Beginners and intermediates love the Paradiski, a 425km ski area in the French Alps. The resorts of La Plagne and Les Arcs are each made up of a collection of purpose-built villages, which are especially great for groups and families. When it comes to choosing where to stay, there’s everything from luxury spa hotels to great-value apartments. And you’ve got Crystal Childcare available too. So whether you’re looking for a group getaway or an action-packed family trip, the Paradiski has it all. Here’s everything you need to know.
What’s the skiing like in the Paradiski?
As one of the top ski areas in France, the Paradiski is known for variety. Its mountains are home to a wide range of tree-lined runs and open, bowl-shaped slopes, as well as two glaciers for snowsure skiing and several snow parks.
Fun slope, Plagne Bellecôte: Ski or snowboard through tunnels and over bridges, past obstacles and round steep corners – you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy Europe’s longest fun run.
Aiguille Rouge run, Les Arcs: Head up to 3,226m, the highest point in the area, for this 8km run. Part black and part red, it’s a steep and technical challenge for confident intermediates.
Vanoise Express cable car: An impressive ride for anyone looking to rack up the miles, this double-decker lift links the pistes of La Plagne and Les Arcs. Feeling brave? Peer through the glass floor at the 380m drop to the valley below.
Tunnel run, Belle Plagne: Get your groove on to the dancing lights and disco music as you ski through the 136m-long tunnel, halfway down this popular blue.
Things to see and do in the Paradiski
Olympic bobsleigh, Plagne 1800: Hurtle round 19 bends at up to 120km/h. You can try steering yourself in a bob raft, go flat-out in a speed luge or let a professional pilot take the wheel in a proper bobsleigh.
Mile8 Aquatic Centre, Arc 1800: You can have hours of fun at this indoor leisure centre, with its pools, water slides, bubble beds and swim-through caves.
Village Igloo, Arc 2000: Explore halls of animal sculptures carved out of snow and ice, and sip a hot chocolate or grab a frosty shot in the ice bar.
Where to eat in the Paradiski
Le 360, top of the Montalbert gondola: Point your skis towards this giant glass cube for lunch on the slopes. The self-service café beckons you in for juicy rotisserie chicken and freshly made pasta. Or opt for the restaurant, where you can dine on dishes like creamy Swiss chard risotto.
Belliou La Fumée, bottom of the Pré Saint Esprit 39 chairlift: A warren of little dining rooms inside a 500-year-old building, this was once a hunting hut owned by Italy’s King Emmanuel II. Lunch on French favourites like roasted duck and crème brûlée – a rich and creamy custard base topped with caramelised sugar.
Union, Plagne-Montalbert: Get a high-class taste of local flavours with specialities like twice-baked Beaufort soufflé and rice pudding with sloe gin and marmalade – all thanks to the Michelin-starred chef who runs the kitchen. Top things off with a glass of crisp Savoie wine.
Yurts, Arc 1950: Big and round, with pointed tops and gold-patterned doors, these two traditional Mongolian yurts are hard to miss. They’ve been used as homes by nomadic tribes for over 3,000 years. But here, they play host to special Savoyard meals once a week.
Nightlife in the Paradiski
Each village has its own personality, but the liveliest hubs are Belle Plagne and Arc 1800. It can be tricky to get around after the lifts close, so get your après in early and catch a free ski shuttle back to your resort.
Folie Douce, Arc 1800: DJ sets, dancing on tables and live bands are what Folie’s après ski is famous for. And you can also stop by for a bite to eat at one of the three restaurants – grab a quick snack at Le Butcher, self-serve from a large selection at La Petite Cuisine, or have a sophisticated sit-down meal at La Fruitière.
La Mine, Plagne 1800: Picture an old mine turned into an English pub, with lamps and tools hanging on the walls and a low, tin-plated ceiling. Even some of the tables are made of mine carts.
George’s Wine Bar, Arc 1950: Get a drink and sing along with landlord George’s guitar solos – or take a turn in the spotlight on karaoke nights.
Red Hot Saloon, Arc 1800: This party hotspot hosts live bands and DJs most nights, and can easily turn your happy-hour après session into an all-nighter. And food’s served until 10pm, so you’re covered for late-night snacks too.
Where to stay in the Paradiski
La Plagne and Les Arcs are both split into lots of different villages, so here’s a quick run-down to help you find the right one for you.
Plagne Centre: The main hub of the resort, with plenty of shops and some of the best restaurants and bars in La Plagne. Choose a half-board hotel with an indoor pool and kids’ club, or go for a self-catering apartment – all of the accommodation is close to the slopes and ski school, so it’ll be convenient to get around no matter where you stay.
Plagne 1800: As the oldest part of the resort, this little village has a quieter, more traditional feel – though for a livelier evening, you can pop over to La Mine. Accommodation-wise, self-catering apartments give you ski-in, ski-out access to the slopes.
Belle Plagne: This purpose-built village has lots of ski-in, ski-out hotels and apartments to choose from. It’s also the best place to be if you love hitting the bars in the evenings – we especially love Saloon, where the party keeps going until dawn.
Plagne Soleil and Plagne Villages: Overlooking Plagne Centre, these neighbouring villages have plenty of self-catering accommodation, varying from value to high-end luxury. Most of them also have indoor pools for a post-ski splash with the kids, and wellness areas for anyone looking to relax.
Aime La Plagne: The highest village in the resort, Aime La Plagne, has beautiful panoramic views of the Tarantaise Valley. Young families will love it here, with Crystal Childcare and the convenience of ski-in, ski-out access.
Arc 2000: This is the highest resort in Les Arcs and has superb access to the slopes, as well as a good range of shops selling essentials, souvenirs, ski gear and clothing. The hotels and apartments are high-quality and family-friendly, with pools, spas and kids’ clubs. And there’s a short lift that takes you to Arc 1950, where there are plenty of great places for an evening meal out.
Arc 1950: A purpose-built village that’s car-free, compact and filled with pretty, chalet-style buildings. Keen skiers will love how simple it is to get to the piste from the luxury self-catering apartments. And each complex has extra facilities like indoor pools, spas, bars and restaurants to enjoy.
Arc 1800: 1800 is known as the livelier part of Les Arcs, with plenty of bars and nightclubs that’ll keep the party going until the early hours. When it comes to the accommodation, you can go for either bed and breakfast or self-catering and make the most of the choice of restaurants in and around the village.
Arc 1600: A quieter spot that’s great for families. Arc 1600 has good-value, slopeside hotels with childcare, as well as lounges, bars and sun terraces where you can play games and share ski stories. There’s also a funicular that runs down the valley to Bourg-St-Maurice, so you can go for a wander around a working mountain town.