Holiday in the Alps: the most accessible resorts by car, train and plane

Blog French Alps September 2022

Fast departure, fast arrival: this is a dream shared by all holiday-goers, but it is rarely a reality, thanks to the snowy roads of the ski resorts. If driving through small roads with chains on your wheels anguishes you, or if you dread the endless journeys to the airport or train stations with your ski equipment under your arms, this selection of accessible alpine resorts might interest you…

Ski trip by car: the easiest mountain resorts to get to by road

Most accessible resorts French Alps car

Photo by Jaguar

Driving on yawing roads while anticipating the risk of traffic jams that always accompany the high season of skiing rarely encourages visitors to travel to the resorts by car. Because of that, the destinations that offer drivers an easy access through the highway or a fast lane tend to be more popular. Amongst the easiest ski resorts to reach by car are:  

  1. The resorts of the 3 Vallées ski domain (Courchevel, Méribel, Les Menuires, Brides-les-Bains, Val Thorens and Orelle)

    These resorts are particularly accessible because the autoroad A43, that links Chambéry or Grenoble to Albertville, succeeds a national road, the RN90, easy to use thanks to its two two-way pistes. One must stay approximately one hour in the RN90 before entering Moûtiers, and the resorts of the ski domain of 3 Vallées

  2. Les Carroz d’Arâches, gateway to the ski domain of Grand Massif

    It takes less than an hour to go from Geneva to a Les Carroz d’Arâches accommodation, the first station in the Grand Massif domain, that counts with another four Haut-Savoyardes ski resorts: Flaine, Morillon, Samoëns and Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval.

    From Geneva, the drivers should take the A40 in the direction of Chamonix, and the Mont-Blanc tunnel, and then take the national road 205 in the direction of Les Carroz d’Arâches and Flaine. A journey you will make (almost) by yourself.

  3. Les Gets

    Count approximately 5h35 on the road to get to a Les Gets accommodation from Paris. Might seem like a lot, but this makes Les Gets one of the closest ski resorts to Paris! The journey is done pretty easily, because out of the 597 km that separate the two cities, 563 km are on the highway (A6 and then A40).

A40 : the highway of winter sports

It’s not by coincidence that we call A40 the “white highway”. Used since 1990, it links two French cities: Mâcon, in Saône-et-Loire, to Passy, in Haute-Savoie, a town in the middle of the mountain belonging to Pays du Mont-Blanc. Its main attraction is its midway passage near Geneva and its extension by an expressway (RN 205) to the Mont Blanc tunnel. 

This highway grants access to the following ski resorts: 

  • the Arve valley and the Giffre Massif (Bonneville, Cluses, Flaine, Les Carroz, Morillon, Praz de Lys, Samoëns, Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval…) ;

  • the Chamonix valley (Servoz, Les Houches, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Argentière et Vallorcine)

  • the Val Montjoie (Les Contamines, Saint-Gervais

  • or even Val d’Arly (Combloux, Cordon, Crest-Voland, Flumet, Megève, Notre Dame de Bellecombe, Praz sur Arly)

All in all, if you drive on A40, don’t worry: you are on the right way to the ski slopes!

Ski trip by train: the most accessible ski resorts in the French Alps by train

Many mountain stations serve the French Alpine resorts with regular shuttle buses. To plan your journey, all you have to do is to choose the station that offers the Altibus shuttle to your destination.

Most accessible resorts French Alps train

Photo by Alti-Mag

Here is a selection of 10 mountain stations that will take you to the prettiest ski resorts:

  • departing from Aime station: shuttles to La Plagne and Montalbert

  • departing from Bourg-Saint-Maurice station: shuttles to Tignes, Rosière, Val d’Isère and Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise, and funiculars to Les Arcs 

  • departing from Cluses station: shuttles to Chamonix, Sallanches, Saint-Gervais, Flaine and Les Carroz d’Arâches

  • departing from Landry station: shuttles to Montchavin Les Coches and Peisey-Vallandy

  • departing from Modane station: shuttles to Bonneval-sur-Arc, Aussois, Norma, Valfréjus, Termignon-la-Vanoise, Val Cenis, Bessans, Bramans, Sollières-Sardières…

