The Alpine ski resorts mostly fall into a few very extensive regions, which combine several villages and ski areas in one large resort with interconnecting ski slopes and transport links. This has the advantage for the visitor that there are always new slopes and variety close to hand.
The main ski areas fall in the Rhone-Alpes region, in the stretch of mountains running south from Geneva along the border with Switzerland and Italy, and east of Grenoble, although Serre Chevalier falls further south - within the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region.
Moving broadly north to south through the Alps the main ski regions are:
Portes du Soleil ski region
The Portes du Soleil ski region, including Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz and various smaller ski villages such as Abondance.
The exceptional location, skiing through the forest, modern architecture and pedestrianised town centre make Avoriaz a very popular ski station
Morzine is a family friendly resort with traditional alpine architecture and easy access to the Portes du Soleil ski region
Outside the large ski regions and one of the furthest north of the resorts in the French Alps, is La Clusaz near Annecy.
A small, friendly ski station La Clusaz is especially popular with French families because it is close to Annecy
See La Clusaz
The extensive Paradiski region in the Tarentaise Valley includes Les Arcs (at Bourg-Saint-Maurice), Peisey-Vallandry and la Plagne.
Les Arcs Bourg-Saint-Maurice
The modern architectural style, the views to Mont-Blanc and the enormous variety in ski slopes are just some of the principal attractions at Les Arcs
See Les Arcs
Espace Killy ski region
The 'Espace Killy' ski region includes the resorts of Val d'Isere and Tignes to the east of the Vanoise National Park.
At high altitude in the central Alps and near the Italian border, Tignes offers skiing, and many other activities, almost all year round
The Anual Ski World Championships are held here at Val d'Isere, one of the most popular and famous ski resorts in the world
See Val d'Isere
There is a very popular ski region around Chamonix, south of the Espace Killy region at the base of Mont Blanc. See also nearby Megeve.
An exceptional ski resort, proximity of Mont Blanc and views from the Aiguille du Midi are just a few of the reasons that explain the popularity of Chamonix.
Megeve is one of the few ski resorts to have retained its original town centre, making it a very attractive destination.
Les Trois Vallees
This region - known in English as the Three Valleys ski-region - is focussed around the resorts at Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens to the west of the Vanoise National park.
With a focus on traditional architecture, Meribel is one of the most prestigious of the resorts in the French Alps
The extensive facilities and different parts of the resort at Courchevel make it ideal for beginners, families and experts...
The highest ski resort in Europe, Val Thorens is also one of the most visited ski stations in the world
See Val Thorens
Valmorel is also in this part of the French Alps, en route for the Three Valleys region, and close to Grenoble, and popular with people who live in the town, as are the resorts of Les-7-Laux and Deux-Alpes.
One of the lower altitude ski resorts, Valmorel has a shorter winter season than some - but is one of the most attractive ski resorts
The resort at Les-7-Laux is close to Grenoble so very popular with residents of that city, and has a very popular snowpark
At les Deux-Alpes the most unusual characteristic is that the harder black runs are below the easier runs, and you can use the world's fastest gondola!
Further south than the resorts above and in the Provence region, Serre-Chevalier includes Briancon and also the towns of Villeneuve, Chantemerle and Les Monetier-les-Bains
The location of Serre Chevalier Valley near the Italian border and in the southern Alps means lots of sunshine and great scenery in one of the largest ski regions
Other ski resorts in France in the Alps
Another popular ski region a little to the south is at Alpe d'Huez.
The extremely popular resort of Alpe d'Huez is also a famous cycling climb from the Tour de France
See L'Alpe d'Huez
Map of the Ski Resorts in the Alps
Each region has its own strengths and weaknesses - higher altitude, more dramatic surroundings, better beginner slopes, more off-piste routes, more apres-ski facilities, longer season etc.
The resorts also vary a great deal in themselves - from quiet Alpine chalet villages to crowded 1960's high-rise developments or even architectural achievements such as Avoriaz. Some french ski resorts are also entirely pedestrianised so you can ski straight from outside your chalet door.
As a result it is not possible to rank the resorts - it depends on your personal abilities, requirements, family, and so on...but you can be sure that whether you are a ski novice looking for lessons and a gentle slope, or a long time expert looking to travel for miles off-piste, there is the ideal resort for you somewhere in the French Alps.
See related article : ski resorts in the Pyrenees, France