Haute Savoie / France
La Plagne is made up of 11 smaller villages, scattered across a plateau alongside a mountain - they vary from traditional farming villages such as Champagny en Vanoise, La Plagne Montalbert and Montchavin to purpose-built ski resorts such as Plagne Centre (the hub of the resort), Plagne Soleil, Plagne Aime 2000 and Belle Plagne. The different characters of each village makes it easy to choose an area that suits you - head to Plagne Centre or Belle Plagne for nightlife and apres-ski, or if you’re looking to relax at the end of a busy day on the slopes, quieter areas such as Montalbert, might suit you better.
The ‘village’ feel of the resort has made it a popular choice for families, who are well catered for and many of the village centres are car-free.
There’s plenty to do in the summer in La Plagne too. The Vanoise National Park, rich in flora and wildlife is an idyllic setting for walkers. The area’s varied terrain presents plenty of challenges for bikers, who can choose from a wide variety of Enduro or downhill routes. There are thrills and spills on the water too, with rafting and kayaking on the Isere river.
Despite its spread-out nature, getting around La Plagne couldn’t be easier. Public transport between the villages is free, and ranges from buses to cable cars.
One of the highlights of a visit to La Plagne has to be the Olympic bobsleigh, created for the 1992 games in Albertville. Although it’s still used for competitions, it’s open to visitors in the afternoons. At 1500m long, and with 19 bends, it’s quite a ride - choose from the bobsleigh raft for four, which reaches speeds of 80km/h, the single person ski luge, which can top 90km/h as it hurtles you feet first down the hill, or for the adrenaline hungry, bob-racing- a four-man bobsleigh including a professional driver - expect to hit 120km/h in this one and feel all the bumps!
La Plagne and neighbouring Les Arcs make up the extensive Paradiski area, linked by the speedy Vanoise Express gondola. With a fast and efficient lift system, comparable to those in larger resorts, you can quickly access a large ski area without too much queuing. However, the resort has 225km of its own pistes, most of which are wide and gentle. The rest of the Paradiski area is also great for intermediate skiers, although there are plenty of red and black runs, as well as steep, off piste descents for advanced skiers.
Each of the La Plagne villages has a beginners’ area, fenced off from the main slopes so that nervous novices can practice their turns in peace. Lifts in these areas are the magic carpet type - a travelator which moves you along while you stand still, perfect for young children.
Freestylers should head for the Snow park de Belle Plagne - there’s a beginners park and an expert park for professionals as well as two boardercross courses. The 7 Cube snow park has a variety of kickers and jumps, rails and boxes, and a Fun Zone at the Arpette chairlift, with boardercross, jumps, rails and rollers. Head to Plagne Bellecote for high altitude pistes.
Skiing and boarding are the main activities that bring guests to chalets in La Plagne in the winter, and in the summer, hiking, biking and climbing are the most popular. But when you stay at an OVO Network property, there is so much more to see and do.
Here are some of our favourite things to do in La Plagne - you’ll find the details below.
You’ve seen it on the television, now you can give it a try! Bobsleigh is a long tradition in La Plagne, so naturally it hosted the event in the 1992 Winter Olympics at Albertville. Now, when training is over at the end of the day, the track is opened to the public. If you’ve got children with you, the more family-friendly bob raft (for kids over 1.3m in height) is a great option. The raft, which holds four people, steers and brakes on its own, but still gets up to a speed of 80km/h in places. If you’re going solo, try the speed luge (age 16+) - lying on your back, feet first, you can see just where you’re heading! If you’re feeling the need for speed, bob racing might be for you - three passengers plus a driver will reach up to 120km/h. Whatever you choose, make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Sit back and enjoy the ride or learn the art of mushing on the slopes of the Dou du Praz in La Plagne - after a full briefing, set off with your own team of two or three dogs - Samoyeds, Malamutes, Huskies or Greenlands. Families can just climb into a sled and enjoy the ride with their own musher - it’s a great way to enjoy the fabulous views. Find out more here.
Head to Belle Plagne for a thrilling descent, zigzagging through the trees on three giant zipwires. After a full briefing and safety check, the Cascade will take you on a thrilling ride, following a stream for 400m. Alternatively, the Super Tyro will take you from Plagne Aime 200 right into the centre of Plagne - your skis will follow behind you in the shuttle.
Get a totally different perspective on the mountains from a paraglider! There’s a choice of three packages, ranging in price from €80 to €140, and suitable for anyone aged between six and 99! The Vision flight is a great place to start - a seven to 10 minute flight over Plagne centre with some great views. The Horizons flight (15-20 mins) will take you over forests and alpine pastures, as well as the Olympic bobsleigh track. You’ll soar over the valley on a Condor flight (25-35 mins), using the wind and weather to prolong your adventure.
If you’re visiting La Plagne in the winter, the chances are you’re here for the skiing and snowboarding. But there are plenty of other ways to get down a mountain. Try airboarding, snakegliss, yooner, Snooc and many more!
The La Plagne area has a fascinating history, Whether you’re interested in Roman remains, how Savoyards lived in the 19th century, how bobsleigh was born or the archaeology of the area, there’s a guided tour to show you more.
