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Skiing in France

Updated on December 3, 2015
Princessa profile image

Wendy moved to France in 2005. She planned to stay there for only 5 years but fell in love with everything French and still living in France


France is a multifaceted country. It is no wonder why my French friends do not travel often abroad. Why would they? They have everything they might want right here. From glamorous Paris with everything you might want in a city to tiny picturesque and sleepy villages. In terms of landscape, France has it share too. From paradisiacal beaches and forests to volcanoes and snow covered mountains.

I live in the centre of France which makes it easy to travel around the country. In only a couple of hours I can be enjoying the Atlantic sea beaches, the Mediterranean seaside, the volcano lands or the skiing mountains. A well connected train and road service makes it possible for anyone to enjoy all this in comfort.

Le Lioran: Le Massif Cantalien

Skiing in France at Le Lioran: Le Massif Cantalien
Skiing in France at Le Lioran: Le Massif Cantalien | Source

The Massif Cantalien

The Massif Cantalien is located on the West side of the Massif Central area of France. It is located in the heart of the largest volcano in Europe. The Massif Cantalien is made up of valleys, plateaus and mountains.

A Ski Vacation to the Massif Cantalien at the Lioran

Last week I went for the first time to ski in the Auvergne. We choose the skiing resort of Lioran in the Cantal Mountains or as the French call it, the Massif Cantalien. The landscape there is awesome; the ski resort of Lioran is amidst a pine forest in the biggest volcano of Europe. This French skiing station is one of the best equipped in the Auvergne; it has 150 hectares, between 1250 m to 1850 m above sea level. It comprises 60 km of groomed runs: 7 black, 15 red, 14 blue and 8 green ones.

Among the facilities, Le Lioran skiing resort has 22 ski lifts from which 1 is a cable car, 13 are drag lifts and 8 are chair lifts. There is also 1 free telebaby (tire-fesses) for beginners.

A family orientated winter resort

Le Lioran is not just about skiing, it is more than that. The Lioran is a very family orientated winter resort where you can choose from a range of activities for all ages and abilities. From skiing schools for beginners to cross country skiing, skidoo, snow shoeing, dog sledging, ice skating, snow biking, elastic trampolines and many other fun activities that will keep you and your family busy. There is even a crèche for children from 3 months to 5 years old.

Le Lioran in the Heart of the Cantal in Auvergne


How to get to Le Lioran if you are driving:

From Paris, 5 hours by motorways A71 and A75 - Exit Massiac 45 km from Le Lioran

From Montepellier, 3 hours by motorway A 75 (free) - Exit St Flour 40 km from Le Lioran

From Lyon, 3h30 by motorways A72 and A75 - Exit Massiac 45 km from Le Lioran

From Clermont-Ferrand, 1h15 by A75 (free) - Exit Massiac 45 km from Le Lioran

If you choose to go by train, Le Lioran train station is located at the bottom of the resort.  There is a free shuttle bus for the two kilometres between the train station and the resort.   

Lioran Ski station

My experience:

I arrived at le Lioran on Friday, almost at midday with a group of French friends. Of course, being all French the first thing we did was to stop for lunch. We decided to have a light lunch so we could go skiing in the afternoon. The light lunch, French style, lasted for about 2 hours counting the aperitif, main course, wine, desserts cheese and coffee. Come on, we were in the Cantal and we had to taste the specialities of the region!

The weather was fantastic, plenty of snow, and with a temperature of 5°C, it was rather warm. By 2pm the advanced skiers in the group went straight to ski while the beginners -me included- went to hire our skiing equipment. There are several shops to choose from for renting skiing and snowboarding equipment. I paid 35 euros for 3 days rental of skis, poles and boots. Once we all had our equipment ready, we went to hire a private tutor. There are several skiing schools available in the resort, and for 35 euros an hour you can have your private ski tutor to guide you at any level of proficiency.

Hiring a private tutor was a good bet as I picked up very quickly on the basics and I was able to enjoy myself. I was not as good as my friends, but I had lots of fun. After an afternoon skiing, at the fall of dawn we took the “cheese road” or “route du fromage” along the Cantal mountains to go and visit some of the cheese making facilities of the area. There are 5 AOC cheeses in the area, the Cantal, the Salers, the Bleu d’Auvergne, the Saint Nectaire and Fourme d’Ambert. There are many others but those are the main ones.

