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Old 26.09.2013, 11:39
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Skiing in France

Has anyone been skiing in France before? I have done a lot of research on locations but would love some suggestions.

We dont have a car, so would be training the entire journey or plane and then train or coach. Therefore would like something that takes no more than 4-5 hours one way.

We are intermediate skiiers. Early red runs.

Would also like a ski town that has a pretty town....we went to Lech, Austria last year and really loved it. Was hoping to get something similar in France.
A few areas we have looked at are Meribel (too advanced) Courchevel (seriously expensive) and Val d'Isere.
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Old 26.09.2013, 12:17
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Re: Skiing in France

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Has anyone been skiing in France before? I have done a lot of research on locations but would love some suggestions.

We dont have a car, so would be training the entire journey or plane and then train or coach. Therefore would like something that takes no more than 4-5 hours one way.

We are intermediate skiiers. Early red runs.

Would also like a ski town that has a pretty town....we went to Lech, Austria last year and really loved it. Was hoping to get something similar in France.
A few areas we have looked at are Meribel (too advanced) Courchevel (seriously expensive) and Val d'Isere.
All very expensive, really, and you need to be careful about bus connection times, as they're not very well synchronised with the railway timetables. And if you're flying, for that matter.

In general you probably want to avoif the more well-known, developed resorts, as being overpriced and lacking in atmosphere. There are really far too many suitable resorts to list, but here's a few faves of mine, all not too far from Geneva, for various reasons:

Flaine - Great skiing for intermediates, also for advanced and off-piste. Family-friendly, shit nightlife, little village ambience, ugly (but the place I've skied more than anywhere else barring Engelberg).

Praz de Lys/Sommand Really charming little village with a surprising amount of nice skiing. Near to, but not linked with, les Gets and the Portes du Soleil. Great for relaxed skiing, charming small village ambience, pretty scenery and not too many damn foreigners Also lots of x-country skiing and mountain walking trails. Must visit again soon.

Portes du Soleil
Plenty of choice of ski types and ambiences here, mostly accurately described on the website. One or two of the outlying stations like Abondance or St Jean d'aulps(La Grande Terche) offer more charm and ambience than the main towns.

...

I could go on, but work calls. Any other specific questions welcome.
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Old 26.09.2013, 12:56
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Re: Skiing in France

Megeve or Chamonix perhaps.
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Old 26.09.2013, 13:23
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Re: Skiing in France

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All very expensive, really, and you need to be careful about bus connection times, as they're not very well synchronised with the railway timetables. And if you're flying, for that matter.

In general you probably want to avoif the more well-known, developed resorts, as being overpriced and lacking in atmosphere. There are really far too many suitable resorts to list, but here's a few faves of mine, all not too far from Geneva, for various reasons:

Flaine - Great skiing for intermediates, also for advanced and off-piste. Family-friendly, shit nightlife, little village ambience, ugly (but the place I've skied more than anywhere else barring Engelberg).

Praz de Lys/Sommand Really charming little village with a surprising amount of nice skiing. Near to, but not linked with, les Gets and the Portes du Soleil. Great for relaxed skiing, charming small village ambience, pretty scenery and not too many damn foreigners Also lots of x-country skiing and mountain walking trails. Must visit again soon.

Portes du Soleil
Plenty of choice of ski types and ambiences here, mostly accurately described on the website. One or two of the outlying stations like Abondance or St Jean d'aulps(La Grande Terche) offer more charm and ambience than the main towns.

...

I could go on, but work calls. Any other specific questions welcome.
all this skiing talk is making me itchy to go!
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Old 26.09.2013, 13:27
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Re: Skiing in France

Thanks Ace 1. You mentioned a few resorts i didnt know. I must admit after doing hours and hours of reading i noticed that most reviews say that the French resorts are filled with English people...not that is a problem...but more locals is more appealing. After all, i do want to feel like i am in France .-)
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Old 26.09.2013, 13:41
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Re: Skiing in France

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all this skiing talk is making me itchy to go!
9 days and counting...
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Old 26.09.2013, 13:51
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Re: Skiing in France

You mention Courcheval and Meribel, which are part of the Three Valleys, largest ski area in the world apparently. I was there last year in March, conditions were fantastic, best skiing I have ever done.

I would not rule it out. We stayed in Les Menuires, not the prettiest town but quite central. It is easy enough to get to by train from Zurich, takes about 6 hours with 1 or 2 changes.

I love the three valleys because everything is connected via the lifts. If you are staying in any of the resorts there the others are all easily accessible. So you need not worry so much about levels of ability, it caters for everything all over and you do not need a car.

Otherwise I have only been to Chamonix in France and the skiing there is by and large a lot tougher, I just off piste there mostly as thats what its all about there for me personally. Plus, the resorts which cater for more intermediate levels are spread out in the area, not connected via lifts so a car is pretty much needed, though there are buses around the place.
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Old 26.09.2013, 15:22
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Re: Skiing in France

Samoens. Just 1 hour from Geneva. Pretty village, car not needed and good skiing in the Grand Massif which has about 265km of pistes. Been there many times
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Old 26.09.2013, 16:44
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Re: Skiing in France

Chatel in the Portes du Soleil is one of the easiest to reach, via Morgins, by train and bus. Is there a particular reason you want to start in France though? The Portes du Soleil resorts are situated on both sides of the border. The shortest route is train To Aigle, bus to Torgon/Plan de Crox via Vionnaz. From Plan de Croix you have the choice to take the quad chair up to Tour de Don, and ski over to Chatel and Super Chatel, or take the T-bar to the right, drop down to another T-bar and up to the lovely old restaurant, and wide red run to Chapelle D'Abondance.
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Old 26.09.2013, 16:56
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Re: Skiing in France

