Family Skiing Holidays in France
by Martyn Davis
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Skiing holidays to France are very popular especially to resorts in the French Alps with popular places like Courchevel and Meribel, but France has absolutely hundreds of kilometres of ski slopes, which are situated in some of the most spectacular mountainous regions in the world.
So when you go on your family skiing holidays or snowboarding, you need to find the right place with the right ski slopes or the nursery slopes for the beginners, so you can be sure of getting the ideal holiday, and whether this is through a travel agency for a luxury package ski holiday, or you are organising everything yourself by choosing your own chalet or staying in a hotel and being pampered whilst off the ski slopes, the choice is endless but you will not be disappointed.
Also, France has some of the biggest ski resorts such as Les Trois Vallees, which is made up of three valleys and includes resorts like Courchevel and Meribel, with this area having around 600km of pistes for skiers of all abilities and experience so there is enough choice for everyone.
Meribel can offer skiing to people with all abilities, as there are some fantastic beginners slopes but The Three Valleys area offers a good challenge for more experienced skiers, and has an incredible choice of ski schools, which cater from groups to individual tuition.
And although it is generally a purpose built resort, you will find it like a fairytale atmosphere with the ski chalets that blend into the scenery, however, it does have quite a lively nightlife and can get very busy in the peak season as it is such a popular destination.
Courchevel is an outstanding place to ski or snowboard, but can be a little on the expensive side, although the extensive slopes of the resort will offer extensive and varied skiing. It is made up of four villages known by their altitudes and they vary immensely from their access through to facilities, but some places you can get to ski right out of the door of the hotel!
Font Romeu is one of the oldest ski resorts in Europe and also has the biggest snow making operation in the Pyrenees and with well over 2500 hours of sunshine each year, this makes it another very popular resort for weekend breaks and longer holidays alike.
Chamonix is a town in a valley and there are five very good resorts, but these are not near to the slopes and you would need transport to get to them, but this place has everything from great shops to a wonderful atmosphere, yet because of how well known it is, the whole area can seen very crowded compared to some other skiing towns, especially around the ski lifts.
Alpe d'Huez is one of Europe's largest and highest ski resorts and is currently one of only around twenty in the world that offers a lift-served vertical of over 2000 metres, plus it has the largest slope in the world where you can ski for well over an hour without taking any ski lift, although these are definitely not for the beginner or intermediate skier.
Yet even though many think of skiing as a winter sport, there are a few places in France where you can still get to ski on the glaciers in the summer months, such as Tignes or Val d'Isere. And there are very few great skiing areas in the world that can excite the imagination more than the Val d'Isère and L'Espace Killy is considered to be one of the best ski areas in the world, plus an amazing variety of different skiing can be achieved through ski lifts and ski buses that link the area of Val d'Isère to the neighbouring Tignes,
But if you have never been skiing then it is advisable to book you holiday through a tour operator, as they will know exactly what resorts are going to be suitable, and it is also an idea to have some lessons on dry slopes prior to going, so that you can make the best of your holiday, rather that spending the first few days just learning to stop falling over on the snow!
Of course, booking your skiing holiday independently can save you quite a lot of money, but there can be downsides as well, especially if you have never been to the resort before, for instance, you may not realise how far it is to get from your accommodation to the slopes, or even how far it would be to get to the ski hire places.
And lets face it, you do not want to be spending a whole day just getting set up rather than on the slopes doing what you went there to do, please do bear in mind that even if you do not have your own skis or skiing boots, you will still need to purchase other items of equipment before you go such as proper skiing gloves and sallopettes to keep you warm and the snow out.
There is a wide range of ski accommodation in France and you can choose from purpose built private ski chalets, chalet apartments or hotels. French skiing accommodation meets the needs of all skiers, with self-catering cabins to fully serviced luxury apartments and hotels, ideal for the skier on every budget.
But the choice of accommodation can be quite mind-boggling and you have to consider all the people in your party, especially if you have young children where childcare facilities or entertainment may be an important issue, or if you are a more experienced skier, you may wish to look at chalets nearer to the more difficult runs rather than the nursery slopes or perhaps opt for a little more luxury in a hotel with gourmet meals by evening in peace and tranquillity.
Speaking to people that have already been to a resort, or even going on to forums can help a great deal, especially if you wish to know what places are the best for good value restaurants when you are on a self-catering holiday, or maybe even avoiding a resort with a lively night life if you have little ones that need their sleep!
Of course, you will also need to look into what other activities that are available in your chosen resort, as there are always things for all of the family to enjoy, such as shows, archery, concerts, squash, tennis, ice skating, golf, swimming, dancing, saunas and spas, plus much, much more.
Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, For all your French holiday needs and travel guide to France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions - Family Skiing Holidays In France
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