Widely considered to be France’s most-glamorous Alpine ski resort, Courchevel 1850 is the place to “see and be seen” on the slopes, attracting the wealthy, the famous and the royal each year to its incredible slopes and high-luxury amenities. Not only is Courchevel endowed with the world’s most expansive skiable area, stretching for some 600km around the “Trois Vallées”. It also counts an astounding number of Michelin-starred restaurants, five-star hotels and opulent chalets, elegant bars and haute-couture shopping opportunities, from Chanel to Fendi.
Imagine a day here speeding through high-quality powder, followed by a gastronomic, unforgettable meal at tables such as two-star Michelin restaurant Le Chabichou, and an evening of pure luxury at hotels like the Cheval Blanc Courchevel, with its opulent Alpine-stye rooms and fantastic spa.
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Courchevel’s world-class services for VIP visitors– from a dedicated airfield for private jets to ski valets at most high-end hotels– make it an easy favourite among the most discerning snow enthusiasts.
The high-energy and crowds at Courchevel won’t be for everyone, of course. If you’re looking for some truly exceptional slopes and après activities that are laid-back yet authentically luxurious, the Alpe d’Huez station may be your ideal destination. France’s first-ever drag lift debuted here during the 1930s, and the station has gained in stature and prestige over the decades as high-end hotels, restaurants and a private airport sprung up there.
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With its skiable peaks reaching to an altitude of 3,300m on the Pic Blanc glacier, Alpe d’Huez is also one of the sunniest luxury resorts in France, and is often referred to as “The Island of the Sun”. It’s equipped with numerous state-of-the-art lifts and an enormous number of exciting, invigorating runs.
After a day out on the slopes, enjoy a champagne reception and a fantastic meal at one of the resort’s unique, high-end traditional chalets, whose spas and wellness rooms are also legendary. Michelin-starred restaurant L’Altiport is also famous among gastronomes for its authentic and delicious local cuisine, and its views over the surrounding landscapes on the terrace outside are superb.
One of our very favourite ski resorts in France is arguably every bit as luxurious as Courchevel or Chamonix, but offers a rustic, authentic and less ostentatious ambience that many snow-sports enthusiasts will prefer. Megève, nestled in the Haute-Savoie region in close reach of the Swiss and Italian borders, is an old-Europe haven that’s actually inhabited outside of ski season. This gives it an authentic, rustic feel, including during the Christmas and holiday season when its soft lights and horse-drawn carriages create an unforgettably festive atmosphere. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with top-rate slopes, five-star hotels, ultra-luxurious spas, prestigious boutiques and gastronomic restaurants.
Megève has in fact historically attracted many wealthy and famous visitors since the 1920s, when it became a preferred spot for those seeking a more subdued, discreet sort of luxury. The fantastic slopes offer breathtaking views over Mont Blanc, while the wide variety of runs appeals to everyone from beginners to the most experienced skiers. Meanwhile, the après facilities in the quaint old town are outstanding.
To soothe tired muscles after a day of adventure and action, soak in the hot outdoor pools and enjoy top-rate treatments at the Fermes de Marie, a 5-star hotel and spa that’s also one of the most opulent places to stay. Then consider enjoying a memorable dinner featuring local cuisine and superb wines at Flocons de Sel, the hotel’s three-starred Michelin restaurant helmed by star chef Emmanuel Renaut (who owns the five-star hotel of the same name with his wife, Kristine).
Last but certainly not least on our shortlist of the finest French Alpine resorts is Méribel, treasured by the world’s jet-set for its intimate, bespoke brand of luxury. Nestled in the famous Three Valleys area, this resort has everything a serious high-end snow enthusiast could wish for: state-of-the-art lifts, invigorating and challenging slopes with fantastic Alpine views, elegant, sprawling spas and wellness facilities, couture boutiques, and tables whose food and wine rank among the best in the Alps. What it also offers are exclusive, private experiences that can’t easily be found elsewhere.
Méribel is coveted for its luxurious chalets featuring everything from private cinemas to personal attendants and spas reserved exclusively for you. Meanwhile, prestigious hotels like Le Kaila offer so many luxurious amenities on their premises that some guests may find it difficult to head outside into the cold.
The shopping amenities in Méribel are likewise superb, with standalone boutiques from the likes of Prada and Coco Chanel lining the tony streets of the main town. And if you’re after an authentic gastronomic experience, restaurants such as Fruitière — headed by star chef Franck Mischler– are acclaimed for their superb Savoy-inspired cuisine, fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and seemingly endless selections of fine wine.