Get away from your mobile phone, email and all the other trappings of the 21st century when you spend a summer night in a mountain refuge. It’s a great family adventure - you’ll have to hike there, but just imagine waking up with nothing around you but the mountains and nature. Choose your route and your refuge, book ahead, travel light and check the weather conditions before you set off.
Whether you just want to relax by the water, take a gentle stroll or go canoeing, there’s plenty of choice at the Versant d’Aime leisure park. There’s free swimming in the summer, a lakeside trail, rafting on the Isere river and a picnic and play area. There’s also a restaurant, if you’d prefer to eat out. Lifeguards are on duty at the beach in July and August.
There’s plenty to interest bikers of all ages and experience levels in La Plagne, where the first mountain bikes were introduced in the 1980s. The Colorado bike park (open in July and August) has green, blue, red and black runs for downhill enthusiasts, as well as bike washing stations. There are bike rental shops in each of the La Plagne villages.
If you don’t mind getting wet, there’s so much to do on the Isere river, close to La Plagne. White water rafting, hydrospeed, canoeing and paddle boarding are just some of the adventures waiting for you.
This Alpine adventure is a great day out for the family - it combines hiking and climbing on a trail cut into the rock face. You’ll wear a helmet and be clipped to the trail at all times to ensure your safety, but you’ll still need a head for heights! There are three via ferrata courses in La Plagne - Les Grosses Pierres, Les Bourtes and Les Bettieres - so choose the one you think will be most suited to your group.
From a gentle lakeside stroll to an exhilarating mountain hike, walking is a great way to explore the area around La Plagne. Tourist offices can advise you on marked routes suitable for your group’s age and experience, and can also arrange mountain guides. Some of the ski lifts stay open throughout the summer so that you can cut out the hard work and just enjoy the walk down.
Many of the hotels in La Plagne have spas where you can enjoy a day of total relaxation, perhaps with a treatment or two thrown in. The Deep Nature complex in Belle Plagne has a premium area for anyone aged over 15 as well as a family area with a swimming pool where children are welcome, so that you can all enjoy the spa benefits. Visit the La Plagne tourist office website to find out more.
Union Montalbert (Vieux Village de Montalbert, 73210 Aime, tel +33 (0)4 79 55 51 07) Michelin-starred chef Phil Howard, from London, teamed up with ski coach Martin Cuchet to open this fabulous restaurant in Montalbert. Definitely worth booking ahead, this fine dining restaurant is a great choice for a special occasion - try the €75 tasting menu, which includes delights such as salt-baked beetroot, octopus salad, parsley and snail soup and daube of ox cheek. There’s a good wine list, with bottles starting at €30, many of which are also available by the glass.
Le 360 (Route de Montalbert Plagne Montalbert, 73210 Montalbert France, tel +33 9 88 66 50 79) As the name suggests, you’ll enjoy fabulous views from this mountain restaurant on the pistes, which can be reached by the Montalbert gondola. A popular lunch stop for skiers, who love the shared charcuterie platters and large portions, there’s outside seating for sunny days and floor to ceiling windows inside when the weather is not so great. The self-service area offers standard fare such as a starter buffet, burgers, pasta and chicken, while the restaurant upstairs offers traditional French cuisine in a more cosy atmosphere.
Hotel Le Cocoon (73210 Macot La Plagne, Aime, tel +33 4.79.55.00.26) You can book your own little chalet for groups of six to 21 at this unique Finnish-style grill restaurant, where your food is cooked over a fire in the centre of your table. Booking is mandatory, and the €58 set three-course menu typically includes a glass of sparkling wine, a soup or pasta starter, steak or duck cooked with potatoes at your table and a dessert of the day.
Cocotte & Co (5 Place du Bassin, 73210 Montchavin, tel +33 7 77 34 72 72) This reasonably priced restaurant in Montchavin is popular not just for its great food but also for the friendly staff. Three-course set menus for €21 are a great deal, and mountain dishes such as fondue, raclette and tartiflette are also available. Booking is highly recommended - the restaurant has two sittings for dinner - at 7pm and 9pm.
Le Hors Piste (126 route de la Plagne, 73210 Belle Plagne) Grab a quick lunch at this pizzeria right next to the piste in Belle Plagne. Soups, salads and burgers are also recommended, and there’s a children’s menu too.
Chez WAM (Place des Commerces, 73210 Les Coches, La Plagne, +33 4 79 07 69 75) Fancy a takeaway? This place does great pizzas, paninis and burgers, and the Nutella waffles come highly recommended too. Delivery is available locally.
Made up of 11 villages, shopping in La Plagne is fairly spread out, but the main focus is Plagne Centre. The centre here has a varied selection of shops, as well as restaurants and bars. Check out the Montmayeur bakery for a great selection of pastries, chocolates and breads, as well as a lunch pack. Local delicatessens can be found in all the villages and are great places to pick up charcuterie, cheese and a bottle of wine for an easy dinner - try Flacons & Flocons in Aime or Les Tarines in Montchavin.. If you’re looking for organic and gluten free produce, try La Vie Claire in Aime.
Unusual souvenirs can be found at La Poterie du Murger in Prairond, on the road up to La Plagne. Not only can you pick up some beautiful pots made by Agnès, but also some honey and snails produced by her son Pierre!