Skiing in France
With the winter season in full swing and the upcoming school ski holidays, we thought we’d help you with booking your ski vacation! The sheer amount of resorts in France, not too far from Paris, can make choosing one a challenging task. Here are our top 3 suggestions for ski resorts in France to suit different styles and budgets.
Courchevel– Glitz and glam with world-class skiing
Courchevel is a part of the world’s largest linked ski areas known as the Trois Vallées, with 600km of slopes and over 170 lifts. Because Courchevel is North-facing they get the best snow out of all the resorts which are part of the Trois Vallées. Though you could venture out of Courchevel to explore the other resorts, many don’t feel the need to leave as Courchevel offers everything you could want in a ski resort, catering to all levels. Courchevel can sometimes get a bad rep for being too expensive. Indeed, it is the more expensive resort in the Trois Vallées and features many Michelin-star restaurants, 5* hotels, and mountain mansions, but don’t let that dissuade you if you’re a big time skier, as the runs are some of the best in the world.
Passes available from 3 hours, to half day, to individual days, but your best deals are 6-days. Individual skier prices are €51 for 1-day and €260 for 6-day passes. Here are the group deals:
Unless you’re a regular skier you probably don’t have any equipment and will need to rent. If you’re driving to the mountains and want to save time, you can rent your skis/snowboards directly in Paris. We recommend Snow Emotion located at 212ter, Boulevard Periere, 75017.
If you’re flying in and would like to rent on-site, we recommend Intersport. You can order online for a discount and pick up your skis, poles, and boots directly at their location in Courchevel at Le Cristal de Roche, Rue Park City, 73120 – Saint-Bon-Tarentaise.
If you’re looking for more of a turnkey service, check out White Storm, who will deliver your gear directly to your hotel/chalet.
The mountains don’t belong only to those who ski! Many treat the mountains as a way to get out of the city, enjoy the snow, or sip hot cocoa (with peppermint schnapps!) around a fire. Here are our favorite alternative activities that will make the skier jealous!
1. Get your adrenaline rush any day of the week, no reservations, at the Adventure Camp located at the base of the slopes near the Altiport. High-speed sledding, drive a snowcat, go multi-gliding, or rent snowmobiles. Prices range from €30-€90, based on the activity.
2. Spend the day taking cooking lessons from a Michelin-starred chef at the hotel Le Chabichou. You’ll get to work in a real chef’s kitchen, using high quality materials and ingredients, and revel in your creation afterwards.
3. If you still want to exercise but skiing isn’t your thing, give snowshoeing a go! They have morning or afternoon half day hikes or full day hike in the National Park. Get the full package and have chocolate fondue in an igloo after the hike!
Where to stay:
If you’re looking for true luxury look no further than the Hotel Barriere- Les Neiges for the best views, incredible restaurants, a beautiful spa, and a kid’s club.
It can be nice to have your own place to come back to after a long day of skiing, and if you’re a big group it can feel more intimate to get a chalet together. In which case Le Collectionist and Alpine Guru will have just what you’re looking for. Chalets to suit every style, most including spas and jacuzzis, housekeeping services, and often an in-house cook.
If you’re on a budget but don’t want to go too far out of the center city, we recommend Hotel Courcheval Olympic, a no-frills hotel located right in the middle of the glitz and glam. Don’t worry, they still have a pool to relax your sore muscles, and a bar in case you’re not relaxed enough after the pool.
Megève- for the mountain-loving non-skier
Megève is one of the better-known resorts in the Alps, though not for its quality of skiing. Catering to wealthy Parisian and Russian oligarchs, Megève is for those who love high-quality restaurants, top-notch spas, and shopping. Expect to see Veuve-Clicquot tastings, Maserati shows, and everyone wearing Canada Goose.
If you’re looking to ski casual, wide open, easy slopes with an unbeatable view, Megève is for you. You wont be as tired after skiing, which leaves you plenty of time to wander the gorgeous car-free, cobblestoned city center.
A 6-day pass runs at €299 for adults and €255 for kids, with 10%/ticket discounts for families.
Due to the amount of shops in the center city you have your fair share of rental shops to pick from. Our favorites are Champfort Sports and Pelloux Sports, both located in the center city. Book online for 50% discounts and pick up in store on your way to the slopes.
For a once in a lifetime experience, take a plane or hot air balloon to see the Mont Blanc in all its beauty.
The main attraction in the center city is the Megeve sports centre, equipped with a gym, indoor/outdoor swimming pool, ice rinks, and Curling. The sports centre also boasts a Turkish Bath, hammam, sauna and tennis courts. You can also watch the local ice-hockey and curling teams.
Don’t forget to check out the Megève Casino and try your hand at some black jack!
Where to stay:
As Megève is not the easiest to get around without a car, we recommend staying at a hotel in the center. For luxury, book your stay at the Chalet St Georges.
For something more intimate but still luxury, head to the famous Flocons de Sel, with a three-Michelin-starred restaurant and a world-class spa. Flocons de Sel has secluded chalets located a few kilometers outside the center but provide shuttle transport into the village.
For lower budgets, check out the Hotel Sylvana. You’ll get excellent service, wonderful home-cooking, and convenient concierge to help you book your passes and activities.
Barèges/La Mongie- skiing on a budget
Let us direct your attention away from the Alps for a minute to the underrated Pyrenees. These two contrasting resorts are located within “Le Domaine Du Grand Tourmalet”, the Pyrenees’ largest ski area, its reputation is built upon the healing powers of its geothermal waters.The slopes are not as challenging as other resorts on this list, but the mountains are above 2000 meters so the snow is still very reliable and packages are about half the price of what you’ll find in the Alps.
Barèges and La Mongie are purpose-built ski stations. You wont find the beauty and charm of Courchevel or Megève, but your wallet will thank you! And you wont be disappointed. La Mongie has the steep and treeless slopes and Barèges the picturesque wooded trails.
For a single adult, a 6-day pass will set you back €223, whereas families get €10-€20 discounts, depending on how many people you are.
Upon arrival in La Mongie head straight to Garderes Sport, located Avenue du Tourmalet Résidence Face Sud, 65200, La Mongie, for all your rental equipment needs. As this resort is low-budget, don’t expect your top of the line brands, but rather good solid equipment for low prices.
No trip to the Pyrenees is complete without dog sledding! Learn about the sport of dog sledding all the while being pulled in sleds and petting cute dogs. Fun for the whole family and a truly memorable experience.
Where to stay:
As this remains a low-budget hotel, the accommodations are also low-budget. Our favorite hotel in Baregès is Le Central, with an onsite spa and sauna/jacuzzi. If you want something a bit more charming we would recommend renting a chalet.
April 18, 2017