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Discover the largest ski area in France

Are you looking for the largest ski area in France in preparation for your winter holidays? With almost 16 fully linked ski areas between the Northern Alps, Southern Alps and Pyrenees, France is an ideal destination for skiers and snowboarders. With unique terrain and wide-open spaces, France is home to ski resorts and areas renowned for their layout, topography and quality of slopes. So, which is the largest ski area in France? This article will answer all your questions.

Les 3 Vallées: the largest ski area in France

Les 3 Vallées, or the 3 Valleys in English, is not only the largest ski area in France, it is also the largest ski area in the world. With its 600 kilometres of slopes (100% ski in, ski out) and 8 linked high altitude resorts, it has many efficient infrastructures, with wide and pleasant ski slopes. Located in Savoy, the 3 Valleys are a dream for skiers from all over the world.

The area is famous for its famous black slope “Le Grand Couloir”: an awe-inspiring ski run with parts presenting an 80% gradient. It’s a great way to experience the thrill of skiing!

The 3 Valleys offer exceptional viewpoints of its emblematic summits: Pointe de la Masse, Cime Caron, Saulire, Mont Vallon and Mont de la Chambre. The ski lifts are at the cutting edge of technology and the accommodation scene is thriving: you can stay in high quality hotels in Brides-les-Bains, Orelle and Les Menuires and in luxury hotels in Courchevel and Méribel, Saint-Martin de Belleville and Val Thorens.

Which areas for skiing enthusiasts?

The highest ski area

France’s largest ski area is not the only one that attracts connoisseurs: the Espace Tignes – Val-d’Isère is ideal for altitude lovers. It is the highest ski area in France with its highest point at an altitude of 3,450 metres.  From the Grande Motte glacier to Tignes 1550 (Les Brevières), you can enjoy an altitude difference of almost 1,900 metres.

The ski area with the biggest altitude differences

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for a big altitude differences, the Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine Ski area offers some of the widest variations in altitude in the world with over 2,200 metres (ranging from 1,100 to 3,300 metres in altitude). The Trois Vallées and Paradiski areas follow, with 2,130 and 2,050 metres of difference respectively on their ski slopes, between their snow fronts and their summits.

The newest ski area

Finally, if you’re looking for newer ski resorts, Les Sybelles ski area is the newest in France. It is home to 310 kilometres of ski runs, with over 136 slopes spread over 6 resorts (Le Corbier, La Toussuire, La Bottière, Saint-Jean-d’Arves, Saint-Sorlin-d’Arves and Saint-Colomban-des-Villards). This ski area opened during the winter of 2003/2004, with modern and optimal equipment. Enjoy breathtaking views and exceptional hiking in an authentic and rustic atmosphere.

5 other great linked ski areas in France

1. Les Portes du Soleil

Another of France’s largest ski areas is Les Portes du Soleil. This ski area comprises 12 resorts and stretches between France (Haute-Savoie) and Switzerland. This area is very diverse and welcomes athletes of all levels. You can get a ski pass for 600 km of partially linked slopes in a very authentic region. In the mid-mountain area, the ski runs offer magnificent views of Mont Blanc and the Dents du Midi in Switzerland. The black slope “Pas de Chavanette”, also known as “The Swiss Wall”, is the most emblematic one: it is a challenge for all skiers with 333 metres of steep slopes and parts with a gradient over 90%!

2. Paradiski

The linked Paradiski area has 2 summits and 2 “equipped” glaciers, all this above 3,000 metres high. Between clouds and endless descents, it is without doubt one of the largest ski areas in France. The slopes of Les Arcs and Peisey Vallandry are linked to those of La Plagne by a long-range cable car, resulting in a total area of 425 km of slopes. 70% of the slopes are above 2,000 metres: Paradiski therefore benefits from very good snow cover. The 264 slopes in the area are spread between 1,200 and 3,250 metres above sea level, with modern, ski in ski out resorts. The village resort of Peisey Vallandry offers skiers an authentic and friendly atmosphere.

3. La Voie Lactée

Another of France’s largest ski areas is La Voie Lactée (Vialattea in Italian, Milky Way in English). This linked French-Italian ski area was the scene of the 2006 Winter Olympics. It attracts French, Italian and European skiers thanks to its 145 ski slopes and is suitable for all levels. The whole area is spread over more than 410 kilometres of mountain. The gateway to it is one of the most important in Europe, at the border pass of Montgenèvre. The Voie Lactée is one of the most skied areas in Europe. The Olympic slope of Sestrière, the “Kandahar Slalom – Giovanni Alberto Agnelli” slope, attracts world cup skiers: it is one of the most legendary runs of the Voie Lactée domain.

4. The Tignes – Val-d’Isère area

The large ski areas of Val d’Isère and Tignes are linked for part of the year, from November to May. This creates a large ski area with 300km of slopes, all with top of the range facilities and wide slopes. Both resorts are luxurious: Val d’Isère has beautiful luxury hotels and large stone chalets, while Tignes has a more youthful and sporty image, while remaining upmarket. Long known as the Espace Killy, this area offers a magnificent skiing area with the title of “most beautiful ski area in the world“. Between 1,550 m and 3,450 m in altitude, the area offers 2 equipped glaciers and superb slopes: the mythical Face de Bellevarde slope hosts the first French race of the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup every year.

5. The Serre Chevalier Valley

Finally, with 250km of slopes, the Serre Chevalier Valley is one of the largest ski areas in Europe. It links Briançon (with the Vauban fortifications listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site) and 3 village resorts: Chantemerle, Villeneuve and Monêtier les Bains. Located in the Hautes-Alpes and close to the Ecrins National Park, Serre Chevalier Vallée is the largest ski area in the Southern Alps. With 250km of slopes and over 100 of them between 1,200 and 2,800 metres in altitude, the area combines the sunshine of the south with the snow of the northern Alps, all with a nice village atmosphere and a spa area.