Winter in France: What to See and Do

While it may come as a surprise, one of the best times to visit France is during the winter months. You can experience the country with less crowds while still taking advantage of all of the rich cultural offerings. In fact, there are numerous food and wine and outdoor and adventure excursions only available in the cooler months. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s picks for what to see and do during the winter in France.


Winter in France: What to See and Do

Provence: Private Truffle Hunting and Tasting Tour

winter in france provence truffle hunting

From November until April, you’ll have the chance to explore the world’s most secretive and exciting business. Visit a Provençal truffle plantation where you’ll take a tour, learn about the cultivation of truffles as well as the training of truffle dogs. Afterwards, accompany trained hunters to hunt for France’s elusive “black gold.” You’ll soon know the difference between a real Provençal tuber melanosporum and its inferior Chinese counterparts as well as the process of cleaning, storing, and cooking truffles.

Truffles aren’t the only thing you’ll discover on the exciting tour. Along the way you’ll see wild herbs, vineyards, olive groves, and beehives.

Following the hunt, enjoy different hors d’oeuvres including truffle ice cream and truffle honey, a tasting of the plantation’s own truffle oils, truffle salts, and organic extra-virgin olive oils paired with Champagne. A wonderful winter in France foodie experience!

Where to Stay in Provence
villa saint ange provence

Villa Saint Ange

This 5-star hotel is unique in Aix-en-Provence. Housed in an 18th-century villa with expansive grounds, it is nevertheless within walking distance of the historic city center.

Rooms and suites are large with modern amenities and sophisticated décor.

The onsite restaurant offers a take on Mediterranean and Italian classes. Lunch on the large terrace is divine in warm weather. The bar serves creative cocktails inspired by artists like Picasso and Vasarely.

Guests can enjoy access to the spa, gym, heated swimming pool, terrace, and large garden.

Loire Valley: Exceptional Vintage Wine Tasting

loire valley wine tasting

With the Loire River, north meets south. Thanks to the mild climate and all the different “terroirs,” there is a wonderful diversity of wines: 50 appellations and PDO for 70,000 hectares of vineyards.

You will find a large choice among the refreshing, fruity and delicate rosés, reds that are both complex and easy drinking, and whites ranging from dry to sweet reds. There are also wonderful sparkling wines produced using the same method as Champagnes. The wines are all perfect for specific food pairings because most are made with a single grape variety.

Visit a domaine with an astonishing 10th century cellar, excavated in limestone. It contains very rare wines from exceptional years which date back to 1874. You will have the chance to take a tour of the cellar, during which some of the secrets of the winemaking will be revealed. During the tasting you’ll enjoy a variety of wines, including five exceptional vintage wines, paired with local charcuterie.

French Alps: After Hours Skiing

winter in france after hours skiing in courchevel

Have you ever dreamed of having the iconic French Alps slopes to yourself? With this unique winter in France experience, it’s completely possible. You’ll have the opportunity to continue skiing after the slopes are closed for the day. You’ll meet your expert guide at the top of Courchevel to have a drink and enjoy the sunset.

Then, once the sky is dark and everyone is at home, you’ll have the entire slope to yourself and experience after hours skiing at night. This is an excellent opportunity to take in the unique view of the lights of Courchevel from above!

Burgundy: Private Mulled Wine and Gingerbread Experience

burgundy wine and gingerbread

The wintertime is the best time to enjoy hot mulled wine. The best, of course, come from Burgundy! Tour Philippe le Bon, which is over 150 feet tall, provides an exceptional panoramic view of the city of Dijon and its surroundings. It’s an ideal, yet unexpected, place to enjoy a hot beverage.

After a climb to the top, you’ll be able to sip mulled wine paired with gingerbread, which is another specialty of Burgundy. During this unique experience you’ll have the Tour Philippe le Bon completely to yourself. A unique and romantic winter moment in France indeed.

Where to Stay in Burgundy
relais bernard loiseau

Le Relais Bernard Loiseau

This 5-star hotel is located in the Morvan regional natural park in the heart of Dijon. The 33 rooms and suites are organized on four levels, served by the emblematic oak stair tower. The rooms of the hotel are authentically furnished and have a heritage look blended with modern amenities and comforts.

The restaurant embodies the excellence and attachment to the land of Burgundy. The chef seeks to bring nature, specifically the Morvan, into the plate.

The spa has been multi-distinguished for the unique experience it offers to customers. It is composed of a multi-sensory space for an intense and diverse stimulation of the five senses along with another space conducive to relaxation and well-being.

Versailles: VIP Experience at the Château de Versailles

versailles vip experience

Experience one of the most popular landmarks in France without all of the crowds. During this unique private tour, a guide of the Palace will take you to discover the lesser-known gems of the amazing Château.

The Palace of Versailles holds genuine treasures that are unknown to most visitors – think secret passages, rooms, private apartments, bathrooms and other hidden places. Apartments belonging to kings, queens, mistresses and courtiers in this royal residence, a symbol of French absolutism and artistic and cultural influence, reveal everyday life in the Court and key events in the history of France.

After your tour, it’s only fitting to relive the sumptuous evenings of the King. From the menu to the waiters’ attire, from the setting to the tableware, everything comes together to make a dinner in the Ducasse salons at the Château de Versailles an experience. For this 12-course dinner, Alain Ducasse carried out careful research and took his inspiration from 18th century menus. Yet behind the ancient names you’ll discover a contemporary interpretation of the cuisine. Beyond dinner, it is a genuine experience.


Ready to see and do all of the fabulous offerings this winter in France? There’s still time to make it happen! Our travel designers are standing by and can help you book any of these activities and create the perfect fall itinerary in France. Some of our most popular fall destinations include Normandy, Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Southern France.

Visiting Paris in the Winter

Don’t let the colder temperatures deter you, visiting Paris in the winter is a wonderful idea. You can experience Christmas markets, taste plenty of seasonal foods and drinks, and finish your holiday shopping – all with the City of Light decked in holiday lights and decorations in the background. We’re sharing some of the highlights of visiting Paris in the winter.


Visiting Paris in the Winter

Take in the Holiday Lights and Decorations

visiting paris during the winter notre dame decorations

They take holiday lights and decorations very seriously in the City of Light. As a result, pretty much anywhere you go you’ll be struck by the magic of the season. Even small boutiques and neighborhoods participate in decorating – the results are charming and make Paris feel like a small village.

However, don’t miss the holiday lights and decorations found along the major avenues and places in Paris. Highlights year after year include the sparking white lights on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the glamorous Avenue Montaigne, the striking Place Vendôme, and the whimsical Boulevard Saint Germain.

paris by night 2cv

Illumination Tour of Paris with A Glass of Champagne in a Classic French Car

Paris, City of Light, is never more stunning than at night, when she truly lives up to her name. With illuminated avenues and spot-lit monuments Paris takes on a fairy-tale dimension. The city becomes extra magical during the holiday season!

You’ll be welcomed with a glass of champagne and visit Paris in a classic Citroën 2CV with an English-speaking guide. See the highlights of central Paris including the Avenue des Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Trocadéro, the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, Pont Alexandre III, the Petit and Grand Palais, the Place de la Concorde, the Garnier Opera, the Place Vendôme, the Louvre, the Île de la Cité, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. You’ll also enjoy a stunning perspective of the city from the top, at the balcony in Montmartre. Truly the perfect way to see all of the holiday lights!

