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Bourg St M Town Hall, Dec 2017. Has "Architecture of XX Century" status, alongside cinema & Arc 2000 cable car station. Click on photo for more

Sunday, 17 June 2018

LES ARCS at 50

This summer's big event is the visit of the Tour de France to La Rosiere and Bourg Saint Maurice.

Looking further ahead, here's the latest gossip on what's coming up, courtesy of the "3A" proprietors' association:

1. Les Arcs at 50.  A year's celebrations are planned, including a new art installation by the swimming pool at Arc 1800, various "animations" during the school holidays and a special music festival next summer.  Plus a new book coming out about Charlotte Perriand and the architecture of Les Arcs.

2. Arc 1600 will see the renovation of La Coupole, improvement to mobile phone reception and of course the opening of the blot-on-the-landscape Club Med on (15th Dec).  The end of free parking in the resort is on the horizon, it seems.

3. The ancient Comborciere lift is on its way out, although eyebrows are being raised as it is being replaced by a second-hand installation.  There are also concerns about the impact on the environment in this beautiful and remote valley - both of the new lift and the red run which is being created to save intermediate skiers from the embarrassment of stumbling down the black run...


Dismantling the Comborciere lift, June 2018
Photo: @PisteursArcs

Saturday, 17 March 2018

A DAY TRIP TO TIGNES: Dos and Don'ts

The Espace Killy ski area is well within striking range for a day trip from Les Arcs.  It claims to be "le plus bel espace de ski du monde", and you certainly can't criticise the majestic mountain scenery which awaits - including buckets of off-piste.

Here are a few dos and don'ts for the keen day-tripper...

Do:
  • Park at Les Brevieres rather than struggle up to Tignes Le Lac - it's much nearer, the parking is free, and you get a nice long run home (blue or black) at the end of the day.
  • Book an Espace Killy pass, as it's likely you'll stray over the Val d'Isere border at some point during the day
  • Study the piste map. The links between Le Lac and Val Claret are not immediately clear, so you need to plan your route
  • Have a good old moan at the restaurant by the Col du Palet lift which makes you pay to go to the loo
  • Plan your lunch; the mountain restaurants on the Tignes side are few and far between. The self-service at the top of the Chaudannes lift is reasonable.  Avoid the fast-developing Tignes 1800 at lunchtime: it lacks both soul and sunshine 
Don't:
  • Take the Marais lift once you arrive at the gondola above Les Brevieres.  It's very slow and broke down for half an hour during our day there.  A visit to the Aiguille Percée is a must, but much better to take the lift from the other side
  • Forget that the fast Les Lanches chairlift is an excellent alternative to the underground at Val Claret, which I'm not too keen on as it reminds me of my morning commute

Tignes has far more slow lifts than
Les Arcs: Le Marais is one of them



L'Aiguille Percée




Saturday, 3 February 2018

EN ROUTE TO LES ARCS: Megeve

Get the first flight to Geneva and you can be on the slopes at Megeve by mid morning.  La Princesse gondola, right at the entrance to the town, is barely 60 minutes from the airport.  Which makes it a great stop-off en route to Les Arcs.  You can continue up the valley, passing other skiing opportunities at Megeve Rochebrune and L'Espace Diamante (including Crest Voland) and join the main road at Albertville.

There is free parking outside La Princesse, as well as a couple of ski shops.  The lift takes you into the heart of the skiing.  Although it does not feel Tignes-Like altitude-wise (the top station is 2,350m), there are certainly some areas that feel "haute montagne" alongside the lower areas of tree-lined runs.

It's a huge ski area and so you can only scratch the surface with a 4 hour ski pass.  We pottered around the L'Epaule area, getting mildly lost in the St Nicolas de Veroce sector, by-passing La Folie Douce and ending up at a very nice lunch spot by the Les Communailles lift.  

Our only gripe is the piste signage which rather assumes you already have a good grasp of the resort's geography.  

La Princesse gondola