With an excellent snow record, the sunny, southern French resort of Serre Chevalier is one of the most atmospheric destinations in the French Alps. Featuring charming old villages, from bustling Villeneuve to the 17th Century, fortified town of Briançon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the resort is supremely well connected and offers 250km of extensive skiing.
Serre Chevalier is famous for the extent of its tree-lined skiing. Trees cover nearly two thirds of the mountain and the woodland runs aren’t just for the experts. Tree-lined, wide greens and narrow blacks ensure tree skiing is accessible for all levels and abilities. And mélèze trees instead of Alpine pines provide the resort with a unique, attractive appearance.
The abundant off-piste opportunities on the slopes above Villeneuve and Monêtier make Serre Chevalier a free-riders paradise. Those searching for powder and moguls will find the extensive pistes surprisingly varied. There are excellent on piste routes from the top of the Pic de L’Yret as well as the challenging black run, Luc Alphand into Chantemerle.
A popular destination for families, Serre Chevalier is renowned for the friendliness of the locals and you can expect a warm welcome. The local ski schools have an excellent reputation, and there are plenty of winter activities to keep children and adults occupied when not busy skiing and snowboarding.
The Serre Chevalier peak, which lends its name to the resort, dominates the Guisane valley in which the charming resort villages are situated. Chantemerle is the ideal village for a family ski holiday. A calm destination which offers plenty of winter activities from ice skating to snow scooters.
Villeneuve, in contrast, has a lively après scene and the purpose built section of the village is perfect for enthusiastic skiers who want ready access to the mountain. The delightful little hamlet of Le Bez is only a short distance from Villeneuve. Situated between two gondolas, Le Bez, like its neighbour, also has excellent access to the slopes.
Skiing down to Briançon affords excellent views of the old town. While at the top of the valley, Monêtier is the quietest village and home to spectacular thermal baths – a must visit! The distinctive character of Serre Chevalier and its hidden delights are sure to win you over.
|Off Piste||Best up high|
Beginner skiing and snowboarding in Serre Chevalier
Serre Chevalier is a fantastic resort for beginners with plenty of gentle green runs across the lower half of the mountain and down into the valley. The excellent ski schools in the area are reassuringly friendly and provide first class tuition.
In Chantemerle beginners head up the mountain early to learn on the high, Serre Ratier nursery slope. The nearby Trois Croix green run is an excellent route, taking skiers and snowboarders from the Grand Alpe station all the way to the village. As a long run, gently winding through the trees, it is excellent for practicing your skiing or boarding technique.
There are some incredible green runs going into the village of Villeneuve. The Route de Fréjus in particular comes highly recommended, running all the way from Fréjus, past the hamlet of Le Bez and into the village.
As well as the high quality slopes in the valley, there are numerous blue runs higher up the mountain suitable for confident beginners. We recommend heading to the top of the Grand Serre chairlift for some of the most accessible blues in resort.
Intermediate skiing and snowboarding in Serre Chevalier
An ideal resort for intermediate skiers and boarders, easy to cruise red runs and tree-lined skiing typify the ski area. One of the most exciting red runs is the Cucumelle, accessible from the top of the Vallons chair in Fréjus. This beautiful open piste at the top of the mountain is perfect for skiers who enjoy a long run you can sink your teeth into.
Situated on a quieter part of mountain, the Aiguillette chair near Chantemerle offers spectacular red runs that are ideal for escaping the crowds. With pleasant tree-lined sections, the Aiguillette and the Éduits reds are the perfect tranquil retreats where you can still pick up a bit of speed.
The Monêtier section of Serre Chevalier is further out than the central section, but is still readily accessible using the resort’s excellent and free ski bus service. It is a must visit for lovers of tree skiing, with the winding Clot Gaillard providing some of the best tree action in resort.
Lovers of spectacular views should absolutely head to the red runs above Briançon. Skiing the runs from the top of the Prorel 2 gondola will turn up delightful vistas of the historic town and its UNESCO World Heritage status fortress.
Advanced skiing and snowboarding in Serre Chevalier
The freeride possibilities and truly enjoyable black runs of Serre Chevalier will delight expert skiers and boarders. Head to the villages of Villeneuve and Chantemerle for the steepest black runs in resort: the Casse du Boeuf and the Luc Alphand.
Both these runs are great fun, with a sustained steepness that allow you to build up serious speed. The Casse du Boeuf in particular is very quick and incredibly exciting. Elsewhere on the mountain, ungroomed black runs known as ‘brut de neige’ provide skiers with challenging on piste terrain.
The off-piste terrain above the tree line of Villeneuve and Chantemerle is easily accessible, in particular in the Cucumelle valley. All you need do here is ski to the side of the Cucumelle run to access simple off-piste slopes. It is the perfect place to get your off-piste ski legs back.
With its steep slopes and large bowls, Monétier provides the best off-piste experience in Serre Chevalier. Take the Yret lift, above Monétier to access an incredible snow bowl with plenty of snow for you to leave your tracks in.
