What exactly is a ‘Famille Plus’ ski-resort?
Famille Plus is a national label awarded to tourist destinations offering a special welcome and services tailored to families and children.
They promise to offer :
1. A personal welcome for families
2. Entertainment suitable for all ages
3. Special tarifs for children and older people
4. Activities for young and old, to enjoy together or separately
5. All shops and services on hand
6. Child care by professional staff
Maintaining High Standards
The label is awarded for 3-year periods. Holders undergo regular audits to ensure standards are maintained, and can renew their membership only if the criteria continue to be met.
The label ensures that accommodation providers plus child-care and other professional staff work harder at providing the best possible welcome for families.
Famille Plus ski stations offer a season of family entertainment and activities. Events are publicised at the tourist offices, or you can visit the Famille Plus website and see the relevant programme for your chosen destination.
For family friendly resorts and accommodation:
0844 576 0170 (UK)
or +44 23 9283 9310
Visit the Famille Plus website for details of all their mountain destinations (currently in French only).
a young family
In 2009 experienced skiers Alan & Helena Phillips from Redditch (UK) took their daughters aged 4 and 6 for their first skiing experience. They chose Crystal's Club Hotel in Clavière, just across the Italian border from Montgenèvre and part of the Monts de la Lune ski area.
We asked them for their thoughts on the most important points to consider when deciding where to ski with a young family.
1: Instructors who speak English...
• Young children will be more comfortable and confident with ski instructors who speak reasonable English.
2: A Great Kid’s Club...
• Look for somewhere with a great kids’ club, allowing parents time to themselves.
3: Opportunities to make friends...
• Give your children a chance to make new friends of their own age.
4: Food which children will eat...
• If meals are part of your package, check the menus to ensure that your kids will be happy to eat what's on offer.
5: Look for accommodation not too far from the ski school...
• Finding accommodation close to the ski school avoids long walks carrying both your own and your children’s skis.
6: If possible, avoid peak periods...
• To get the price best deals consider taking young children skiing outside peak periods - and look out for special offers on childrens ski passes.
Arrive in style on the ski train...
Enjoy extra days on the slopes and no surcharge for skis or boards with Eurostar Direct Ski Trains.
Self-drive ski holidays in France
Travel to France by ferry and some of the best self drive skiing in the world. Enjoy the freedom of taking unlimited baggage and up to 9 people per car via .
Book your journey with P&O Ferries
Find a hotel
Booking a hotel has never been easier with accorhotels.com, Europe's largest hotel group.
Why pay for your skis?
Book tickets to Grenoble and take Monarch Flights to this undiscovered destination from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Birmingham and London Gatwick. There are plenty of cheap flights available to help you get the most out of any holiday to Grenoble, whatever season you travel in.
Experience complete comfort on SWISS flights to Geneva and enjoy the added bonus of taking your skis at no extra cost.
Pick up and ski this winter
Forget about queuing for a bus at the airport, low cost car hire - with a ski rack if necessary, will get you to where you want to go with a minimum of fuss. Click below to take advantage of special offers.
We reveal some of the very best family ski resorts in the French Alps...
Family holidays are a special time but how do you choose where to go? The MountainPassions team has visited a range of the French ski stations carrying the "Famille Plus" label, to see for ourselves what they have to offer. To find out more about any in our selection simply follow the links to read our full resort reviews.
Here are our favourite family resorts (in no particular order) and why we chose them...
Le Grand Bornand - Massif des Aravis
A combination of relaxed family skiing and solid value has made Le Grand Bo’ deservedly popular with day visitors from nearby Geneva, while quick flight transfers and easy road access attract increasing numbers of skiers from the UK.
Skiers here have not one but two villages from which to select their base: Le Grand Bornand and its slightly higher neighbour over in the next valley, Le Chinaillon. Each has a genuinely traditional feel, although Le Grand Bornand village has a greater sense of being in the heart of things.