We usually go to La Rosiere. Nice little town and plenty of ski slopes for any level, never crowded in Christmas time we we have been. The views are super gorgeous. Weather-wise they seem to get lots of snow and except for one day or two, we always have had blue skies. This year we'll try Val d'isere, heard is very nice too, with more activities in the town. Both are about 2.5 hours away from Geneva.
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Old 26.09.2013, 17:09
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Re: Skiing in France

La Rosière and St Foy are great, but how do you get there by public transport? St Foy is a great family resort, but it has got ridiculously expensive in the last few years. I remember when it was just a simple place, just for the locals.
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Old 26.09.2013, 17:35
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Re: Skiing in France

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La Rosière and St Foy are great, but how do you get there by public transport?
There are bus services to both of these resorts, with Autocars Martin from Bourge St. Maurice just next to the Eurostar train station. Getting trains there from Switzerland would probably be the more difficult bit, I imagine.

<consults sbb.ch>

Yikes. According to SBB the only connection possible is on Sundays. I'm sure there must be other possibilities, but perhaps by some roundabout route via Italy or something.

But there are also regular bus services from Geneva airport to Bourge, so either flying or taking a train to the airport would allow you to link in as long as the timetables aren't _too_ out of kilter with each other. Still a long journey though, and not one I'd be tempted to do if other alternatives were available.

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St Foy is a great family resort, but it has got ridiculously expensive in the last few years. I remember when it was just a simple place, just for the locals.
They've both been scaled up quite a lot over the years, although it must be a decade since I've skiied either now, so probably even more than I thought. St Foye used to be a little mini off-piste paradise, with just the two old lifts serving a small, but perfectly formed, hillside, with just a couple of restaurants at the base, IIRC. I do know that two new modern lifts were added some years back now, and probably a lot more of other facilities as well. Ah well, you can't stop progress.

Anyone been more recently can give first-hand updates of either of these?
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Old 26.09.2013, 17:45
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Re: Skiing in France

Correcting you only in case someone wants to Google Bourg Saint Maurice (so ne 'e' on Bourg)

I've been twice to stay in St Foy with daughter and OH, friends and kids from London over last 3 years. They have had lots of building around the base- most being rented by 'Première Neige' (UK company) at massive rents, especially for holidays and half-term, but quality is high (large lounges and kitchens, a bathroom per bedroom, jacuzzis, etc). But a lot more expensive than most of Switzerland.

www.premiere-neige.com

They do catered or self catering- but prices are high! I treated my family for 1 week at half-term 2 years ago- fab appartment, but eye watering prices. A one off for my 60th BD.

Yes, had forgotten about shuttles from Geneva airport (with trains to the airport) to all the main FRench resorts. Actually, if you want a pretty little town, rather than resort, La Clusaz is one of the nearest.

Last edited by Odile; 26.09.2013 at 18:26.
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Old 26.09.2013, 17:51
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Re: Skiing in France

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Correcting you only in case someone wants to Google Bourg Saint Maurice (so ne 'e' on Bourg)
Thanks. I always get that wrong, just as I've also put an 'e' on Foy and would have forgotten to put it on the 'Sainte' part of that name. Took me ages to realise that it wasn't named after a saint called Foy, that did ;-)

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Yes, had forgotten about shuttles from Geneva airport (with trains to the airport) to all the main FRench resorts. Actually, if you want a pretty little town, rather than resort, La Clusaz is one of the nearest.
Yes, I'd second that, or Samoens, as someone else mentioned. But both of them are now a bit on the large and commercial side for the real alpine charm thing that I think may still be found in a couple of the other places I mentioned.
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Old 26.09.2013, 18:14
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Re: Skiing in France

Some decent French Resorts with a bit of charm:

Megeve/St Gervais
Chamonix
Les Contamines
La Clusaz/Le Grand Bornand
Morzine
Les Gets

Each have their good and bad points, happy to advise more
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Old 01.10.2013, 10:27
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Re: Skiing in France

I like La Rosiere and it has the added novelty of being able to ski over to Italy for lunch
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Old 01.10.2013, 11:11
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Re: Skiing in France

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I like La Rosiere and it has the added novelty of being able to ski over to Italy for lunch
Indeed. I recall doing so on christmas day one time, to an odd restaurant on its own in the middle of an open field, which only had one set menu - soup, pasta and dessert (and coffee, of course), but which was soooo good.

Also, I'm told that the hot chocolate at the cafe on the border right next to the old customs post on the Pt. St. Bernard pass itself is possibly the best to be found in the alps. I don't touch the stuff myself, but other 'experts' assure me it is the case.
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Old 15.11.2013, 12:38
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Re: Skiing in France

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Which month you are thinking for doing skiing in France?
November, December, January, February, March, April & May
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Old 15.11.2013, 12:48
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Re: Skiing in France

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Megeve or Chamonix perhaps.
Chamonix is half British already, Megève and StGervais (les Bains) are both sweet little towns with everything you need (especially night cuisine!), beautiful tracks (it's one region so you can use the cable car to go back and forth), and if you're OK sleeping a little tighter in smaller apartments than usual accomodation, you can't beat the price/performance of these places. StGervais is better for the tracks.

No idea about public transport though, so you gotta check that out yourself.
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Old 15.11.2013, 12:50
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Re: Skiing in France

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November, December, January, February, March, April & May
In Val d'isere it can become a bit slushy on the lower slopes in April and May.
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