See the Christmas Markets in Paris

paris christmas market in the tuileries

A must-see when visiting Paris in the winter is one or more of the fabulous Christmas markets in Paris. You’ll find the markets sprinkled throughout the city. Each is different and provides a festive mix of ways to take in the holiday spirit. We recommend getting a cup of hot chocolate and wandering the various stalls. You’ll find holiday decorations, regional and seasonal food specialties, music, sometimes rides and attractions and just general merriment!

Some of our favorite Christmas Markets in Paris can be found in the following locations: the Tuileries Garden (formerly along the Champs-Élysées), Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Saint-Sulpice, Place de la Nation, Place des Abesses in Montmartre, Gare de l’Est and Trocadéro.

Get Your Holiday Shopping Done

galeries lafayette christmas tree 2022

Year-round, the shopping is fabulous in Paris. Once the department stores and boutiques install their famous holiday window and interior displays they become nearly impossible to resist. And what better way to surprise someone on your list than with a special gift from Paris? The Grands Magasins, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps have some of the most impressive window displays in the city year after year, and the Christmas tree inside Galeries Lafayette is truly incredible. Don’t miss the tree’s light and animation show every half-hour.

On the Left Bank you’ll find the oldest department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché, which always has impressive window displays and decorations. The fabulous Samaritaine reopened in 2021 after extensive renovations and features a striking holiday display blended with intricate architectural details.

samaritaine christmas

Private Guided Visit of La Samaritaine

Over the past 150 years, Samaritaine has sparked fond memories for many Parisians – from climbing the theatrical steps that lead to its renowned glass roof to shopping for unexpected gifts in the company of loved ones.

Graced with state-of-the-art architecture and exquisite historical features, the landmark has been gloriously reimagined, fusing original Art Nouveau and Art Deco details with contemporary newness. Located in the beating heart of Paris, this iconic landmark will become a must-visit destination for locals and travelers to indulge in what is quintessentially the Parisian experience.

In this tour, your guide will tell you all about the history of La Samaritaine, its architecture, the renovations which have been recently done and also what’s in store for La Samaritaine in the near future.

Taste Traditional French Christmas Foods and Drinks

vin chaud and chocolat chaud

Throughout the holiday season you’ll find seasonal foods and drinks sprinkled throughout restaurant and café menus, bakeries, as well as in markets and grocery stores. There’s always plenty of seafood including oysters, scallops, smoked salmon and lobster, as well as foie gras and capon. Bûche de Noël is a favorite dessert. Many of the city’s top pastry chef’s each create a version with their own special touch.

To drink you’ll find the Alsatian specialty vin chaud at many cafés and Christmas markets. There’s no better way to warm up than with a glass of mulled wine. Chocolat chaud is also a must. Angelina is known for their thick and rich version of hot chocolate, but we also love chocolate master Jacques Genin’s delicious version of the drink. For people-watching, you can’t beat a cup of hot chocolate at Café de Flore.

And of course, when in France, Champagne is always a good idea. Stop for a glass at a café or restaurant, treat yourself to an exceptional setting at a hotel bar, or better yet, enjoy a private Champagne tasting in a magnificent cellar to learn even more about this delicate drink.

galerie vivienne christmas decorations

Luxury Christmas Food & Decoration Private Walking Tour

Get into the Christmas magic with this exceptional walking tour. Your itinerary will start at the Grands Magasins, where you will discover what makes Christmas in Paris so special: food, wine and decorations. We’ll enter into a paradise of gourmet connoisseurs for an oyster and white wine tasting. Next, we’ll discover the best of Christmas foods all in one place (cheese, salmon, caviar, foie gras, chocolate, gingerbread and more).

After the tasting, you will admire the Christmas lights, decorations and trees in the stores. We’ll continue our walk to Madeleine where we’ll see the church as well as numerous gourmet shops.

Finally, we will take the little streets and passages, full of Christmas lights and decorations until we reach one of Paris’ best wine bars for a foie gras and champagne tasting!

Where to Stay in Paris During the Winter

hotel san regis christmas

To maximize your holiday spirit and experience in Paris during the winter we recommend staying in the heart of the city. The five-star Hotel San Régis is located just off of the Champs-Elysées and close to the Arc de Triomphe. You’ll have the best of Paris during the holidays at your fingertips with incredible access to Christmas markets, lights and decorations, shopping and more. After a long day, wind down with a drink at the bar or stroll the adjacent Avenue Montaigne to take in the impressive holiday displays.

For interior design fanatics, the 5-star Château Voltaire is a dream. The hotel is a tribute to the Parisian art de vivre. Three buildings dating from from the 17th and 18th centuries were combined to create the hotel. You’ll be steps away from the gorgeous Palais Garnier opera house, lively Jardin des Tuileries, and sophisticated shopping on Place Vendôme.

chateau voltaire hotel paris
© Romeo Ballancourt

Ready to visit Paris in the winter? There’s still time to plan a trip for this year! Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

French Winter Ski Guide: Chamonix

Located in the shadow of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, Chamonix is one of the world’s premier ski towns. It features exceptional on-piste and off-piste skiing. In the town you’ll find nightlife that is as famous as the skiing! Between the great restaurants, exciting bars, wonderful shopping and excursions, this really is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a winter escape. Read on to discover our French winter ski guide to Chamonix.


French Winter Ski Guide: Chamonix

How to Get to Chamonix

french winter ski guide how to get to chamonix

You can get to Chamonix by flying, driving, or taking a train. Flying is perhaps the most convenient option. Chamonix is just one hour and 15 minutes from the Geneva Airport via private transfer. It’s also possible to drive to Chamonix. One needs to be prepared for driving in the snow and inclement weather conditions, plus parking can be difficult. Lastly, it is possible to take a train to Chamonix. The station is just a five-minute walk from the town square, however the small train line requires changing lines. From Paris it takes on average six to seven hours to get to Chamonix by train.

What to Do in Chamonix

chamonix skiing

The Chamonix Valley features five different ski resorts that can all be accessed by a free ski bus. The slopes are suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders from beginner to advanced. Chamonix also boasts some of the best off-piste skiing (powder or backcountry skiing) in all of the Alps. The ski slopes are world renowned and include the Vallée Blanche’s 9,000-foot descent from the Aiguille du Midi back to Chamonix. Alternatively, you can take the cable to the top of the Aiguille du Midi (12,605 feet) to appreciate the spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.

If you don’t ski, no problem! There’s still plenty to do in Chamonix. Besides enjoying the shopping, arts and culture, restaurants, and bars in town there are numerous adventures to be had. Activities include ice climbing, helicopter tours and paragliding, husky sledging, trail running, fat tire biking, guided photo walks, and snowshoeing.

An Unforgettable Experience: Ski Joering

Discover Ski joering, another ancestral snow sport, in total harmony with nature. Drawn by beautiful natural horses, this original form of back-country skiing is respectful of the environment and also tremendous fun!

This activity is suitable for both adults and children eight-years-old and older, provided they can use a drag lift. A wonderful activity for the whole family!

Where to Eat in Chamonix

albert 1er where to eat in Chamonix
Albert 1er

After a long day on the slopes, it’s always nice to warm up with a comforting meal. Chalet-chic Le Monchu located at the base of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi features Savoyard specialties like fondue, tartiflette, raclette, and different meats cooked over a wood-burning fire. With a mix of bistro dishes and local cuisine there is sure to be something for everyone in your group. Another popular option is Le Panier des 4 Saisons which offers traditional French foods in an elegant but relaxed setting. You’ll find the restaurant on a small pedestrian side street – it’s only open for dinner so we recommend reserving in advance.

