If you’re looking for a side of culture with big ski resorts and breathtaking views, a trip to France is a must.

There’s a huge variety of terrain to explore, spectacular cuisine to sample, and some of the world’s best après-ski.

For the uninitiated, here are six things you didn’t know – and will love – about skiing in France.

1. 350 resorts to choose from

France is home to no less than 350 resorts and seven out of 10 of the world’s largest interconnected ski areas. Across the country, there are over 3000 ski lifts and 9000km of ski slopes to discover.

Ski the largest resort in the world

The mega 3 Valleys ski area encompasses the resorts of the uber-luxe Courchevel, the cute-as-a-button Meribel and vast Val Thorens, offering a whopping 600km of terrain to explore.

Or maybe you’re more interested in the oldest resort in the world? The picturesque riverside ski town of Chamonix awaits you with some of the most thrilling ski and snowboard terrain to be found, both on and off-piste.

Take the spectacular Aguille du Midi cable car to 3842m high above dramatic peaks and valleys, and with a guide, ski the famed 23km Vallee Blanche off-piste trail with 2800m of vertical.

Why not ski France and Italy in the same day at La Rosière, or discover the cobbled laneways at Val D’Isere, or enjoy your terrain with a side of traditional farm life at Le Grand Bornand – the perfect resort for beginners.

2. Longer ski seasons

La Plagne in the French Alps. Photo credit: Julia Kuznetsova

High altitude and glaciers ensure longer ski seasons with many resorts open from November until May. The Sarenne Glacier at Alpe d’Huez is often skiable in July and August, with La Plagne’s Bellecôte and Chiaupe glaciers also offering late spring skiing. Val Thorens in Les 3 Vallées is the highest altitude resort in Europe, clocking in at 2300m in the village with skiing up to 3300m.

3. Value for money

Lift passes are generally reasonable, with a 6-day pass in 3 Valleys setting you back 360 Euros, or about $580AUD – less than a hundred bucks per day.

If you have an Epic Pass, even better – you’ll get seven days access to 3 Valleys and a Mountain Collective or Ikon pass will give you access to Chamonix.

Hot tip, off-season for European ski fields is in January, right after New Years when everyone has returned to work.

Travel then, and the right French-specialised travel agent – like Top Snow Travel – can get you the best rates for ski hire, lessons and accommodation.

4. Perfect for families

The French aren’t just about the après, they also love your little ones. Plenty of resorts offer specialised children’s areas with dedicated ski schools, gentle slopes and fun activities, along with ski-in, ski-out options like the chalets and hotels of Méribel.

For off-snow fun, Les Arcs is a favourite, offering the largest igloo village in the French Alps. There’s also Morzine, which has a cinema, indoor pool, sledging and ice hockey ice skating  to enjoy off the slopes; La Rosiere, which offers bowling, dog-sledding and rock climbing; or Avoriaz, where kids under five ski free, and can then go to the indoor water park or giant outdoor skating rink for their off-snow fun.

5. History, charm and culture

Les Arc. Photo: Andy Parant for Les Arc.

It’s not just about the snow here. The ski villages of France have centuries of history behind them, offering a blend of old-world charm alongside modern amenities.

Destinations like Megève, Courchevel, and Morzine are known for their cobblestone streets, wooden chalets, and lively après-ski scenes.

You can even tack on a trip to cities such as Geneva and Lyon, allowing for easy exploration of incredible landmarks and historical sites beyond the slopes.

6. The food, ooh la la, the food

Cheese for days in Val d’Isère. Photo credit: Top Snow Travel

Did someone say cheese? Enjoy raclette (melted cheese served with potatoes, pickles and meat), fondue (also melted cheese, but with wine), and tartiflette (a potato, cheese and bacon casserole).

Beyond cheese dishes, you’ll also find a plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants on the slopes (Courchevel has 14 Michelin stars alone) alongside cosy mountain huts.

Ready to plan your own trip to France? French snow travel experts Top Snow Travel are currently offering $1000 off bookings made before 28 June, 2023 (7 night minimum), along with free ski rentals for kids (13 years and under).

Click here to discover their top 15 recommended resorts and find out more about their deals.