Regular readers of our newsletter and social media will know that the whole team love skiing in March and April. At the end of April we all headed over to the Paradiski ski area for our end of season educational, opting for the high altitude delights of Les Arcs, specifically staying in Arc 2000.
Found in the Savoie region of France, in the Northern French Alps, and right on the edge of the Vanoise National Park, Les Arcs forms part of the massive Paradiski ski area. Made up of 4 resorts, Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000, each have their own unique charm. Purpose-built resorts developed specifically with superb winter skiing in mind. Les Arcs has incredible access to the amazing Paradiski, one of the largest ski areas in the world, with links to Peisey Vallandry, La Plagne, Bourg Saint Maurice and many more. With a huge 425 kilometres of marked pistes, you won't be short of choice in the ski area!
Situated at the bottom of the Aiguille Rouge Glacier, Arc 2000 is a hub for families, couples and groups alike. Awarded the 'P'tits Montagnards' label, this guarantees high quality facilities for children and their parents on holiday in the mountains. Being at the foot of this glacier also means direct access to the highest and toughest skiing - including the famous Robert Blanc, named after one of the ski resort's founders.
You can find powder snow fields alongside perfectly groomed runs, with a choice of wide cruisy slopes and plenty of off-piste opportunity!
Les Arcs was our choice of destination for the Peak Retreats end of season educational trip...
Landing in Lyon Airport and hiring cars, the team travelled in convoy towards the town of Bourg St Maurice, where we made our first stop.
The main town for the Tarentaise Valley, Bourg St Maurice is surrounded by ski resorts that more than 10 million skiers visit each winter! The easiest ski village to reach from London St Pancras by train, the town is directly linked to Les Arcs by the funicular railway. A great hub, with 4* self-catered apartments and hotel options. Although we chose to fly and hire cars, Les Arcs is also an easy resort to reach by self-drive - just over 9 hours from Calais, it's mainly motorway the whole route up until you reach Bourg St Maurice in the valley below the resort.
Basecamp Lodge, Bourg St Maurice
The town is a great centre for a wide range of ski resorts in the area, and Basecamp Lodge is the perfect central hotel to stay in. We loved the large open bar and restaurant area, which has a terrace for the summer months! The creativity within the room's was incredible - some of them had safari tents in, with a separate kids cabin bed shaped like a wooden hut. A great way to encourage children's imagination, and make for a fun stay!
Le Coeur d'Or, Bourg St Maurice
Conveniently located close to the train station, Le Coeur d'Or is one of our director's choice residences. Offering luxurious apartments that combine traditional style with modern facilities. We thought the pool looked so inviting - with views up the mountainside to Les Arcs, we just wanted to jump in!
Les Arcs is super accessible by train - the high-speed TGV trains from Paris arrive into Bourg St Maurice. From the valley you can take the funicular up to Arc 1600 - it only takes 7 minutes! During our trip, some of us took the funicular up, the glass roof meant we had great views of the valley and over into La Rosière! We met the cars in Arc 1600, where they took us the rest of the way up the mountain to Arc 2000.
Read more about the eco-friendly efforts of Bourg St Maurice and Les Arcs on our sustainability blog! (Les Arcs has even been awarded the prestigious Flocon Vert award!)
Where we stayed
During our time in Arc 2000, we enjoyed a stay at the 4* Chalet Altitude - located just below the resort centre and ski school, the residence is just 50m from the ski slopes and lifts. The views from the balconies in our apartments were outstanding; you could see right across the valley to La Rosière and spot Mont Blanc peaking above the roofs.
Our first evening consisted of unpacking and picking our skis up from the local Sport 2000. Just 50m away from the front door of Chalet Altitude, the shop made sure that we all had comfortable boots, correctly fitted bindings of both skis and snowboards, and were happy to swap any gear for different types so that everyone was happy. Couldn't have found a closer ski hire shop if we tried!
What we visited and where you could stay :
One of the main reasons that we visit our resorts is to check out the accommodation we offer to our clients, to ensure that it meets our, and more importantly, your expectations. What our team at Peak Retreats, and many of our clients, love about Les Arcs is that you are so close to the slopes. Check out the accommodation below that we visited and quality checked whilst in Les Arcs!
We offer over 15 different accommodation options in Les Arcs alone, ranging from stunning Premium properties, large chalet apartments, beautiful hotels, as well as the self-catered apartments that we are known and loved for! We've included all the accommodation that we had a lovely time viewing and quality checking for you...
Chalet Cascade, Arc 2000
Part of our Peak Retreats Premium collection, Chalet Cascade is situated in a unique but stunning location in Arc 2000, right on the snow front and opposite the ESF snow kindergarten. Set apart from the resort centre, it allows you to appreciate the quiet of the mountains whilst keeping the main slopes close by! We all fell in love with this chalet - from the double height living area with cosy fireplace, the glass walkway, to the plunge pool with views over the mountains, everything has been designed to provide a very special experience!
Taj-I Mah, Arc 2000
The 5* Taj-I Mah hotel is situated in arguably the most envied position in the resort of Arc 2000 - this location makes for wonderful views over the resort and the valley! With 48 luxurious bedrooms and suites to choose from, all enjoying private balconies and the superb on-site facilities. The double height penthouse suites were just something else...