Albert 1er is known as the best restaurant in Chamonix. Founded in 1903, the restaurant serves local produce from the Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva regions and grows herbs in their own garden. Both the service and the wine list are spectacular – the wine cellar houses over 19,000 bottles!

Photography Experience in Chamonix: Private Guided Photo Walk

Your private guide is an experienced photographer based in the Chamonix region. Together you’ll embark on a photo walk designed to develop your photographic eye while also discovering the character of the valley’s hamlets in their unique settings. The theme of the walk can be set baed on your personal wishes. Themes include architecture, gastronomy, and nature.

You can also have a photoshoot with your professional photographer and guide to mark your time in Chamonix.

Where to Stay in Chamonix

hotel mont blanc in chamonix
Hotel Mont-Blanc

Ideally located a few steps from the main street, the 5-star Hotel Mont-Blanc has welcomed a cosmopolitan clientele since 1849. Nature and the surroundings inspired the hotel’s recent renovations, which you will surely understand after seeing the rooms which face a beautiful panorama of mountains. After a long day on the slopes enjoy the outdoor pool, heated both in summer and winter, with a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc.

For groups of up to 12, Armancette’s Saphir Chalet is the perfect solution. This brand new and highly exclusive chalet is located just at the entrance of Chamonix with ski slopes only 300 meters away. The chalet features four bedrooms and one dormitory room with a sauna, ski room, and stunning decor throughout. One of the best places is certainly on the terrace in the Storvatt Nordic bath where you’ll fully enjoy a spectacular panorama of the Mont-Blanc Valley and Chamonix.

Armancette's Saphir Chalet
Armancette’s Saphir Chalet

We hope our French winter ski guide to Chamonix will help inspire a trip. With the winter ski season about to kick off, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to start creating your custom itinerary. We offer a whole host of itineraries based in the French Alps. Our favorite Chamonix tours include a Skiing from a Historic Hotel in Mont Blanc’s Shadow, A 5-star Ski Vacation to Chamonix and the Mont-Blanc Valley, and A Family Summer Vacation in Chamonix.

Christmas in France: Must-See Highlights by Region

The holiday season in France is something that every traveller should experience at least once. Starting in mid-November there is an unrivaled festive atmosphere that overtakes the country. Whether you’re coming to get some shopping done in Paris, visit the Christmas Markets in Strasbourg, or to see the Loire Valley châteaux decorated, there’s truly something extraordinary almost anywhere you go. We’re breaking down the Christmas in France must-see highlights down by region.


Christmas in France: Must-See Highlights by Region

Lyon: Fête des Lumières

lyon fete des lumieres 2022
Photo Courtesy of the City of Lyon

For four nights in December, a variety of different artists take over Lyon for the Fête des Lumières. You’ll be able to discover illuminations on buildings, streets, squares and parks throughout the city. The 2022 Fête des Lumieres runs from December 8th to 11th. You can find more information here.

Paris: Christmas Shopping

galeries lafayette paris christmas

There’s so much to do in the French capital during the holidays that we have an entire post about visiting Paris in the winter. One activity that brings a lot of seasonal highlights together is Christmas shopping. Whether you’re visiting the Grand Magasin department stores or one of the Christmas markets you’ll be sure to take in the festive decorations and lights, and you’ll be able to bring back gifts from Paris!

Île de France: Vaux-le-Vicomte

christmas in france vaux le vicomte
Photo by Yann Pirioux

While the Château de Versailles doesn’t decorate for Christmas, one stunning castle in the Paris region that does is Vaux-le-Vicomte. Visitors will discover illuminations in both the gardens and the château. Inside, decorations have a gourmet theme this year. Rooms will be scented with gingerbread and cinnamon. To complete the cozy atmosphere, fireplaces will be lit and carriage rides will be offered. This year the festivities go from November 19th until December 31st (closed on December 25th). Reservations are required.

vaux le vicomte christmas
Photo Courtesy of Vaux-le-Vicomte

Private Guided Christmas Tour of Vaux-le-Vicomte with Afternoon Tea or Cocktail in a Private Room

After the castle is closed to the public, discover the State Rooms and the private apartments in peace. Your private guide will recount the tales from the heyday of the estate; from its creation by Nicolas Fouquet, through its operation in the 18th and 19th century, until its opening to visitors in 1968 thanks to the current owners, the De Vogüe family.

Afterwards, enjoy an extraordinary moment of relaxation in the Salon Le Brun. There will be a monumental projection specially set up for you! An evening fit for a King and Queen!

Strasbourg: Christmas Market

strasbourg christmas market 2022

The Christmas Markets in and around Strasbourg are without a doubt a holiday must-see. With more than 300 market stalls, miles of garlands of light, the majestic Big Tree, and dazzling shows and concerts there is nothing quite like the Strasbourg Christmas Market. This year the market is open from November 25th until December 24th at 6:00 pm. The After-Christmas Village at Louise Weiss Square will be open until January 1st 2023.

Loire Valley: Christmas Châteaux

loire valley christmas 2022

The Loire Valley châteaux are marvelous year round (we’ve identified our ten favorites here). During the holidays, many of the châteaux are decorated both inside and out. From Saturday December 3rd through Monday January 2nd, seven of the largest châteaux in the Loire region are celebrating the spirit of the end-of-year festivities through exceptional tours and events. You’ll see Christmas trees, festive wreaths, and holiday tables dressed to the nines. It’s truly a wonderful time of the year in the Loire Valley and especially fun for families.

Normandy: Christmas Markets and Light Shows

christmas in normandy rouen christmas market
Photo Courtesy of Normandy Tourism

In a region known for gourmet specialties including hearty ciders and cheeses, it’s not difficult to imagine that Christmas is a lively time of year. You’ll find Christmas Markets in the most picturesque of places: at the foot of Mont Saint-Michel (dates to be announced), along the port of Honfleur (dates to be announced), and at the base of the Rouen Cathedral (from November 23rd to December 25th) to name a few.

Provence: Unique Traditions

christmas in provence
Photo Courtesy of Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Tourisme

In Provence, there is a unique Christmas tradition to eat 13 desserts following the Christmas dinner: one for each Christ and his twelve apostles. Each of the desserts served varies a bit based on the region and particular family. Some common items include fougasse, the four beggars (almonds, raisins, dried figs and nuts), Cachat piquant, white and black nougat, calissons, pain d’épice, and of course, the Bûche de Noël.

You’ll also find Santons, little clay figurines in nativity scenes. The literal translation of Santon is ‘little saint.’ There’s an entire Foire aux Santons dedicated to these collectables in Marseille, this year from November 19th through December 31st.

Bordeaux: Christmas Markets in Wine Country

christmas in bordeaux
© Facebook / Marché de Noël de Bordeaux

In the heart of Bordeaux you’ll find the Christmas market back again this year from November 25th to December 25th. It’s a wonderful place to admire the decorations and also get some shopping done. For a more artisanal market, this year there is a special Christmas market in the heart of Saint-Émilion on December 10th and 11th.

Pas de Calais: Fête de la Dinde de Licques

fete de liques 2022

France can be known for being quirky. Perhaps one of the quirkiest Christmas festivals is the Licques Turkey Festival in the north of France. It’s named for the turkey, which is a popular item served on Christmas day in France, but you’ll also find all sorts of gourmet regional products. It’s the perfect opportunity to prepare your Christmas menu and stock up on wine, cheese, chocolate, Champagne, and of course turkey! This year the festival will be held on December 10th and 11th.