  • departing from the Moûtiers station: shuttles to Courchevel, Méribel, La Tania, Les Ménuires, Val Thorens…

  • departing from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains station: shuttles to Chamonix, les Contamines, Passy, Sallanches, Combloux, Megève and Praz-sur-Arly

  • departing from the Sallanches station: shuttles to Passy, Megève, Combloux, Praz-sur-Arly, Les Contamines, Chamonix, Saint-Gervais

  • departing from Thonon-les-Bains station: shuttles to Abondance, Avoriaz, Les Gets, Châtel, Morzine, La Chapelle d’Abondance and Saint-Jean-d’Aulps

  • departing from Genève station: (located less than 5 minutes away from the Cornavin station): shuttles to Avoriaz, Morzine, Châtel, Abondance and La Chapelle d’Abondance.

Important !

Thanks to the Thalys Snow train, travelers from the Netherlands and Belgium can easily get to the stations of Chambéry, Albertville, Moûtiers, Aime-la-Plagne, Landry and Bourg-Saint-Maurice, and benefit from the Altibus shuttles that will take them to the resorts mentioned above. More information on the Altibus.com website


Photo by Thalys

Top 3 most accessible Alpine resorts by train: 

If you consider taking a train to your winter sports destination, here are the three resorts that are the easiest to access from the arrival train station.

Les Arcs: 7 minutes to the resort

The only resort in the Alps totally accessible by railroads, Les Arcs offers unparalleled comfort to visitors, since they won’t need more than 7 minutes in a funicular to reach the Bourg-Saint-Maurice station in the slopes of Arc 1600.

Add to that the fact that Bourg-Saint-Maurice is serviced by the stations of Lyon Part-Dieu, Paris and London, and you will see why it is the best station to welcome foreign visitors.

Alpe d’Huez: a shuttle ride away from Grenoble

Alpe d'Huez also has everything to please the visitors that come from far away, since one can travel there by shuttle bus from the station of Grenoble. That means it is not necessary to take any complicated connections: a mere 1h30 bus ride will get you to your Alpe d'Huez accommodation!

Saint-Gervais: only 5km away from the train station 

The thermal waters, the unforgettable views of the Mont Blanc - we would endure anything to enjoy these attractions, but  one comes to it all the more willingly because the resort is located only 5 kilometers away from its train station. A distance easily covered by a shuttle bus. 

Ski trip by plane: the most accessible resorts in the French Alps from an airport

There are five airports close to the French Alps that allow you to take an airplane to go skiing.

  1. Geneva’s International Airport: for foreign visitors
    The airport of Geneva has the particularity of having only one concrete runway, and it is one of the busiest in the world of this type.

    Direct flights cover 14 destinations in France, 34 European countries and other 15 countries around the world, which makes it one of the most privileged accesses to the French Alps for a big number of international visitors.

    The choice to go to the Alps through this airport is even wiser when we consider the short journeys from the airport to the ski resorts:

    • 1h15 from the airport to your Chamonix accommodation and the stations of Grand Massif (Flaine and Samoëns)

    • between 1h15 to 1h45 to the stations of Portes du Soleil: Les Gets, Morzine and Avoriaz

    • 1h30 to get to La Clusaz in the domain of Massif des Aravis

  2. Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport: for French and foreign visitors

    Around 172 destinations around the world are linked to the airport Lyon Saint-Exupéry, which gives it the title of 4th biggest in France in number of passengers per year.

    French travelers, as well as foreign ones, will find numerous shuttle buses from there to:

    • a ski resort directly : that’s the case for  Alpe d’Huez, Les Ménuires, Val d’Isère, les Deux Alpes, Tignes, Val d’Isère or even Val Thorens

    • or one of the big train stations in the Alpes (Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Moûtiers and Bourg d’Oisans).

