Savoie / France
A ski station In the Aravis mountains in Savoie, between La Clusaz and Megeve. Geneva 83km, Calais 873km
All year round
Skiing, hiking, biking, paragliding, horse-riding, hot-air ballooning and many more
This family-friendly village in the heart of the Aravis is a great choice for winter sports or summer activity holidays. The link from Le Plan to Megeve and Combloux, which opened in 2004/5, has opened up the Portes du Mont-Blanc area to skiers and winter sports enthusiasts, but the village has still retained its authentic charm. It’s a bit of a “well-kept secret” with locals in the Aravis, who tend to head for “La Giett” after a fresh dump of powder!
In summer, there are 60km of trails for mountain bikers, and hikers can expect to find a huge range of mountain flowers, as well as chamois, marmots and ibexes along the 140km of marked footpaths.
Your OVO Network property in La Giettaz is perfectly placed so that you can enjoy two great skiing domains: L’Espace Diamant and Les Portes du Mont-Blanc.
L’Espace Diamant, at the foot of Mont-Blanc, links the villages of Les Saisies, Hauteluce, Notre Dame de Bellecombe, Crest-Voland, Praz sur Arly and Flumet. There are 192km of runs through forests, fields and villages, which, thanks to their micro-climate and proximity to Mont-Blanc, enjoy great snow from mid December to late April. valdarly-montblanc.com
Les Portes du Mont-Blanc comprise 100km of slopes linking the resorts of La Giettaz, Combloux, Megève (Jaillet) and Cordon. A 10-minute bus ride from Le Jaillet links these villages with the rest of the Evasion Mont-Blanc domaine (445km of tracks). valdarly-montblanc.com
The ESF ski school in La Giettaz offers ski and snowboard courses for all ages - children as young as three can find their feet and gain confidence in the Piou-Piou club, there’s Team Ski for older children with some experience and whether you are skiing for the first time or looking to improve, there are courses for adults too. esf-lagiettaz.com
Aravis snow trail This annual family event marks the last weekend of the winter season (end of March) with this walking race on packed snow. Choose from “soft” (12km) or “expert” (17km) courses, or an “extra soft” course for youngsters aged from 12-15, or a fun course (2km) for children aged from 6-11. There’s also a treasure trail along the way! valdarly-montblanc.com
When the snow melts, it leaves behind fabulous terrain for biking and hiking!
Mountain bikers will enjoy 60km of trails, starting from the Portes du Mont-Blanc ski area, which is accessible by chair lift. From vertiginous mountain descents to gentle low level cycles for all the family, there is plenty of choice. savoie-mont-blanc.com/
If you fancy a guided cycle, that can be arranged too! Alpes Aventures offer guided cycles on electric bikes alpesaventures.com
Aravis Bike Tour If you’re a keen road cyclist, you’ll want to book your holiday to coincide with this cyclo week in June. For the latest news on routes and events check out the website and the Aravis Bike Tour Facebook page. aravis-bike-tour.com
Le Plan mountain bike fun area Youngsters can put their bike skills to the test or learn new ones at this free bike park next to the bottom of the Torraz chairlift. When they’ve built up their confidence, there are plenty of mountain trails to try out! Open from May to October.
Walkers can pick up a map of hiking trails from the tourist information office in the village. There are more than 300km of marked walks in the area, and if you’d rather avoid steep climbs, some lifts are open in the summer to take you up the mountain, so that you can descend at your own pace. france-montagnes.com,
Z’Arts Live For three days in July, a troupe of artists descend on La Giettaz, putting on a festival of music, magic, circus and dance in venues throughout the village.