Freestyle and terrain parks in Serre Chevalier
Easily accessed from Villeneuve and Chantemerle, the excellent snow park in the heart of Serre Chevelier is suitable for all levels, from beginner freestylers to experienced experts. The park is split into four separate areas with each zone offering modules suitable for different abilities.
A dedicated lift serves the Serre Chevalier snow park and a video zone will film your runs so you can watch your awesome moves. The park even has a ‘CoolZone’ where you can chill out, listen to music and enjoy the BBQ. It is an ideal location to spend an afternoon – whether you want to practice your tricks or simply soak up the atmosphere.
The MélèZone near the Forêt and Orée du Bois chairlifts is a unique snowpark in a stunning woodland setting. Suitable for intermediate and expert freestyle skiers and snowboarders, the modules are specially built from the local larch wood, seamlessly blending in with nature.
Speed is of the essence at the Serre Chevalier boarder cross, near Chantemerle. A competitive area, each corner and banked turn is carefully honed to make the course as fast as possible. This a great challenge for expert skiers and boarders.
The FunnyCross couldn’t be more different to the course at Chantemerle. An easy course above Briançon, this accessible area is suitable for all abilities. The watchword here is fun and the course is perfect for the whole family.
Cross-country skiing in Serre Chevalier
The wide Guisane valley makes Serre Chevalier an excellent destination for cross-country skiers. With 40km of trails, you can skate all the way from Villeneuve to Les Boussardes at the end of the valley.
There are a couple of short loops, perfect for complete beginners. The green Les Abeyres is situated just outside Villeneuve, and at 1.5km is an ideal length for those learning to cross-country ski.
Experienced cross-country skiers can attempt trails up to 27km long. During the height of winter the trails will take you through magical scenery: across snow covered fields, past charming villages, and into mysterious forests.
The opening of the trails is dependent on the snow conditions. Passes and equipment can be purchased locally.
35km of trails
Night skiing available in Villeneuve
These comfortable apartments offer great value in a fabulous and largely undiscovered resort. The location is superb at the bottom of the piste in Villeneuve and is only a short walk from the resort’s shops, bars and restaurants.
The Residence Aquisana Apartments were built in 2016, in a traditional Alpine style using stone and wood. The apartments are located just 500m from the Portillas cable, which gives easy access to the 250km of Serre Chevalier’s fantastic pistes.
Restaurants, food and drink
Serre Chevalier is an excellent destination for the authentic mountain hut experience, and the mountain restaurants certainly don’t disappoint. La Peyra Juana, above the village of Monétier is a classic French mountain hut: friendly and popular with the locals. It is a great place to visit for the traditional French cuisine and delightful atmosphere.
Located in the tiny village of Fréjus, midway up the mountain, is the delightful Pi Maï restaurant. With an exceptional menu of grilled meats, steak and regional cuisine, this charming restaurant is an excellent destination for lunch.
Conveniently located above the Casse du Boeuf, the chalet style Bivouac de la Casse has a large terrace, which is ideal for catching some rays on a bluebird day. If that wasn’t enough, the tasty menu of burgers, tartiflettes and other delights are served with a smile by the friendly staff.
For excellent, traditional French cuisine off the mountain, head to either La Marotte or La Pastorale in Villeneuve. La Marotte and La Pastorale are two of the most popular restaurants in the resort and it’s not hard to see why. Both are tiny restaurants with a charming atmosphere and friendly service.
In Chantemerle Le Loup Blanc has a delightful interior of wandering wooden beams and charming decorations, giving the place a very traditional feel. The regional dishes are fresh and delicious and the meals are complimented by a fine choice of wines.
Après, bars, clubs and nightlife
The village of Villeneuve is the lively heart of Serre Chevalier, and the destination to head to for most of your après ski needs. La Grotte pub is situated at the base of the pistes – perfectly placed for après. Live bands and DJs keep this place thriving until late into the evening.
As the evening turns to night, head to Le Caves de Serre Chevalier, a lively nightclub and cocktail bar. It is the ideal destination for large groups and those looking to party into the early hours of the morning.
For a quieter experience in Villenueve head to 1420. Named after its altitude, this classy little bar has an incredible wine selection in its cellar, as well as a special choice of beers and spirits. Le Cocoon, is another good option, and a warm, cozy place for a drink.
At the foot of the Luc Alphand piste in Chatemerle, the Station is another great après ski destination. This popular bar has live entertainment most evenings and serves great food as well. Try the house special: fish ‘n chips.
Le Monêtier is the quietest village in Serre Chevalier but still has some of the nicest bars. The Blue Bird Cocktail Bar really stands out from the crowd. With a fantastic stone arch interior, and a splendid cocktail menu, this is one of the most elegant after-ski destinations in resort.
The winding streets in the villages of Serre Chevalier are perfect for wandering and stumbling upon little shops. There are plenty of stores selling and renting winter sports equipment, and small supermarkets or delicatessens where you can grab a bite to eat.
