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The French Alps is home to soaring snow-covered peaks and incredible pistes that attract skiers and snowboarders from around the world, lying within the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Rhône-Alpes. Ski resorts usually lie between 6,562ft and 9,843ft (2,000m and 3,000m) and have plenty of snowfall during the ski season. In the summer, walkers and climbers discover lush green valleys, sparkling rivers and beautiful sunshine.
In the summer months, climbers and hikers will replace the skiers and snowboarders for the rocky trails and alpine hikes. The best time to visit the French Alps in the summer is between July and September, when the weather is more predictable and the snow above 6,562ft (2,000m) has melted. Climbers tend to head to the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area, which has the highest point in the Alps.
Mountain life consists of a vibrant nightlife, wooden chalets with heart-shaped lattices and a blanket of snow in winter or flowered window boxes in the summer. Each French village will have a selection of activities for days off, such as cinemas, bars, restaurants and shops. The French Alps are famed for their energetic apres-ski scene, with ski-in and ski-out bars which can be accessed directly from the slopes, or you can get a bus up the mountainside. You can’t quite beat a cold beer at the top of a mountain, gazing across a snow-capped valley.
November to April
In winter you can take part in activities such as skiing, cross-country skiing, off-piste skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, husky walking, sledging, snowmobiling, mono-skiing, heli-skiing, glacier walking, ice diving and ice skating.
May to September
July and August are best for the weather, but late May and June have wonderful wildflowers that shouldn’t be missed. If you want to hike on a glacier, you will need snowshoes and warm clothes, even in summer.
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Which Ski Resort in the French Alps to Choose?
Alpe d’Huez is one of Europe’s premier skiing venues. With 249 km of piste and 84 ski lifts, the resort is now one of the world’s largest.
The Chamonix valley is located at the foot of the Mont-Blanc. 90% of the ski areas are located above 2000m, making Chamonix an almost guaranteed snow resort.
Lying at the northernmost tip of the Tarentaise Valley is the fashionable and ever-popular resort of Courchevel, the first purpose-built ski resort in France and one of the venues for the 1992 Winter Olympics.
A hidden gem that’s perfect for people looking for a traditional Alpine winter experience, with particular appeal for beginners, families and intermediates.
One of the highest ski resorts in the Alps, La Plagne offers some of the most exciting & varied high altitude skiing in Europe.
For an international dimension to your skiing holiday, look no further than La Rosière which, combined with the Italian resort of La Thuile, forms the Espace San Bernardo ski domain of almost 200 km.
Not one but four modern, purpose-built resorts, each self-contained with bars, restaurants, supermarkets and a range of après-ski activities.
With Courchevel to the east and Val Thorens to the west, the international resort of Méribel is the ideal base from where to explore the 3 Valleys, one of the largest ski areas in the world.
Peisey-Vallandry is situated in the Les Arcs region of the French Alps, renowned for its unlimited lines of off-piste skiing and its double-decker cable car, the Vanoise Express, that links the resorts of Les Arcs and La Plagne; it is at the very heart of the Paradiski Ski area, totally 425km of pistes
For a truly authentic French alpine skiing experience, look no further than Serre Chevalier in the southern Alps, one of the top skiing and snowboarding destinations in France.
High in the scenic French Alps, a ski holiday to Tignes offers snow-sure slopes and a superb ski area.
One of the liveliest and best-loved of the French ski resorts, Val d’Isere offers a ski holiday with reliable snow, wide open spaces, infinitely varied terrain – and great nightlife.
Val Thorens – one of the three principal resorts that make up the 3 Valleys, one of the largest ski areas in the world – has many claims to fame.
Valmorel is situated in the Tarentaise Valley between the Vanoise National Park and the Lauziere Massif in the Savoie region of the Northern Alps.
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