We were off to ski in Les Arcs in France and of course we had to stay at the best that Les Arcs had to offer, Arc 1950, ‘Le Village’. Built and opened in 2003 by the Canadian developer who gave us Whistler and Mont Tremblant, this was a huge departure from the large ‘Mega-resorts’ that France liked to build in the 20th century. Created to deliver the highest levels of comfort in Les Arcs, I had often skied past and was intrigued to see what ‘Le Village’ was all about. We arrived by car and drove into the easily accessible car park which seemed to be a vast underground labyrinth, lucky for us it was so well organised with signs everywhere, otherwise we might still be driving around and around to this day. However, once parked it was a short amble to check-in and then straight up to the apartment. The Premium residence Arc 1950 Le Village is a 5* holiday village located in the heart of the Paradiski area, comprising eight 5* residences offering spacious, tastefully decorated apartments. Arc 1950 consists of 100s of spacious apartments spread across a cosy higgledy-piggledy Savoyard style settlement, with a mixture of stone and timber buildings this Alpine village looks like it could have been around for a lot longer than just two decades. The great thing about this setup here is that one can choose one’s arrival and departure dates.
One of the unique features of Arc 1950 is that the streets are car-free, which means that the streets are paved with… snow, so every property is Ski-in Ski-out, a great way to start and finish the day, skiing directly to the Apres Ski. Around the base of every building in the village and a select collection of about thirty retailers, from the usual ski and snowboard shops, to supermarkets, fashion boutiques and tourist trinkets. Arc 1950 is also spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants such as Nonna Lisa with their Savoyard specialities and pizzas – why do pizzas always taste better in the Alps?, La Table des Lys with gourmet French cuisine and the ever popular La Vache Rouge; Apres Ski is certainly in no short supply with the likes of O’Chaud and George’s Wine Bar. It seems that most evenings there was some kind of entertainment taking place in the snow laden streets with sporting events, music and entertainment for the kids too. Throughout the season there are an array of events taking place like comedy shows, a Film Festival, magical spectacles particularly at Christmas, concerts and an air show! What we loved about Arcs 1950 is that everything is within a short walk from one’s residence, with one restaurant being accessible from underground without even walking outside.
Arc 1950 has been built with families and children in mind. In the centre there is a crèche or day nursery to look after your little ones, from 9 months to 13 years whilst you venture out into the mountains. However, there is oodles of entertainment for the little ones as well, with ski and toboggan runs, play areas and entertainments and events every week in the main streets. They have even set up the ‘Backcountry Camp’ for 12 to 17 year olds who can already ski to a decent level; the camp’s professional guides teach them off-piste awareness, Avalanche beacons and even how to ride the snowpark. This is an impressive set up, perfect to take the family and let everyone enjoy themselves in a safe environment.
The resort has its own Spa area- The Deep Nature Arc 1950 Spa with a selection of themed grottos, ‘counter-current’ pool, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, Saunas and the most amazing giant outdoor wooden hot tubs. The whole place almost has the feel of a Christmas wonderland, with its buildings and streets covered in snow and children enjoying themselves; and what with the views of the Mont Blanc in all its glory, the Aiguille Rouge and the surrounding mountains of the Tarentaise valley no wonder TripAdvisor gave it the Certificate of Excellence in 2019. The mini resort has also been given the Green Key label, the symbol of environmentally responsible tourism.
It goes without saying that Arc 1950 has some of the best skiing in the Alps on its doorstep, literally. The Paradiski is one of the world’s largest ski areas linking Les Arcs to Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne, so one will not run out of piste with a total of 425 km of slopes spread across glaciers and forests. Les Arcs has one of the longest vertical descents from the high peak of Aiguille Rouge at 3226 metres where the views are spectacular, all the way down to the quaint Villaroger at 1200 metres, one of our favourite early morning routes to take with very few people. The wide tree runs of Peisey-Vallandry are fun, once again early in the morning, just keep heading left along the mountain. It seems that wherever you go there is always an option to take the red or the blue, so groups with varying ability can take different routes without splitting up for the day. A word of wisdom to beginners up to intermediates though, be careful of the ‘Non-groomed’ pistes which tend to end up becoming giant fields of mountainous bumps, tricky even for the accomplished skier. The signposting is great with maps at each lift, making it easy to navigate the vast area. Due to the altitude of Arc 1950 the surrounding area is very ‘snow-sure’ usually with snow lasting throughout the season. With a good array of mountain restaurants, from the recent addition of the party centre that is the Folie Douce to the rustic charms of Chalets de l’Arc or the Le Bulle Café with its fresh seafood there is enough to please your appetite.
Aside from the usual snowsports, there are many other activities such as ski joëring, dog sledding, skidoos, helicopter rides, Snake Gliss descents, snowshoeing or the 3-kilometre Rodeo Park toboggan run. For a coffee, soup and homemade bread with the best views head up to the newly built cafe with 40-seat terrace at 2700 head up the Aiguille Rouge; or head right to the top to experience the 360° panoramic views from the Aiguille Rouge footbridge at 3226 metres. Arc 1950, ‘Le Village’ seems to have everything one would require for the perfect ski holiday, even getting there could not be easier. With four international airports not far away and trains coming right into Bourg Saint Maurice railway station, Arcs 1950 is only 35 minutes away by road or hop on a free bus to the funicular train which will whisk you to your final destination within 7 minutes. So, I could jump on the Eurostar at St. Pancras, London down to Bourg Saint Maurice and be in Arc 1950 before you know it. What is not to like about that ?
For more information or to book see online at Arc1950.com
Premium residence Arc 1950 Le Village
With direct access to the ski slopes and benefiting from views of Mont Blanc, guests have access to a wide range of activities including snow sports, après-ski facilities, a fitness centre, Zumba and a magnificent Deep Nature ® spa with a heated swimming pool. A seven night stay at Premium residence Arc 1950 Le Village, during the 2021/22 ski season, is priced from £675 for a self-catering apartment sleeping two. Return flights and transfers extra. Pierre & Vacances (0870 0267 145, www.pierreetvacances.co.uk)
Photographs (c) Andy Parant – Arc 1950