Snowy heart of Arc 1950 ski village at dusk with families

Les Arcs

Paradiski, Savoie, French Alps

In the Tarentaise above Bourg Saint-Maurice, and part of the protected Vanoise National Park, Les Arcs is linked to La Plagne by the Vanoise Express cable-car for skiers with Paradiski pass.

Road access is among the more convenient of the Tantentaise resorts, despite congestion on Saturday change-over days.

A greener, more relaxing alternative is the TGV rail service direct to Bourg Saint-Maurice, for transfers up the mountain via the Arc-en-Ciel funicular.

Two young skiers on wide piste above Les Arcs.

The Ski Area

  • Half of the enormous Paradiski ski area, linked to La Plagne by the Vanoise Express cable car.
  • There's plenty of undemanding blue pistes to get mileage under your skis.
  • For more challenging terrain, head upwards to the Aiguille Rouge and its exhilarating off-piste routes.

Les Arcs has been a firm favourite with a whole generation of French family skiers. The British, too, have taken it to their hearts in increasing numbers, particularly since the liaison with La Plagne opened things up still further. Even without the Paradiski lift-pass, this is a major ski area.

Not surprisingly, the primary focus is the intermediate skier. While the central areas above Arc 1800 and Arc 2000 have quite a concentration of wide, relatively undemanding groomed pistes, heading off among the slightly steeper tree-lined runs around the edges - e.g. Peisey, Vallandry and Villaroger - can be rewarding.

The advanced terrain includes Aiguille Rouge and Grand Col Blacks, plus an exhilarating off-piste route which plunges from the 2935m Grand Col into Planay de Villaroger, in the Tarentaise valley - a vertical drop of almost 1700m. There’s also a heli-skiing service based between Arc 1950 and Arc 2000, accessing terrain across the nearby Italian and Swiss borders.

Resort Information

Altitude : 1200m - 3250m
Les Arcs
Pistes Total:
200 km
3 Green
64 Blue
44 Red
17 Black
Ski Resort Lifts : 51
4 Magic Carpets
11 Draglifts
27 Chairlifts
2 Cabriolet
4 Gondolas
2 Cable Cars
1 Funicular
Paradiski
Pistes Total:
425 km
12 Green
135 Blue
77 Red
37 Black
Ski Domain Lifts: 128
6 Magic Carpets
42 Draglifts
59 Chairlifts
2 Cabriolet
14 Gondolas
3 + Vanoise Express Cable Cars
1 Funicular

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The Ski Village

  • Les Arcs consists of a range of villages at different heights. All vary in character, the higher villages being mostly ski-in, ski-out.
  • One of the few Alpine resorts you can access entirely by train.

Conceived as the model of efficiency for family skiers, the innovative styling of the villages of Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Arc 2000 was cutting-edge when they were created in 1968, 1974 and 1979 respectively. A return to more traditional Savoyard themes (if not scale) was adopted for Arc 1950, developed between 2003-2008 by the Canadian Intrawest Corporation, whose stake in the development later passed to French leisure giant Pierre et Vacances.

Choose your base from 5 resort areas:

BOURG SAINT MAURICE The Les Arcs base camp. From the platform of its international train station, the funicular takes you to the ski slopes in just 7 mins. Great for skiers arriving by train, there's a good selection of hotel and self-catering apartments within walking distance of the town centre and the funicular.

ARC 1600 The original ski village, you could say it was Les Arcs’ architectural laboratory, it is directly connected by the funicular to Bourg Saint Maurice. Still innovative in terms of architecture and environmental responsibility, the latest developements include the all-inclusive s resort. It’s connected to the ski terrain and the other villages by chairlifts and free shuttle buses; naturally, you can ski back.

ARC 1800 Consisting of four car-free villages: Charvet, Villards, Charmettoger and Chantel on the edge of the forest with balcony views of the upper Tarentaise valley. Arc 1800 has a heart-of-the-action feel, focused on the broad front-de-neige area where the ski-schools assemble and from which the lifts depart.