French Alps: Snow, Skiing, and Merriment

christmas in france megeve

The snowy alps make them the perfect setting to celebrate a memorable Christmas. Whether you’re in Courchevel or Val d’Isère, you’ll be enchanted by the special Christmas magic including parades throughout town, Santa hitting the slopes and more.

Winter in Courchevel: The Last Track After Hours Ski

You’ll have the opportunity to continue skiing after the slopes are closed for the end of the day. You’ll meet at the top of Courchevel to have a drink while you enjoy the sunset.

Then, once the sky is dark and everyone is at home, you’ll enjoy the entire slope for yourself and experience what skiing at night is like. An excellent opportunity to take in the view on the lights of Courchevel from the top!

Are you ready to spend the holidays in France? Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you. They can help to identify the perfect region for you to experience the must-see Christmas highlights in France.

French Winter Ski Guide: Val d’Isère

Val d’Isère is a perfect winter destination for both beginner and advanced skiers. You’ll find over 300 kilometers of ski runs in this winter paradise, which are best explored with a private guide. Besides skiing, Val d’Isère is home to great nightlife, dining, and wonderful hotels. Don’t miss this charming Alpine town with its baroque church along with stone and wood chalets. Read on to discover our French winter ski guide featuring Val d’Isère.


French Winter Ski Guide: Val d’Isère

How to Get to Val d’Isère

val d'isère french winter ski guide

You can get to Val d’Isère by either plane, train, or automobile. Because of unpredictable winter weather, we recommend either flying into a neighboring airport or taking the train and letting us arrange a private transfer for you. There are four international airports near Val d’Isère: Geneva and Lyon, which are a three hour drive, and Chambéry and Grenoble, which are a two hour drive.

You can also take a high speed train (either TGV, Eurostar, or Thalys) to the Bourg-Saint-Maurice station, which is a 45 minute drive to Val d’Isère.

What to Do in Val d’Isère

val d'isere what to do french winter ski guide

Val d’Isère is known for skiing. To make the most of your experience, we recommend getting a three-day ski pass and booking a private ski instructor. Skiers of all styles and levels will enjoy the fabulous slopes, including beginners and kids. There are also plenty of other winter activities besides skiing including ice skating, fat tire biking, sledding, hand skiing, ice driving, ice climbing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and paragliding.

After you’ve finished skiing, be sure to partake in a favorite French pastime, the après-ski. Whether you want to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine or have a refreshing glass of Champagne or beer, you’re sure to find plenty of people enjoying themselves. There are famous restaurants on the mountain like La Folie Douce or charming places in the center of the village where you can partake in the fun.

Children can enjoy ice skating, the bowling alley, the movie theater, or the Aquasportif Center.

french winter ski guide

Val d’Isère Private Ski Guide

Discover the best snow and the best restaurants without having to look at the piste map with an official ski Guide! We can arrange a private ski guide to accompany you daily. Our Ski Guides know the ski areas inside out as well as where the snow conditions are best. They’ll be sure to take you to slopes best matched for your experience. Another bonus is whenever you’re with an official ski guide, you get lift queue priority!

Where to Eat in Val d’Isère

where to eat in val d'isère gigi
Gigi

You’ll find a wide range of restaurants in Val d’Isère from gastronomic options to casual brasseries, mountainside restaurants and more.

When in the French Alps, we always recommend trying the local Savoyard cuisine. Cheese and potatoes are the stars of many of the dishes including raclette, a melted cheese scraped off from the wheel and typically served with potatoes and meats, tartiflette, a gratin-like dish made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, onions, and lardons, and fondue, a melted mix of Comté, Beaufort, and other local cheeses that you dip bread into using a fondue skewer. In Val d’Isère, two great places to try the local Savoyard cuisine are La Corniche and Le Barillon.

La Table de l’Ours is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the area. This Michelin-starred restaurant offers fine dining in a warm, inviting chalet atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to warm up by the fire after a long day of skiing.

For wonderful views, don’t miss the mountaintop restaurant Gigi.

Where to Stay in Val d’Isère

airelles mademoiselle
Mademoiselle

In the center of Val d’Isère, perched on the edge of the ski slopes, sits Mademoiselle, a 5-star resort overlooking the majestic summits of the Vanoise mountains. The property invites those enamored with the mountains to live their own fairy tale. Inspired by the medieval period, Mademoiselle conjures up the architecture of the most beautiful residences in the Alps from long ago. A grandiose and separate world, the hotel is as luxurious as it is welcoming. The property also boasts a nearly 4,000 square foot Guerlain spa, magical children’s kingdom, cozy ski salon, gallery of boutiques hosting iconic brands, and four restaurants.

Another unique option in Val d’Isère is the Refuge de Solaise. This 5-star ski resort is nestled at an altitude of over 8,300 feet. From here you can take in a gorgeous sky of incredible purity, hanging over infinite landscapes of snow and ice. A stay at this hotel is about living in harmony with the light, surrounded by spectacular panoramas in an environment far removed from the hustle and bustle of the world below. The 16 rooms and four apartments offer views over the village, the valley and the mountains as far as the eye can see. The restaurant has a spacious feel with its extensive size and Alpine décor that blends beautiful local materials to create a warm yet understated look.

christmas in val d'isere
The Holidays in the French Alps

An Enchanted Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Val d’Isère

Being on the mountains is always magical, but especially during Christmastime. Each year, Val d’Isère offers a special week of events and activities all centered around the Magic of Christmas. You might see Père Noël on the slopes or parading through town in his sleigh. It’s a memorable highlight for both young and old!

On New Year’s Eve, enjoy a street party followed by fireworks. A festive time to visit Val d’Isère indeed!


We hope our French winter ski guide to Val d’Isère will help inspire a trip. With the winter ski season upon us, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to start creating your custom itinerary. We offer a whole host of itineraries based in the French Alps including a Fabulous Skiing in Val Thorens, A Five-Star Ski Vacation to Chamonix and the Mont Blanc Valley, and A Ski Vacation on the Mythical Val d’Isère Slopes.

Romantic Trips to Take This Winter in France

France is one of the most romantic destinations in the world to visit year-round. The distinct cultures, cuisines, wines and more mean that there’s something for virtually every traveler. Winter is an often overlooked time to visit France, but offers wonderful benefits, namely far less crowds. We’ve put together a list of ideas of romantic trips to France to take this winter. Each would be perfect for an upcoming proposal, honeymoon, anniversary or more!


Romantic Trips to Take this Winter in France

Paris: Classic Winter Romance in the City of Light

romantic winter trips to france paris

There is perhaps no city in the world more romantic than Paris, City of Light and love. From the moment you arrive the beauty of the city will sweep you off your feet. During the wintertime Paris is much less crowded. It’s a great time to visit always popular museums and monuments like the Musée du Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Château de Versailles.

A Romantic Winter Day in Paris

Start your morning with a delightful French breakfast at your hotel including croissants, breads, delicious jams, butter, fresh-squeezed fruit juices and more. Afterwards, your chauffeur will meet you in the lobby to take you to a private Christmas food and decoration walking tour.

