For some people, a successful vacation is defined by how many hours one can spend lounging about on a beach. And then there are skiers. For people who like to hit the slopes, a holiday isn't a holiday unless you watch the world shush by in a flurry of fresh snow. One of the world's premier places to do that is in France.
Perhaps more known to some people for its fine food and fashionable women, France is home to some of the best and most challenging ski areas on the planet. Les Trois Vallees (Three Valleys) is comprised of the three valleys that include four resorts: Courchevel, Meribel, Val Thoren and Les Menuires. This popular ski area spans an impressive 600 km of pistes: a skier's and snowboarder's paradise! If you want to catch a glimpse of some celebrities, Courchevel is your best bet.
France has two principal mountain ranges, making this country an ideal destination for a ski holiday. With both the Pyrenees and the Alps crowing the terrain, there is no shortage of places to hit the slopes in France. Skiing in France doesn't have to be a winter-only pastime: France also boasts some of the world's best summer glacier skiing. While your sun-worshipping family members are basking in the rays, you can still hit the slopes.
Ski resorts in France have something to suit everyone; there is quite a variance amongst the resorts. There are the massive, purpose-driven resorts like Flaine and the quaintest resorts, such as the farming villages of Megeve and Chatel. Don't discount the more utilitarian resorts; they are the epitome of convenience. In many cases you can even ski from the slopes right to your hotel. When you are traveling with children, convenience is king.
The ski lift systems in France also vary from resort to resort. At some ski resorts in France, you'll find old-style single chair lifts, while at others you'll be lifted to the summit by a state-of-the-art, high-tech, six-seat cable car. It just depends on the individual resort's amenities. Travelers to France hoping to get in a lot of skiing ought to be aware that lift passes aren't cheap in France. Make sure you don't lose your pass when you indulge in your apres-ski activity of choice. There are lots of options for that in France, too.
Speaking of activities that don't involve shushing down the slopes, almost every region of France has its share of good bars and restaurants. If your interests include food and wine, France is the country for you. You'll find great food and delectable wines at any price point, whether you are looking to splurge or for a more budget-friendly option.
With more than 400 resorts to choose from, knowing which ski resort in France is the best for you can be daunting. In addition to those located in the Alps and the Pyrenees, there are resorts in the Jura and Vosges mountains, in the Massif Central and even on the island of Corsica.
One popular family-friendly resort in the French Alps is Isola 2000, located just 90 kms from warm-weather destinations like Nice and the Mediterranean. Built in the 1960s, today Isola 2000 is a favorite ski destination for skiers of all skill levels.
If you want to ski the world-renowned Alps, check out the region's largest group of interconnected resorts at Les Portes du Soleil. These resorts span 14 valleys between Lake Geneva, Switzerland and Mont Blanc, France. In total there are 13 resorts at Les Portes du Soleil that offer access to 650 km of pistes and 230 lifts. Note that because the resorts straddle the border between two countries, you'll need to pack your passport for this trip!
Some ski resorts in France are geared toward families and are quieter and offer more activities for the entire family to enjoy. Many resorts, however, are geared toward a more adult lifestyle and offer a full selection of nightlife options. At some resorts you can even dance the night away until the sun comes up.
When it comes to skiing in France, options abound. If you are on a family vacation with skiers of all abilities, there is a resort for you. If you are a partier and want to get your groove on after the lifts are closed, you have choices too. Do your research before you book to avoid any surprises.
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