City Breaks

Ski Resorts in France

Some of France’s most popular snowy slopes, plus a look one of the lesser-known ski resorts in France.

 

When ski season comes around, I’m one of the first to hit the slopes. I’ve lived in France for a long time and always make the most of the brilliant skiing opportunities on offer, not just near to where I live, but across the country. France is blessed with a number of fantastic mountain ranges, from the famous Alps to the stunning Pyrenees.

Wherever I choose to visit in France, I always drive, as it means I can easily transport all of my gear (plus plenty of snacks for the road!) Read on to find out more about my favourite ski resorts in France.

Chamonix

Perhaps one of the most famous ski resorts in France is Chamonix. Ideally located at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, Chamonix sits at the borders of three countries – France, Italy and Switzerland. Even if you don’t ski, Chamonix is an incredible place to visit for the sweeping views of the surrounding glacier fields and to enjoy a breath-taking cable car ride, such as the one available at Aiguille du Midi.

While more seasoned skiers like myself can enjoy the challenging off-piste slopes that Chamonix is famous for, beginners can also explore the surrounding ski areas, such as Les Houches, which can be found in the same valley.

Drive from Calais: 7h 36m

Find information about parking in Chamonix here.

The beautiful scenes at Chamonix Mont-Blanc.
The beautiful scenes at Chamonix Mont-Blanc.

Val Thorens

Found 2,300 metres above sea level, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe. Its dizzying heights mean that it’s gifted with brilliant snow for up to half of the year, and many come here from as early as mid-November right through to early May. As a purpose-built resort, you won’t find many trees in Val Thorens, so the environment is really incredible to see.

The snow conditions on many of the north-facing slopes are brilliant and attract serious skiers from across the world, however if you want to enjoy basking in the sun after a long day on the snow, the main resort is south-facing, so is perfectly situated for enjoying the views. If you’ve got time, explore the wider Trois Vallées region. 

Drive from Calais: 8h 40m

Find information on parking in Val Thorens here.

The resort at Val Thorens.
The resort at Val Thorens.

Clermont-Ferrand

Clermont-Ferrand is my favourite ski resort in France. Located in the volcanic Auvergne region, this part of France is a down-to-earth skier’s paradise. The Auvergne region in general is a winter wonderland with stunning views of the national park, which features dozens of glacial lakes and craters. Using Clermont-Ferrand as my base, I love exploring this area. Le Mont-Dore is one of France’s oldest ski resorts, and in the summer serves as a beautiful spa town. In its heyday, it was a high-end getaway and expensive resort, and today it still retains this chic ambience, but with lower prices and a more relaxed feel.

For some fantastic cross-country skiing, check out the Plomb du Cantal volcano. It’s home to a few cosy B&Bs, but otherwise feels completely wild. Even during high season you won’t find the same busy crowds here as with other, more popular, resorts, so it’s my go-to for the perfect ski escape.

Drive from Calais: 6h 40m

Find information on local parking in Clermont-Ferrand here.

The beautiful skies at night, in Auvergne
The beautiful skies at night, in Auvergne
Explore France’s best ski resorts by car, and have the freedom to travel with ease. With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, you can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35-minutes.