You’ll see the fabulous Christmas displays in the most-celebrated department stores in Paris. You’ll taste traditional French foods served over Christmas: oysters, foie gras, and sweet treats like éclairs and macarons. Next, you’ll be off to take in the best decorations in the city. The last stop is a Champagne tasting in a charming covered passageway. What could be more romantic?

After your tour, stop for lunch at the casually elegant Bistrot des Victories with its beautiful Christmas tree. You could also try one of the best classic French restaurants in Paris (and a Julia Child favorite) Chez Georges.

Following lunch, you’ll be off for a unique wine tasting experience to discover France in six glasses. You’ll taste five wines and one Champagne and the sommelier will teach you interesting anecdotes about each wine and region. It’s like a mini Tour de France!

After such a special day, go back to your hotel to relax by the fireplace or enjoy a spa treatment.

Where to Stay in Paris
la reserve paris

La Réserve

This palace hotel is housed in a mansion dating from 1854.

Behind its ruby-red doors, it offers guests a world of Haussmann charm and rooms with stunning views of Paris’s finest landmarks. The elegant and stylish decoration: marble, wood paneling, gilding, mahogany, wall hangings, Cordoba leather, Versailles parquet flooring, antiques, and art decor objects illustrate the mansion’s belle époque history.

The hotel has 26 suites and 14 rooms that seamlessly combine tradition with modern technology: pastel tones, Carrara marble bathrooms, a Devon & Devon silver bathtub together with underfloor heating, screens integrated into the mirrors, an interactive tablet (with a special button to call your butler), all providing exceptional comfort for its prestigious clientele. It is also worth noting that it is the first palace hotel to offer a personal butler service for every room. There is special attention to making guests feel as though they are staying in a private home.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the world’s most beautiful avenue, this discrete and spacious establishment also has a private library and a smoking room. Other exclusive amenities for guests: a gym with a personal trainer, a steam room & spa with Nescens-Swiss products, and an indoor pool.

Awarded two Michelin stars after only one year of business, the chef has translated the excellence of the place into the cuisine. The restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine with Asian influences. The perfect place to kick off a romantic winter trip in France!

Chamonix: Unique Experiences on Mont Blanc for Adventure-Loving Couples

chamonix romantic winter trips france

Chamonix is the perfect destination to explore during a long weekend for an adventurous couple. The stunning scenery and views of Mont-Blanc draped in white will blow you away. You can spend the entire time skiing, but for our romantic stay we’ve selected several unforgettable activities that don’t require skis.

A Romantic Long Weekend in Chamonix

Start your trip on the right foot with a fun morning of snowshoeing. During this private guided tour you’ll experience the tranquility of snowy forests, summits, alpine bowls and ridges. It’ll be a special moment to share with your partner.

Afterwards, stop for lunch at Le 3842, which is one of the highest restaurants above Chamonix. You’ll enjoy fabulous views and local Savoyard cuisine made from the freshest regional produce. Be sure to reserve in advance as there are only 30 seats!

In the afternoon more breathtaking views are in store with a private panoramic Aiguille du Midi tour. This journey across the glaciers in the highest cable car in France is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It’s hard to think of more romantic winter views!

Be sure to take advantage of the spa at your hotel before the second day of your trip where you’ll partake in a full day private ice climbing tour. Chamonix has two climbing sites in the heart of the valley, and you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a day of fun discovering the magical crystalline universe.

Where to Stay in Chamonix
hotel mont blanc chamonix

Hotel Mont Blanc

Since 1849, the 5-star Hotel Mont-Blanc has hosted cosmopolitan clientele coming from all over the world to experience the highest peak in Europe.

The luxury hotel has been fully renovated in a style inspired by nature and its surroundings. The bedrooms overlook a beautiful panorama of mountains and offer space, luxury and comfort. The Savoyard inspired woodwork, black and white checkered marble, tailor made furniture, choice of materials and clever punctuation of bright colors creates a warm atmosphere, full of “joie de vivre.”

After the exhilaration of the summits, you can dive into the outdoor pool heated in summer and winter, which stretches over 14 meters with a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc. Or, relax in the spa and with its hammam, sauna, experience shower, fitness equipment and treatments designed by Clarins.

At the restaurant, the chef draws inspiration from the products from the beautiful French alpine valley. His cuisine is a journey through the Alps, the Aosta Valley and even the Mediterranean Basin.

Bordeaux: An Intimate Gourmet Destination

romantic winter trip bordeaux

The city of Bordeaux is romantic by nature with its charming streets, gorgeous architecture, and delicious foods and wines. Its location in southwest France makes it an ideal winter destination with milder temperatures. Thanks to the high-speed train it’s an easy addition to a Paris trip. Once you’ve experienced Bordeaux you’ll see how easy it is to fall in love!

A Romantic Day Discovering Bordeaux’s Food and Wine

To start the day you’ll be off on a private luxury gourmet walking tour. Not only will you discover the charm of the city like a real resident, but you’ll also taste the best of the best of Bordeaux’s regional specialties. You’ll have the opportunity to try rare products and visit a unique and historic atelier that will show you all of the secrets of their fabrication process.

Since the day is truly about food and wines, lunch will be a delightful wine and cheese pairing at Château Pape Clément. The sommelier at this Grands Crus Classés estate in Pessac will lead you through a pairing of eight great wines, each paired with an exceptional cheese.

Your last tour of the day will be a a private guided chocolate tour. During this full-chocolate experience you’ll get to sample the most refined chocolates in the city. You’ll discover the history of chocolate in Bordeaux and understand the chocolate making process from the origin of coco beans to the finished product. It’s the perfect opportunity to buy some chocolates to bring home and remember the romantic day in Bordeaux.

Dinner will be aboard the restaurant boat Sicambre for a dinner and cruise to discover Bordeaux’s beautiful UNESCO-recognized waterfront and architecture. The menu is inspired by traditional southwestern French cuisine and is all prepared onboard using local, seasonal ingredients. It’s the perfect ending to your day in perhaps France’s best area for foodies.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
bordeaux intercontinental le grand

Intercontinental Bordeaux Le Grand

This upscale 5-star hotel is in an 18th-century neoclassical-inspired building facing the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. It is in the city’s historic center with the Place de Quinconces and the Saint André Cathedral just a short stroll away.

Chic rooms feature ornate furnishings and rich palettes, plus free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and coffee machines. Suites add sitting areas, some with wine bars. Family suites have pull-out sofas and two bathrooms.

Amenities include two upscale restaurants, a stylish cocktail bar, and an indoor courtyard serving afternoon tea. Relax at the indoor pool, the fitness center, the spa, or the outdoor hot tub.

When booking this hotel with French Side Travel, enjoy the following privileges: 85€ value-added amenity (hotel credit), an upgrade to the next room category, early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability on arrival), and complimentary Wi-Fi on unlimited devices.


We hope these destinations will help inspire one or more romantic winter trips to France. Whether it’s during the holidays or after the New Year, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to create your custom itinerary. Be sure to check out our favorite tours in Paris, the French Alps, and Bordeaux.

Our Seven Favorite Classic French Restaurants in Paris

When it comes to traditional French cuisine there are choices galore in Paris. Sometimes the options can be overwhelming, so to help narrow your search we’ve identified our top seven favorite classic restaurants in Paris. These tried and true places are not only delicious, but also have lovely atmospheres and reliably friendly service.


