Top 5 of the best ski resorts in France
18 February 2020
In order to meet the requirements of winter sports enthusiasts looking for a setting suitable for the whole family, we have selected 5 resorts that are very popular with toddlers and their parents. To embellish your holidays in the mountains, Little Guest has also identified unique activities to do with your children and listed the most family-friendly hotels. Follow the guide!
As pleasant during the winter as during the summer
When you stay in Courchevel, you have the largest ski area in the world within skiing distance… More than 180 green-blue runs, 140 red-black runs and 40 cripted junior runs await you for unforgettable skiing sessions. Thanks to the perfectly tuned ballet of the ski lifts, you’ll be at the top of the slopes in no time at all. Once at the top, at a glance, your gaze will embrace breathtaking landscapes: Mont Blanc, the Ecrins, the Vanoise Glacier and the Pierra Menta. The slopes of the resort face north, which allows for exceptional natural snow cover and optimal snow conservation, from December to April.
Children from 6 years old can take part in the Adventure Camp which offers crazy sports adventures every day. To do so, go to the Altiport of Courchevel from 2pm and, among the myriad of activities supervised by ultra-competent instructors, your children will be able to indulge in the joys of snowmobiling on a secure circuit.
If you choose to stay at the Hôtel Annapurna *****, you will have the chance to combine the joys of snow sports with the refinement of a renowned establishment entirely dedicated to your well-being. The hairdresser’s salon, the spa, and the Jacuzzi with a view of the valley will amaze you with their elegance. The hotel has an ultra-furnished shop selling snow sports accessories and offers south-facing rooms for a radiant awakening, with a plunging view of the snow-covered slopes. If you are staying with friends or teenagers, we recommend the family suite and its communicating rooms each with its own bathroom. The decoration of this hotel oscillates between rustic and contemporary, in a skilful combination of which its owners have the secret. In a word: you will feel at home here, with a change of scenery.
If Courchevel is unanimously recognised as the best resort for snow sports, it also offers a multitude of delights for those who love green pastures and the gentle song of birds. From the end of April, the white mantle of the three valleys gives way to lush nature. Hikers can walk or ride on horseback along the numerous signposted paths that the site has to offer. From Courchevel, you can go directly to the Vanoise National Park where you can practice climbing, mountain biking, but also canyoning, hydrospeed and even rafting. Upstream of the rivers, the splendid high altitude lakes are just waiting for you for peaceful days of fishing.
Golfers are not to be left out as the Courchevel golf course offers an unexpected panorama just a few metres from the summits. You can also take it even higher by admiring the valley from the basket of a hot-air balloon. At the Forum ice rink, there is a bowling alley, video games, climbing walls and of course a superb ice rink. For teenagers addicted to the outdoors, mountain biking, aerobatics and archery are on the programme.
Both in summer and winter, K2 Altitude ***** is a destination of choice. You can’t help but feel at ease, marvelling at the modern elegance of this chic establishment. Regarding relaxation, the swimming pool, the fitness room and spa are sure to seduce you. The hotel has 3 high-quality restaurants; and one of them has been awarded 2 stars in the Michelin guide: Le Montgomerie restaurant. The creations of Chef Gatien Demczyna compete in refinement with those, on the sweet side, of Pastry Chef Sébastien Vauxion for the pleasure of gourmets of all ages.
Rustic and refined, gastronomic and sporty
Megève is famous for the delights of its gastronomy and for the sporting spirit that reigns there. A family destination par excellence, beautiful gentle slopes designed for the youngest and large areas of freedom await you. Do you like sports skiing? You’ll find what you’re looking for with a giant airbag and slopes specially designed for freestyle. Oxygène a leading player in Megève. These winter sports experts will accompany your stay from A to Z as the company also offers a ski clothing and accessories rental service, delivered to your home as soon as you arrive.
In Megève you can indulge in the joys of adrenaline with your family. Yes, thanks to the famous four-season sledge which, as its name suggests, is open all year round, day and night. 13 successive bends, tunnels, variations in speed and gradients await you. We advise you to take a 10 descent package because each time you see new things along this unforgettable beautiful route.
In addition to the energizing sports setting, some tourism actors have taken advantage of the specificities of the site to fit harmoniously into what is the oldest ski village in France. In addition to the comfortable rooms in the main establishment, Les Fermes de Marie ***** offers several private chalets in a truly unique blend of luxury and rusticity. Take the Chalet des Fermes for example. It has a surface area of 400 m²! Ideal for large families and groups of friends, just a stone’s throw from the village centre, it has no less than 5 rooms plus large living areas and above all… a private spa! They have thought of everything: the chalet benefits from an exclusive underground passageway leading directly to the main building to take advantage of all the facilities of this warm and impeccable hotel…
In harmony with the preserved nature
A resort very well known for the quality of its slopes and services, it is less well known that the resort of Avoriaz (of which connoisseurs do not pronounce the final z) is exemplary in terms of respect for nature. A true haven of peace, this eco-friendly resort is entirely pedestrian. A perfect example of modernism integrated with nature, the unique lines of the resort are labelled “Grande réalisation du 20ème siècle” for their harmonious inscription in the curves of the mountain. Avoriaz is not only beautiful to see, it was also voted best family ski resort in 2018 at the European Ski Awards. With 3 beginners’ zones, 37 green runs, 123 blue runs, 100 red runs and 30 black runs, this is the most complete resort in the world.
