well as an abundance of off-piste areas, visitors flock to the resort en masse to take advantage of this incredible ski area. The resort has worked hard to cater for all levels of skier and snowboarders, with two newly renovated beginners areas as well and plenty of ski schools to choose from. For intermediate and advanced skiers, the Three Valleys is your playground with excellent red and black runs dotted around the ski area.

Méribel banned the construction of high-rise hotels and apartments in the 1960s meaning that it has managed to maintain the picture perfect, chocolate box charm of post war ski resorts. This means the majority of accommodation is made up of picturesque chalets. Be sure to do your research before choosing your accommodation as there is some amazing ski in ski out chalets right next to the pistes. Mark Warner has a number of excellent resorts and chalets in Méribel suitable for couples, families as well as large groups which have direct access to the slopes. Despite its mountain location, Méribel has great transport links to the rest of France and Europe. For a truly unique experience why not try out the new Eurostar ski train to Méribel which takes you from London’s St Pancreas train station to the Alps.

 

Tignes- Photo courtesy of Ryan Davison Crisp

 

Tignes

Made up of three hamlets connected by road, the purpose built ski resort of Tignes is known for its high level of skiing and even higher altitude, meaning that it gets an enviable snow cover throughout the entire season. This is particularly useful if you are thinking of holidaying at the beginning or end of the season. The crème de la crème of Tignes’ superb ski runs is the 1350m run from the top of the Grand Motte Glacier down to Tignes’ highest hamlet Val Claret, giving the long North American pistes a run for their money.

For beginner skiers, Tignes has three nursery slope areas as well as plenty of blue and green runs throughout the Espace Killy ski area which it shares with its neighbouring resort of Val d’Isère. For accommodation, make sure you take some time to think about which of the hamlets you would prefer to stay in. If you are looking for a good selection of nightlife Tignes Le Lac has the greatest variety of restaurants and bars as well as a leisure centre.

 

Val d’Isère- Photo courtesy of Tristan ‘Shu’ Lebeschu

 

Val d’Isère

Just over the mountain from Tignes is the resort of Val d’Isère. The complete package when it comes to ski resorts, Val d’Isère combines world class ski runs with attractive architecture and an abundance of village amenities to create a sophisticated and modern ski resort. Naturally connected to Tignes via the Espace Killy ski area, visitors to Val d’Isère have access to over 300km of pistes as well as some of the best off piste zones in the world. The pièce de resistance is the infamous La Face black run which has become somewhat of a rite of passage for intermediate skiers visiting the resort. Built to host the downhill events for the 1992 Winter Olympics, this steep black run, which can become very icy, is just short of a kilometre in length. As well as superb skiing, Val d’Isère is home to the original Folie Douce mountain bar, famed for its vibrant après ski parties. There is also a number of delicious restaurants, and a great nightlife to keep the party going until the small hours.

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