Our Seven Favorite Classic French Restaurants in Paris

La Fontaine de Mars

fontaine de mars
Photo Courtesy of Fontaine de Mars

La Fontaine de Mars opened in 1908 making it one of the oldest bistros in Paris. The charming tiled floors, red and white checked tablecloths, and friendly service will make you feel as if you’re in a Paris from yesteryears. They are known for their incredible Escargot de Bourgogne “Fontaine de Mars,” roasted chicken with mashed potatoes (a Sunday specialty), and incredible wine list. When the weather is nice the restaurant also has a wonderful terrace. A great option classic French restaurant in Paris not far from the Eiffel Tower! La Fontaine de Mars, 129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris

Bistrot Paul Bert

bistrot paul bert
Courtesy of Sébastien Muylaert/Michelin

In France, a bistrot is different from a restaurant. A casual neighborhood bistrot has quick and efficient service, a simple menu, and a lively atmosphere. Bistrot Paul Bert is a quintessential Parisian bistrot, which is why locals and visitors alike love it. Expect high quality, carefully sourced ingredients and wines that come straight from the vignerons (winegrowers). You can’t go wrong with just about anything on the chalkboard menu. Bistrot Paul Bert, 18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris (closed Sundays and Mondays).

french cooking class in france

Paris Food Experience: Morning Market Visit, Cooking Class, and Lunch
Embark on a unique culinary and Parisian cultural experience completely inspired by its gastronomical fare!

At a local market you will have to opportunity to buy fresh produce and learn about the French market culture. You’ll discover how to choose the ingredients, why, as well as where they come from.

Then it’s back to the kitchen. You will learn basic and advanced French cooking techniques through the process of creating a three-course French meal. You will cover five to seven fundamental cooking techniques as each theory will be explained.

During lunch, your host will share stories about each of the dishes to help illustrate various aspects of French culture. A bit of history, a touch of sociology, tongue-in-cheek humor, and quite a bit of gastronomy as one might expect. This is quite a unique, intimate and quite delectable experience in Paris indeed!

Restaurant Joséphine “Chez Dumonet”

josephine chez dumonet paris restaurant
Courtesy of Joséphine Chez Dumonet

When it comes to traditional French food in Paris, Restaurant Joséphine “Chez Dumonet” is a shining star. Walking inside feels like stepping inside a time machine. The menu is small at this family-owned restaurant and everything is excellent. You won’t want to miss the beef tartare that’s prepared table-side or the beef bourguignon, which cooks for three days. Save room for dessert – the massive Grand Marnier soufflé is accompanied by a glass of eau de vie. Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet, 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris (closed Saturdays and Sundays).

Le Voltaire

restaurant le voltaire
Courtesy of Le Voltaire

Le Voltaire is beloved by both local regulars and loyal visitors who return time and time again. This chic restaurant, located directly across from the Musée du Louvre along the Seine, is unassuming from the outside but warm and inviting once inside. Although prices are high, the food, service, and attention to details are all immaculate. Each dish is accompanied by Le Voltaire’s famous crispy matchstick frites which are impossible to resist. Reservations are recommended well in advance. Le Voltaire, 27 Quai Voltaire, 75007 Paris.

Bouillon Chartier

bouillon chartier favorite classic french restaurant paris
Courtesy of Bouillon Chartier

Bouillon Chartier originally opened in 1896 as an inexpensive restaurant for workers in the neighborhood. Since that time there have only been four owners and Bouillon Chartier has remained a Parisian institution that continues to draw crowds night after night, 365 days a year. Expect hearty French classics, waiters dressed in black and white, and a bustling ambiance. Bouillon Chartier, 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris.

Le Grand Vefour

le grand vefour paris
Courtesy of Le Grand Vefour

For a truly fine dining experience and impeccable wine list go to Le Grand Vefour in the Palais-Royal. The two Michelin-starred restaurant has hosted many top French politicians, artists, and literary geniuses over its storied 200-year history. The décor is in the incredible 18th century art décoratif style and is filled with elegant gold and red tones. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance at this opulent restaurant. Le Grand Vefour, 17 Rue de Beaujolais, 75001 Paris.

Le Train Bleu

le train bleu paris
Courtesy of Le Train Bleu

You may not expect one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris to be found inside the Gare de Lyon train station, but that is indeed the case with Le Train Bleu. This beautiful Belle Epoque restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner date. Spend your meal admiring the dreamy frescos. They feature places in France that you can catch a train to just downstairs. A truly unique and lovely dining experience in Paris! Le Train Bleu, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis-Armand, 75012 Paris.

cheese and wine tasting paris

Paris Food Experience: Cheese and Wine Tasting
You will embark on an incredible cheese and wine tasting experience in a 17th-century cheese maturing cellar in the heart of Paris. On the agenda: learning the skill of tasting exceptional cheeses and pairing them with wonderful wines. You will never taste cheese and wine like this again. The tasting includes nine aged cheese varieties paired with four glasses of wine plus fresh baguette.


Ready for a trip to Paris? Our travel designers are standing by and can help incorporate these seven favorite classic French restaurants in Paris into your itinerary. Some of our most popular Paris wine and food tours include A Culinary Experience in Paris, A Foodie Tour of Paris, Champagne & Bordeaux, Food and Wine Lovers Tour of Paris and Bordeaux, and an Exclusive Private Tour of Paris.

French Winter Ski Guide: Courchevel

Courchevel is part of the Trois Vallées the world’s largest ski area with over 370 miles of slopes and 58 lifts. It is synonymous with luxury and is a favorite winter retreat of both royals and celebrities. There are also fabulous aprés-ski options including Michelin-starred restaurants, wonderful shopping, and gorgeous hotels packed with amenities for young and old. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s winter ski guide to Courchevel.


French Winter Ski Guide: Courchevel

How to Get to Courchevel

french winter ski guide courchevel what to do

There are several different ways to get to Courchevel. Because of ease and convenience, one of the most popular options is flying into Geneva and then taking a private transfer to Courchevel. The transfer time by helicopter is 30 minutes and by car two and a half hours.

It’s also possible to take a high-speed train from Paris to either Chambery or Moutiers. From Chambery the drive to Courchevel is just over an hour. From Moutiers the drive is about 20 minutes.

Lastly, you can drive to Courchevel. While this option might be tempting for those who like to try different ski areas, we don’t recommend it in case of inclement weather or heavy traffic.

What to Do in Courchevel

french winter ski guide courchevel slopes

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the most popular activity in Courchevel is skiing. With eight black runs, 34 red runs, 35 blue runs, 19 green runs and fun and relaxed ‘zen’ areas, there is truly something for every level in Courchevel.

The best way to discover the slopes in Courchevel is with an official ski guide. Guides can take you to the runs with the best snow conditions and that best match your level. Another bonus of using a guide is you’ll have lift queue priority, so you’ll be able to spend more time skiing and less time waiting.

Let French Side Travel take care of your ski equipment and skiwear rental. Enjoy using the newest equipment each season for enjoyable high-performance skiing. You’ll have everything you need to hit the slopes safely and stylishly. At the end of your stay, you can simply leave the ski equipment at the hotel for a hassle-free experience.

view from the helicopter

Helicopter Tour of the Alps
To see the snow-covered alpine peaks like never before, consider taking a helicopter tour. During this exclusive ride you’ll marvel at seeing the Haute-Tarentaise, Mont Blanc or the Tignes-Val d’Isère area from above. Truly an unforgettable experience!

When it comes time for aprés-ski the choices are plenty in Courchevel. There are fabulous restaurants, sophisticated bars and nightlife, renowned boutiques for shopping, and activities ranging from snowmobiling to hiking.