Me Learning the Basics:


Le Lioran Prices 2009/2010 (in euros)

Culinary explanations:

Magret de canard: This is a filet of duck breast dried and treated in a similar way to ham. It is salted and perfumed with pepper and other spices.

Foie gras: it is a made of duck or goose liver specially fattened. The foie gras resembles a pate but it has a richer buttery taste.

The Gastronomic Route

On Saturday we went skiing again. I had a few more lessons without too much success this time. Still, it was a good day especially when we stopped for lunch where I enjoyed a delicious three duck (duck breast, magret of duck and foie gras) salad followed by a Grand Marnier crepe.

After lunch we had a lazy afternoon, only a little bit of skiing discovering the resort and we did the dog sledding. You can discover the snow covered landscape and the gentleness of the huskies who pull your sledge for 9 euros per person for a 10 minute trip. For a longer trip into the forest be prepared to pay up to 57 euros for 1-2 people.

Dog sled in Lioran, France

There is so much to do in the Lioran that you don’t know where to start.  It is definitely a place where you could spend more than a weekend or a whole week without getting bored.  There is always something to do, something to see in the Lioran.

For more details of my Lioran trip you can check the unedited blog. 

A rest after a day of skiing


Lioran 2013


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    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      7 years ago from France

      dusy7969: That's right, I think it also cuts on costs and dissapointment.

    • dusy7969 profile image


      7 years ago from San Diego, California

      Knowing enough about Skiing in France to make solid, informed choices cuts down on the fear factor. If you apply what you've just learned about Skiing in France, you should have nothing to worry about.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      De Greek: nothing compares to it!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      The exhilaration of the first solo downhill ski run! :-)

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      prasetio30: I know what you mean. The first time I saw snow I was 16, and I had always dreamt with seeing and touching it. Maybe that is why I love it so much, because I waited a long time to see it.

      cressinia: I don't know about that. It was my first time there and this year we had a lot of snow in France. Just last week we had our last snowfall.

    • cressinia profile image


      8 years ago

      Those lift prices look great value for money. Though I fear Le Lioren is a little low to offer reliable snow conditions.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice information about skiing place. I think France is a beautiful country. I also liked with all the picture you had post in this hub. This hub inspiring much, because I never touch the snow directly. Good hub.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      AARON99: Thank you for visiting this page :)

      terrowhite: I love skiing. I am NOT good at it, but I have lots of fun trying, despite being scared to fall and break something, which I have done already (not skiing but cycling). I think part of the thrill is to know that you are doing something "dangerous"

    • terrowhite profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey, amazing pics.. seems skiing is loads of fun! Have never tried as I am very sscared of this sport.. but would love to do now after seeing your pics.. :-)

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      alexandriaruthk: thanks for the visit. I do enjoy trying new things.

      Pamela99: I feel that way myself. I've been wanting to go back ever since I left. There are many other sports in there that I didn't tried... Maybe I can make it back before the spring!

      MrSpock: It's really good, specially if shared with fun loving friends.

      H P Roychoudhury: glad to hear you liked it, I only used some of the photos, I had almost 100 to choose from.

      Prettydarkhorse:Thank you for visiting Maita, I am already planning my next adventure ;-)

      Aaron99: that's a compliment coming from you my friend.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A great hub with beautiful photographs. Keep writing.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      8 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Lovely pictures. I liked it.

    • MrSpock profile image


      8 years ago

      That looks like quite a thrill especially being from the states.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I loved this hub and would pack this morning to visit if possible. Your pictures were great and added so much to your story. Excellent hub.

    • alexandriaruthk profile image


      8 years ago from US

      awesome experience! Thank you. You sure know how to enjoy will check your Skydiving hub,

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      Zsuzsy: nice to see you! I am so happy I helped revive those lovely memories. Take care.



      ocbill: So happy you enjoyed it, I hope you can make it back here some time.

