The resorts of Les Arcs, La Plagne and Peisey-Vallandry are linked to form Paradiski in Savoie department (French Alps), a ski area offering 425kms of pistes with something to offer everyone, from complete beginners to seasoned skiers. The Vanoise Express cable car opened in December 2003 and connects the three resorts, allowing unparalleled ease of access to one of the largest ski areas in the world.
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Paradiski fast facts:
– 3 ski resorts
– 425kms of runs, including…
– 152 beginner runs
– 79 intermediate runs
– 22 advanced runs
– 158kms of cross-country runs
– 2 fully equipped glaciers
– 5 snowparks, 3 boardercross, 1 half-pipe
– 1 bobsleigh run, 1 ice climbing area, 1 speed skiing run
The resort of Les Arcs is perhaps one of the best-known of the French ski resorts, and is composed of four sub-resorts which are linked by free shuttle buses and chairlifts, all named after the altitude at which they are located, and all with their own character and reputation. Les Arcs as a whole has a unique and rather quirky style – the architecture of Arc 1600 was inspired by Charlotte Perriand, and the rest of the villages took their cue from this. The modernist apartment block complexes are characterised by curves and timber, meaning that they are more aesthetically pleasing than those of other purpose-built resorts; Arc 1950 is particularly striking as it is heavily influenced by local history and architecture. All of the sub-resorts are entirely pedestrian, allowing visitors the luxury of skiing right up to their own doorstep.
Skiing in Les Arcs The skiing itself is convenient and extremely varied; Les Arcs is, after all, part of the Paradiski domain, one of the largest ski areas in the world. Over 50% of pistes are graded red and blue, meaning that novices and intermediates are amply catered for, while advanced skiers are spoilt for choice with challenging black runs and off-piste. There is a nice mixture of open and wooded runs, and an excellent terrain park with green, red and black jumps and rails. The resort has always had a reputation for being at the forefront of developments in snow sports – it boasts a famous speed skiing course where a number of world records have been set, and is something of a Mecca for boarders.
The villages Arc 1600 is the oldest of the Arcs, and is possibly the most family-oriented. It is also the lowest of the four, but, thanks to artificial snow canons, snow cover on the return slopes is guaranteed. It has a real ‘village’ feel to it, sleeps 4,190 visitors and offers a range of shops and restaurants. Slightly further up the mountain, Arc 1800 is the main centre of the resort, offering most of the facilities and nightlife. In addition to over 100 shops and an impressive choice of bars and restaurants, Arc 1800 also boasts an outdoor skating rink and cinema with two screens. Much bigger than Arc 1600, it sleeps 18,372. Arc 1950 is the newest addition, offering a high quality, purpose designed resort with all facilities available on your doorstep. Great attention has been paid to architecture – unlike the other Arcs which are characterised by a modern, even avant-gardist style, Arc 1950 was inspired by traditional buildings and local history. Les Arcs’ highest village, Arc 2000 is situated at the foot of the Aiguille Rouge, and was originally designed to cater for serious sport fiends who needed little else besides a fully-equipped gym and top-class skiing facilities. It has, however, grown into a resort offering something for everyone. It still features exceptional amounts of genuinely challenging skiing and snowboarding, but also has a selection of gentler slopes for beginners.
Summer activities Although it is primarily known as a ski resort, Les Arcs still has plenty to offer during the summer months. Lovers of culture can enjoy a programme of free concerts of classical music, and visitors can also choose from a hugely varied range of entertainment and activities including craft markets, circus performances and festivals. As in winter, there is plenty of opportunity for sports enthusiasts to enjoy themselves, with mountain biking, horse riding, hiking, mountaineering, golf, kayaking and paragliding all within easy reach.
Getting to Les Arcs
Les Arcs is directly above Bourg-St. Maurice, which is linked to Paris by TGV, Eurostar and Thaly’s. The nearest major international airport is Geneva, and there are four buses a day from Geneva Airport to Les Arcs. Other nearby airports are Chambery, Grenoble and Lyon, which offer flights to a range of destinations across the UK.
Les Arcs timeline…
1968: Arc 1600 resort opening.
1974: Arc 1800 resort opening with the inauguration of the Hotel du Golf.
1979: Arc 2000 resort opening with the Club Med.
2003 : Inauguration of the first tourist residences in Arc 1950.