ARC 1950 LE VILLAGE The 5* village that is unlike any other of Les Arcs' sites, this magical pedestrianised village was first opened in 2003 and completed 5 years later. Designed to be ski-in ski-out, the village has all essential services but is within a short cabriolet ride from Arc 2000. The world-of-its-own personality has its detractors, but the cheerful, upbeat (and upmarket) mood is infectious, and the volume accommodation is in a different league from that in the other villages - and not merely in Les Arcs.

ARC 2000 This high-mountain village offers serious skiers the ideal base for getting the most out of the Paradiski area. Overlooked by the Aiguille Rouge, the highest point of Les Arcs (3226 m), the area is a freeride mecca and the starting point for the long, forested run down to Villaroger. It's also a good base for lovers of the long cruise with barely a lift between here and the Vanoise Express to La Plagne. Its treeless, above-it-all setting has made it less popular than its lower-altitude neighbours, but its fortunes might just turn around if climate-change influences skier choice.

Staying There

Value for Money Accommodation Dining Out Nightlife Village Charm

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Skiers beside signs to liason with La Plagne, with ski-lifts in background.

Why go skiing in Les Arcs ?

Eco-responsible skiers taking the train to the French Alps will find it surprisingly quick and easy to arrive at their destination and access 425km of world class pistes.

Expert skiers will find plenty to entertain them on the upper slopes and the Grand Col, with well-known off-piste itineraries off the Aiguille Rouge.

Intermediates and families hoping for seemingly-endless Blue-graded cruising will not be disappointed. Those with a desire to get some mileage under their skis while remaining on-piste will likewise find this a good choice. On the other hand, Les Arcs is also a great place in which to learn, with plenty of space dedicated to beginners and easy runs on which to progress. Finally, Les Arcs has quite a buzz to it, with a good range of services designed to cater for most requirements.

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Skiing There

Beginners / Families Intermediates Advanced / Expert Mountain Scenery

Snowboarding

The snow park has freestyle runs for all levels from beginner to competition.
1 Snowparks
1 Snowboarder Cross


Cross-Country Skiing

Trails mainly at Peisey-Vallandry though there are circuits at 1800 and Arc 2000.
73km Cross-Country and Nordic Ski Trails

icon-smileyYes please...

  • Near-limitless, high-altitude skiing.
  • Modern, efficient lift system.
  • Reduced price lift pass for 5-12 year olds and 65-74 year olds, under 5s go free.
  • Car-free village centres.
  • Environmentally responsible new funicular carriages and functional, modern station in Bourg St Maurice.
  • Free inter-resort shuttle service.
  • Non-skiers have plenty to do, including hotel fitness suites/spas.
  • Choice of Classic, Essential and Premium lift passes offer an extra half day skiing, queue cutting to Aiguille Rouge, daily pool access and deals on other activities and events.

icon-frowneyYes but...

  • Premium skiing like this doesn’t come cheap.
  • Saturday traffic exodus can swamp the valley below in peak season.

icon-winkingOur Tips

  • If you don't really need a 6-day lift-pass for the entire Paradiski area, enjoy exploring all Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry has to offer and cut your outgoings. You still get one day access to La Plagne via the Vanoise Express (min. 3 day skipass required).
  • Arrive by train and avoid peak season traffic chaos.
  • Not skiing every day? Take advantage of the Ski à la Carte and only pay for the days you ski with permanant discounts and benefits increasing the more you ski.
  • Download the Paradiski LUGE app. Highly personalised and intuitive to use, YUGE will tell you where you and your friends are located, give live resort news, track your performance, log all your photos and more.

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Practical Information

Hotel Taj-I Mah

Arc 2000

This brand new 5* luxury hotel, opened in 2016, enjoys an exceptionally convenient ski-in/ski-out position at the top of Arc 2000, adjacent to the Cabriolet gondola linking with Arc 1950, and offering wonderful views over the resort and the valley.

