Located in the French Alps, La Plagne is a favourite of both skiers and snowboarders. Part of the Paradiski domaine in the Tarentaise valley, it is one of the top ski resorts in France.
But it is not actually just one ski resort. La Plagne is made up of 11 villages across a large plain, that require a car or bus (or skis) to travel in between. So picking an accommodation in La Plagne is not quite as simple as it first appears.
In essence, Paradiski includes 265 miles (425 km) of skiable terrain. The nearby village of Bourg-Saint-Maurice serves the base camp in the area. It has a high-speed train station at the foot of valley for direct TGV train access from across Paris, London, and other cities of Western Europe.
Within Paradiski, Les Arcs and La Plagne are the more well-known names of resorts in the area. So let’s have a look at the ski slopes around La Plagne and each of the Plagne villages, shall we? Allons-y!
The Ski Slopes
If you get the “La Plagne” ski pass, you will get access to a large network of alpine ski slopes and chair lifts. There are over 140 miles (225 km) of ski domaine in La Plagne, including the following:
- 8 green slopes
- 75 blue slopes
- 35 red slopes
- 19 black slopes
You can either get a ski pass just for your resort, or for the full Paradiski area. The difference is usually around €50 for a week.
Paradiski is considered the 2nd largest ski domaine in France (after Les 3 Vallées) with 265 miles (425 km) of skiable terrain. The other big resort in Paradiski is Les Arcs.
Paradiski is not as interconnected as the nearby Les 3 Vallées, so if you will likely only go to Les Arcs a couple of times during a week-long holiday.
The Vanoise Express cable car that connects Les Arcs to La Plagne is a bit of a commute, so it gets crowded at the end of the day. The access is near the Montchavin-Les Coches village in La Plagne, and so may be far away from other parts of the ski domaine.
But there are plenty of slopes in La Plagne however, so you may not need to head anywhere else!
Where to stay
1. Plagne Aime 2000
Plagne Aime 2000 is the highest village of La Plagne with an altitude of 2100m. With a rather modernist design, it was built in the 1960s and certainly reflects the style of the era. Its main building is known as the “Paquebot des neiges” meaning “ocean liner of snow”.
The main building does rather look like a cruise ship where you can head to the mall without ever putting your feet in the snow. Nonetheless, there are a few other aparthotels around that may be more your style:
2. Plagne Villages
Surrounded by beautiful fir trees, Plagne villages is what you may imagine a ski resort in the mountains to look like. It opened in 1974 and consists of many small buildings targeting local families bringing their kids to ski.
It is a quieter village, with not many bars and restaurants, although next-door Belle Plagne is only about 20-25 minutes away on foot. There are a couple of high-end apart-hotels in the area including:
3. Belle Plagne
Built in 1981, Belle Plagne is located at 2050m altitude. It is a relatively modern resort while still maintaining a savoyard tradition. With cars banished into the large underground parkings, the center is entirely pedestrianized.
From here you can access the Chiaupe glacier at 2700m using the Roche de Mio gondola. There are also a couple of freestyle areas at Belle Plagne. It has several higher end hotels and apart-hotels, among them being:
- €€€ – Résidence Pierre & Vacances Les Gémeaux
- €€€€ – Hôtel Carlina
- €€€€ – Résidence Odalys La Licorne
4. Plagne Soleil
Located at 2050m altitude, Plagne Soleil regularly enjoys wonderful snow conditions. It is called “soleil” meaning “sun” because it is located on a plateau with longer days in the sun than other villages on the slopes. Along with skiing and snowboarding, the plateau is also ideal for sports like snowshoeing, cross-country or even dog-sledding.
The center is entirely pedestrianized making it a wonderful place to relax in and enjoy all the local Alpine specialties. Some apart-hotels in the area include:
5. Plagne centre
At 1970 meters above sea level, Plagne Centre is just across from Plagne Soleil. It has plenty of shops, restaurants, bar, and even a cinema, making it a popular destination in the middle of La Plagne.
It has several areas for children and beginners, and the Colorado Park offers more than 1,500 meters of tobogganing. Plagne Center also is linked to Plagne Aime 2000 by the Telemetro, for easy access with or without your skis.
