La Plagne has the highest number of skier days of any ski resort in the world. When you look at what is on offer it’s not hard to understand why. La Plagne is a paradise for intermediate skiers as well as offering plenty of options for snow enthusiasts at other levels. Whilst a fabulous destination for skiers and boarders, La Plagne also has plenty of attractions and activities away from the slopes.
La Plagne offers more than just budget group skiing
Many British skiers first got introduced to La Plagne on a school ski trip. Some might then make the mistake of thinking the resort is all about budget accommodation for groups. It is fair to say that it does cater well for this market, but there are also huge numbers of other accommodation options as well as a plethora of great places to eat out.
With 1960’s French Ski Resort origins it still works
La Plagne came into being as a ski area in the early 1960’s. The Savioe region was suffering economically and tourism and winter sports were seen as a great way to revitalise the economy. The earliest “villages” of La Plagne (Plagne Centre, Aime La Plagne and Plagne Bellecôte) demonstrate the sometimes rather brutal architecture favoured in the 60s and 70s, but it works. More or less everything is ski in – ski out and there is a pleasing functionality to resort layouts. In recent years many of the apartment buildings and shopping precincts have been refurbished.
Lots of Choices of Accommodation across La Plagne
If the tower block vibe isn’t for you, La Plagne still has it’s options. Belle Plagne is a slightly softer feeling resort (at 2,050m) and Plagne 1800 is a great base for catered chalets and sits a little below Plagne Centre. Lower in the valley Les Coches (1,400m) is a fairly modern development but with a lot of smaller apartment buildings and a village feel and Montchavin (1,250m) has genuine olde worlde charm. Montchavin’s abundant character has to be balanced against it’s low altitude though.
Skiing across the Resort
The slopes of La Plagne are of course the main attraction. Much of the main ski area is on a vast open plateau that catches the snow well and also offers plenty of sunshine. There is a predominance of blues and reds but experts will, if the conditions are right, discover some great off piste. The real pounder hounds will inevitably want to take the vast Vanoise Express lift across to explore neighbouring Les Arcs. Together the two resorts form the Paradiski area. Beginners need to pick the right place to stay as some spots (such as Plagne 1800 and Montchavin) aren’t that easy to escape or access if you are finding your feet.
Non-Skiing things to do
The resort of La Plagne has gone to great lengths in recent years to develop attractions away from the extensive pistes. Whilst it is high altitude and ski / boarding focussed we would be happy recommending it to people who aren’t determined to maximise their time on the slopes. There is everything from ice climbing to France’s only Olympic Bobsleigh track – a truly terrifying / exhilarating experience depending on your nerves! Swimming and ice skating are also available.
Nightlife in La Plagne
Whilst La Plagne nightlife isn’t going to blow your socks off, there are plenty of good places for an apres ski beer or three. A couple of our favourites are Bar La Mine in Plagne 1800 (a cosy cave of a place with occasional live music) and Spitting Feather in Plagne Bellecote (traditional “pub” feel with tasty snacks on offer). Restaurant choices of and off the slopes are good. They are skewed towards the traditional meat, potato and cheese offerings of many French ski resorts but there are a few innovative choices, including Michelin starred Phil Howard’s Montalbert base, Union. A shot trudge through the snow in Plagne 1800 will take you to Le Petit Chaperon Rouge … a hard place to leave for foodies!
So what are the Accomodation Choices
Apartments are the main accommodation option in La Plagne and all of the big providers such as Pierre and Vacances and La Grange have good options at different price points. Many have been refurbished in recent years and offer great facilities, including a few with pools. Chalets tend to be centred around Plagne 1800 and the lower villages and there are hotels dotted about the different villages, although most are more “residence” type accommodations.
Whatever you are looking for, La Plagne has a lot to recommend it. See our full resort guide for more information.