For information and booking:
Ski Collection
023 9289 0960, reservations@skicollection.co.uk


Tried and testedLe Hameau du Glacier

Arc 1950A luxury residence in the heart of the pedestrian village with doorstep skiing, and shops and restaurants just a few steps away. All guests have free access to sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, swimming pools and fitness facilities. Apartments are cosy, beautifully furnished and well-equipped, plus a balcony or terrace. Ski lockers are on the ground floor with access to the slopes.

Visitors arriving by car should note that underground parking is obligatory - and pricey.


Tried and testedChalet des Neiges Cimes des Arcs

Arc 2000

For those arriving by car there’s easy access to these refurbished piste-side chalets with stunning views. We stayed in a one-bedroom self-catering apartment on the 4th floor, with convenient lift to access the ski lockers and spa. The apartment is comfortable and attractively furnished with an adequate kitchen diner/lounge area and a wide balcony. The bathroom and toilet are separate, which is convenient if more than one couple will be sharing the apartment. There’s plenty of storage for clothes and the ski lockers are spacious enough for boots and skis. The underground parking is convenient (the cost is 95 euros for the week) and guests should note that a 500-euro refundable deposit will be required upon arrival.
There is free WiFi in reception, which has comfortable seating, TV and pool table. We enjoyed a great view over the slopes, although some apartments overlook the neighbouring building.

The ski lockers have access onto piste level and is directly in front of the Lanchettes ski lift. It’s easy to ski into all sectors of Les Arcs from here, and returning to the apartment is straightforward if you follow the ‘Arc 2000/Villaroger via Lanchettes’ signs.
There are several ski hire shops close by. Food shopping is at a Sherpa superette. There’s also a boulangerie selling freshly-baked bread and local specialities including fondue or tartiflette to take away – and you can also have pizzas delivered to your apartment.

For Les Arcs (Paradiski) accommodation and packages:
Ski Collection
023 9289 0960, reservations@skicollection.co.uk


Base Camp Lodge

Quartiers des Alpins, 73700 Bourg St Maurice

A new concept half way between a hotel and a hostel, the Lodge offers almost infinite possibilities in terms of rooms with individuals, couples, families and groups all catered for in flexible accommodation. It has an eco-friendly ethos using local suppliers and reducing waste. You can also eat and be entertained at the hotel where there’s a restaurant room called the BC7 and a stage for live music. The restaurant has local produce at the forefront and vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu.

Situated in a former Infantry barracks, this practical, yet comfortable hotel is just a few minutes from the funicular, which will get you to the slopes in 7 minutes.


All inclusive ski holidays

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Experience the true meaning of a luxury all-inclusive ski holiday with .
Stay in the Club Med at Les Arcs and you'll get a package that incudes skiing and snowboarding lessons, a lift pass, plus a wide range of food served throughout the day, as well as Kid’s Clubs, evening activities and more.

Ascend the Aiguille Rouge

Aiguille Rouge viewing platform, Les Arcs, French Alps

Climb to the highest point of the ski area and admire the views from the Aiguille Rouge cable car. The departure station has been completely renovated into a sleek, modern building ready to welcome the hundreds of thousands of visitors who make the ascent each year. At the top, an innovative and thrilling viewing bridge with a 360° view of the surrounding mountain peaks, was installed in 2018. Designed and built in collaboration with the Villaroger National Nature Reserve, the Aiguille Rouge viewing bridge limits the impact on the fauna and flora growing on the site where there is a rich and varied biodiversity. Information boards created with the Reserve and displayed on the bridge are there to make visitors aware of the challenges. The Aiguille Rouge project will also allow the ski lift company to develop its renewable energy network with the installation of solar panels on the Aiguille Rouge and Varet stations.

Planned for 2020, the top station of Varet gondola will see the addition of a panoramic solarium, a café and the departure point of a thrilling zipline that will pass over the former Flying Kilometre run.


Toboggan runs

There are two toboggan runs to enjoy.

Luge 1800 is more recreational than thrilling. Most enjoyable in the evening, when the lighting really adds to the fun and the section through the forest takes on an other-worldly feel.

