There’s no better way to celebrate New Year than on the ski slopes. Luckily, plenty of French ski resorts cater to families, offering children’s entertainment, torch lit descents and incredible fireworks displays. Here’s our pick of the best family-friendly resorts in France in which to spend New Year.
© S. Lerendu
With access to an amazing range of ski terrain and brilliant off-slope activities, this resort is great for families all season. On the 31st of December, however, it is particularly special. To celebrate the end of the year, many of the restaurants offer New Year’s Eve menus and bars host individual parties. There is also a massive fireworks display, to welcome the new year with a bang.
Aside from the New Year celebrations, there are plenty of other activities on offer, from dog sledding to ice skating. Plus, don’t forget about the amazing indoor water park Aquariaz. With a main pool, river rapids, half-pipe, mini flume, water cannons and play area, it’s the perfect place to keep kids entertained while they’re out of their ski boots.
The skiing in Avoriaz is also brilliant for families. The Village des Enfants is right in the centre of the resort, providing a snowgarden for the little ones to play and the chance for more experienced young skiers to head up the piste with their instructors. The Alpine Avoriaz ski school also offers great tuition for kids. Meanwhile, the more advanced skiers have the fantastic Portes du Soleil on their doorstep, and can even venture over to Switzerland.
Where to stay: Residence L'Amara offers luxurious self-catering apartments with exceptional facilities, right at the entrance of the resort. If you're looking for something more budget-friendly, Residence Saskia Falaise is an ideal option close to the centre of the resort.
© Merci L'Agence
Celebrations are held across the base villages of Les Arcs on December 31st, with fireworks, torchlight descents and even laser shows.
The resort is an ideal choice for families at any time of the year so entertainment for the rest of the trip is also guaranteed. Le Village Arc 1950 offers an exceptional range of facilities, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a kids' club, saunas and a Deep Nature Spa. Meanwhile, Arc 1800 is now home to Mille 8 – a snowy paradise for children, with a toboggan run, themed discovery piste and a freestyle fun course.
Being part of the Paradiski area also means there’s amazing ski terrain available for a wide range of abilities. All four base villages have gentle slopes suitable for beginners and lifts designed for ease-of-use. There’s a great selection of ski schools, including a New Generation centre based in Arc 2000. Intermediate and advanced skiers have a fantastic choice of runs to try and can ski over to La Plagne. Those who fancy a bit of night skiing can take part in the evening activity on Tuesdays or Thursdays during the season.
Where to stay: Le Village Arc 1950 is the ideal base for a family ski holiday, or La Source des Arcs provides high-altitude luxury in Arc 2000.
© Y. Marot
At PowderBeds, we’ve always considered Flaine to be great for families. For New Year’s Eve in 2015, the resort particularly stands out for the sparkling extravaganza it’s hosting. On December 31st, visitors to Flaine will be treated to ‘L’Abus des Sens’ from the Faubourg theatre company, which is a fire show, involving magic, juggling and mythical creatures. Prepare to be amazed.
Families can also enjoy a range of other activities in the resort, including indoor climbing, dog sledding, bowling and swimming. There’s a weekly guided tour of the art and architecture provided by Flaine creators Eric and Sylvie Boissonas, including work by Picasso and Dubuffet. The cultural centre also has an exhibition space for contemporary artists, and a library, video and multimedia zone.
With access to the Grand Massif ski area, Flaine is great for families who like to make the most of their time on the slopes, offering an incredible range of terrain, including a 14km blue run called ‘Cascades’. There’s also two dedicated kids’ ski schools (Le Club Piou Piou and Le Rabbit Club).
Where to stay: Flaine Montsoleil Les Terrasses d'Eos and Helios both offer stylish apartments with great leisure facilities in a ski-in/ski-out position at the top of the resort. If you are looking for something a little closer to the centre, than Residence La Foret provides great-value modern and comfortable apartments close to the piste in Flaine Foret.
© C. Cattin
While VT might be known for having a rather raucous après scene, at New Year families are not neglected. As well as a live concert, their Val Tho Crazy Night on December 31st consists of a torch lit descent, fireworks, a ski and snow freestyle show and other entertainment for children.
In terms of other activities, Val Thorens is home to the world’s longest toboggan run, which is a whopping 6km. Children under five aren’t allowed to try it but those between five and ten can ride with an adult free of charge. The resort also has a huge swimming pool and a great fun park for kids at the Sports Centre.
Those who head to Val Thorens have access to world-class skiing in the 3 Valleys. There’s a wide range of runs, so all abilities are catered for and the beginner and intermediate slopes are easily accessible for young learners. There’s also a great selection of ski schools, including New Generation and ESF centres.
Where to stay: Le Tikal offers self-catering apartments in a great location on the Rue de Soleil, near the beginner area and ski school meeting points.
Traditionally one of the more budget-friendly resorts in the 3 Valleys, Les Menuires doesn’t disappoint at the end of the year. 200 French ski school instructors descend the slopes by torchlight in the evening, and there’s a great fireworks display to mark the beginning of the New Year. There’s also musical entertainment, free mulled wine and snacks to get everyone in the celebratory spirit.
The resort is great for kids the whole season, with a swimming pool and two cinemas to keep them entertained. Plus, there’s Speed Mountain – an unusual toboggan run on rails. Those brave enough to try it get to experience a thrilling 1km trip full of twists and turns. Children over the age of five are allowed to ride with an adult.
Again, with access to the largest lift-linked ski area in the world, Les Menuires offers a fantastic range of skiing. Intermediate and advanced skiers can shoot off to the 3 Valleys to take advantage of the incredible number of runs, while beginners can perfect their skills on the great nursery slope area in the resort. There’s also a good selection of ski schools for learners, including an ESF centre.
Where to stay: Les Clarines offers stunning apartments with a gorgeous spa area, just 50 metres from the slopes.
Posted on Friday 06 Nov 2015