6 secret ski resorts in France
PUBLISHED: 09:31 15 December 2015 | UPDATED: 14:30 21 April 2016
CRT Riviera Côte d'Azur - Photographe : Pierre BEHAR
There are plenty of popular ski resorts to choose from in France, but if you are searching for a hidden gem then take a look at our favourite unknown ski resorts in the Alps, Pyrénées and Jura mountains
Isola 2000, Alps
In the heart of the Southern Alps, in the Mercantour Massif, the international resort of Isola 2000, near the Italian border and less than 100km from Nice, provides a ski area with 120km of pistes, which start at 1,800m and go up to 2,610m above sea level. The 42 ski runs are made up of seven greens, 21 blues, 11 reds and three blacks. Known for its good snow and sunshine, Isola 2000 has everything you’d expect from a major ski resort: kids clubs, restaurants, bars and a snow park; and all about 2hrs from the Mediterranean coast.
A small, picturesque, car-free resort in the heart of the Pyrénées, Val-Louron can be found in the Pays d’Aure, south-east of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, in Haute-Pyrénées, and is great for families and mixed-ability groups. The resort stands at 1,450m with the slopes rising up behind to 2,100m at the top. Skiers can explore 19 marked pistes covering 22km, and Val Louron has now joined forces with neighbouring Peyragudes to create the Neiges Louronnaises ski area, which offers access to a wider network of multi-level ski runs.
Surrounded by 3,000m peaks, the resort of Peyragudes is made up of the villages of Peyresourde and Agudes, in Hautes-Pyrénées, where visitors can ski 60km of groomed pistes with magnificent views above the tree line. The Neiges Louronnaises ski area gives skiers access to 68 ski runs: 11 green, 26 blue, 26 red and six black so there is plenty to challenge all abilities. Two snow parks are a magnet for snowboarders and if skiing isn’t your bag, there are also four marked snowshoe trails.
Once a thriving farming village, Valmeinier had to reinvent itself after the industrial revolution and was gradually re-born as a ski station in the Alps. Nestled in the Maurienne valley in Savoie, the resort is part of the Galibier-Thabor ski area, which comprises 150km of skiing for all levels over 89 runs that start at 1430m and go up to 2600m. Surrounded by trees and perched on the mountainside, this pretty village is far from a purpose-built resort. Locals are proud of their heritage and keen to tell visitors about the area’s history.
Le Grand-Bornand, Alps
In the heart of the Aravis mountain range, in Haute-Savoie, Le Grand-Bornand is ideally located between Mont-Blanc, Lake Annecy, and Switzerland. The resort is made up of two traditional Savoyarde villages, 6km apart, which combine history, charm and character with all the modern amenities, bars and restaurants you’d expect in a world-class ski resort. The 90km of slopes will meet your needs whether you’re the greenest beginner or an experienced pro, and include 22km that are guaranteed all season thanks to 184 snow machines.
Les Rousses, Jura
The ski area of Les Rousses starts at an altitude of 1120m and goes up to 1680m in the mountains of Haut-Jura, in Franche-Comté, and is accessible from four villages: Les Rousses, Lamoura, Prémanon and Bois d’Amont. This is a small, cosy ski area, which is geared up for families and the slopes are quiet and safe as a result. Skiers can access 50km of managed pistes and there are 220km of cross-country trails if ski de fond is more your thing. There are also a number of free areas here, where visitors can take to the slopes without needing a ski pass.