The south of France is known for its coastline but it also boasts several small ski resorts which are within driving distance, or can be reached by train from the coast. These resorts offer some great skiing opportunities and are ideal for a weekend break or longer.
The ski resorts are just a few hours drive (maximum) from the south of France. There is also a ski train with SNCF that leaves Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Manosque very early on Saturday mornings and returns on Sunday nights during the winter ski season. Tickets are only €20 for adults and €7,50 for children. Book them here. Trains will take you as far as Briançon or Gap and then buses transport you the rest of the way to 24 ski resorts in the southern French Alps.
Serre Chevalier is the most well known of southern French ski resorts and attracts families and couples back again, year after year. With over 101 pistes and over 205 km of skiing, it has a wide enough range for many levels. With a host of other activities like karting and tennis, it’s good for people who want to do other things as well as ski. It’s also known for its upmarket chalets and hotels.
Pra Loup is another favourite with families who have lived in the region for years, primarily because it offers over 180km of skiing runs. It has a wide range of off-piste activities too, like ice sculpture. One of its bonus features is its proximity to the Mercantour National Park one of the ten parks in France.
Les Orres is probably the best resort for the most adventurous among you. The resort sits in the heart of a forest and has lots of interesting and diverse activities for the the entire family. You can base jump, paraglide, or kids can ride The Orres Express, a bobsleigh that slides 1.5km downhill. There are also areas devoted to snowboarders and freeriders. Off-piste, you can take a visit to the Mercantour National Park.
Orcières, at 1850m, offers great panoramic views over the entire valley of Champsaur. This resort is probably best for all abilities because it has 17km of beginner’s slopes as well as slalom and two bobsleigh (sledding) runs. It has 51 pistes in total.
Val D’Ollos is one of the closest to Marseille at just over 2 hours away by car. It’s actually two resorts in one — Val d’Allos-Le Seignus et Val d’Allos-La Foux. There is usually free entertainment in the resort for kids, so it’s very popular with families with young children. The pistes link up with nearby resort Pra Loup.