France often comes top when it comes to the world's best ski destinations, and rightfully so. It boasts picturesque mountain scenery and varied ski areas, from high-altitude ski resorts to traditional Alpine Mountain towns.
To help you plan your last-minute ski holiday, here's our guide to the best destinations for last-minute ski holidays in France.
Last-minute ski holidays in France
The Montgenèvre ski resort connects France to the Via Lattea (Milky Way) skiing region. As the country's oldest ski resort, Montgenèvre boasts a high-altitude base, guaranteeing excellent snow quality all season, not to mention long and diverse terrain suitable for skiers of all levels.
Montgenèvre has invested millions of Euros in developing a 50-hectare section of the resort to appeal to beginners. It's the safest place for kids and beginners to learn the sport, served by a free ski lift and the La Butte conveyor lift. They are easy to use, allowing novice skiers to reach the Gondrans sector. Montgenèvre has snow grooming tractors to ensure an ultra-smooth snow surface.
Intermediates will enjoy skiing along the Vialattea interlinked ski circuit, known as the Milky Way. It offers a chance to enjoy cross-country skiing, taking skiers to a nearby ski resort town in Italy. Holders of the Milky Way pass can enjoy perks, such as access to other French ski resorts.
Montgenèvre also appeals to the more advanced skiers. The resort has several challenges on and off pistes, with the Rocher de l'Aigle terrain regarded as the toughest of the Montgenèvre's slopes.
2. Val d'Isère
Sitting along the Tarentaise Valley, Val d'Isère lures skiers of all levels. It's a shared ski area reaching 3,456 metres. With snow coming from Atlantic and Mediterranean storms, Val d'Isère enjoys excellent snow quality all seasons, making it a fantastic year-round skiing destination. Visitors can also get last-minute ski deals with SNO, making it great for those planning a jam-packed family getaway.
Val d'Isère shares a ski area with the neighbouring resort town of Tignes. Its ski season starts late November to early May, boasting 300 km of prepared pistes and some incredible off-piste opportunities. While many other French ski resorts are best suited for beginners, Val d'Isere is home to over a dozen ski schools, including two nursery ski areas. One is at the centre of the resort, while the other is at the bottom of La Daille. In addition, Val d'Isere has plenty of long green runs for beginners to progress to. But it's worth noting that the resort's grading system is more challenging, making it more suitable for intermediate and advanced skiers.
When skiing at Val d'Isere, avoid the crowded home pistes that can be tricky to navigate. Beginners and nervous skiers should consider taking the lifts back towards the mountain, or you'll crush your confidence and undo all your hard work.
3. Les Houches
Les Houches boasts a vast ski area extending from an altitude of 950 metres to 1900 metres, where you'll enjoy a stunning 360-degree view of the Mont Blanc massif. Two cable cars can take you to the village, the Prarion and Bellevue. The cable car journey is incredibly scenic, where you see half of the pistes as it takes you to the top.
Les Houches is perfect for beginners building their confidence on the slopes. Advanced skiers can test their skills at the black Kandahar run. At the top of the Bellevue and Prarion lifts, you'll find green slopes that allow groups with varying abilities to enjoy the mountain together. And when you progress to the blues, you'll find that the pistes are quieter than the other beginner slopes around the Chamonix Valley.
Many reds are spacious, so they are excellent for honing your skiing techniques without feeling the pressure. In addition, Les Houches has marked snowshoeing and cross-country ski tracks, making it perfect for groups whose other members are non-skiers.
The famous black Kandahar pistes of Les Houches host the World Downhill Ski Championships every two years, combining slalom and downhill skiing, making it one of the world's most prestigious ski competitions.
The world-famous ski resort of Courchevel makes up one of the six resorts of the "Three Valleys," considered the world's largest fully interlinked ski area. Courchevel is not just your typical ski resort town. It has four different resorts, but the highest and most famous is the Courchevel 1850, home to Courchevel's most luxurious hotels and designer shops and boutiques. Many skiing enthusiasts book their cheapest flights here in advance due to the popularity of the resort.
Courchevel is a favourite destination for wealthy travellers looking for a lavish ski resort experience. It's a vibrant winter wonderland within the world-renowned Three Valleys. Whether you're a seasoned skier or a beginner, Courchevel has something to offer. Non-skiers who want to experience adventure and relaxation will also find something to enjoy in Courchevel.
Courchevel is perfect for groups of skiers with mixed abilities. It boasts plenty of gentle runs closer to resort level and some increasingly challenging terrain the higher you go to the top. As the most popular resort, Courchevel 1650 sits slightly out on a limb but with a worthwhile ski area linked to Courchevel 1850.
5. Saint-Martin de Belleville
St Martin de Belleville is a lived-in alpine village with charming cobblestone streets lined with traditional buildings made of stone and wood. As one of France's best destinations for a ski holiday, it offers quick access to the Three Valleys but away from the rest of the ski area's commercialisation. Therefore, it enjoys a more laid-back atmosphere and appeals to those looking for a more relaxed way to enjoy their ski holiday.
Boasting an altitude of 1,450 metres, St Martin de Belleville lies at the entry point of the Vallée de Belleville village, offering skiers and snowboarders of all ski levels the perfect place to hone and develop their skills. It has some excellent beginner slopes and easy connections to the rest of the Three Valleys ski area.
Being a part of the Three Valleys Ski Areas means St Martin de Belleville offers the chance to explore the world's largest interlinked ski area while staying in an authentic and picturesque alpine village.
About the illustrations in the article
Most of the photos are ours (© French Moments). However, I have selected some photos from Depositphotos, a commercial platform that brings authors of high-quality licensed stock photos, graphics, vectors and videos together with appreciative buyers.