Ski at Alpe d'Huez, a favourite for family holidays in Isère, or at Les Deux Alpes.
Explore Grenoble, an hour and a half from the main ski resorts. Kids go mad for a ride on its cable car with its funky bubble-like pods accommodating up to six people. It takes you up to the 19th-century fortress of La Bastille, which offers great views over town and, on a clear day, Mont Blanc in the distance. Meandering paths take you back down the hillside. Because of its overall flatness, Grenoble is also great to explore by bike – there are special routes alongside the Drac and Isère rivers. Métrovélo has good-value bike hire, including baby seats. A good rainy-day bet is the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, with stuffed animals and skeletons aplenty, plus displays on earth sciences and ethnography.
Take a jaunt on the Chemin de Fer de la Mure, a tourist train taking you over spectacular viaducts and through 18 tunnels, including the 1km ‘Tunnel Mystérieux’ complete with magic lanterns and animated models. Departing from St-Georges-de-Commiers less than 20km from Grenoble, it has a kids’ carriage with a play area.
Hike from Chamrousse, south-east of Grenoble, to mountain lakes Lac Robert and Lac Achard. There are various paths, some well-suited to families, and when you get there you can swim or fish (with a permit) amidst gorgeous scenery.