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6 exciting ideas for your French Alps getaway

If you’re planning a winter holiday, the French Alps offer traditional charm and snowsport excellence in perfect balance – and they’re just a short flight from the UK via the gateway airports of Lyon and Grenoble. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or first-timer, the choice of resorts can be overwhelming – but here are six ideas that might give potential candidates the edge.


Make the links

Linked ski resorts are a big thing in France, giving you more bang for your buck with twice or three times the playground area on one lift pass. Connecting the resorts of Alpe d’Huez, Auris-en-Oisans, La Garde, Oz-en-Oisans, Vaujany and Villard-Reculas, the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine in Isère boasts a whopping 250km of pistes with 84 lifts – and that’s before we’ve mentioned the après-ski.

Ski under the stars

With eight illuminated runs, three chairlifts and one draglift, Manigod in the Aravis massif has the largest ski area navigable by night in Savoie-Mont Blanc. The network is open every Friday and Saturday night from Christmas week until mid to late March, and every night during school holidays, giving families a magical ski experience under the night sky.

©P. Lebeau/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

Go to a Christmas festival

In many Alpine resorts, Christmas is celebrated with a festival. La Clusaz has put on its ‘Pestacles du Père Noël’ for the past 20 years, the largest family street art festival in the mountains with magicians, storytellers, musicians, artists and dancers performing spectacular shows. Enjoy wandering the market stalls and feasting on gingerbread, waffles and mulled wine.

Book a bioclimatic hotel

In Les Carroz d’Arâches, the Croix de Savoie hotel is the very first bioclimatic hotel in the French Alps. Owners Edwige, Jean-Marc and Gaetan Tiret have used ecological building materials, renewable energy sources and environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and serve organic menus. The hotel even offers preferential rates to guests who arrive by public transport.


Leave the car behind

For those looking to escape the daily commute, the car-free design of Avoriaz is supremely comforting, as is the approach by horse-drawn sleigh or sledge once you’ve left your vehicle in the car park above the resort. The clean air and lack of traffic immediately add to your sense of escape – and you can enjoy the highest snowfall average of any French ski resort, too.

Take a leap of faith

Having hosted the sport during the 1992 Winter Olympics, Courchevel is known for its links to ski jumping. All visitors to the resort (including children) can give it a go on a 25-metre jump, led by an instructor from the ESF – the only condition is that they’ve achieved Bronze level in skiing. Prices start from €120 per private 90-minute lesson.

Lyon is served direct by 7 UK airports: Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester.

Alternatively, fly to Grenoble. Grenoble is served by 6 UK airports: Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton and London Stansted.


Fly to Lyon from £29.99 one way pp. 5,951 seats from the UK to Lyon for travel to 28.3.20. Limited availability. Correct at 9.10.19.
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