The French ski resort of La Plagne in the Paradiski area of the Alps will be unlike any other ski resort you’ve encountered before. This is because while it is referred to as a single resort, it is actually made up of 11 separate ‘villages’ each in different locations with direct access to different skiing.
Of course it is possible to reach all of the extensive La Plagne ski area – and beyond to the neighbouring resort of Les Arc which helps to make up the Paradiski area – from any of these villages, but it’s worth basing yourself near the runs you’re likely to use.
That’s why choosing where to stay in La Plagne is vital to ensuring you get the ski holiday you hoped for.
The Layout of La Plagne
To make sense of La Plagne’s rather confusing layout, you need to think of it as 11 villages positioned around a high plateau which lies beside the steep-sided Bellecotte mountain.
The villages vary in altitude, with many of the lower ones tending to be the more traditional, alpine villages, while the higher ones are purpose-built and largely without character. Of course, if what you’re looking for is family-friendly ski-in-ski-out access then you’ll probably be happy to forgo attractive Alpine features for the more guaranteed snow of the higher purpose-built resorts.
Traditional Farming Villages
The low-lying villages of Champagny en Vanoise, Montalbert and Montchavin are picturesque traditional farming villages with seasonal accommodation for skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer. At a height of around 1250m, snow is only guaranteed here at the height of the season, although there are lifts and shuttles that can take you up to the higher resorts.
The Purpose-Built Resorts
If you’re looking for accommodation which will offer you ski-in-ski-out access, no matter what the snow conditions, then what you need is altitude and this comes from the higher purpose-built villages. The highest of these are La Plagne Centre and Belle Plagne, both at 2050m.
La Plagne Centre
As the first of the purpose-built resorts, La Plagne Centre is certainly not the most architecturally attractive of the villages, but it does offer some of the best access to the pistes and, at 2050m, is amongst the highest accommodation in the area. As the resort centre it also has the most restaurants, the largest ski school and plenty going on to amuse kids and adults alike.
Where to Stay in La Plagne Centre
GSI Plagne Villages – Plagne Soleil: For a great budget option for the whole family, check out the self-catering apartments at GSI Plagne Villages. In a ski-in-ski-out location just 45m from the nearest ski lift, these apartments are really convenient for getting straight out and on to the slopes. Close to numerous shops, restaurants and bars, it’s up to you whether you choose to cook at home or go out and sample some local cuisine. The décor may be basic but each apartment has its own terrace or balcony, private bathroom and a seating area with TV, so if you are just looking for somewhere reasonable to lay your head, this could be for you.
Belambra Club La Plagne – Terra Nova: If you want a little extra comfort and don’t fancy cooking then the Terra Nova Hotel could be the answer. This is another ski-in-ski-out option lying on the piste itself, very close to the lifts. The restaurant offers panoramic views of the slopes and good basic French food and there’s also a bar with a sun terrace for an après ski drink. The rooms are modern and stylish but, be warned, WiFi is only available in communal areas – if you’re travelling with social media-dependent teens they’ll need to go downstairs to get online.
A later addition to the La Plagne resort, Belle Plagne with its wooden facades and chalet-style buildings is slightly more attractive than the 1960s concrete of La Plagne Centre. Like the older resort it is also at 2050m so offers some of the best snow cover early and late in the season. Very much catering to families, Belle Plagne’s centre is undeniably quiet with few restaurants and bars but it does offer great skiing and access to the Les Arcs runs thanks to the Vanoise cable car.
Where to Stay in Belle Plagne
Pierre & Vacances Les Constellations: The comfortable, if basic, apartments at Les Constellations are a great option for keeping the cost down on a family ski holiday. You’ll be able to ski straight to your door as the block lies directly on the piste. All apartments have a private balcony and a living room with kitchenette, as well as free WiFi to keep the kids happy. If you don’t feel like cooking, the apartments have their own restaurant downstairs serving good regional cuisine.
Hôtel Vacances Bleues Belle Plagne: The Hôtel Vances Bleues is a typical three-star ski resort hotel, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Done up in a sleek modern style, it has the roaring log fires, friendly bar, furnished sun terrace and good restaurant with mountain views, that mean you and your family can comfortably converge in cosy communal spaces rather than be confined to your rooms. For teens who’d rather hide away in their rooms, there is free WiFi and satellite TV.
One of the traditional Alpine villages that makes up the lower section of La Plagne, Montalbert has considerably more character than its purpose-built cousins but at 1350m is also considerably lower. While the snow may not be guaranteed later in the season, there are lifts that will take you up to the snow at higher levels and Montalbert does offer good, economical accommodation.
Where to Stay in Montalbert
Le Dou De La Ramaz – This large purpose-built hotel in Montalbert offers ski-to-the-door access when the snow is available and a shuttle service to the lifts higher up when it’s not. If you want to spend the day on the slopes, Le Dou De La Ramaz will provide a packed lunch and dinner is served in its large dining room. For those wishing to relax after a day on the slopes there is a sauna and a hammam but WiFi is only available in communal areas.
Choucas – A great budget option, these basic, self-contained apartments come with a kitchenette with dishwasher and oven. If the snow is good you can ski to the door and if not a shuttle service is provided. There are special storage facilities for your ski equipment and the Choucas even has its own ski school for beginners or skiers looking to improve. WiFi is provided but is charged.
How to Get to La Plagne
La Plagne is served by a number of airports, including Chambery, Grenoble and Geneva. Each of these airports offers a range of flights from budget and national carriers, with flight numbers increasing during the busy ski season. Flight times are around 90 minutes to two hours from the UK.
To make the journey to the resort even easier you can book a Shuttle Direct transfer before you set off and the driver will meet you at the airport. Remember to let them know when you’re booking about any equipment you might be bringing with you and they will ensure they send a vehicle big enough to fit you and your family, with all your winter sports gear.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is renowned for providing a reliable, friendly airport transfer service across Europe, especially in the Alps. Offering travellers a solution to their onward travel needs, they provide shared or private vehicles for pick-ups from major airports, ports and stations. Book online before you travel and you can rest assured your driver will be waiting at the airport to take you straight to your resort accommodation.