With its large collection of high-altitude upscale resorts, France is the doyenne of the European ski arena. France is home to over 300 ski resorts, but there are three that are legendary for some powder-plaster fun and vibrant mountain amenities let many people on solo or group ski holidays aim for.
Chamonix Ski Resort
[Image credit onthesnow.com]
With the shadow of Mont Blanc as the backdrop, the Chamonix ski resort is massive and has more skiable slopes than seems possible. Throughout the resort’s deep valley, there are slopes for the novice skier seeking a gentle run and slopes for those who want to conquer a black-diamond run. With the Chamonix Aiguilles dwarfing the town, the ski runs are breathtaking. Vertical elevations rise to over 6,000 feet, and skiing magnets can take an off-piste run on the famed Vallee Blanche.
For some après ski fun, the quaint village of Chamonix sports an abundance of bars, restaurants and chic boutiques. Le Choucas fires it up with live bands, pop, soul and DJ’s that play the tunes all night long. From lively dance clubs to cozy breweries and pubs, the nightlife entertainment in Chamonix holds something for everyone. There is also a wide variety of cafes that serve up delicious French fare with outdoor sunny terraces. Opening early and closing late, the cafes transform the downtown area into a popular après ski hotspot.
Courchevel Ski Resort
Ski enthusiasts can have some powder fun skiing the legendary Les 3 Vallees at the Courchevel ski resort. The Les 3 Vallees is the largest ski area in the world with over 300 runs. This ski resort was designed for both beginners and advanced skiers, so the runs are accessible to all levels of skiers. There are also adventurous runs for some dramatic off-piste skiing. The resort has state-of-the-art ski lifts, including cable cars, gondolas and high-speed chair lifts. Renowned for its exceptional lifts, there’s more time for skiing and less time waiting.
For some off-the mountain fun, the resort features a wide array of lounges, restaurants and shopping. The La Suite Bar and Lounge is chic and elegant with a great wine list and an innovative menu. The Au Rond Point Des Pistes serves up French gastronomical cuisine with a stunning view of the mountain.
Val d’Isere Ski Resort
Close to the Italian border and at Haute Tarentaise Valley, the Val d’Isere ski resort has more than 1,000 hectares of varying ski runs and an amazing 10,000 hectares of off-piste skiing. It is one of the world’s finest ski resorts and also one of the most expensive in the Alps. Designed mostly for strong skiers, there are only 16 green runs for the novice. The two core mountainsides of Solaise and Bellevarde offer adrenaline-pumping runs with 1,000 meters of vertical drops. The ski resort also has some great mountaintop restaurants, including La Fruitiere and L’Elelweiss. All of the mountaintop restaurants sport spectacular vistas of the mountains.