The majestic French Alps running beside the Swiss border are one of France's most beautiful regions. Creating charming villages nestled in valleys and modern resorts with state of the art equipment, the area is perfect for winter holidays. With thick snow coverage and plenty of winter sunshine, you'll find the ideal environment for skiing, snowboarding and all kinds of adventure sports.
Get out on the pistes in the fresh morning sunshine and start the races early, or take a more leisurely cross-country ski through the sparkling fresh snow. Stop at one of the piste-side cafes for a hot chocolate before trying something new. You could have a go at dog sledding, or even learn how to snowboard. If you’re seriously adventurous, plan an excursion out into the mountains, where you can climb frozen waterfalls or hike along a glacier. In the evenings, have some well-deserved rest with a warming meal at your hotel, or if you still have some energy left, get the gondola down the mountain and hit the bars.
Famous for its ski resorts, the French Alps have quality conditions for all things snow-related. For the real pros, Les Arcs is home to the longest run in the world, with plenty of steep descents and black runs to test you. Huge snow parks are fantastic for snowboarding and freestyling, and the incredibly peaceful cross country trails are the best way to sightsee. One of the most unique places to visit in France is the Glacier de la Chiaupe, which you can climb or walk through. For the zippiest way to get about, nothing beats hiring a snowmobile.
France has top resorts for families if you’re taking the kids skiing this year. Favourite destinations include Meribel for a wide choice of nursery slopes, plus beginner lift passes and green runs for when you feel more confident. There are ‘ski kindergartens’ for the little kids, plus clubs and activities to keep them busy. There are lots of things for kids to do in France away from the slopes, too – the whole family can try dog sledding, visit the local water sports centres or go exploring by snowshoe. Numerous family-friendly hotels are complete with entertainment and great restaurants.
The all important après-ski is fully taken care of in the ski resorts, with nightlife to suit all. Resorts like Les Arcs have the biggest buzz when it comes to venues, with live music, pubs, bars and clubs. If the day’s activities have worn you out, many of the hotels have cosy bars where you can drink hot chocolate by the fire. When it comes to the food, you can try the typically warming alpine dining that is popular locally, and pick from a good choice of cafes and delis, gourmet hotel restaurants and piste-side terraces where you can stop to eat without leaving the slopes.