After a full day on the slopes, one of the best ways to relax is with a soothing bespoke massage session. The massage therapist personally prepares the organic oils. The blends aim to optimize the benefit of your massage, during and after the treatment. You can also partake in a private yoga class atop the mountain. The combination of skiing and yoga is a great way to see the mountains, relieve mental stress and rejuvenate.

It’s impossible to mention aprés-ski without mentioning La Folie Douce, a popular spot between Courchevel and Méribel for an afternoon of celebrating. Even non-skiers will love Courchevel!

Where to Eat in Courchevel

where to eat in courchevel la table des airelles
La Table des Airelles

There is no shortage of delicious food in Courchevel with eight Michelin-starred restaurants.

After a long day of skiing, the best way to warm up and recharge is with local Savoyard cuisine, where cheese and potatoes take the center stage. Be sure to try raclette, a melted cheese scraped off from the wheel and typically served with potatoes and meats, tartiflette, a gratin-like dish made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, onions, and lardons, and fondue, a melted mix of Comté, Beaufort, and other local cheeses that you dip bread into using a fondue skewer. Two restaurants where you can find typical Savoyard cuisine in Courchevel are L’Arbé and Restaurant Le Petit Savoyard.

To satisfy everyone in your group, La Table des Airelles is a wonderful option. You’ll find a fabulous lunch buffet filled with all types of food: seafood, meats, cheeses, regional specialities, Italian food and an almost limitless assortment of desserts to name but a few of the choices.

For a special occasion in Courchevel, visit Le 1947. Located in the Cheval Blanc hotel, Le 1947 is the only three-star Michelin restaurant in Courchevel. Diners will enjoy Chef Yannick Alléno’s creative cuisine in a light and bright setting.

Where to Stay in Courchevel

penthouse apartment at les airelles courchevel
The Panoramic Terrace of the Penthouse Apartment at Les Airelles

Our favorite hotel in Courchevel is Les Airelles. The location of this ski in ski out property is perfect for both serious skiers and those who want to enjoy the Courchevel 1850 district. You’ll feel warm and cozy in this extraordinary property that truly resembles a winter palace. At Les Airelles you’ll have access to five restaurants – three on site and two on the slopes, a La Mer spa, a kids club, and unparalleled service including ski butlers.

ormello chalet in courchevel
Chalet Ormello

If you prefer a private residence to a hotel, we recommend the Chalet Ormello. Just steps away from Les Airelles, this nine bedroom chalet can sleep up to 15 people. Guests will have access to a private spa, swimming pool, fitness room, game room, and home theater. You will also have team of 10 people including a chalet manager, chef, butler, housekeeper and valet services at their fingertips. Truly an amazing way to experience Courchevel!

the children's kingdom at les airelles
The Children’s Kingdom at Les Airelles

Les Airelles for Children
Children will be delighted and enchanted by Les Airelles’ kids club, The Children’s Kingdom. The youngest of guests will be entertained with a fort, arcade, private cinema, air hockey table, ice rink, video games, and daily afternoon tea time. During the holiday season there are extra activities including dog-sledding, magic shows, pastry classes, hockey games, and formal dress parties. Les Airelles makes it easy for the whole family to enjoy the best of Courchevel!


We hope our French winter ski guide to Courchevel will help inspire a trip to the mountains. With the winter ski season rapidly approaching, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to start creating your custom itinerary. We offer a whole host of itineraries based in the French Alps including Fabulous Skiing in Val Thorens, 5-Star Ski Vacation to Chamonix and the Mont-Blanc Valley, and A Winter Trip to Courchevel with Half Board.

The Best Places to Ski in France

During the cooler months, the French Alps becomes one of French Side Travel’s most-requested destinations. For adventure-seekers and winter sport fanatics, the world-renowned slopes are a huge draw. The ski resorts also offer the perfect haven for non-skiers with stunning snow-capped scenery, delightful shopping, and a fabulous restaurant and nightlife scene. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of the best places to ski in France.


The Best Places to Ski in France

The ski season in France is generally from early to December until April, depending on the snowfall. The ideal times to visit are between late December with the festive holiday season and through March. Even in the summer months it’s possible to enjoy the Alps with plenty of hiking, rafting, kayaking and more. It’s truly a year-round destination for outdoor aficionados.

Courchevel

courchevel the best places to ski in france

Les Trois Vallées is the world’s largest interconnected ski area. Courchevel, its most famous valley, boasts more than 90 miles of alpine ski. With 58 lifts, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy your time on the slopes.

For experienced skiers looking to test their technique and skills, there are 34 red and eight black runs. For families and beginners, there are fun ‘Zen’ areas where you can practice and learn before working your way up to the 19 green and 35 blue runs. Whatever your level of expertise, the skiing and experience is sure to be unforgettable.

When it’s time to enjoy the aprés-ski moment, visitors will be charmed by Courchevel’s Michelin-star restaurants, incredible shopping, luxurious spas, and various outdoor activities. 

Val Thorens

val thorens french alps

Val Thorens is a one of the highest ski resorts in France at 7,500 feet, which makes the snow almost guaranteed! There are almost 375 miles of slopes as well as plenty of opportunities for off-piste skiing. The wide variety of slopes suit a variety of skiers from novices to experts. Val Thorens is also a part of Les Trois Vallées, making it easy to interlink with a connected ski pass.

The resort itself has a lively and vibrant feel. The scenery is complemented by the contrast of modern apartment complexes nestled alongside traditional chalets. Val Thorens also offers a wide selection of excellent restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shopping.

Where to Stay in Val d’Isère
airelles val d'isère

Airelles Val d’Isère

In the center of Val d’Isère and perched on the edge of the ski slopes sits this 5-star resort overlooking the majestic summits of the Vanoise mountains. The property invites those enamored with the mountains to live their own fairy tale. Located at an altitude of approximately 6,000 feet, the hotel offers a magnificent trip to ancient times in a magical kingdom of snow.

Inspired by the medieval period, the hotel conjures up the architecture of the most beautiful residences in the Alps from long, long ago. A grandiose and separate world, the hotel is as luxurious as it is welcoming.

The property also boasts a nearly 4,000 square foot Guerlain spa, magical children’s kingdom, cozy ski salon, iconic shopping in the gallery of boutiques, and four restaurants.

Val d’Isère

the best places to ski in france

The Val d’Isère ski area offers over 185 miles of slopes as well as splendid and accessible off-piste skiing. The altitude ranges between 5,900 and 9,800 feet which ensures there will be plenty of snow. You can then enjoy a ski area with 300 km of slopes as well as splendid and accessible off-piste skiing. Val d’Isère is enjoyable for all levels of skiers with 22 green runs, 61 blue runs, 46 red runs, 25 black runs, two snow parks and nearly 30 miles of cross-country ski runs.

Truly advanced skiers can test the mythical La Face de Bellevarde, a World Cup downhill ski course and the steepest giant slalom course. It was developed for the 1992 Winter Olympics. From “La Face” skiers can enjoy a magnificent view of the Alps and of Val d’Isère below.

Be sure to allow time to enjoy the atmosphere of the beautiful Alpine town. Stroll through its streets, do a little shopping, take in the gorgeous scenery, or relax with a warm drink. Don’t miss the beautiful Baroque church as well as the various charming stone and wood chalets.

Chamonix

chamonix the best places to ski in france

Located in the shadow of Mont Blanc, Chamonix is without a doubt one of the most popular resorts in the French Alps and one of the best places to ski in France. It was one of the first ski towns in the world, and even today you are likely to hear languages from around the globe.

Chamonix features exceptional skiing both on the slopes and off-piste. Enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Vallée Blanche’s 9,000-foot descent from the Aiguille du Midi back to Chamonix. For a more leisurely experience, take the cable car from the village up 12,605 feet to the top of the Aiguille du Midi to appreciate the spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.

In Chamonix, the nightlife is just as famous as the skiing! It is a wonderful place to enjoy great restaurants and exciting bars as well as shopping.

Where to Stay in Chamonix
hotel mont blanc chamonix

Hotel Mont-Blanc

Since 1849, the 5-star Hotel Mont-Blanc has hosted cosmopolitan clientele coming from all over the world to experience the highest peak in Europe.

The luxury hotel has been fully renovated in a style inspired by nature and its surroundings. The bedrooms overlook a beautiful panorama of mountains and offer space, luxury and comfort. The Savoyard inspired woodwork, black and white checkered marble, tailor made furniture, choice of materials and clever punctuation of bright colors creates a warm atmosphere, full of “joie de vivre.”

After the exhilaration of the summits, you can dive into the outdoor pool heated in summer and winter, which stretches over 14 meters with a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc. Or, relax in the spa and with its hammam, sauna, experience shower, fitness equipment and treatments designed by Clarins.

At the restaurant, the chef draws inspiration from the products from the beautiful French alpine valley. His cuisine is a journey through the Alps, the Aosta Valley and even the Mediterranean Basin.


We hope this list of the best places to ski in France inspires a future vacation. Need help planning your ski trip to France? We’re here to help! When you book your trip with French Side Travel our English-speaking Travel Care team will be able to offer assistance, 24/7 while you’re in France. There’s still time to plan a trip to France in 2022. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

Where to Have Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris 2022

Although the French don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, visiting over the holiday is always popular for Americans. It’s a great time to see a mix of fall colors and the festive holiday decorations. If having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is important, we recommend staying in Paris. We’ve put together a list of where to have Thanksgiving dinner in Paris in 2022.


Where to Have Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris 2022

Ralph’s

ralph's paris thanksgiving dinner 2022
Photo Courtesy of Ralph’s Paris

One of the most beautiful settings for Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris is at Ralph’s inside the Ralph Lauren store on the Left Bank. Traditional Thanksgiving foods are displayed in front of the stately fireplace. Guests have the opportunity to taste everything on the menu, including all three types of pies. Ralph’s is known for their annual elegant Thanksgiving dinners, so it’s recommended to reserve well in advance. Ralph’s Paris

Treize au Jardin

treize au jardin where to have thanksgiving dinner in paris 2022
Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Reynaert

Treize au Jardin across from the Luxembourg Garden is famous for their delicious Southern style cooking. They have a special Thanksgiving menu that is so popular that they have dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The friendly staff at Treize will surely make you feel right at home. There is also a vegetarian option. Treize au Jardin

la réserve paris apartments
Photo Courtesy of La Réserve

La Réserve Apartments

Are you dreaming of a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner in Paris in your own apartment, but with all of the services of a five-star hotel? Look no further than the La Réserve Apartments. Located near the Eiffel Tower, each private apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen as well as a dedicated butler 24/7.

Each apartment is family-friendly and large enough to accommodate groups for a Thanksgiving feast. A special Thanksgiving cooking class can be arranged for children to participate in the fun. Your 24/7 concierge will be able to assist you with any and all requests for a perfectly memorable evening.

Sunday in Soho

sunday in soho thanksgiving paris
Photo Courtesy of Sunday in Soho

Sunday in Soho offers three days of Thanksgiving dinners that you can enjoy in the restaurant or have delivered right to your apartment in Paris. The Thanksgiving at Home menu is perfect for people staying in an apartment who don’t want to go through the hassle of preparing a big meal. All you have to do is reheat and serve! Sunday in Soho

Breakfast in America

breakfast in america paris thanksgiving
Photo Courtesy of Breakfast in America

Breakfast in America offers two dinner seatings on Thanksgiving day where you can enjoy a traditional turkey dinner. The fixed price menu includes an apéritif, choice of starter, traditional Thanksgiving plate and choice of dessert. They cannot accommodate vegetarians or children with special menus. Breakfast in America

Hard Rock Café

The legendary Hard Rock Café is bringing back their special Thanksgiving menu for lunch and dinner starting on Thanksgiving Day through Sunday. The menu is available by reservation only and includes a main course, dessert, and cocktail. Hard Rock Cafe

homanie private castle

Thanksgiving in a Private Castle Outside Paris

For a unique Thanksgiving dinner, why not host your family and friends in an almost 65,000 square foot private castle 45 minutes outside of Paris? Dating from the 13th century, the castle is located on over 600 acres of a private park. The property is entirely renovated, yet maintains the stunning Medieval era architecture.

Some of the fabulous features of the property include a chapel, a bakery, a 1930’s bar, three kitchens, a Medieval tea room, a wine cellar and tasting room, a nightclub under a lake, a theater, a tennis court, five massage rooms, and an indoor swimming pool. It would truly be a once in a lifetime Thanksgiving!

Milagro

For a Thanksgiving meal not far from the Eiffel Tower don’t miss Milagro. You can dine in or takeaway a prepared meal for two, four, or six people on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening. A highlight of the dinner is sure to be the slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream! Milagro

Café Varenne

cafe varenne paris thanksgiving 2022

For a French take on Thanksgiving, head to Café Varenne in the 7th arrondissement. This neighborhood restaurant is a favorite of Ina Garten and offers “The Best Thanksgiving in Paris!” It’s the perfect way to experience an American Thanksgiving in a traditional French atmosphere. Café Varenne

Hotel Vernet

hotel vernet paris

Hotel Vernet offers an annual Thanksgiving feast under the beautiful Gustave Eiffel-designed glass dome. It’s a fun and very luxurious way to experience the American holiday in Parisian style. Hotel Vernet

Prepare Your Own Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris

If you feel like preparing a Thanksgiving dinner in Paris, luckily there are plenty of options! You can order a whole turkey (dinde) from most butcher shops. It should be noted that you should place your order one to two weeks before Thanksgiving day. Otherwise a roasted chicken makes a good substitute. American Thanksgiving cooking staples like canned pumpkin, cranberries, and stuffing are available at La Grande Épicerie or the American food store The Real McCoy.

paris fall market

Private Guided Tour of the Aligre Market

Want to shop for ingredients to cook your own Thanksgiving dinner in Paris? French Side Travel can arrange for a private guide to help you!

In this market, you will find a melting pot of different cultures and colors, fresh products, cheeses and wines. The market is divided into two sections: a covered market where you will find French delicatessen, fresh fishes, poultry, dairy, cut flowers and an uncovered market where you can see a curious mix between shouting fruit sellers and antique dealers. It’s half of a food market, half of a flea market – in case you’re looking for a special way to set the table!

Your guide will stop at several shops for you to taste a selection of the best French specialties along the way. The tour will be tailored accordingly to your tastes and special dietary restrictions to either include more sweet or salty food.


Need help making plans for Thanksgiving week in Paris? When you book your trip with French Side Travel our English-speaking Travel Care team will be able to offer assistance, 24/7 while you’re in France. There’s still time to plan a trip to France in 2022. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

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