Like Les Arcs, La Plagne is made up of a collection of sub-resorts – six high-altitude resorts situated at the base of the pistes, and four lower village resorts with access to the entire ski area. La Plagne in its entirety is vast, lying between 3250m and 1250m, with 225km of slopes. The Vanoise Express links it to Les Arcs, allowing visitors access to the whole Paradiski area which offers a fantastic range of skiing terrain. La Plagne’s own slopes are particularly well-suited to intermediate skiers (85% of pistes are blue or red) and those looking for the drama and excitement of off-piste action – the resort offers vast areas of easily accessible slopes within the piste network.
The high-altitude resorts
Aime-la-Plagne is the highest of the sub-resorts at 2100m, and is located opposite Mont Blanc with stunning panoramic views of the Tarentaise valley. A purpose-built resort, it offers standard ski resort accommodation in high-rise apartment blocks, but its lack of beauty is more than compensated for by its fantastically convenient location. It is close to the action of La Plagne Centre, and free transport links it to the other villages. Plagne-Villages (2050m) is among the quieter of the sub-resorts, and is more aesthetically pleasing than some of its neighbours – the accommodation is generally in picturesque chalets and low timbered apartment buildings. It benefits from an idyllic location in the heart of the skiing area, and is a fabulous natural suntrap allowing plenty of opportunity for relaxing in between runs. Belle Plagne is modelled after a typical Savoyard village, and has a real ‘village’ atmosphere. It boasts underground parking and the largest terrain park in La Plagne. Plagne-Centre (1970m), as the name suggests, is the heart of the resort, with the widest choice of budget accommodation and most of La Plagne’s nightlife. Plagne-Bellecote is located at 1930m, and is particularly well-suited to serious skiers who want to get the most out of the fantastic diversity offered by the area – it is the departure point for the glacier, and is situated near the boarder cross and the half pipe. For those truly committed to sport, Plagne-Bellecote also has a swimming pool and opportunities for paragliding. Plagne 1800 is small and family-oriented – those in search of raucous nightlife would prefer one of the neighbouring resorts. The emphasis is placed on quiet and relaxation, and the village has a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere.
The village resorts
Les Coches is the highest of the village resorts at 1450m, and, unlike the lower villages, visitors can ski right to their doorstep. The resort features pretty timber-clad buildings, and has a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. Montalbert (1350m) has a surprisingly good choice of bars and restaurants, and is particularly well-suited to families and mixed parties, offering good-value accommodation. Despite being situated at lower altitude, the skiing in Montalbert can be as good as elsewhere in the Alps; its tree-lined slopes virtually guarantee a good covering of snow. Montchavin and Champagny-en-Vanoise both sit at 1250m. Both resorts are extremely picturesque, managing to retain a rustic charm and appealing to skiers who want access to fantastic skiing while also staying in attractive accommodation.
La Plagne après ski
La Plagne offers a surprisingly large range of bars and restaurants spread over the different levels of the resort. The free bus system linking the villages makes it easy to get around, running until after midnight. The liveliest area for bars is Plagne Centre, whereas some of the more family-friendly villages are a little more limited in terms of nightlife. Virtually all the sub-resorts have a restaurant or two, ranging from slope-side snack bars to fine dining.
Aside from the fantastic skiing and snowboarding, La Plagne has much to offer. Thrill-seekers might like to brave the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track which was built in La Plagne for the 1992 Winter Olympics, or try their hand at paragliding, ice climbing or quad biking. For families, there are a range of activities including pony riding, dog sledding, snow shoeing and ice skating. Teenagers will enjoy paintballing, bowling, ice karting or perfecting their skills on the half pipe and in the snowpark. Those preferring more sedentary pursuits are also catered for – there is a heated outdoor swimming pool and three spas to help you unwind after a hard day’s skiing.
La Plagne in summer
Although La Plagne is primarily known as a winter resort, it is also a great place to spend the summer. The snow-capped mountains make a fantastic backdrop for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding, and, for golf enthusiasts, there is a course in nearby Les Arcs. The resort also puts on a full programme of activities and entertainment, so there is something for all tastes.
Getting to La Plagne
The Eurostar stops in Aime-la-Plagne, which is a short shuttle bus ride from the rest of La Plagne’s sub-resorts. La Plagne’s closest international airports are Geneva, Chambery and Lyon, both of which serve a number of destinations across the UK. Regular buses connect all three airports with the resort.
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Paradiski. We have a large network of agents in the French Alps. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: flat, chalet, gite or B&B we will do our best to find a property in the French Alps matching your requirements. To find out more about our selection of properties for sale in Paradiski do not hesitate to contact us.