    To help you choose well your winter sports destinations if you arrive by plane, here are the distances and times that separate the slopes from Lyon:

    • Chamrousse: 1h45 traveling through 127 km

    • Alpe d’Huez: 2h  traveling through 154 km

    • Les Deux Alpes: 2h  traveling through 158 km

    • La Clusaz et le Grand Bornand: 2h  traveling through 160 km

    • Méribel: 2h  traveling through 179 km

    • Courchevel: 2h  traveling through 186 km

    • Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc: 2h  traveling through 201 km

    • La Plagne: 2h15  traveling through 194 km

    • Les Contamines: 2h15  traveling through 212 km

    • Megève: 2h15  traveling through 226 km

    • Chamonix Mont-Blanc: 2h15 traveling through 238 km

    • Val Thorens: 2h30 traveling through 197 km

    • Les Arcs: 2h30 traveling through 206 km

    • Val d’Isère: 2h30 traveling through 219 km

    • Tignes: 2h30 traveling through 220 km

    • Morzine: 2h30 traveling through 225 km

  3. Grenoble Alpes Isère Airport: pour North-European visitors

    Visitors from the North of Europe can count on this airport to get to the slopes, because Grenoble Alpes Isère has links to Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Oslo, Rotterdam and Warsaw.

    The airline companies authorized to use this airport are Easyjet, British Airways, Jet2, Wizz, Ryanair, Transavia and Flyr.

    Once they arrive at the capital of Isère, visitors don’t have to do much more than to take a shuttle bus to get to their ski resort: Alpe d’Huez, Courchevel, les Deux Alpes, Les Arcs, Les Ménuires, Méribel, Tignes, Val d’Isère, Val Thorens, not to mention the rest!

  4. Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc Airport: For the British visitors

    Serviced by British Airways and Jet2, the airport of Chambéry welcomes flights from all over the United Kingdom (London, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Southampton).

    The Altibus shuttles ensure transportation between the airport, the main train stations (Aime, Bourg Saint Maurice…) and the resorts of Les Ménuires, La Tania, Courchevel and even Méribel.

  5. Annecy Mont-Blanc Airport: for the business visitors

    Reserved for non-commercial flights, this airport allows one to get to La Clusaz and Grand Bornand in 20 minutes, Megève in 25 minutes and Méribel and Courchevel in 35 minutes.

The Altiport of Courchevel

Our Courchevel accommodations are easily reached by air because it has an altiport, also known as mountain aerodrome, destined for tourists. Other alpine resorts also have this type of airport, for instance Alpe d’Huez, Méribel and Megève, but it is the one from Courchevel that is the pioneer and the only one that has a very steep runway.

In fact, because of how dangerous this runway is, Alpine is the only airline allowed to operate commercial flights there. On the other hand, helicopters and private airplanes use it very often.

Altiport of Courchevel in the French Alps

The Altiport of Courchevel. Photo by Aviasim

Emerald Stay : luxury chalets and apartments in the most accessible Alpine resorts

Whether you come from Paris, London, Lyon or Geneva, and whether you decide to get to the Alps by car, train or plane, you will certainly find an exclusive accommodation with Emerald Stay once you get there, in the most renowned and easiest to access resorts in the French Alps. 

Apartment Ophite Meribel Emerald Stay

Apartment Ophite in Méribel by Emerald Stay

Dreaming of a stunning ski-in-ski-out apartment? Alpe d’Huez is only a 4h20 train ride away from Paris, or a 6h20 car ride.   

Ready to indulge in an exceptional chalet just one hour away from Geneva? We have exactly what you need in the wonderful resorts of Megève and Chamonix.

In addition to our luxury rentals in the Alps, we offer private concierge services. As such, we can organise your transfers from the train station or airport of your choice. Simply contact our team of travel agents before your arrival. They will be happy to help you enhance your stay with à la carte services, if you wish.

Entrust us the management of your property

Emerald Stay's true value lies in the combined experience of its leaders in the technology, hospitality and real estate sectors. We bring all our expertise to the task of providing a highly digital, hassle-free solution for the monetization of premium homes in lifestyle destinations. We call it Smart Ownership, a simple idea fulfilled through an avant-garde execution that requires no effort from your side, other than enjoying your home when you want to, and earning yield while you are not there. We take care of everything else. Everything.