    • ocbill profile image


      8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      I went there in the early 90's. It is a gorgeous place along with the language. Although I missed Roland Garros. The Food and trains were nice.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      In 1968, the year before we came to Canada I was lucky enough to spend almost three weeks in France. I actually learned to ski on that holiday in Serre-Chevalier, near Briançon in the French Alps.

      Awesome hub Princessa brought back some really nice memories, gotta go and hunt down that pictures album.

      Greetings to you and and your cherubs from cold cold Canada


    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      TnFlash: France is a beautiful country I am certain that would you enjoy the scenary and food. I hope you can come one day!

      LRobbins: Yes, in France you can try anything from skiing to surfing :)

    • LRobbins profile image


      8 years ago from Germany

      Very informative hub! I've never been to France but would love to go and now I'll have to try the skiing too!

    • TnFlash profile image


      8 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      France looks like a beautiful country. The light lunches sound like like something I will have to try. I would like to try the skiing but I have bad knees. I know I would enjoy the scenery.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      Tiffany: thanks

      money glitch: you would love lunches here, even in my town during working days, eveything stops at 12 o'clock and all workers (banks, post office, shops) go to the local restaurants for their two hour "light lunch"

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Wow,thanks for sharing your experiences, Princessa! I've always wanted to visit France, after reading your hubs; I know have to make the trip. A light lunch for two hours with all the wonderful food you mentioned, hhhhhhmmmm my kind of lunch. I'm not real sure about the skiing yet, I think I'm open to trying the "kids slopes" :)

    • Tiffany Latte profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Great hub.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      Purple Perl: I a; glad you enjoyed reading this :)

      Amulets: You should visit, any time is good to visit France!

      lyricsingray: you should try, I am not very good at it but I have a lot of fun trying, I have the hope that one day I will be able to do it like a pro :)

      Vladimir: thanks

      Russell: I think that is the best part about France: Wine, cheese and all food in general. Thanks for stopping to comment.

      kim: thanks for commenting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow! Wonderful article! And the pictures are great.

    • Russell-D profile image


      8 years ago from Southern Ca.

      At 81, I hung my skiis up years back. But, I do love France. Earlier this year we spent time in an old stone house in the hill town of Grambois enjoying local countrysides, unbelievable wine, unbelieveable cheeses, unbelievable farmer's markets and unbelievable restaurants...and met up with many wonderful people everywhere. Who said the French don't like us? They don't really the French!

      Loved the story, keep them coming. David Russell

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 

      8 years ago from HubPages, FB


      you are cute skier

      I wish I would be there.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Fabulous Hub, truly inspiring. If only I could ski. sigh.

      Great HubMob Hub

      way to go

    • amulets profile image


      8 years ago from Singapore

      Wow! Such beautiful scenery. I love to visit it when I have a chance and enjoy the moment when I am there.

      Indeed it will be a very exciting and interesting experience I will get visit France. I have learnt German language and now I should start learning French.

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 

      8 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Thanks Princessa for giving an excellent first hand experience. A great read as all your hubs are!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      Hi Misha: I felt like a teddy bear with all that padding, LOL

    • Misha profile image


      8 years ago from DC Area

      You look so cute in a ski gear :)

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      tonymac04: La France will be always waiting for you :)

      RedElf: Ever since I read your Dog Sledding hub I've been wanting to do that. I did it now, it was great!

      Flightkeeper: I'll take that as a compliment :) Thanks!

    • Flightkeeper profile image


      8 years ago from The East Coast

      You look like a pro not a beginner in those pictures Princessa.

    • RedElf profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Oh, I feel almost as if I were there - lovely! Thanks, Princessa. It's so nice to see our Northern friends, the huskies, have made friends in other countries, too!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      La France! A wonderful place indeed. I love it and look forward to visiting again soon. Not to ski, though!

      Love and peace


    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      BkCreative: LOL, sorry not handsome men this time. The skiing instructor was charming, but a bit short for my liking.

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Well, you're just naturally fabulous! Thanks for the photos. I look forward to vicariously enjoying your next adventure. Thanks for sharing this! (I so enjoyed the skydiving - complete with the handsome men)


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