Best French Ski Resorts for Families
France has some of the best family ski resorts in the world. Many French resorts were purpose-built with families in mind. That means thinking about having everything you need to maximise your family time together and minimise any hassle.
A big part of this is convenience, with normally your accommodation, rentals, ski school, nursery and the closest ski slopes and the nearest lift just steps away from each other.
Originally French resorts were designed to be functional and affordable for families, with the most comprehensive childcare and ski school facilities of any of the main Alpine ski nations. Over the past decade or so though they’ve really upped their game further adding lots of additional facilities and activities, some still on the snow, others year-round.
These include family swimming pool complexes, mountain roller coasters, zip wires, toboggan runs and lots, lots more. There's something new every year as the top resorts battle to try to outdo each other and be the best family ski resorts in France.
Avoriaz is a fantastic family ski resort with something for all ages. It's one of the few truly car-free resorts in the world so it's immediately relaxing to be in a resort where the streets are ski slopes. There's no worry of a busy road outside or needing to negotiate a crowded ski bus to the slopes with your family and all their gear. The resort has a reputation for having some of the best nurseries and ski schools in France with extensive children's facilities in the heart of the village. There are also excellent non-ski facilities, particularly the remarkable Aquariaz tropical swimming dome similar to those found in Centre Parcs (the two are owned by the same parent company). When it comes to lift passes, Avoriaz also offers one of the most generous age discount programmes in the Alps.
Courchevel has a reputation as the most upmarket resort in France, with more five-star hotels, uber-luxurious chalets and Michelin-starred restaurants than any other, but that reputation is based primarily on Courchevel 1850 and the France resort has four other bases which are much more family-focused (and comparatively affordable!). Courchevel Moriond (1650) is particularly well set up for children with the Indian-themed ski slope, a friendly village atmosphere and not-too-extortionate prices. The spectacular Aquamotion complex with its long water slides for the kids and spa facilities for adults is very nearby.
La Plagne is one of the world’s biggest ski areas but is divided into 10 separate village bases so the scale need not be overwhelming for families if they stick to their chosen village and its local ski slopes and family facilities – most have their own nurseries and ski schools. That said it’s perhaps older children and teens who’ll most be able to enjoy this huge ski area and some of its unique attractions. Among those not to be missed is the Olympic bobsleigh run which families with children aged 14 and over can slide down in a self-guiding raft.
Flaine has long been viewed as one of the most genuinely family-friendly ski areas in the Alps. To begin with, it's one of the quickest and easiest ski areas to reach from Geneva, then the resort itself is largely pedestrianised with ski-in-ski-out access to most accommodation. Beyond this, the resort has a very down-to-earth reputation, with services and pricing to match, without the pretensions of some French resorts, so it's also one of the more comfortable and affordable resorts for families. It does not have some of the big off-slope attractions, yet, that some French resorts have unveiled, but there are great childcare and ski school options on the ski slopes of the huge snow bowl that Flaine sits at the heart of and fun apres ski options including tobogganing and indoors a swimming complex and cinema.
If there’s one French ski area with a reputation as the country’s top family ski resort it has to be Les Gets, a traditional village full of Alpine charm. The resort has capitalised on its natural ambience to create a ski holiday experience that’s almost entirely focused on families. As well as the great nurseries and ski schools you might expect, there’s a full weekly programme of activities for kids and lots of great attractions like the chocolate workshop, the mechanical music museum and the mini train through the village. All of this gets turbo-charged at Christmas time!