Les Arcs Local Guide
Les Arcs’ slopes are remarkably varied, with plenty to suit all standards from beginner to expert, including some seriously steep ungroomed black runs and plenty of easy cruising. Its ski area is linked to that of neighbouring La Plagne to form the huge Paradiski area.
The original Arc resort village is 1600, set at the top of the funicular train up from the valley town of Bourg St Maurice. Then came Arc 1800 a few km across the mountain (and now the biggest village) and Arc 2000, 12 km and 20 minutes away from 1600 by shuttle bus.
More recent development has been in more sympathetic low-rise chalet style, including Arc 1950, built in the early 2000s. It is just below Arc 2000 and connected by a short gondola that runs until late at night, and a very pleasant place to be based and stroll around.
The Les Arcs ski area is served by a generally slick lift system with lots of fast chairs, and snow reliability is good, with lots of runs over 2,000m and plenty of snowmaking. Views over the valley to the resort of La Rosière and to Mont Blanc are stunning.
The link to La Plagne is via the two-way double decker Vanoise Express cable car from Plan Peisey, high above the intervening valley. The joint Paradiski area has a total of 425km of pistes, up there with the biggest ski areas in the world.
Discover the Aiguille Rouge on foot, with its peak at over 3226m, it reveals a breath-taking 360° panoramic view !
You can also view the Italian Alpine Chain, Mont Pourri, the Pierra Menta, not forgetting the magnificent Mont Blanc facing you.
The Arc 1800 “aquafun” centre boasts 3,800m2 of aquatic space dedicated to wellness and relaxation. It is a place where you can relax with friends or family or get away from it all for a few hours of calm!
Belliou la Fumée - The beautifully restored, stone-built Belliou la Fumée, close to the bottom of the Pré Saint Esprit chairlift below Arc 1950, is charmingly rustic with a big open fire and a fair-sized terrace. It serves traditional French dishes such as pan fried snails with garlic and spinach, magret de canard, bavette l’echalotes and delicious home-baked tarts.
Après ski in general is fairly quiet – Arc 1800 is the liveliest, with a couple of nightclubs and some places such as the Red Hot Saloon hosting regular live music. Among the bars in Arc 1950 are cosy George’s wine bar and British pub-like Les Belles Pintes. As well as the village’s free events programme, bars here take it in turns to organise nightly concerts.
For drinks on the mountain, there’s a fun ice bar and ice grotto with sculptures in the igloo village above Arc 2000, open until 5pm. The Mille 8 area above Arc 1800 has a fun ski slope for kids and a toboggan run that are floodlit until early evening.