Undoubtedly, the main destination to head to for all your shopping needs is Briançon. The highest town in France, there are plenty of shops selling a wide range of products. It is a great place to visit to look for gifts to take home to friends and family.
Spas and relaxation
Serre Chevalier is well known for the thermal baths in Monêtier, Les Grand Bains du Monêtier. The indoor pool is naturally heated and a wide range of facilities, including Jacuzzi, Roman baths and steam rooms ensure plenty of ways to relax. Visitors can also enjoy an extensive range of health and beauty treatments.
The Pure Altitude Spa at the Le Grand Aigle Hotel is ideal for all guests staying in Les Bez. This excellent spa has a unique décor, with vaulted stone ceilings, providing a fantastic ambience in which to relax. Facilities include a sauna and a whirlpool, with beauty treatments possible to reserve and pay for locally.
Arts, culture and events
Serre Chevalier is a uniquely fascinating ski resort for those interested in history. The walled old town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Briançon has an incredible past. The old fortress was built in the 18th Century to help defend the town from invasion from the Duchy of Savoy.
At the end of the valley, the St Pierre Chapel in Monêtier has been converted into the delightful little Musée d’Art Sacré. The museum contains a fascinating collection of religious art dating as far back as the 15th Century, and hosts regular exhibitions.
Away from the traditional skiing and snowboarding, there are a wealth of winter sports activities available in Serre Chevalier. From the gentler activities of snowshoeing, to the high octane and extreme snow kiting, there is something to suit all tastes.
At the base of the Luc Alphand piste is the bowling centre, Bowling des Neiges. Open every day during the winter from 10am until 2am, this is a great place to go to relax after a day spent skiing.
One of the most popular non-ski activities in any ski resort, there are several companies operating in Serre Chevalier which offer this experience. Dog-sledding is a great family past time. The dogs are cute (if noisy), the scenery is spectacular, and the experience is exhilarating – we highly recommend it.
Piste basher rides
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to prepare the slopes each night for the following days skiing? Well, this might be your opportunity to find out…
Running from the end of December to the end of March, the local lift pass office will allow guests to accompany snowplough drivers as they groom the pistes. It is a fantastic opportunity to experience the mountain in a whole new way and at unique times of the day.
Sunrise rides include breakfast and some night-time rides include dinner. Availability is limited and we recommend booking in advance.
A cross between skiing and tobogganing, the Snooc is a revolutionary new way to get yourself down the mountain. The sport was first trialled in Serre Chevalier and we’re told it is very easy to do.
A single ski is connected to a small seat – all you have to do is guide yourself downhill. The experience includes climbing to the top of the mountain where you will assemble your Snooc. Tours and equipment can be organised locally.
The Lautaret pass at the furthest end of the Guisane valley has the ideal conditions for snowkiting: gentle, rolling slopes and naturally windy weather. In 2016 the area hosted the Snowkite Masters, an international freestyle event. Today, a local snowkiting school can teach you how to snowkite using a snowboard or skis.
Walking, nordic walking and snow shoeing
There are approximately 25km of winter pathways in the Guisane valley and maps can be purchased at the local tourist office. Wandering the snowy trails is an excellent way to connect with nature and the tranquil, surrounding environment.
Snow shoeing is a fun way to explore areas of the winter landscape that are normally inaccessible on foot. Along with routes in the valley, there are six circuits in the mountain, some of which take you to the edge of the Ecrins National Park.
The mountain can be accessed with a foot passenger’s pass and snow shoe equipment can be rented locally.
LEARN TO SKI
6 day lift pass, 6 days 'Blue' ski/boot hire, 6 days tuition*
Adult from £408 Child from £355
All Learn to Ski packs must be pre-booked in the UK and are not bookable locally. For complete beginners only. *2hrs and 30 minutes per day. Child = 6-12yrs.
|Whole Area Pass
E (15-21 Dec), L (6-12 Apr), H (All other dates). *Lift pass includes a day skiing in Montgenèvre, Les 2 Alpes or Alpe d'Huez (transport extra).
|Skis & Boots||£101||£116||£135|
|Snowboard & boots||-||£116||£135|
|Child (6-12yrs)*||Skis & Boots||-||£58||-|
|Snowboard & boots||-||£58||-|
Equipment Hire (6 days) - Please see here for description of hire categories.
*Child snowboard & boots from 8yrs. White category skis & boots for children 3-5yrs: £45.
|Tuition||Days||Hours||Adult 13yrs||Child 6-12yrs*|
|Ski & Snowboard||6||2 1/2 hrs per day||£160|
*Child snowboard tuition= 8-11yrs
Prices and supplements are correct at time of publishing but may vary up or down; correct prices will be advised at the time of booking.
Resort Code: FRSC
Languages spoken: French
Time difference: GMT+1
Flights depart Saturday
Transfer 2hrs 30mins by coach
Flight supplements may apply
Reductions are available for self-drive
Car hire available: Yes
Evening resort bus service: No
Local bus services:
Parking available: No
Resort Ski bus available: Yes
Ski bus info: