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Ski Holidays France

France is home to some of the world’s largest, best, and most popular ski regions. The country has more kilometers of piste than any other. Vast and high mountains spread from the Pyrenees in the south to the Maritime Alps near the Cote d’Azur then up along the border with Italy and Switzerland and finally to the Jura rising north.

Resorts of international fame such as Val d’Isere, Courchevel, Megeve, and Chamonix conjure up images of the jet set adjourned with furs and jewelry but they offer much more than that, its all about their tremendous skiing. France also tends to be the Brits chosen destination for skiing; it’s closest to get to whether flying or driving and in the main it is extremely snow sure. There are many traditional resorts in France with chocolate-box chalets and hotels, places like Les Gets, Les Contamines, and Les Carroz ooze charm and tradition. At the other end of the spectrum we have the “ski factories, purpose built ski stations in the snow. Here you will find a lot of 1970s built high rise flats but even these resorts have been gentrified recently. The reintroduction of local stone and slate with pitched roofs have softened the once austere look that these resorts previously had. One anomaly is the Bauhaus design of Flaine, this resort has stuck to its original architectural blue-print and has finally emerged from the other side. Whilst Flaine isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I find it stunning in its appearance. The concrete both blends in and yet contrasts with the jagged rock mountains and it never fails to leave me scratching my head in confusion as to whether it’s a masterpiece or an eyesore – I love it.

France has one of the longest ski seasons out of any country and many of the ski resorts will open in late November/early December and not close until May Bank holiday. This length of season and proximity to the UK is the driving force behind the British concept of the seasonal chalet market. If Tignes is open for a 20 week ski season and Soll in Austria for a 14 week season it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to calculate which one will be more profitable. France also boasts Europe’s highest ski resort in Val Thorens situated at 2300m and there are many others just marginally below that such as Belle Plagne, Aime La Plagne, Arcs 2000, Tignes, and even Isola is the just north of Nice.

Gateway airports include Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble, Chambery, Toulouse, and Nice. The Eurostar rail service used to offer a direct service to the Alps until very recently. This was stopped in 2019 and the onset of Covid-19 has hampered any possibility of a rebirth but I for one pray it will be reintroduced as it is a wonderfully relaxing way to travel.

Flaine, France. Architectural masterpiece or concrete jungle?

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