Luge 2000 offers 3km of pure thrills with raised bends, fast sections and exceptional views. Perfect for the more daring.


Vanoise Express

Skiers boarding Vanoise Express cable car, La Plagne, French Alps.

Take the Vanoise Express cable car to La Plagne from Peisey-Vallandry to experience skiing the second largest linked domain in the world.

You will need a Paradiski lift pass or a minimum 3 day Les Arcs/Peisey Vallandry lift pass which gives one day access to La Plagne.


On-mountain restaurants aren't numerous, mainly because most people head into one of the many villages at lunchtime where you're sure to find something to suit. However, check out the Au Pré Gourmand restaurant at the foot of the Pré Saint Esprit chairlift (or you can access it from the road). It has panoramic views and a cosy interior warmed by a large fire, or there's a terrace in sunny weather. The menus consist of produce from the local market. You can take a self-service option at lunchtime (around 15€) or enjoy table service where you would expect to pay around 25€. The desserts are made by a local chocolatier.

If you just need a snack, head for Le Snack - a convenient ski-in, ski-out snack bar at the mid-station of the Trans Arc gondola. You'll find panini, pizza, soup and so on at reasonable prices and with amazing views thrown in.


La Folie Douce

Arc 1800

Folie Douce Les Arcs logo

Accessible by ski, on foot or via gondola, La Folie Douce is coming to Les Arcs for the start of the winter season 2019. Like other Folie Douce sites, it has a selection of restaurants open until 7pm every day and later on Thursdays, and whatever you think of the music, it’s always a fantastic atmosphere when the party gets going every afternoon.

La Fruitière offers creative cuisine, a new version of all the local specialities without really altering them, highlighting local products in an authentic and original decor.

La Petite Cuisine is a chic self-service restaurant. On the menu, generous quality cuisine served in a chic, atypical setting.

Le Butcher is the Folie Douce snack bar. Ideal for ski lovers who don’t want to lose a minute on the slopes it serves quality fast food like burgers, sandwiches and waffles.


Objective ZERO Plastic

100% biodegradable straws, cups and cutlery made of maize starch, wood or paper, containers made of recycled cardboard: some restaurants have already been using these for several years: Snack La Popotte, Miam Corner (Arc 1800), Wood Bear (Arc 1950), Bois de l’Ours (Arc 2000)

Mustard and mayonnaise in paper sachets rather than plastic ones: Miam Corner (Arc 1800) Using short circuits and local producers where possible: Snack La Popotte, Chic Mama, Miam Corner, Folie Douce (Arc 1800), Belliou la Fumée, Wood Bear, 2134 Roof Top (Arc 2000)

Choosing organic and / or artisanal products: Snack La Popotte, Chic Mama, Miam Corner (Arc 1800), Wood Bear (Arc 1950), Belliou la Fumée, 2134 Rooftop, Les Chalets del’Arc, Le Savoy (Arc 2000)

Using French products to reduce the carbon footprint of transporting raw materials: Snack La Popotte (Arc 1800), Wood Bear (Arc 2000)

Making everything on site using fresh products to avoid using non-respectful manufactured products: Snack La Popotte, Miam Corner (Arc 1800), Wood Bear (Arc 1950), Bois de l’Ours (Arc 2000)

Sorting and recycling: Miam Corner, Snack La Popotte, Folie Douce (Arc 1800), Bois de l’Ours (Arc 2000)


Advanced Booking Savings


Alpinresorts.com Ski rental

Save precious skiing time when you book your ski equipment online with Alpinresorts.com

After a quick and easy reservation everything will be waiting for you when you get to your destination.

You get to choose the shop and there’s a BEST-PRICE GUARANTEE.

Make BIG savings by booking online today!

Getting there

Autoroute A43 Lyon / Albertville, then N90 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. The D119 (signed to Les Arcs from the town centre) will take you up the mountain. All the Les Arcs stations are signed from this road.

