France offers that "je ne sais quoi" unique to the French ski holiday experience. Yes, that indisputable French style extends to slopes. You'll find that the French are as elegant on piste as off piste. With plenty of shopping opportunities in all resorts though you'll be able to emulate the locals.
That ubiquitous style and class pervades the resorts, the lifts and the slopes. France is truly a top class place to ski whether you are a complete novice or experienced skier. Many French resorts offer vast skiing areas or domains which provide varied and challenging skiing for the more advanced skier. You can literally change valley and ski from resort to resort with the same lift pass in many areas. All French ski schools have a strong reputation so if you're a first time skier you can be sure that you're in the perfect place to learn from scratch or perfect those turns.
All this before we even begin to consider the renowned French cuisine and wine. Small, cosy restaurants and bistro style eateries abound in all resorts and aprÃ¨s ski ranges from sophisticated upmarket in Val d'IsÃ¨re to downing those pints in Les Arcs.
Accommodation is of the high standards that you'd expect in a leading ski region with apartments providing particularly good value.
- 1 Climate
- 2 Getting There
- 3 Cultural Info
- 4 Health and Safety
- 5 Resources
French resorts are mostly government owned and operated. The social system puts a high percentage of money back into the areas. This provides state-of-the-art lifts, snow making and snow grooming. In general, an intermediate skier who can read a lift map will easily be able to ski all day avoiding lift lines and crowds, even during the busiest season.
Visas and Documentation
Australian tourists do not need a visa for France.
Popular airports for skiers include Grenoble and Geneva, which has an easy access 'French' side. There are international airports at Lyons and Nice, so you can visit the Cote d'Azur for a few days on the way home.
Customs and Quarantine
Barely noticeable. There is no incoming passenger card. They will look at your passport if you ask them nicely.
Languages: French (also Flemish, Alsacian, Breton, Basque, Catalan, ProvenÃ§al & Corsican)
Ethnic groups: 92% French, 3% North African, 2% German, 1% Breton, 2% Other
Major Religions: 90% Roman Catholic, 2% Protestant, 1% Muslim, 1% Jewish, 6% unaffiliated
The TGV (high speed trains) go close to the resorts in the Alps. There is a line direct from Paris to Bourg St Maurice that gives easy access to many of the resorts. Paris to Bourg St Maurice takes a bit over 4 hours.
Rental cars are almost all manual. Europcar is the most widespread rental company. They have an office in Bourg St Maurice. There are Autoroutes (motorways) all over the place. Most of them are tollways. There are regular toll plazas where you can pay with cash or a card. The card readers do not always work so have backup cash, just in case. The speed limit is 130 km/hr. France has recently introduced speed cameras and people seem to obey the speed limit (a little odd in Europe). Information about driving in France
European hotel rooms tend to be a little on the smaller side, particularly compared to North America. Bathrooms in particular can be cramped. Lifts up to upper floors, if they exist, can be quaint (which means tiny with idiosyncratic methods of operation). In most hotels you will not have hot and cold running flunkies catering to your every whim.
Food and Drink
You will eat and drink well, for reasonable prices. Or you can eat spectacularly well for quite a lot of money. It is France, after all.
Your conception of what cheese actually tastes like will change.
Technology and Networks
The French do not like American Express or Diners.
You will be expected to know the PIN for your credit card and it should be chipped.
Tipping is a way of life in France. Expect to find the service included "service compris" in most restaurant charges. If the service is not included, a 15% tip is customary. If a service charge is included, leave some change, five to seven percent is customary, on the table. FF10 is customary for chambermaids and hotel porters.
Health and Safety
Rescue by the ski patrol in France is not free. You will be expected to pay, and an evacuation by helicopter can be very expensive. Insurance is available from ticket offices, is relatively cheap and a good idea.
- Information source: Wikipedia
- Information source: Template:Source skicomau
- Travel Warnings : Smart Traveller
This category has the following 5 subcategories, out of 5 total.