Le Grand Bornand has a superbly equipped creche near the centre of the village for children between 3 months and 4 years. The large snow-field enables children to participate in snow games and is a fun place to learn from the age of 2½yrs with qualified instructors. In Le Chinaillon, children between 8 months and 4 years old can enjoy indoor activities and outings 6 days a week in the Tourist Office building. Children between 4 and 6 years can combine learning to ski with creche activities in the afternoon.
For children who are still learning, consider a Mini-domaine skipass which will give access to all the easy slopes at the top of the Joyère and Rosay cable cars and key lifts from Le Chinaillon for €17 (under 8 years old) or €20 (under 15 years old) per day.
Strictly for kids !
The Ô Des Cimes Spas d'Altitude at le Village de Lessy, in Le Grand-Bornand offers a Kids Spa where children aged between 6 and 12 years old can experience the a little pampering, just like their parents. Five indulgent and fun treatments are on offer: "Sandman" (massage), "Chocolate wrap" (wrap), "1,2,3 Sun" (mother-daughter manicure), "Softly, Softly" (soft sugar scrub), and "Twinkling Star"(facial). Prices start at 30€ for 30 mins. There's also a treatment specially for teenagers (€45) and an introdution to applying natural makeup at €35 for 45 minutes.
The products used are specially conceived for young skins. For more information on staying at the Village de Lessy visit Peak Retreats, (0844 576 0170 (UK) or +44 23 9283 9310), email@example.com
It would be hard to imagine a more relaxed and traditional setting in which to ski, and the ease of accessibilty is another plus factor for skiers from the UK. The terrain accommodates just about everyone from first-timers up to freeriders and freestyle skiers, while the Famille Plus label underlines a continuing commitment to family skiers. Add nearby La Clusaz (included on the Aravis lift-pass) for mile hungry family members and everyone should be happy.
Look out for the 4 hour ski pass which is great for beginners who want to take one day at a time, parents who need to divide their time with child-care or over-60's and those who like to ski for a few hours each day, in the best snow conditions.
Free skiing for under 5's and over 75's.
6 day pass €155 adult/€124,50 junior (9-15yrs)/€108,50 child (under 8yrs), over 65's €142,50.
Reduced price ski passes are available under the Schuss 4' You ticket. There must be 4 people who buy their passes at the same time for the same duration and are available for 6, 7 or 8 day passes. This reduces an adult 6 day pass to €139.50.
For the under 5's and skiers over 75 years old, ski passes are free (proof required).
Montgenèvre - Les Hautes Alpes
Montgenèvre has an appealing mix of traditional village houses and modern chalets, and also offers exceptional views from the top of the ski station.
Pedestrianised zones and the promenade along the ‘front de neige’ have helped to preserve the village centre and its history. Montgenèvre gets 300 days of sunshine a year but quite exceptional snow-fall, allowing the resort to open from the beginning of December until the end of April.
There are crèche facilities for children from 6 months to 6 years old (Le Club des Sourires). The ESF ski school also offers ski lessons for children aged between 3 and 5 (Club Piou-Piou). There's a full programme of entertainment organised by the Tourist Office, with events and activities aimed at families. There are 3 free taboggan areas for kids, including one for 2 to 6 year olds and one in Montgenèvre for older children. There are games areas for children at the ‘front de neige’ and a sunny one at 2,000m at the top of the Le Chalvet gondola. Kids can have fun in a specially reserved and free space, where there's a roundabout, slide and swings to play on.
There's terrain for everyone here. Families will love the safe environment for children, and novice skiers can easily access some of the best and most plentiful intermediate territory on offer anywhere in the Alps.
The Montgenevre Galaxy ski pass gives one day in a choice of nearby resorts, a cheap ride on the Monty Express taboggan ride, and a reduction on the Fréjus tunnel (purchase must include 4 or more 6 day passes at least 10 days before arrival).
Skiing is free for under 6's and over 75's, proof required.
