The best ski-in, ski-out resorts in the French mountains

No-one likes hobbling to the snow in their ski boots or crowding onto a swaying shuttle bus. So this winter, why not make your family holiday a whole lot easier by targeting a ski-in, ski-out resort? Here in France, they’re something of a speciality - and whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll find one perfectly-suited to your needs. Here are seven of the best.

Arc 1950

From the very beginning, accessibility has been a guiding principle in Les Arcs' development, with access to the resort from the valley by electric cable car. The charming village of Arc 1950 has low-rise chalets spread around a fully pedestrianised central square, crossed by part of the Baptiste Giabiconi trail, which provides almost instant access to the snow from every one of its résidences. You can start skiing as soon as you’ve snapped your boot buckles shut.

Of course, what happens next depends on your ability. Intermediates will enjoy the great swathe of red and blue pistes above Arc 1600 and Arc 1800, accessed via the Bois de l’Ours and Comborcière chairlifts beneath the village. Meanwhile, experts will be salivating at the thought of the off-piste descents on the 2,732m Aiguille Rouge, gateway to the fabulous Paradiski area. Either way, with cosy restaurants beckoning on the plaza on your return, the sense of convenience is all-encompassing.

Val Thorens

You can rely on good snow in all our ski-in, ski-out resorts. After all, each one was specifically designed for the best conditions – halfway up a mountain rather than on the valley floor, and often on a cold, north-facing slope.

But if you're looking for great late-season skiing, nowhere can quite match Val Thorens, at the heart of the Trois Vallées. This isn't only because the lifts whizz you up to a choice of seven peaks (the highest at 3,000m), but also because Val Thorens itself sits at 2,300m, so on all but the steamiest spring day you’ll enjoy perfect, snow-smothered slopes from start to finish. Stay near the Place de Caron, the Rue de Soleil, or the Plein Sud piste, and the fun starts right on your doorstep too.

Plagne Soleil

La Plagne shares the giant Paradiski area with Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry and was built with a similar focus on no-hassle skiing. Its 11 villages, each with its own personality, stand like islands amid the pistes, and none is better-integrated than Plagne Soleil and its near-neighbour Plagne Villages. Three separate, easy-skiing pistes wrap around their hotels and apartments, en route to the lift hub at Plagne Centre, nearby: and from there, lifts fan out in every direction. There are slopes in La Plagne to suit every level of skier, but the less confident kind of intermediate will like it best. With gentle undulating gradients right across its central plateau, it’s the perfect launchpad for a day of stress-free turns.

Courchevel

If you want to make an impression on your skis without being an expert in powder or freestyle, there's nothing like the wide slopes of Courchevel. Its six villages linked by ski lifts and free shuttles create a unique ski-in, ski-out resort with multiple atmospheres. In addition, Courchevel has some of the best long, cruisy green and blue runs for finding your ski legs.

The prime location is the long and gentle Bellecote piste, looping back towards Courchevel’s main rallying-point, La Croisette. The Family Park in Courchevel 1850 has been recently developed and improved, with new freestyle objects added to play on such as boxes and airbags. Those who love picnicking on the piste are spoilt for choice, with scenic viewpoints and picnic benches at the top of Biollay chairlift, Signal chairlift in Moriond, and next to the base of Plantery chairlift.

Avoriaz

It may be more than 50 years since Avoriaz opened to the skiing public, but still it looks and feels like the future. In part, you can thank the dramatic setting for that – on a cliff-top balcony at 1,800m, in the midst of the vast Portes du Soleil ski area. The integrated layout of wraparound pistes and high-rise apartment blocks helps too; with the result that no one needs to walk more than a few paces to start skiing.

The resort is fully pedestrianised - you leave your vehicle at a car park above the resort, and then either jump on a horse-drawn sleigh or pull your luggage to your accommodation on a sledge. The clean air and lack of traffic immediately add to your sense of escape. So too does the snow. Avoriaz has the highest snowfall average of any French ski resort, so chances are you won’t be short of a flake or two.

Chamrousse

Located just 30km from Grenoble, tucked between Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes, Chamrousse features a varied Alpine ski area. This resort is famous for hosting the winter Olympic Games in 1968 when famous French skier Jean-Claude Killy won three gold medals.

There are two villages in the resort: Chamrousse Recoin is ideal for the more athletic skiers among you, whilst Chamrousse Roche-Béranger is great for families and beginners – and you can ski from one to the other via the fir tree-lined slopes. There are runs for all abilities, three snow parks and loads of activities from sledging to snow-tubing, plus of course the Olympic area awaits ambitious skiers. There are plenty of cosy bistros, perfect for those who love an authentic French ski holiday.

Les Orres

Since its creation in the 1960s, pedestrianised Les Orres has focussed on being environmentally friendly. The night skies here are simply sensational. This pretty resort, set in the heart of a majestic larch forest, perches at 2,720m above the vast Serre-Ponçon Lake, and is ideal for all levels of skiers.

Les Orres holds 'Famille Plus' accreditation, offering activities suitable for all ages, including kids' clubs and professional childcare, meaning grown-ups can enjoy some snowy me-time. And there’s a lot to enjoy: 100km with 36 slopes which enjoy significant snowfalls and feature dramatic scenery and long descents. Plus there’s plenty of activities such as a tobogganing area, skating rink, rail sled, skie-joering and much more. This winter wonderland is a definite crowd pleaser.

Your safety and wellbeing are our top priorities

All staff in the French mountains are doing their utmost to ensure you experience an unrestricted and hassle-free holiday, and are at your disposal from the very first steps of your booking.

Specific measures will be applied to ski lifts this winter including social distancing, single-directional movement and flow management in lift queues, obligatory mask wearing, and regular disinfection of equipment.

For more details on the measures in place in French ski resorts, click here.

Further information for your family skiing holiday: