Cosier family friendly spots in the French Alps
Posted by - James Eliot on Fri 5th October 2012
When it comes to choosing where to go on a skiing holiday, the default choice for many British skiers is France. Families in particular tend to love the convenience of the short flight, purpose-built resorts with fantastic, modern facilities, and the generally extensive and excellent ski areas.
France’s ski resorts are mostly modern, having been built during the post-war period. That might mean that they lack the traditional attractiveness of resorts in Switzerland or Austria, for example, but they make up for that with their fantastic luxury ski hotels, restaurants, childcare and entertainment. They are also often larger than those elsewhere, meaning that every member of the family, whatever their age or experience, will be able to find plenty of skiing to match their ability.
As well as big-name resorts (such as Courchevel and Les Arcs) that have something for everyone, France also has a great choice of smaller resorts. And while these still play host to a wealth of luxury ski facilities, their size offers a cosier atmosphere that many families value, plus more often than not a slightly lower-key nightlife. Choose a small resort that is lift-linked to one of the Alps' large ski areas (like the Paradiski or Espace Killy) and you have what many would see as the best of both worlds.
So, which resort should you choose for your family ski holiday in France? These are some of our top picks (though there are many more!).
Near Les Arcs and part of the same huge Paradiski lift system, Peisey-Vallandry offers a lovely, homely atmosphere and access to 425km of skiing. The village is quiet after the lifts close, but there are a few bars and restaurants to choose from if you want to go out. If you don’t, you’ll find plenty to keep you happy at the all-inclusive Club Med Peisey-Vallandry. It has its own bars and restaurants, a spa and special facilities for babies and children.
Valmorel is a quiet and attractive resort that is part of the Grand Domaine ski area, with 165km of pistes. It was built later than many French resorts – in 1976 – and its architects certainly learned from the mistakes of their predecessors. Rather than unattractive concrete blocks, Valmorel has attractive chalets spread through several villages and a car-free centre. It is a great place to learn to ski, with specially designated learner areas and lots of easy blues near the resort. You also have the option of skiing to your door, so you won't have to worry about lugging skis to the lifts in the morning. Club Med Valmorel offers quality family ski accommodation and a choice of bars and restaurants on site.
If you are looking for a larger family ski resort, then Morzine might just fit the bill. It is an attractive, traditional town in the Portes du Soleil ski region, offering great skiing for everyone from nervous beginners to seasoned experts. Morzine is a great choice if you have older children or teenagers, as there is plenty to do other than ski, such as ice-skating and sledging. The nightlife is reasonably lively, but includes plenty of family-friendly restaurants too.