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Vaujany, Isère Surrounded by small farms producing goats cheese, milk and honey, Vaujany is a charming village resort, yet part of the massive Alpe d’huez ski area offering world-class skiing. There’s a nice choice of restaurants and an indoor ice rink, yet the village has preserved its fountain, belfry and traditional feel.
Chris Woodbridge-cox of Peak Retreats is a fan. “It’s built on a sunny slope and although Vaujany has a small village feel the access to the skiing is brilliant. There’s a 160-person cable car that takes you up to 2,800m in just 15 minutes.”
Châtel, Haute-savoie A ski jump from the Swiss border above Lake Geneva sits Châtel, part of the enormous Portes du Soleil ski area with direct links to Avoriaz and Morgins to name a few. It’s a lively village with nightclubs, cinemas, bowling alley and ice rink, yet somehow it has also managed to stay true to its farming roots and is much admired for its traditional Savoyard architecture.
“Châtel is for skiers; not necessarily downhill racers, but people who are genuinely interested in skiing and the Alps as a region,” says Howard Watts of Alpine Property World. “There are quite a few bars, restaurants and shops, but it’s not too commercial and has a nice feel.”
Les Carroz d’araches, Haute-savoie Part of the big and varied Grand Massif, Les Carroz d’arâches is linked to historic Samoëns down below and purpose-built Flaine up above.
“It’s a really cool unsophisticated little resort with a bit of something for everyone – authentic, not too crowded and only 55 minutes from Geneva,” says Richard Deans of MGM French Properties. “It offers superb skiing with 265km of slopes and generally all nice village skiing except up at the highaltitude central resort Flaine which offers more challenging skiing for those who want that.”
Valloire, Savoie Valloire is a traditional village built around a 17th-century church in the Maurienne valley close to Italy. “It’s quiet but incredibly welcoming as is so often the case with smaller, family-run, historic French resorts,” says Amy Grealish, a contributor for Where to Ski and Snowboard. “Valloire shares a ski area with next-door Valmeinier, most of which is over 2,000m so although it’s only set at 1,400m, Valloire’s ski area is high and offers reliable skiing.” It also offers great value for money, though it’s more for beginners and intermediates than experts. A Club Med is due to open in 2020, so the slopes are sure to get busier, but transport links should also improve.