Isère stretches over no fewer than three dramatic mountain ranges; anticipate endless grand views and you won’t be disappointed. And this year, five Isère resorts have yet again been awarded a coveted Famille Plus label, just in case you needed a few more reasons to pack up the kids and come skiing here this winter.
Do as French families do and breathe a sigh of contented relief when you explore Isère’s five Famille Plus resorts. Alpe d’Huez, Chamrousse, Les 2 Alpes, Vaujany and Villard-de-Lans/Corrençon have proudly worn the Famille Plus label for years, so they’re experts at meeting the strict requirements or exceeding them. Which means you can look forward to your kids being cossetted within an inch of never wanting to leave. There are fun activities for toddlers to teens throughout Isère’s long winter season (December to April). And you have the assurance of Famille Plus excellence across the board, from childcare to ski schools.
In terms of practicalities that make ski holidays easy on parents but don’t interest kids in the slightest, Famille Plus assesses everything from resort accommodation to essentials like convenient shops, ski-lifts, restaurants or creches. And no label is ever awarded to any resort unless it excels on atmosphere; which to Famille Plus means relaxed and friendly, welcoming, and big on making sure everyone from babies to grandparents feels at home from the minute they arrive – unsurprisingly Isère’s Famille Plus resorts are close to perfect for multi-gen holidays.
It’s pretty clear from the outset that Isère understands what it takes to make a great family ski holiday. Even compact Grenoble Alpes Isère Airport seems to have been designed with families in mind, not least of all because it’s only two hours’ drive to resorts and direct flights from London, Glasgow, Dublin and Birmingham are available all winter.
Apart from outstanding Famille Plus resorts, Isère’s also known for the type of historic mountain villages that could charm your ski socks off. The majority of slopes are comfortably low on queues and crowds – great for kids and first-time skiers. A strong commitment to preserving local heritage and character means there are mercifully few large resort hotels to disrupt the general gorgeousness of the landscape. Plus, because Isère is about as far from touristy as it gets in the French Alps, costs here are nicely low for everything from accommodation to lift passes. And for a little extra peace of mind, flexible cancellations are part of the deal for most family holidays in Isère this winter.
Of course, skiing’s the main event, but entertaining families off the slopes with endless exciting activities is another of Isère’s many talents. And naturally, there’s plenty of stuff kids can get up to on their own, although it’s a fairly safe bet parents will be keen to join in more often than not. Is anyone too grown up not to be wowed by the sight of wild chamois?
Scope out chamois at Les 2 Alpes - Sightings aren’t guaranteed, but there’s a pretty good chance of spotting elusive chamois round about Les 2 Alpes, if you know where to look. Snap on some snowshoes for a hike with kids to the chamois wintering area. Expert local guides lead the way and tell you all you need to know about these magical creatures. And if you’re lucky (and quiet) glimpse aren’t as rare as you’d imagine. Round hike takes just over two hours and is easy enough for kids aged seven and over.
Kids learn dog sledding at Oz-en-Oisans - Baby sleds, gentle dogs and a safe, fun space combine to convert children into seasoned mushers at Oz-en-Oisans this winter. Sleds are specially designed for three to eight-year-olds, but parents are welcome to watch as kids learn what just might turn out to be one of the most thrilling holidays skills ever.
All aboard Wiz Luge at Pleynet/Les 7 Laux - Wiz Luge four-season toboggan is one for all the family. Think breakneck speeds, twists, turns, tunnels, drops, climbs, jumps and waves all the way along a 723m toboggan track. If you dare open your eyes the scenery’s sensational. Great for kids age three and over, accompanied by an intrepid adult.
Taupes Warriors Camp at Les 7 Laux - You’ll find this brilliantly adventurous theme park at Les 7 Laux resort. Designed and built just for kids it’s a mix of enormous wood mazes, slides, tunnels, cute huts, pedal cart courses and heaps of snow-centric wildness. Open outside piste hours, it’s made for energetic four to 12-year-olds.
Espace Villard-Corrençon - This year Villard-Corrençon has added a new 130m long zipline to its already thrill-filled Family Fun Zone at the foot of the Côte 2000 slopes.
Téo the Fox Cub in Chamrousse - Téo the Fox Cub is resort mascot at Chamrousse and heads up the confidence-building ski programme for first-timers on the resort’s Fun Slope this winter. A great way for kids to learn the basics, parents are welcome too and there’s even a friendly, lightly competitive, Family Challenge, once a week, all winter.
Soar over the Oisans Mountains without leaving Vaujany - The Espace Musée de Vaujany brings Isère vividly to life for families with a fantastic range of interactive adventures, multi-media activities and sensory experiences. But the thrill to beat is the museum’s incredible and totally immersive flight simulator which gives kids the real-life sensation of soaring over Isère’s Oisans Mountains. The museum and all its activities are free.
Take a closer look at winter activities for families all over Isère this season
Kids ski for free at Les 7 Laux this season
This winter, buy a 5-day ski pass for two parents at Les 7 Laux in Isère and get a free ski pass for one child aged from 6 to 11 years. Offer’s available between 9 and 29 January 2021 and from 13 March 2021 until the end of the ski season in April 2021.
Family holiday for eight in luxury mountain chalet from £1,811 per week
L’Ardoisière Chalet combines the comfort of your own 130m² family apartment with the chic of a four-star luxury chalet complete with sauna, hammam, games room and magnificent mountain views. It’s close to ski lifts and Alpe d’Huez slopes in Villard Reculas, and the apartment has a private balcony, sleeps up to eight and is available to book now from £1,811 per week.
Isère is in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south east France.
How to get there
Direct flights from London to Grenoble Alpes Isère Airport take one hour, 34 minutes.
Isère is just over two hours’ drive from Grenoble Alpes Isère Airport.