By air
Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc airport is the nearest to Les Arcs and there are plenty of transfer options available.

Jet2.com offers low fares to the French Alps from 7 UK airports.

By train
Ski trains run from late December to early April and takes you direct into Bourg Saint Maurice. There are bus services to the ski stations and for those staying at Arc 1600 you could transfer via the funicular.

Book your TGV fast train from Paris or Eurostar’s ski train direct to the French Alps with OUI.sncf

Cheap flights to the Alps

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Airport Transfers

Ski-Lifts offer the widest range of airport transfers to ski resorts in France, from economy shared transfers for budget-conscious travellers, right through to luxury limousines. They also offer coach transfers for larger groups.

Insight: Les Arcs

Overview of chalet-style mountain restaurant at Les Arcs

Insight: Les Arcs

Whichever way you look at it, Les Arcs can hardly be called a slave to convention. Conceived as one of a new generation of high-altitude French ski stations, the setting among the alpages above Bourg Saint-Maurice turned out to have been inspired, not least since it also allowed the creation of a funicular for swift tansfers direct and from Bourg’s TGV terminus. British skiers can now travel overnight direct from London, courtesy of a weekly Ski Train service which runs throughout the winter.

…ask people why they ski here and you’ll realise that everyone has their own favourite places, usually several. And they’re passionate about them.

Signage, skiers, Les Arcs

Skiers can get to all parts of the ski area via blue-graded pistes.


Intermediate cruising, Les Arcs

Intermediate cruising, Les Arcs style.

The evolution of Les Arcs

Arrive by road and you can see the various phases in the development of Les Arcs, starting with the distinctive sloping apartment facades of Arc 1600. Next come the larger, more assertive lines of Arc 1800, long favoured by tour operators for its skier capacity, services and ski-schools. The final development was Arc 2000, conceived to provide younger, more committed skiers with rapid access to the highest terrain well above the tree-line. Or so it seemed. After Savoyard developer MGM added some premium accommodation above Arc 1800, the massive Canadian Intrawest Corporation went one better and created a whole new village just below Arc 2000. Arc 1950 is an excellent, ski-in/ski-out base for exploring the mountain. But the ski domain is just so varied as to offer something, somewhere for just about every type of visitor. There’s no doubt that this is one of the keys to Les Arcs’ remarkable success. Another is continuous heavy investment in lift infrastructure, making getting around a breeze.


Les-Arcs-28275hd

Viewed from the chairlift, the Vallée de l'Arc piste, the start of the long run down to Villaroger.


Forest piste, Les Arcs

Forested piste in the Villaroger sector.

Skiing Les Arcs, from top to bottom

Which brings us to the skiing. Trying to be objective is to miss the point; ask people why they ski here and you’ll realise that everyone has their own favourite places, usually several. And they’re passionate about them. Take the cable car from Arc 2000 to Aiguille Rouge(3226m) and you can start the day in style, on the famous red run which fires you into a wealth of possibilities. If conditions are good you could cruise over to Arc 1800 and continue down through the sheltered forest glades to Peisey for coffee or a vin-chaud. En-route you’ll cover some mileage, get your bearings and, like us, discover a few places to which you’ll want to return.

Still feeling more adventurous? Well, take the nearby Vanoise Express cable-car across to La Plagne, and you could do the whole Paradiski experience. On the other hand, from Aiguille Rouge you could take a combination of black and red pistes all the way down to Villaroger (1200m). Or you could get away from it all by heading over to the Grand Col to begin a breathtaking off-piste guided tour high above the Tarentaise valley which will eventually take you to the same destination point. Now take the chair-lift haul back up to Arc 2000 while trying to take in what you’ve just done.

Not that those of more modest aspirations are overlooked; Les Arcs knows its main market and provides intermediate skiers with plenty of well-prepared blue-graded cruising, along with safe, reassuring débutant areas. Its wide choice of ski-schools is another factor which has made it one of the most popular of all French ski stations for family skiers.MountainPassions heart icon