About Les Arcs & its Surroundings
Les Arcs is located on the edge of the Vanoise National Park in the Savoie region of France. This spectacular setting offers amazing panoramas of the surrounding landscapes and towering peaks, whether you prefer your mountains pristine and snow covered or lush, green and bursting with colour.
Les Arcs itself is actually made up of four modern, purpose built resorts; Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000, that each offer doorstep access to the fantastic Paradiski area, one of the most extensive and varied ski domains in the world. It was local skier, Robert Blanc that first conceived the idea of building a series of resorts at different altitudes above his home town of Bourg St Maurice.
Arcs 1600 was the original village which opened up as a ski resort in 1968. The concept was very innovative at the time – accommodation built specifically for convenient skiing and doorstep access to the slopes, but it’s a concept that has since been replicated many times over, across the Alps and beyond.Today, Arc 1600 remains nestled in the trees and enjoys stunning views along the valley towards Mont Blanc. It has a compact centre and a reputation as being the “friendliest” of all the villages to stay in, although it does have a decidedly quiet nightlife.
For anyone travelling by rail, Arc 1600 makes a convenient choice as it is directly linked from Bourg St Maurice by funicular railway in only 7 minutes. The convenience of the resort facilities also makes it a particular favourite with families.
Arc 1800 was the next resort to be established (in 1975) and is still the largest and liveliest of all the levels. It is made up of four sectors; Le Charvet, Le Chantel, Les Villages and Charmettoger although the boundaries between them are indistinct. Dominated by large apartment blocks, there is always something going on in 1800 and it is a great place to stay if you have a mixed ability group. Children and beginners are well catered for on the wide, easy nursery slopes and there are also some free lifts for first timers; whilst intermediates will love the blue and red runs just above the resort. It is also the most conveniently located resort for access to the Vanoise Express and the La Plagne ski area.
Arc 2000 is the highest of all the resorts, situated on the other side of the mountain to 1600 and 1800 in it’s own secluded bowl at the base of the Aiguille Rouge (3226m). What it lacks in charm and nightlife, it makes up for in its swift access to the highest and most demanding skiing in the area, including the Varet glacier.
Every year Arc 2000 hosts the Speed Skiing World Championships on its legendary “Flying Kilometre” piste upon which you can test yourself against the record holder’s time!
Arc 1950 is the new kid on the block and has brought some much needed architectural charm to the resort as a whole. Built by North-American resort developers, Intrawest, 1950 is a ski in/ski out, landscaped pedestrian village comprising a number of luxury apartment residences, the last one of which was completed in 2008.
Situated in the heart of a 300 year old Swiss stone pine forest, it is the first resort of its kind in Europe. In true North American style, the resort also boasts a heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi and is the perfect choice if you’re looking for high quality facilities at reasonable prices. There are also a number of other outlying resorts that come under the umbrella of Les Arcs.
Villaroger (Le Pré) is a charming, traditional village that lies at 1200m and is joined to Arc 2000 by a series of 3 chairlifts.With a skiing population of around 100, there is no need to worry about long queues in the morning or noisy parties at night. However, the runs back to resort are all graded red or blue, making it an unsuitable choice for beginners.In the summer, Villaroger is the starting point for many forest hikes and climbs and offers a very traditional setting for a peaceful, relaxing holiday.
Peisey-Vallandry comprises a series of 5 smaller resorts (Peisey, Plan Peisey, Vallandry, Nancroix and Landry) that are linked directly to the 200kms of skiing in Les Arcs. All of the resorts are small and quiet, but recent development has resulted in some very good quality chalet accommodation being available.
Peisey is the original village in the area. Dating back over 1000 years it was originally a small farming community, attracting only those skiers for whom lack of lifts and mountain restaurants was considered part of the challenge! It has been a tourist destination since the 1930's and its beautiful baroque church is one of the must-see attractions.
Plan Peisey has a few shops, bars and restaurants and is the departure point for the cable car connection to La Plagne. A few hundred meters away is Vallandry where there are a number of recent chalet developments. The village is pedestrianised and links to Plan Peisey by a regular shuttle bus.
Whichever resort you choose, you can be sure to experience some exhilarating skiing as Les Arcs is part of the famous Paradiski area, comprising the combined skiing of both Les Arcs and La Plagne. Joined together in 2003 by the Vanoise Express cable car from Plan Peisey, the lift boasts a capacity of 200 people, transported in 2 huge double decker cable cars making it the biggest, longest and fastest cable car in the world! With over 425kms of piste (200km in Les Arcs alone), even an accomplished skier can be hard pushed to ski from one end to the other and back again in one day!