It's all downhill from here on ski holidays in France

Looking to hit the slopes for some thrilling downhill action? Or are you hoping for a more sedate cross-country experience? Whatever your interests – and your skill level – these ideas will have you ready to book the next flight to the Alps.

Stellar ski holidays in the French Alps

A sprawling region in southeastern France, the French Alps boast some of the country's finest skiing and liveliest high-altitude villages. Whether you're looking for a bustling resort like Bourg-Saint-Maurice or a secluded mountain hamlet, you'll find plenty of holiday rentals here.

Apres-ski culture in bustling Bourg-Saint-Maurice

If it's a lively ski holiday you're looking for, look no further than the humming resort town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Home to the massive Les Arcs ski resort, it's also full of charming holiday cottages and chalet-style villa rentals, many of which offer easy access to some of the area's best ski lifts and nearby peaks, such as Bec de l'Ane and Mont Pourri. The town's centre along the Isere River features plenty of bars and restaurants for a festive apres-ski break.

Chill out in charming Chamonix

Close to the border with Switzerland and Italy, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc – also known as simply Chamonix – is another popular destination. The town's located at the base of iconic Mont Blanc, and holiday homes here are mean you'll be just a quick trip from the cable cars that take riders to the top of nearby peaks like Aiguille du Midi. In town, which lies along the Arve River, you can explore the exhibits of the Musee Alpin, or try your luck at the town's casino.

Popular picks in the French Pyrenees

Away from the denser crowds of the buzziest alpine resorts, the French Pyrenees offers a more laid-back take on the French ski holiday. Here you can try a wide variety of ski slopes for all skill levels, and the region's towns boast lively streets lined with bars, restaurants and cafes.

Spectacular slopes in scenic Saint Lary

Nestled in the mountains right along the border with Spain, Saint Lary is a small village that's known for its stellar ski slopes and bustling town centre. The Néouvielle National Nature Reserve is located nearby, where you'll find lakefront hiking trails during warmer months. In the winter, though, you'll spend your days skiing and snowboarding the area's slopes before heading to your holiday rental by Rue Vincent Mir, where you'll have your pick of the bars and cafes that line the street.

Vintage vibes in La Mongie

Set below the Col du Tourmalet, the highest paved pass within the French Pyrenees, the funky, laid-back village of La Mongie lies about an hour's drive from the train station in Lourdes. From your La Mongie holiday home, you'll have easy access to a number of ski slopes both in town and in nearby Bareges. The town's centre boasts cosy bars and casual dining options, and thermal pools in the spa town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre are just 30 minutes' drive away.

Budget-friendly picks for cheap French ski holidays

If you're looking for a great French ski holiday without putting your credit card through its paces, you've come to the right place. Save a bundle by avoiding the busiest times – typically Christmas and New Year, and students' winter break in February – and stick with these great, out-of-the-way spots for a low-cost ski getaway.

Great holiday rentals that won't break the bank

Sticking with the Pyrenees is generally the best way to find good deals on French ski holidays – the region is typically much more laid-back and affordable than its Alpine counterpart. Holiday rentals in the town of Cauterets, within the Parc National des Pyrénées on the Spanish border, offer easy access to the area's ski resorts. The town's also known for its striking 19th-century architecture and natural thermal springs.

Low-cost Alpine getaways

If you are determined to go on an Alpine ski trip, consider staying in a more informal resort, like Serre Chevalier. The area's home to a dozen villages in the Guisane river valley, which share about 155 miles of ski slopes for old hands, first-timers and intermediate skiers. You could book a holiday home in Monêtier Les Bains, a charming village in the area that boasts soaring peaks, museums, and plenty of shops and eateries.