An Alpine paradise perched at 1,800m, above Morzine, Avoriaz – once dubbed the ‘Saint Tropez de Neige' but now more down-to-earth – is great with younger kids by virtue of being a car-free resort. Horse-drawn taxis jangling along its streets, traditional wooden chalets jostling with quirky 1960s architecture, panoramic views, central nursery slopes and facilities for skiers of all abilities make it hard to resist. Avoriaz is particularly magical after dark, with children sledging in the heart of the resort until bedtime and lights twinkling in the trees. This pedestrian resort is at the heart of the Portes du Soleil ski domain, offering 650–700km of piste runs stretching right into Switzerland.
In summer, meanwhile, Avoriaz is transformed into a centre for hiking, mountain-biking, paragliding, golf and other outdoor activities.
Things to do with kids in Avoriaz
Ski. Avoriaz is directly linked to Morzine and Châtel and to Swiss resort Les Crosets. The Super Morzine, connecting Avoriaz mainly with Morzine, is popular with ski schools and beginners. The beautiful Lindaret valley is home to several red and blue runs and one black, plus The Stash, a conceptual snowpark based on ecological principles. There's also the junior Stash for ages 6–14 years and a kids' freestyle zone. The Fornet is a big bowl with rocks and crevasses to ski between, plus access to La Chavanette or the ‘Swiss Wall’, one of Europe’s steepest pistes (part of Les Crosets). Haut-Forts has several black runs and the opportunity for plenty of off-piste action although does suffer frequent avalanches.
Snowboard. The resort is rated among the world’s best for the sport, having welcomed snowboarders before most other places.
Try downhill mountain-biking – again, Avoriaz is one of Europe’s top downhill cycling stations, and you can take introductory sessions with kids as young as six. Or just kick back and watch the Tour de France – Avoriaz and Morzine are frequent hosts to a stage of the world-famous cycle race, which takes place in summer.
Try paragliding, attached to an instructor – available to kids as young as six. Other options are whitewater-rafting, canoeing and donkey-trekking.
Head for the state-of-the-art, eco-friendly mountain waterpark, Aquariaz, with a lazy river and a water playhouse among other enticements.
In summer, take advantage of the activities and entertainments (many free) that turn Avoriaz into a buzzy summer resort. Those that aren't free are often available at discount to those who invest in a Multi Pass. There are also a crèche and kids' clubs for all ages, although not many of the other children will speak much English.
Also in summer, enjoy lovely walks in the mountains. One of the best with younger kids is down to Les Brochaux waterfall and onto Les Lindarets, a rather touristy village where goats roam free. Chairlifts back up to Avoriaz are free to Multi Pass holders.
Head for the Ferme de Seraussiax for tours, in French, tastings of the farm's own produce (cheese and charcuterie) and the chance to see the cows, bells a-clanking, being brought in by the herdsman for milking.
Although you’ll most likely be self-catering in Avoriaz, there are plenty of options when it comes to eating out, from takeaway pizza and Tex Mex to traditional Savoyard cuisine featuring lots of cheese, potatoes, crozets (tiny square pasta) and sausages. For tips on eating out with kids in the region as a whole, see our French Alps destination guide.
Avoriaz’s altitude makes it the most snow-sure resort in the whole of the French Alps, with snow guaranteed from early December to late April. Music and other festivals take place throughout the season.
Summer pursuits can be enjoyed from June to August but activities are at their peak in the school holidays – although do remember that the French take their holidays en masse in August, pushing prices up.