Flaine, located in the picturesque Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps, is part of the famous Grand Massif ski area and is somewhat of a hidden gem. A skiing holiday, much like any vacation, should be a stress-free and relaxing experience; this is just what you can expect here thanks to its convenient and compact design and peaceful ambience. Not just this, but Flaine also boasts lovely views of the surrounding area and superb skiing with easy access to the famed Grand Massif area.
Venturing into the Grand Massif region? Find out everything you need to know here!
This purpose-built resort from the 60s has undergone some major changes through the years, but its spirit as a friendly and calm place ideally suited to families has remained.
For a long time, this was a resort which divided the skiing world. Many loved the French resort thanks to its charming setting, beautiful surroundings and convenience; others were deterred by the 1960s concrete-block design that abounds here.
In spite of its critics, interestingly Flaine is the only modern ski resort recognised as an architectural treasure. The design was the vision of Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, who combined innovative techniques with his imagination to create a unique and forward-thinking ski destination. These are a few of the key features that Breuer delivered:
- Europe’s first snowmaking facilities
- Lift stations at the same level as runs
- A tunnel network with no visible electric cables
- A “car-free” centre
These features, as well as some of Bruer’s other innovations, have certainly influenced many of today’s top resorts. A wide array of art and architecture can also be found around the area, including a quirky sculpture by Picasso known as “La Tête de Femme”.
Flaine has a modern and natural feel where it seamlessly integrates into the mountain. This is no accident; the goal of Breuer, who worked closely with Eric Boissonnas (who co-discovered the site with Gerard Chervaz), was to work around the gorgeous surroundings. On a snowy day, the resort and mountainscape blend to create a picture-perfect image.
Over the years, Flaine has been revitalised with new lodgings and a satellite village. This has won over many previous critics and the resort has emerged as a favourite for families and those seeking peace and quiet on their skiing holiday.
One of the greatest features is the incredibly calm and relaxing atmosphere in the town centre. This can be attributed to it being a car-free ski-in/ski-out resort, which will be music to the ears of many experienced skiers. Everything you need is on your doorstep and easily accessible, including a diverse selection of markets, grocery stores, sports shops, boutiques and all the services required for a pleasant stay.
Flaine is also home to a cinema, aquatic centre, art centre and library, bowling alley, driving simulator and ice rink. This will keep most people happy in their time away from the slopes.
Fitting with the tone of the area, you can also completely unwind and indulge in the luxury well-being centre, complete with saunas, Turkish baths, hot tubs, treatments and a relaxation room.
This is a quiet resort and best suited to families, but it also has a pleasant ambience at night with a handful of restaurants and bars with concerts, entertainment and themed evenings. However, if you are looking to drink till the early hours, this is not the resort for you!
One area in which Flaine has never been under scrutiny is the skiing. It is designed around a snowy bowl with a variety of pistes that lead back to the resort, not to mention access to the enormous Grand Massif region which boasts a whopping 265km of runs. All of this ensures that all skill levels are well catered for and that there is plenty of terrain to explore.
- Beginners can develop their skills and confidence with excellent nursery slopes across the hill from Forêt and below Forum. These are served by free lifts so you do not need a pass until you are ready to advance higher up the mountain.
- Flaine is perhaps best suited to intermediate skiers with a great selection of varied pistes, including a short yet steep network that dominates the Flaine bowl. Away from the bowl, there are lengthy tree-lined runs down to Les Carroz which are great fun.
- The black pistes here certainly earn their reputation and are sure to provide any expert with a serious adrenaline rush. There is also plenty of challenging off-piste terrain, but be warned that the bowl has many potholes and rock crevasses, so proceed with caution.
Due to its proximity to Mont Blanc, the resort benefits from its own microclimate that provides elusive champagne powder, ensuring that the area usually keeps its whiteness. The grooming is of the highest standard and there is snowmaking on the lower runs.
How to Get to Flaine
Flaine is brilliantly located just 74km from Geneva (GVA) airport, which will take only an hour by private transfer. Geneva is also a convenient airport with dozens of direct flights from London each day from the major airlines.
The majority fly into Geneva due to its proximity and convenience, but you could also fly into Grenoble (GNB) (199km) or Lyon (LYS) (207km). A transfer from these airports will take a little over 2 hours.
Wherever you touch down, you will want the onwards journey to be smooth and reliable. Pre-book a Shuttle Direct transfer and you will have a quick and comfortable ride to the resort.
Where to Stay
Résidence Les Terrasses de Veret – Found on the edge of Flaine Forêt next to the Grand Vans chairlift, this pleasantly surprising hotel has modern and well-equipped rooms and can accommodate groups of all sizes. It also has a great range of facilities, including a heated pool and sauna, outdoor hot tub and fitness room. This is a self-catering hotel, but the restaurants of Flaine Forêt can easily be reached.
Flaine Apartments – Also located in Flaine-Forêt, these apartments are great value and each comes with living/dining areas, a television, bathroom and kitchenette (most also have a private balcony). They are a short stroll from the shops, restaurants and bars of Flaine-Forêt, as well as the ski lifts.
Flaine Montsoleil Les Terrasses d’Eo – This brilliant residence has attractive apartments with satellite TV, a well-equipped kitchenette and free Wi-Fi. There is also a heated outdoor swimming pool, spa, and fitness centre. It is a ski-in/ski-out residence which makes everything easily accessible, with the shops and restaurants only 550 yards away.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct are experts in winter ski transfers throughout the French, Austrian and Italian Alps.
Book your shared or private transfer today for a stress-free journey between airports, train stations and hotels. They can cater to groups of all sizes and budgets and offer free transportation of ski equipment if you indicate this at the time of booking.