Arolles, Arc 2000
Less than 100m from the slopes, and situated next door to the residence we stayed in (Chalet Altitude), Arolles is composed of several chalets divided into comfortable apartments. Each apartment in the residence can enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and Paradiski slopes.
La Source des Arcs, Arc 2000
The 4* luxury apartments of La Source des Arcs are located on the slopes, directly at the arrival of the Cabriolet Gondola. With doorstep ski access and great views over the surrounding massif, this residence was a hit amongst the team when we visited!
La Cime des Arcs, Arc 2000
Also located directly on the slopes, La Cime des Arcs is at the foot of the Lanchettes ski lifts. With ski-in possibility, and great facilities, this is an ideal residence for families, that overlooks the hustle and bustle of Arc 2000 centre.
Les Cristaux, Arc 1800 (sneak peak)
Brand new for the 2023/24 season, (and not yet on the website, ssshhh...) Les Cristaux is a brand new residence in Arc 1800 with breathtaking views over the Tarentaise Valley and the surrounding mountains. High quality apartments mixed with stunning facilities, make this a 'must-watch' residence!
Edenarc, Arc 1800
The ski-in/ski-out residence of Edenarc is a favourite amongst the team - the perfect location to enjoy the pedestrianised resort of Arc 1800. Just 100m from the mid-station lifts and with the gentler lower slopes of the resort, this is a great location for beginners!
L'Iseran, Arc 1800
Also situated in the pedestrianised resort of Arc 1800, L'Iseran is a 4* residence with great access to the slopes and ski-in/ski-out possibilities. Also enjoying views of the valley and the surrounding mountains, you might even be able to spot Mont Blanc!
Le Ridge, Arc 1600
Located directly on the Cachette slope, Le Ridge enjoys ski-in/ski-out possibility. Mixed with the stunning panoramic views over the mountains and valley, as well as the fantastic leisure facilities, this residence is great for those looking for a quieter ski-break.
Looking for something to do other than skiing? As well as skiing we also visited the Mountain Animal Museum at the top of the Vallandry gondola, enjoyed the impressive live and sound show at the top of the Varet gondola, and some of us even headed up to the top of the ski area to the Aiguille Rouge viewpoint. A few members of the team were first time skiers, or needed a refresher course, this is where the ESF Ski School instructors came into play. With lessons spanning over a day and half, Georgie (who had never skied before!) took to skiing like she'd been doing it for years and quickly progressed onto the longer, cruisier blue runs that are scattered across the Les Arcs ski area!
A few of our team spent the morning exploring Les Arcs by snowshoe, with an ESF ski school guide, here's what they had to say:
"For anyone looking to get a different perspective on the mountains then signing up for a guided snow-shoe walk is definitely a good option. We set off with Roland, who along with his colleague Isabelle, runs snow-shoe walks with the ESF (French ski school) in Arc 2000. We could have taken an itinerary that led us up from Arc 2000, across the slopes and onto open expanses of snow, where Roland told us he’d seen marmottes on a recent outing, but as the sun was peeping through the high cloud, we opted instead to head for the forest to walk through the trees and explore sun-dappled clearings. The ESF guides are incredibly knowledgeable about the mountains and on our walk, we learnt about the mountain hare that changes colour at the onset of winter, becoming white rather than brown, to better camouflage himself. We spotted tracks of squirrels, foxes, hares and Roland told us about their habits. We hardly noticed how far through the forest we had climbed. After stopping to refuel with a herbal tea and some delicious blueberry biscuits, we started our descent through the forest, with a few jumps and slides thrown in! The walk was a magical interlude in uniquely peaceful snowy surroundings. Back on skis in the afternoon, I appreciated the open expanses of the wide slopes but secretly longed to be back in the forest." ~ Alison
Other members of the team enjoyed the relaxing spas that Les Arcs had to offer, here's what Marie-Anne had to say:
"For a wonderful wellness experience a visit to Arc 1950 ‘Deep Nature Spa Centre’ is a must. You can enjoy an aquatic cave, a couple of degrees warmer than any Residence pool (30°C relaxation pool), a volcanic cave which consists of a sauna (45°C) and an ice cave (an ice shower and fountain – cold enough to make you yell out loud!). My favourite was the hot tub outside (35°C) with amazing views of the Mont Blanc and mountains all around with snow-covered fir trees. You can also enjoy the Jacuzzi, hammam (45-50°C) and an outdoor sauna chalet (100°C). They have a treatment centre and relaxation area with 3 single cubicles and 4 doubles and also offer a parent and child massage treatment (6yrs to 14yrs)." ~ Marie-Anne
Ready... Steady... Cook!!!
On one evening during our visit to Les Arcs, our manager set the whole team a challenge. Much like the well-known television show (but without the celebrity chefs for help!) our two apartments were put head to head for the cooking challenge. Supplied with a bag of ingredients that included things like rice, stock, chorizo and pineapple to name a few things; we had one hour to plan, cook and serve our meals ready for judgement - no pressure! Both teams worked hard and with great teamwork they each came up with a plan. Interestingly both teams planned very different dinners.