The most intrepid will dare to go in front of refreshing and unforgettable sensations: those of ice diving. Every winter, a layer of ice up to 1 m covers Lake Montriond. Immersed in this lake located at an altitude of 1064 meters, the particular echo of sounds will provide you with inimitable sensations. On the surface, the Lil’stash is an eco-friendly snowpark suitable for children. It is the ideal place to learn to slide and to discover the first sensations of freestyle. Woops (snow waves) and small kickers (moguls) allow a smooth and controlled learning process.
For accommodation, we have found the rare pearl: La Bergerie. A real rustic-chic jewel, this hotel is sure to enchant you. La Bergerie offers 29 rooms, duplexes or suites, 23 of which have beautifully equipped kitchenettes. Within this authentic establishment, a surprisingly large space is entirely dedicated to children. The hotel has the advantage of being located in a quiet corner of the resort while being only a few steps away from the ski lifts, ski schools and the Tourist Office. A large garden with a swimming pool and an unforgettable panoramic sauna make it a must to enjoy in all seasons…
La belle at the gates of the sun
The exceptional properties of its water make Evian-Les-Bains the destination of spa visitors’ preference. The town, with its charming pedestrian streets and refined boutiques, is also a calm, luxurious and timeless destination. Its proximity to the best slopes in the region makes it, at last, the favourite destination for sports families. The Portes du Soleil is one of the largest ski areas in the world. This gigantic spot gives access to 12 French and Swiss ski resorts, which is equivalent to… hold on… 600 km of skiing! It is also the resort with 99 restaurants, most of them located right on the slopes.
Notice to fans of the little queen! On the last weekend in June, a large-scale mountain bike tour brings together bikers from all over the world. Departing from 9 resorts, this sporting event allows you to tour the area in all directions, alone or with your family. Its traditional refreshment stands, its mountain bike show and its magnificent landscapes make it a convivial event that is popular with mountain bikers from all over the world.
Hôtel Evian Ermitage is definitely the place to stay if you decide to visit this charming resort. Surrounded by a gigantic 19-hectare park, this 4-star hotel offers privileged access to the shores of Lake Geneva. In order to reduce its environmental footprint as much as possible, the hotel has been awarded the Earth Check label. Faithful to this spirit of harmony with nature, its golf course will not leave you indifferent either. Inside the building, the tones are warm and the atmosphere is hushed; the large period fireplace in the lobby is an invitation to relax and cocoon.
5. Monts Jura
Pleasure for the eyes, happiness for the senses
Just 20 minutes from Geneva and Lake Geneva, the Monts Jura resort offers its visitors the opportunity to ski in 4 areas. The three areas of Lélex-Crozet, Mijoux-la Faucille and Menthières are a delight for alpine skiers. The Vattay-Valserine area will delight lovers of Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. In terms of types of skiing, Monts Jura is a “multi-purpose” resort where all activities and types of skiing have their place. The resort also has 3 ski schools, 4 large kindergartens and toboggan runs for all levels… the atmosphere is familial and pleasant, one never feels cramped, even during school holidays!
Imagine an exceptional panorama unfolding before your eyes: the Alps give way to the Haut-Jura Regional Nature Park and, at the bend in the road, Mont-Blanc stands proudly in front of you! A dog-sledge ride in the snowy expanses is a wonderful experience! Let yourself be carried away and enjoy the scenery in a sporting way! The friendly Siberian huskies will always be ready to take you through sumptuous scenery of unspoilt forests and rocky plateaus. Do not hesitate!
In the heart of a 40-hectare wilderness area, in the Haut-Jura natural park, the Jiva Hill Resort Golf & Spa is composed of 27 Deluxe Rooms with balcony or terrace and 6 Junior Suites each with their own whirlpool bath. This exceptional hotel has not finished seducing you. The Deluxe Rooms are very spacious (34m²), their meticulous decoration and excellent bedding will guarantee you a real rest after skiing or snowboarding. As for the pleasures of the table, local and seasonal products are highlighted in the various restaurants that the hotel has. Facing the garden, the restaurant Le Jardin offers a brasserie-style menu. The authenticity of the bistro, revisited in a contemporary style, gives this place an absolutely unique atmosphere.
What could these 5 resorts and 6 exceptional hotels have in common? The common factor is that they offer unique panoramas and services that meet the expectations of demanding and adventurous families.
By the way… when are you leaving?
Julien, 35 years old, journalist and translator, from Saint-Malo, France