The ski resort of Flaine, part of the Grand Massif ski area in France’s famous Haute-Savoie region, is the perfect place for a family ski holiday, not least because it really knows how to entertain young visitors.
Created as a purpose-built resort in the 1960s, Flaine has become hugely popular with families, thanks to its compact, car-free centre and excellent skiing opportunities for all ages. Whether you and your children are beginners or old hands who want to try out some of the 265km of runs in the Grand Massif ski area, there is something for all ability levels here.
The joy of a family ski holiday in Flaine is that it knows what it is – a great family-friendly resort – and is happy to play to its strengths. Accordingly, there are no rambunctious après ski bars and no loud clubs to disturb your sleep. Instead, expect child-friendly restaurants and cafés, serving truly excellent hot chocolate and fondues.
To make sure that families are happy and keen to return, Flaine lays on a diary of events to keep everyone entertained throughout the season. For a taster of what’s on offer for the 2017/2018 winter season, here’s my guide to the best of this season’s events.
The February Festival
Craftily timed to coincide perfectly with the popular UK half-term period, the February Festival is a medley of delights, including parades through the resort centre, shows and concerts, all designed with families in mind.
Flames and Fireworks
Throughout the month (from 14 February until 5 March), crowds gather in the centre on a Wednesday night to watch the traditional torchlight descent by ESF instructors, followed by an awesome fireworks display.
On Monday evenings, you’ll be able to follow a colourful musical procession through the centre. Each week, the music will be provided by a different, quirky instrument, all of which are bound to entertain the kids. Popular instruments include the cymbalobylette, an instrument that’s inspired by agricultural machines, le klaxonarion, which is fuelled by the pedal power of a bicycle-like contraption, and the aerophone, which is powered by hot air.
Alongside the musical acts, the wacky procession features extraordinary ‘characters’ such as La Frieda, a yodelling goat herder who sings her way through town and encourages the crowds to join in. What’s more, there’s Sir Robert, a knight on a poetic and musical quest who likes to shower the crowds with poems and songs.
From 19 to 23 March, the streets of Flaine will be given over to magic in an event called Meet the Unexpected. Magicians will visit the resort, performing fun tricks on street corners, as well as on the terraces of restaurants and cafés, which is bound to delight visitors both young and old.
From magic to juggling, Bertox’s act is filled with sleight of hand and optical illusions that are so good that parents won’t even be able to figure out how these tricks work.
Yvon le Malicien
This is a slightly darker act that’s perfect for older kids. The magician draws the crowd into his act and rewards them with prizes, if they’re lucky.
Hugo the Magician
For the younger – or for the young at heart – there is Hugo, a magician specialising in neat tricks that are accompanied by nonsense rhymes and silly jokes. Again, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in this fully interactive show.
This is another great act for older kids. Figaro shows off his circus skills and street art, and his edgy magic show includes fantastic card tricks. This is hip magic that’s given a cool street twist.
As this magical event takes place during UK term time, it might be necessary to go on a weekend getaway to catch these excellent magicians.
Children Reign Supreme
You may take issue with the name of this festival – Children Reign Supreme – but one thing is guaranteed, the kids are going to love it. Set in the midst of the Easter school holidays, from the 9 – 13 April, Flaine is given over to its youngest visitors.
Expect events throughout the resort to focus on the kids, everything from face painting for the little ones to ski jump challenges and fireworks for the older ones.
How to Get to Flaine
Flying into Geneva is probably quickest when travelling to Flaine, and certainly the most convenient in terms of the number of flights that are made weekly from the UK. The flight from the UK only takes around 90 minutes, and you can choose from a good selection of budget and premium airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Swiss and Flybe.
The easiest, most stress-free way of getting yourselves and your kids from Geneva to the resort is to book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you set off. Whether you choose a group shuttle or a private car, this service’s drivers will be waiting for you when you land. At the time of your booking, just let Shuttle Direct know what sports equipment you’ll be carrying, and they’ll make sure that there’s plenty of room for all of your skis, boards and boots. They’ll even transport them to Flaine at no extra charge!
Where to Stay
CGH Residences & Spas Le Centaure – The ultra-stylish apartments at the CGH Residences & Spas Le Centaure are wonderfully luxurious, providing you with plenty of room for hanging out together and for enjoying a little peace and quiet. The kids will love the huge indoor pool, and you’ll love the spa with its saunas, treatment rooms and gym.
Madame Vacances Les Terrasses De Véret – The modern apartments at the Madame Vacances Les Terrasses De Véret all come with balconies, complete with stunning mountain views. There’s an indoor pool downstairs, as well as a lounge with a roaring log fire to greet you after a day on the slopes. Note that the free Wi-Fi here is only available in the reception area.
Residence les Pleiades – The apartments at the Residence les Pleiades, set in the heart of the resort, are sparse, but well-equipped for family living. All come with balconies and mountain views. For an additional charge, you can also access the Wi-Fi.
About Shuttle Direct
For a stress-free start to your family ski holiday, Shuttle Direct is the perfect solution. Book a private car or group transfer to pick you up at the airport and take you, your family and all of your winter ski equipment directly to your destination.