One very quick hour later, both teams had created a plethora of dishes each:
Red Peppers: Chorizo in red wine, lentil and vegetable stew, rice, with a side of vegetables
Green Peppers: Pineapple wrapped in assorted cured meat, chorizo and vegetable risotto and roasted vegetables
It was a close decision, with both teams creating some great dishes from the limited ingredients they were given, but it came down to the judge's decision. And the winner was.....
Green Pepper Team with their chorizo and vegetable risotto!
Resort Food Service
On the nights where we didn't have our chef hats and aprons on, we made use of our resort food delivery service with Huski. Delivered before our arrival and put in the freezer, it made dinner quick and easy after a busy day of skiing, quality checking accommodation and scouting out the surrounding areas! Their range could cater for our vegetarian members of the team, and those who were gluten-free, meaning we were well fed with delicious Tartiflette and Vegiflette, as well as Pork Dijon and Beetroot Bourguignon. Their brownies, which we gently warmed in the oven for a few minutes, were divine! (A few team members went back for seconds!)
Knowing that we had home-made food ready to go was a godsend for us as a team. And knowing that it was made locally in their Bourg St Maurice kitchen made the food taste even better!
Bars and Restaurants
There were quite a few bars and restaurants within Les Arcs, with the majority that we visited being in Arc 2000. There are a great choice of mountain restaurants to stop at for a drink or lunch whilst on the slopes skiing, with great lunch and dinner options within Arc 2000. We were lucky enough to enjoy the food at Le 2134 and Le Savoy restaurants for lunch on two of our days in resort. Both catered to our food needs as a team, and they both had some amazing food!
Le 2134 Rooftop Restaurant is a great spot for French and Savoyarde cuisine - with beautiful views from its terrace and large windows! We were treated to delicious entrées including a butternut squash mouse and asparagus soup tasters. For main we had a choice of vegetable hotpot and hachis parmentier, a French version of shepherds pie. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meals, with empty plates and full bellies ready for an afternoon of skiing!
Le Savoy Restaurant is located in the same building as La Cime des Arc residence, and also serves great French and Savoyarde cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner, with non-stop service on the weekends, this restaurant has a large, outdoor terrace making it a great place for an après ski snack! We all thoroughly enjoyed the food on offer this day - a traditional tartiflette served in a large hot plate, with another choice of chicken, as well as veggie meatballs for our resident vegetarians! The star of the show was the desserts - the difficult choice between beautifully light chocolate mouse and tarte aux myrtilles was one that troubled quite a few of the team.
Aside from the food, the whole team also ventured out to the Ventura Bar, located just next door to Chalet Altitude where we were staying, for their end of season party! A great spot for some music and dancing, this would be great if you were after a more après kind of afternoon and evening!
We had an amazing end-of-season educational trip to Les Arcs; with great accommodation, great company, and the great ski resort of Les Arcs! We learnt a lot about the resort and the accommodation that is located there, and headed home with some great memories and information to share with our clients!
Comments from our team...
|Yulia ~ "I loved all the wide tree-lined runs - incredible to have so many at such a high altitude!"|
|Georgie ~ "My first time skiing ever was incredible, my instructor made me feel very welcome and comfortable. I was fortunate that I picked it up quickly and was able to enjoy some of the lovely blue runs in Les Arcs; especially the Plan slope that goes around the lake, the views were amazing! From being a complete beginner at the start of the trip, I was amazed by the blue slopes that were available from the top of the mountains for me to enjoy!"|
|Lyndsey ~ "I enjoyed taking a slight detour off-piste through the fresh powder fields next to the blue 'Vallée de l'Arcs 2' slope at the top of the high-speed 'Pre Saint Esprit' chairlift (built in 2017, it features heated seats plus a bubble cover - what a treat!)"|
|Hannah ~ "The views from our balcony in Chalet Altitude Arc 2000 were incredible - you could see the whole way over the valley to La Rosière!"|
|Sophie ~ "The ESF instructors in Arc 2000 were outstanding! They were focused and dedicated throughout the lessons, never pushing you out of your comfort zone. Overall, it was a memorable experience, and I loved every moment."|
|Nicola: ~ "I really enjoyed skiing down to Arc 1950. You can actually ski right through the village - it's such a lovely place, and was snowing when I was there so it had a very magical feel to it."|
|Sam ~ "Breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains and La Rosière."|
|Chelsea ~ "Les Arcs was ideal for a return to the slopes after a long break - I enjoyed the variety of slopes with gentle turns to ease me back into it. Skiing in April also meant we had clear slopes whilst enjoying the amazing fresh snow conditions!"|
|Jess ~ "Arc 2000 - end of season joy! I was surprised by some nice powder days, blue bird skies and no crowds. It has skiing for everyone from complete beginners to the thigh burning Robert Blanc Natur' piste (an eye-watering 41° slope!). A compact resort with lots to choose from; steep runs up top to push yourself and lower down the nice tree-lined cruisers towards Peisey Vallandry."|