A 6-day pass is 199.50€ adult / 159€ children (6-14 yrs) and €180 senior citizens (60-74 yrs).
The Via Lattea pass with access to 400km of pistes cost €231 regardless of age.
It's worth checking out the resorts special offers on ski passes before you go as you may benefit from booking online in advance.
Les Carroz - Le Grand Massif, Savoie
Les Carroz guarantees activities and services for all ages and is particularly known as a family resort with advantageous pricing and flexibility on lift passes (children, beginners and family passes). For independant travellers, Les Carroz have introduced an "all in one" booking system on their website enabling visitors to pre-book transport, passes, equipment, lessons, accommodation, childcare and activities in advance of their arrival - a great time-saver.
La Souris Verte creche welcomes children every day during the winter season, for half days only for babies up to 18 months, and half-days or full days for children over the 18 months. La Souris Verte offers all the typical activities of a regular day-care establishment: indoor games, singing, physical activities in the balls pool, and outdoor games in a secure and quiet location.
The Loupiots Club is for children from 3-12 years old and is open from 8 am to 6:30 pm from Monday to Friday and from Monday to Sunday during French school holidays. Weekend bookings are compulsory ! The club offers various indoor and outdoor activities: snow games, sports, entertainment and activities organised by the Tourist Office. They will also organise transfers to and from ski lessons of both Les Carroz ski schools.
The ESF and the ESI (International Ski School) both offer lessons for young skiers. From 3-5 years with ESF and from 4-6 years with the ESI. Check in advance if there are English speaking instructors available.
With access to 265 km of slopes in the Grand Massif culminating at an altitude of 2,500 metres, Les Carroz is in an exceptional location on a wide, sunny plateau to the west of the domain. Beginners and novice skiers will find plenty of variety among the pistes above the village all of which are accessed by the Kedeuze high-speed gondola. Neighbouring Morillon provides safe intermediate territory, and mile-hungry skiers or those seeking steeper terrain can cruise over to Flaine. The Grand Massif is renowned for its level of snow cover and runs back to Les Carroz are snow-sure for all but the tail-end of the season. We found the terrain close to Les Carroz undemanding but fantastic in bad weather when the tree-lined pistes offer greater security.
For tiny tots learning to ski in Les Carroz village centre, there's no charge for the small draglifts. The Débutant Carroz pass, designed for early-learners, gives access to the gondola and two draglifts on learner slopes and costs €23 (adult) or €17 (child) per day.
The Massif pass (145km) 6 day pass €183.60 adult / €138 child (up to 15yrs)
A family pass to the Grand Massif (265km) (eg. 2 adults + 2 children) 6 days €680.40
Skiing for free for under 5's and over 75's (proof required).
Les Orres - Hautes-Alpes
Les Orres’ origins as a purpose-built high-altitude ski area are reflected in the high-rise architecture of the original 1650 village. In recent years, though, 1800 Bois-Mèan, a much more traditionally-styled village has been taking shape above the old one, offering greater comfort levels, more spacious accommodation and ski-in/ski-out convenience. Don’t write-off the original village, though, which works well, offers a good range of shops and services and has a definite buzz to it. Being this far south means lots of sunny weather, while the altitude and surrounding topography ensure plenty of snow.
The 2 nurseries welcome children from 6 months to 6 years and offers, amongst other things : the half-ski/half nursery programme. Evening sessions allow parents to enjoy a romantic meal without the children. The fun afternoons and evenings "Duo" at the Juni'Orres club for children of 6-12 years. The children are supervised for free ! The Piou Piou Club has three ski lifts, adapted play areas and a magic carpet to allow young skiers to develop. There's also beginners snowboading tuition from 5 years old. Ski pass offer for children less than 6 years old and reductions on ski passes for children of 6-11 years and 12-17 years. Plus, sledging slope, a merry go round at the centre of the resort, an ice-skating rink, initiation to ski joëring for the little ones from 6 years with first star level.
