France’s Hidden Gem Ski Resorts
From the bustling slopes of the Three Valleys to the more peaceful pistes of the Pyrenees, France is an incredibly varied destination for wintersports, offering something to suit skiers of all ages and abilities in need of a week’s fresh mountain air and snowy landscapes.
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As the ski specialists to France, Lagrange Holidays offer ski accommodation in 80 resorts throughout all five of France’s mountain ranges (the Alps, Pyrenees, Massif Central, Vosges and the Jura), from big-name domains to smaller traditional villages. With such a varied selection of resorts at their fingertips, Lagrange Holidays have put together a selection of great hidden gems and secluded slopes which are ideal for any skiers hoping to avoid the crowds and discover their new favourite French resort this winter…
Close to the Swiss border, Chatel is a traditional village-resort in the ever-popular Portes du Soleil ski area. A perfect destination for family groups or keen skiers trying to avoid the crowds found in larger resorts, whilst still testing their nerve on more challenging slopes. Visitors to Chatel can also enjoy a wide range of activities off the slopes this winter, including the Neiges Etoilées international food festival (January 21 to 24) – the perfect excuse to sample some Alpine specialities!
Stay in Les Chalets d’Angèle – luxurious, recently-built apartments with spa centre and communal lounge with open fire. From £742/apt/wk.
Tucked in the Espace Diamant ski domain with excellent views over the Mont Blanc mountain range, and just a short transfer from Geneva airport (62 miles approx.), Les Saisies is ideal for family groups in search of an alternative to the more crowded slopes in the Portes du Soleil ski domain over school holiday dates. This charming resort is filled with traditional chalet architecture and offers gentle tree-lined slopes perfect for beginners and small children alike. Plus, the Espace Diamant is home to a multitude of cross-country trails (120km), thanks to the resort’s role hosting the Nordic events of the 1992 Winter Olympics – more than enough to keep any off-piste daredevils and Alpine adventurers entertained during their stay in Les Saisies.
Stay in Les Chalets d’Emeraude, brand new high-standard apartments located 500m to 600m from the ski lifts. From £352/apt/wk.
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Located next to the Vanoise Express cable car linking La Plagne to Les Arcs, Montchavin combines the typical charm of a traditional mountain village with great skiing opportunities thanks to its prime position in the extensive Paradiski domain. The dedicated beginner’s area makes Montchavin an ideal destination for nervous first-time skiers, and the picture-perfect cobbled streets in the bustling pedestrianized village centre will melt even the coldest of hearts with their Alpine charm.
Stay in Les 3 Glaciers – high-standard apartments with an indoor swimming pool, 500m from the ski lifts and resort centre. From £300/apt/wk.
Straddling the Franco-Italian border with links to the Italian ski resort of La Thuile, La Roisere is a family-friendly resort in the Haute Tarentaise region, boasting spectacular views across Les Arcs and La Plagne and excellent snow conditions. This sunny, south-facing resort is the perfect place for first-time skiers hoping to take their first tentative steps on the snow, thanks to its friendly atmosphere and beginner-friendly slopes. More experienced skiers are also well-catered for, as the slopes in neighbouring La Thuile are suitably challenging for intermediate and advanced skiers alike.
Stay in Les Cimes Blanches – smart ski apartments at the foot of the slopes and just 200m from the ESF ski school meeting point. From £876/apt/wk.
A traditional village linked to Meribel and Les Menuires in the heart of the world renowned Three Valleys ski area, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is the perfect antidote to hectic resorts where crowded slopes and long queues can often overshadow the joy of hitting the slopes and exploring wide-ranging domains. This self-styled “3 Valleys village with charm” offers skiers a taste of the typical Savoyard village atmosphere as well as excellent links to the expansive slopes of the 3 Valleys, making Saint-Martin-de-Belleville a veritable oasis of calm in the world’s largest ski area.
Stay in Les Chalets du Gypse – luxury self-catering apartments located at the foot of the slopes. From £1381/apt/wk.
Still a relatively well-kept secret on the UK market, La Toussuire boasts a variety of slopes to keep beginner and intermediate skiers thoroughly entertained. This warm welcome is matched by the resort’s location on a large, sunny plateau – ideal for skiing in your shirtsleeves in spring whilst taking in the jaw-dropping panoramas. This resort is particularly recommended for family groups, thanks to the excellent local amenities and friendly village atmosphere.
Stay in Les Hauts de Comborciere – high-standard apartments with indoor swimming pool conveniently located at the foot of the slopes and in the resort centre. From £413/apt/wk.
A traditional mountain village with an abundance of authentic French charm, Valloire is a true hidden gem of a ski resort nestled in the Maurienne Valley with an extensive selection of slopes ideal for beginner and intermediate skiers, plus great links to nearby Val Thorens for those who may feel particularly energetic during their ski break. Thanks to its year-round population, Valloire also offers a bustling village centre and the resort is host to a range of events throughout the ski season, including the international snow and ice sculpture contests in January. This complimentary combination of great skiing and typical Alpine village charm makes Valloire a perfect destination for mixed groups of skiers and non-skiers.
Stay in Les Chalets du Galibier – high-standard apartments offering ski back to door access, located a maximum of 200m from the ski lifts. From £334/apt/wk.
Located 12km from the more well-known Val-d’Isere, Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise is one of the youngest ski resorts in the French Alps (a sprightly 23 years young this winter), and is a hidden pocket of calm – a world away from the hustle and bustle of big-name resorts. This charming Savoyard haven of tranquillity sits nestled amongst trees, offering skiers hoping to venture off the beaten track the chance to explore charming slopes in a perfectly preserved natural landscape.
Stay in Les Fermes de Sainte-Foy – smart ski apartments conveniently located at the foot of the slopes in the heart of the resort. From £846/apt/wk.
The French Pyrenees are a veritable plethora of hidden gems ski resorts, all crying out to be discovered and explored by anyone looking for a great alternative to the Alps. One such shining gem is Saint-Lary, in the heart of the French Pyrenees and located 20km from the Spanish border, and home to some of the best skiing opportunities the area has to offer. Plus, the resort is a charming destination for non-skiers who simply want to soak up the atmosphere and take in the fresh mountain air, thanks to its’ varied nature trails, convivial ambience and thermal spa.
Stay in Le Close Saint-Hilaire – high-standard apartments built to reflect the traditional Pyrenean style. From £273/apt/wk.