The mountains of France are the ultimate destination to spend a magical Christmas, with family or friends. With everything from avant-garde, purpose-built resorts to charming mid-mountain villages, there is a style of resort for everyone, and France’s high-altitude resorts are among the most snow-sure in the world. Magic is the watch-word, and France’s mountain resorts are transformed into an enchanting festive universe for young and old alike. Christmas is a great time to try alternative mountain activities, and also take advantage of some brilliant offers.
An unforgettable atmosphere
ESF instructors take to the pistes for spectacular torch-lit descents in the evening in many resorts, including Alpe d’Huez and Pralognan La Vanoise. In La Clusaz the streets are filled with magicians, jugglers and dancers, while the authentic village of Morzine in the Portes du Soleil hosts a spectacular “luminous ballet” show. Christmas holidaymakers will find enchanted forests to explore in Les Gets and Chamrousse. Saint Lary in the Pyrenees celebrates Christmas and the resorts 60th anniversary with a flamboyant street parade.
Santa comes to town
No child’s Christmas would be complete without Father Christmas coming to town, and he does so in spectacular fashion in the mountains of France, nowhere more so than Les Arcs where he arrives by paraglider! In Pierre & Vacances residences across France, Father Christmas does the rounds to deliver presents in person to guests’ apartments, a move sure to delight the little ones! He covers serious ground elsewhere too! In Châtel in the Haute Savoie department he gives out presents and sweets from a log cabin, in Vaujany (Isère) he’s on hand with his reindeer to meet animal lovers, while further south he can be found running elf workshops in Vars (Hautes-Alpes).
Try something new
Christmas is the time for giving, so why not treat someone you love (or yourself!) to an unforgettable one-off experience? Inspired perhaps by Santa’s sleigh-related exploits in the sky, first timers can hurtle down the Olympic bob-sleigh run in La Plagne! For those that prefer to take things at a gentler pace or reconnect with nature, horse-drawn sleigh rides, husky-sled adventures and ski joering (towed behind a horse) are awesome activities for animal lovers offered in Serre Chevalier, Val Cenis in the Haute Maurienne valley and in Val d’Arly.
France is home to the biggest variety of ski resorts and largest interconnected ski areas in the world. Crucially, it’s also home to some of the highest altitude resorts- many with skiing above 3000m, which guarantees plentiful snow and great skiing throughout the season. In addition, investment in snowmaking facilities is incessant, particularly in the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Les Menuires in the 3 Valleys for example has spent €2.5m on upgraded snowmaking this summer, while Les 2 Alpes leads the way in innovation as the first resort in the world to install snowmakers on a moving glacier.
French resorts embrace the spirit of giving, offering some amazing deals to take advantage of. Discounted or even free lift passes for kids are available in the Haute-Savoie resorts of Samoëns and Le Grand Bornand. Check your favourite French ski resort tourist office website for details of other fantastic Christmas offers.
London Ski Show 2017
Come and visit us at the French Pavilion (stands 201 & 401) at the Ski & Snowboard Show at Battersea Evolution, October 26-29 2017 and gets loads of information about a fantastic Christmas in the French mountains!