Novices and intermediates will enjoy gentle lower, mid-mountain areas, which are served by modern, high-speed chairlifts with plenty of skier capacity. There are also delightful sheltered woodland trails.
.The 6 day pass will cost €156 adult / €125 child (up to 6-11years).
The Family Pass offers a good saving on the normal tarif (min. 2 adults + 2 young - 6/17 yrs included) 6 days €125 per person or there's a special weekend deal at €49 per person. You need identity cards / passports.
Skiing is free for under 6's and over 75's (proof required).
For Les Orres accommodation and packages:
0844 576 0175 (UK)
or +44 23 9289 0960
Orcières 1850 - Hautes-Alpes
The purpose-built ski village of Orcières 1850 has a high proportion of privately-owned apartments, some of which are now showing their age – but which also tells you something about the quality skiing on offer. The village centre feels relatively compact, and you may not notice all of its range of accommodation unless you explore the area overlooking the sector dedicated to the excellent children's ski-school where there are several new and refurbished residences in a modern stone and timber style.
Orcières has a dedicated childrens centre called "La Petite Ourse" (Little Bear), is the children's centre which offers a creche, games and homework club all under the same roof. The creche has a large, bright indoor space, south facing outside playground with mountain views, calm rooms for naps, and a dining room.
For parents who want to go on holiday outside of school holidays and bring their children with them, there are low price offers and the attraction of pistes all to yourselves. However, all children under 10 years ski for free during the Christmas and Easter holidays (proof of age required). Better still, some of the ski hire shops offer free rental for youngsters during the same periods. The ski school E.S.I Trajectoire - Le Queyrelet are also giving a course of lessons for every child under 10 free with every adult course booked of 6 days or more. See the Orcieres website for details.
With over 2 hectares of space specially designed and laid out for children, your youngsters can learn to ski in total safety with mini ski lifts, conveyor belt, snow canon, managed pistes.... and fun and friendly ski instructors. See image below.
The terrain is predominantly graded Red, with a few Blues and even fewer Greens, making things look pretty demanding. In practice, though, it's mostly far less daunting than might appear on the piste map. There’s plenty of cruising potential, on pistes which are generally wide enough to provide everyone with plenty of room to go at their own pace, rather than feeling pressured to leave their comfort zone. The occasional long, smooth undulations, though, are best tackled with a bit of speed to avoid polling. The altitude currently tops off at a healthy 2725m at the Col des Freissinières, where snow quality can be exceptional and which has a real sense of remoteness. And there will be even more of both once the long-awaited plan to create a cable-car link to the nearby Roche Brune (2956m) is finally realised.
6 day pass €151.50 adult / €134 child (up to 12yrs) / €136 (teenagers 13-16 yrs and over 65's)
Family pass (up to 4 persons in the same family) 6 days €136.30 adult / €125.20 child
Worth knowing: Book your ski pass online (it will be sent to your home) and Orcières says if you decide not to come, you don't need to justify why (snow, no snow, sun, no sun, illness or just can't get away..) they will give you a full refund. Read the terms and conditions when you buy your pass online.
Skiing is free for under 6's and over 75's (proof required).
For Orcières 1850 accommodation and packages:
0844 576 0175 (UK)
or +44 23 9289 0960
© Julia Moss 2010, updated October 2012
More family resorts...
See our review of Combloux, suitable for beginners and early intermediates and close to Megève. We loved it for its slopeside access, tree-lined sheltered pistes and friendly,relaxed ambiance.
The super village atmosphere at Valloire won us over, and then we discovered the skiing on offer and we were totally convinced. Linked to nearby Valmeinier, there's plenty of terrain for everyone and beginners will enjoy a great choice of green and blue runs.
MountainPassions gives some hints and tips for first-time skiers visiting the Alps.
Snowsport is now a real possibility for virtually anyone, regardless of their disability. Disabled skiers now have more choice about where to ski with upgraded lifts and specialist ski school staff. We help you make the decisions to get you on the slopes, and offer a few ideas about where to go.