The Alps / Travel Tips

Are Ski Resorts Open on Christmas Day in France?

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, there’s no better place to spend it than the French Alps. But, with skiing being the main attraction of a winter alpine holiday, you may be asking yourself – are ski resorts open on Christmas day in France? The short answer is yes – all major ski resorts will be open on Christmas day, depending on weather conditions.

In this post, we outline in more detail what you can expect on Christmas day in the French Alps.

Are ski resorts open on Christmas day?

As we mentioned in the introduction, all major ski resorts in France will be open on Christmas day. Ultimately, this is a peak time for holidaymakers, so it is a time when ski resorts can make the most money.

Do ski resort restaurants open on Christmas day?

Yes, most of the resort restaurants will be open on Christmas day, and although you won’t often find a traditional turkey dinner on the menu, you’ll be able to enjoy a Fondue or Raclette accompanied by a Vin Chaud (mulled wine).

However, be prepared that some of the supermarkets and shops in your chosen resort may have restricted opening times during the festive season.

Make sure to ask in the shops in the run-up to Christmas or double-check with the Tourist Office if you have any doubts about amenities.

Which French resorts are good for Christmas skiing?

The key to finding the perfect Christmas resort is to choose one with decent snowfall.

Usually, this means opting for a high-altitude destination. But, there are of course other factors to consider such as available activities for children, festive atmosphere, events, etc.

It’s safe to say, most ski resorts offer a fantastic agenda for the holidays. Expect torchlit descents, visits from Santa, Christmas markets and more!

Here are our top 5 picks for families, friends and couples…

1. Val Thorens

Ideal for: groups of friends

Standing at 2,300m, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, therefore Christmas snowfall is usually guaranteed.

Previous Christmases in Val Thorens have seen appearances from Father Christmas, torchlit descents and fireworks! Although a fantastic place for families, Val Thorens is famous for its après-ski and nightlife, so it’s also a great spot for groups of friends to visit.

What does our team say?

Val Thorens is such a fun place to be at Christmas. I particularly loved the torch lit descent when I spent Christmas there!


2. Avoriaz

Ideal for: families with younger children

Every day is like Christmas in Avoriaz. The tall pine trees are lit with fairy lights and because it is a car-free resort, horse-drawn carriages transport visitors from A to B.

Little ones will love the enchanting atmosphere and the array of shows and spectacles. Plus, the slopes are very beginner-friendly.

What does our team say?

I’ve been lucky enough to spend two Christmases in Avoriaz and they have been among some of my most memorable! It’s one of my favourite places to be at any time in winter, but if you have the chance to spend Christmas there – you definitely should!


3. La Clusaz

Ideal for: families of all ages

La Clusaz is still a relatively undiscovered ski resort, however, it has a lot to offer, especially at Christmas.

The highlight is ‘Les Pestacles du Père Noël’, a 20-year-old annual street theatre festival, which sees La Clusaz transform into a winter wonderland of activities, performances, and festive spirit!

What does our team say?

La Clusaz has a fantastic vibe over the Christmas holidays. Whether you’re there for skiing or just a family holiday, the resort has lots going on. The Pestacles du Pere Noel has entertainment and activities for everyone; the whole town is twinkling with lights; the bars, shops and restaurants are buzzing; the snow covered mountains are magical; and of course there’s world-class skiing – both on and off piste. It’s a perfect winter wonderland!


4. Chamonix

Ideal for: groups of friends who are confident skiers

If you’re after a lively holiday filled with plenty of events, activities and food then Christmas in Chamonix is for you!

(A big plus for Brits – you won’t have to look far to find a Christmas roast with all the trimmings. Make sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment.)

What does our team say?

Chamonix is magical during christmas, the town is beautifully decorated, there’s often snow on the streets, and the Christmas market is in town!


5. Megève

Ideal for: couples

Couples looking for a romantic Christmas will definitely find it in Megève. There are plenty of restaurants and activities suited to a trip for two including dinner at Flocons de Sel or a visit to Les Fermes de Marie Spa.

The Christmas tree is definitely the highlight of Megève at this time of year. It’s often decorated by a jeweller and both tourists and locals alike gather to see it illuminated in early December.

Image © Commune De Megeve

What does our team say?

Megeve is beautifully decorated for Christmas and you really get into the festive spirit! The tree is located on the paved pedestrian square of Megeve, which is also where people can choose a horse drawn carriage to go for a ride. It’s like being in a film!


We hope you’ve found this guide useful, you can find plenty more information in the ‘Plan Your Trip’ section of our blog and be sure to check out the chalets we have available for Christmas on our website.

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