Whether you are a ski virgin or ski expert, Les Arcs has enough spacious slopes and après ski to keep the whole family happy
Looking for spacious pistes with room enough to relax and enjoy the stunning Alpine scenery? Then take a break in Les Arcs, where the vast Paradiski area with its green, blue, red and black pistes has space for everyone, from raw beginners to thrill-seeking experts.
Stop at an on-piste restaurant, kick off your skis and bask in the winter sunshine, enjoy a glass of 'vin chaud' or a mug of hot chocolate; soak up the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you here, beneath the highest peak in Europe - Mont Blanc.
Dare-devils, get your thrills weaving in and out of the tree-lined slopes at Peisey-Vallandry, ski down the off-piste route from the Aiguille Rouge to Arc 2000 or challenge yourselves on one of the longest mogul runs in the Alps. There’s also great fun to be had at the ‘water-ski jump’ at Arc 1600 if you’re prepared to get wet!
Paradiski is one of the largest skiing areas in the world. The high altitude resort of Les Arcs has linked up with the neighbouring resorts of La Plagne, Peisey- Vallandry and Bourg St Maurice. Your ski pass will cover you for the all the lifts and ski-buses, including the seven-minute funicular ride down to Bourg-St. Maurice.
Tiny tots of three-years-old to adults of 'a certain age' can all benefit from ski or snowboarding lessons given by qualified instructors. Check out this website: http://www.lesarcs.com/Glide-schools.html
Lift Passes online
You can buy lift passes online before travelling by going to: http://www.lesarcs.com/?lang=en
Where to stay
We stayed at Arc 2000, the highest of Les Arcs ski villages. ‘Altitude Chalets’ have two main chalets: ‘Chalet de L’Ours’ and ‘Chalet Altitude’. The mainly self-catering chalets are of traditional Savoyard design and inside are divided into individual two to eight bedroom apartments.
The chalet accommodation has underground parking and a shared indoor pool and sauna. High-chairs and cots are available for families with small children and ski-lockers are found in the boot-room for each chalet.
The eight bedroom chalet apartment we stayed in had a fully equipped kitchen and sauna. The lounge-diner had an open fireplace, satellite TV and balcony with views over the mountains. The bedrooms were small but adequate with en suite bath or shower room.
The accommodation is about 100 metres from the drag-lift. There is also the option of taking a lift a little nearer to the chalet that takes you to the centre of Arc 2000 and here you can ski from outside the Aguille Rouge Hotel.
In Arc 2000, if you still have the energy after a day on the slopes, there is bowling, ice-skating, snowmobiling and floodlit night skiing, to name just a few options.
For a less strenuous evening out, visit one of the many bars, including the Crazy Fox close to home at Hotel Altitude. This is a convenient and cosy watering-hole for pre-dinner drinks.
El Latino Loco Bar - Loco Place Haute proves a popular meeting place for pre-dinner drinks and live music. It is open day and night and has a lively and informal atmosphere.
The Red Rock Café at the base of the Aiguille Rouge makes a lively nightspot and serves great burgers, pizzas etc.
Where to eat
There are bars and restaurants at all levels of Les Arcs. The satellite village of Arc 1950 can be reached by the Transarc Cabriolet (cable-car) from Arc 2000.
On-piste - stop at Les Chalets des Arcs on the slopes near Arcs 2000. This is a typical chalet restaurant with inside seating and a popular all day long sunny terrace (weather permitting!) A great place to relax and refuel after a morning on the slopes. Vin Chaud or hot chocolate were our preferred drinks as we basked in the warm sunshine here - and maybe a bowl of frites or something from the snack menu - starting at 10 euros. Set menus were available from 14 euros.
Hemmingway’s Café, Arc 1950 - serves a wide range of traditional French dishes in a relaxing setting. We stopped for a coffee here during the day. (tel : +33 (0)4 79 04 25 51)
Chez Eux, Arc 2000 - serves typical Savoyarde food as well as great gastro cuisine. We dined here with friends and had fun watching a half moon of raclette cheese, suspended by a small table-top grill, melting ready to be spooned over a plate of potatoes and meat. They also serve fondue - a pot of melted local cheese for dipping in chunks of freshly baked bread. Our favourite meal on the night was a gastro steak washed down with a glass or two of red wine or beer! We found this an excellent and not overly expensive place to experience the local cuisine. (tel: +33 (0)4 79 07 34 36)
Where to shop
There are some shops on all levels but two larger supermarkets can be found amongst more traditional shops in Bourg St. Maurice at the base of the mountain.
A Eurostar train from St Pancras or Ashford will take you directly to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. From here, if you have your ski-pass you can take the funicular up to Arc 1600 and catch the ski-bus up to Arc 2000.
Alternatively, Autocars Martin pick up by coach from the train station (tel: + 33 (0)4 79 07 04 49, www.autocars-martin.com)
Taxis are usually available at the station.
The nearest airport to Les Arcs is Geneva (two and a half hours drive). There are four daily buses from the airport to the resort or you can pre-arrange a hire car from the airport.
Driving, take the A41 from Geneva to Annecy and then follow signs to Albertville and on to Les Arcs. Make sure you follow the sign to Arc 2000 once on the climb up from Bourg St. Maurice.