There are no giant hotels here, but some smaller apart-hotels in the area include:
- €€€ – ho36 La Plagne
- €€€€ – Araucaria Hotel & Spa
- €€€€ – Residence Odalys Le Pelvoux
6. Plagne Bellecôte
Located in the center of La Plagne is Plagne Bellecôte, making it an active hub in the area. It has a large shopping gallery as well as an ice rink, shops, restaurants, bars, outdoor heated swimming pool and spa facilities, making it a lovely place to base yourself if you have people in your group who don’t want to ski.
Built in 1974, most of its center is pedestrianised. It is linked to Belle Plagne by the La Roche de Mio gondola with free access for pedestrians. There is also a free shuttle from here to Plagne Centre.
Some apart-hotels in the area are:
7. Plagne 1800
Plagne 1800 is a former silver lead mining village that has been converted to an animated ski resort. The French UCPA ski center (which targets 18-55 year olds and families) has a base in Plagne 1800, making it a lively resort with bars and restaurants catering to a younger crowd.
There is good access from here to the rest of the Paradiski ski area including the resorts of Les Arcs, Peisey and other parts of La Plagne. A couple of apart-hotels in the area include:
- €€€ – Terresens – Le Diamant des Neiges
- €€€€ – Hotel Le Cocoon
8. Plagne Montalbert
With the label “Family Plus”, Plagne Montalbert is definitely a family town, with plenty of facilities for children. With a medium altitude of 1,350m, the village is picturesque with plenty of trees and tiny buildings made of wood and snow. For a resort built in 1980, it certainly has the feel of an older village.
It has a handful of shops and restaurants in a pedestrianized central zone, with plenty of small animation and shows to keep visitors amused. An apart-hotel in the area is:
- €€€ – Résidence La Marmottane
9. Montchavin – Les Coches
Montchavin – Les Coches is not one resort, but actually two. The village of Montchavin is at an altitude of 1250m and Les Coches is at 1450m. The two villages are connected all year around by the Coches gondola in summer and winter. Otherwise, it is about a 10 minute drive between the two.
The valley faces Mont-Blanc, and both villages have the “Famille Plus” label, catering mainly to families. Both have a handful of restaurants for après-ski, but not really any bars that go late into the night.
This is also the access point for the Vanoise Express cable car to head over to the rest of the Paradiski ski area and its extensive slopes. With plenty of private residences, one of the large aparthotels in the area is:
Near Lake Champagny and with plenty of activities in winter and summer, Champagny en Vanoise is one resort that attracts visitors all year around. It is a beautiful village, made up of hamlets with traditional wood and stone.
The village was transformed in 1971 into a ski resort, with much of the accommodation offered privately. There are a couple of large apart-hotels in the area however:
11. La Plagne Vallée
It is believed that the Plagne Valley was inhabited as early as the 1st century. In the middle ages, this was the territory of the Viscounts of Tarentaise, and many of the medieval buildings remain
Today the area is made up of several villages bordering the Isère river and the hillside slopes of the Versant du Soleil. With typical Savoyard architecture, this charming area consists of narrow streets all based around the local church.
There are no large hotels or apart-hotels in this area, although there are plenty of private residences for rent.
How to get to there?
By Train: La Plagne is part of the “Paradiski” network of ski slopes and the closest train station is the “Bourg Saint Maurice” train station, which is about 10 miles (15km) away.
High-speed trains from Paris, London, Amsterdam and other major cities in Western Europe arrive at Bourg Saint Maurice all winter long, bringing you to the foot of the Alps.
From the train station, there are several busses including Altibus which costs around €8-14 for a ride to the different La Plagne resorts.
From Airport to La Plagne – Approximate times with no traffic:
How easy is it getting around?
It is relatively easy to get around within of the La Plagne villages, however, it is not easy to get between each La Plagne resort to another. Each village is quite separate, and while you can go from one to the other on skis (with a ski pass), you will need a car to get from one village resort to the other.
How many days should you spend?
In the busy part of the winter during ski season, most places in La Plagne only rent for the week (Saturday to Saturday), so you will be required to stay at least 1 week.
In the off season and summer time, you should have more flexibility with dates, but I would still recommend staying at least 3-4 days to full enjoy the resort. You can read more about the best time to go skiing in France here.
Other popular ski resorts nearby
If you enjoyed this article, you may like to read more facts about the Alps here. A bientôt!