Via ferrata Head to the Col des Aravis and Via Ferrata Yves Pollet-Villard, where children and adults can traverse the cliff face in total safety, using rungs, walkways, ramps and cables. A session takes about 2-3 hours. laclusaz.com
A view of Mont-Blanc Summer or winter, while you’re in La Giettaz it would be a shame not to get a good look at France’s highest mountain. An hour’s drive will get you to Chamonix, from where you can get the cable car to the viewing platform at Aiguille du Midi. Steel your nerves and take a step into the void - a completely transparent viewing box - it makes a great picture! If you can drag yourself away from the stunning views here, another cable car will take you to the Italian side of the mountain! chamonix.com
Torraz Chairlift Take the chairlift up to the Tete du Torraz - it’s open several days a week during the summer. At the top (1930m) you’ll have a 360° view of the summit of Mont Blanc and the Chaine des Aravis. pays-albertville.com
A Night under the Stars More of a night out than a day out, this excursion can be enjoyed all year round. Learn to recognise the constellations and planets on a guided night walk, which can be combined with dinner at a mountain restaurant. More information is available from the website or the tourist information office. sandrinecoulaud.blogspot.co.uk
Annecy (44km): The medieval town of Annecy lies on the northern end of Lake Annecy, said to be the cleanest lake in Europe. The canals that run through the town are reminiscent of Venice, and in the summer, the lakeside beaches are a perfect place for a swim, a picnic, or watersports. If you time your visit well, you may catch one of the many markets - local produce, antiques, and bric-a-brac. If you’ve time, catch a boat and visit one of the spectacular lakeside villages such as Talloire, Veyrier or Menthon St Bernard.
La Clusaz - Just 14km away, the charming village and ski station of La Clusaz is well worth a visit. If you go on a Monday, you’ll be able to pick up fresh local produce at the market in Place de l’Eglise. Busy streets lead off the village square, with plenty of interesting shops, restaurants and nightclubs. laclusaz.com
Dog sledding For a day out with a difference, enjoy a guided ride on a dog sleigh through a pine forest with a trained musher, or learn to drive the dogs yourself (age 12 and over) lechantnordique.com
Tobogganing As long as there’s enough snow, it’s free for children to sledge on the run at the foot of the lifts in Le Plan, supervised by their parents. valdarly-montblanc.com
Opoualand Meet Opoual the Yeti at this fun snow park in Crest Voland/Cohennoz. This area, dedicated to young skiers, includes slaloms, ski gates, tunnels and skill games, and it’s all free with a ski pass. Adults must be accompanied by children! crestvoland.labellemontagne.com
Donkey trekking This is a great family day out in the Col des Aravis. Collect the donkeys, load up their huge panniers with a picnic, drinks, binoculars, and sun cream. You’ll also be given brushes so that you can give your donkey a brush down when you stop for lunch. Keep your eyes open for great glimpses of Mont Blanc. anesravis.com
Don’t fancy cooking? There’s a huge choice of restaurants in and around La Giettaz, from family diners to Michelin-starred restaurants. Here are some of our suggestions:
La Maison des Bois, Marc Veyrat, Manigod (15km) - A 30-minute drive to the Col de la Croix Fry will get you to this Michelin-starred restaurant, where all produce is organic. Tasting menus (there is no a la carte menu) are €395, but if you really want to break the bank, for €750 you can enjoy a lesson in Alpine foraging, a cookery masterclass with M. Veyrat himself, and the tasting menu with specially-selected wines (summer only). Rooms are available too. marc-veyrat.fr
Le Plan-Rebord, La Giettaz - Enjoy glorious views of Mont Blanc and traditional mountain food at this delightful restaurant. In summer, it’s a lovely 3km walk from the Col Des Aravis. In winter, access can be difficult. Be sure to call ahead to book - +33 6 05 46 08 76.
Le Tavaillon, La Giettaz - This bistro on the Route du Col Des Aravis is a great choice for a family meal - choose from Savoyard specialities such as tartiflette, or international favourites such as spaghetti Bolognese. Pizza is available to take away. Call +33 4 79 32 93 19.
La Datcha, Le Plan - Situated at the foot of the lifts in Le Plan, this is a great choice for a lunch or dinner during a day on the mountain. Choose from set menus or Savoyard specialities, and at the end of the day, relax with a vin chaud in front of the fire. la-destiere.com
Le Plan B, Le Plan - Grab a sandwich, a burger or a salad at this al fresco diner at the foot of the pistes. In the summer, the terrace is the perfect place to enjoy an ice cream. Open Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 5.30pm, unless it’s raining! aravis-haute-savoie.fr
The Giett’bus is a free service that runs between the village and the pistes at Le Plan through the winter season. Check out the timetable on the Mairie website. mairie-la-giettaz.fr
There are also several taxi firms that you can call on for airport transfers, days out or just to get to the slopes. Try:
Taxi Lulu 06 11 71 67 85
Transaravis Taxis 04 79 32 92 17
For more information on La Giettaz and the surrounding area, please try these links:
Tourist information office, La Giettaz: Place de l’Eglise, +33 4 79 32 91 90