Skiing in France
Some of the best skiing in the world.
The final destination of any skiing holiday will be the piste, but why not enjoy the journey as well? Driving to the slopes is the ultimate relaxing way to start your holiday at your own pace and explore some of the fantastic sights and flavours of France.
Let Eurotunnel Le Shuttle whisk you across the Channel in just 35 minutes and then follow our handy guide to make sure you make the most of your holiday and enjoy all that France has to offer along the way.
What to Pack
The right equipment is essential for an enjoyable skiing holiday. Once you're on the piste you need to ensure you have everything you need for maximum comfort and safety - there are few other places in the world where you risk getting both sunburn and frostbite.
Boots, poles, skis and snowboards can often be rented at the resort, though it's a good idea to book in advance. It is also advisable to book lift passes beforehand, as this is an oft-forgotten expense when skiing and it's important to get the best deal for the areas you intend to visit.
Other equipment, such as clothing and suntan lotion is often better bought in advance. Bear in mind that once you are up on the mountain you will likely have to carry everything you take around with you all day, so try to get small or light items that will fit easily into pockets.
Here is Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's essential list of items to pack for your skiing holiday:
- Ski Jacket – This will undoubtedly become your most valued piece of clothing so make sure you get a good breathable, waterproof jacket with plenty of pockets.
- Salopettes – When trying on salopettes bear in mind that you are likely to be wearing thermals underneath them so leave appropriate room.
- Thermals – Before heading to the slopes it can be easy to forget that you are about to embark on a day of exercise. As with all exercise you will inevitably perspire and this means that thermals will last a maximum of one day before they need a wash, make sure you have enough thermals to last the week.
- Tinted goggles/ Sunglasses – When you're up above the clouds the sun is bright and the intensity is doubled by the reflection off the snow. Avoid damaging your eyes with a good pair of UVA and UVB protection goggles or sunglasses.
- Ski socks – A good pair of socks can make all the difference when padding out chunky ski boots. Again, allow for a pair per day without washing.
- Hat and gloves – not only will these keep you warm and stop your extremities falling off, but they will also allow you to add your own style to your outfit. Don't pick woollen gloves, as these will quickly get wet from the snow.
- Sun screen – You may be surrounded by snow, but without sun protection you'll end up with sunburn. Pick a small tube of high factor sun block and a stick for your lips.
- Snow chains – It's fun to slide around on snow in skis, but much less so in a car. A good set of snow chains for your car will ensure you can get about on the mountain safely.
A lot of France's major routes are toll roads which can cost anything from 5 to 50 Euros to use. They are often the fastest route and avoiding them entirely will lead to additional costs in time and petrol that make the detour not worthwhile. It is best to plan your route carefully before departing and budget for the unavoidable toll roads you will encounter.
Running along France's south-eastern border The Alps offer longer and more complex runs that the Pyrenees and can pose a challenge to even the most experienced skier, however this can come at a price. The nearest resort to Calais is the aptly-named Grand-Massif, which not only features more than 250km of runs, but also a plethora of activities for the outdoor adventurer, from hiking to paragliding.
The drive to the start of the Alps from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais terminal is more than 800km, so it's advisable to break it into two legs. The historical town of Troyes is perfectly situated for a scenic stop over, where you can view some of France's oldest surviving buildings, dating back to the 16th Century.
As well as several museums and shops selling delicious local produce, you can retrace the footsteps of Joan of Arc, who fought successfully for the town in 1429. What better way to bookend an action-packed skiing trip than a relaxing journey into France's past.
At the South Western end of France the Pyrenees provide numerous skiing opportunities for all ranges and ages. The largest resort, St Lary Soulan, has 100km of piste, ranging from beginners grade (green) all the way up to black runs, with plenty to explore. Smaller resorts, such as Val de Louron, are perfect for beginners or those looking to get away from the crowds.
The drive from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's Calais terminal to the mountain range on the French/Spanish border is more than 1,000km, so it is advisable to stop at least once along the way. A great place to take a break is the scenic Loire valley, home to many of Frances most spectacular historic châteaux.
As well as opening many of these fairytale castles up to the public, some of them have been converted into hotels, allowing you and your family to live like royalty for one night.
Wherever you decide to go skiing or snowboarding in France, going with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle by car allows you to get there at your own pace and explore some of the other sites that France has to offer.