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  • Writer's pictureGreen Traveller

Green Traveller's Guide to Les Arcs, France

Les Arcs is part of the world famous Paradiski (‘Ski Paradise’) area, which offers a total of 425km of piste, seemingly limitless off-piste and the longest piste run in Europe. In summer, nestled in the mountains find traditional villages like Peisey-Vallandry or the beautiful Vanoise National Park. The surrounding local villages also mean you can see the mountains while avoiding bustle of the main resorts.

Did you know?

  • Height: villages from 1,600-2,120m

  • Number of lifts: 56

  • Collection of four villages: Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950, Arc 2000 (village number determined by height in metres)

  • The Arc 1950 is entirely car-free

  • There are more than 10 marked VTT routes and Arc 1950 has hosted le Tour de France.

Where to stay

La Bergerie du Miravidi The charm and the uniqueness of the first gîte in the region to bear the Clévacances seal of environmental quality is wonderful to behold. An ancient family home, transformed into a 100% ecological guest house with lime plaster, hemp insultation and natural pigments, but keeps alive the woodlands and Great North traditions and styles. It is also perfectly located not even two steps away from the ski lift linking Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Arc 1600. Address: La bergerie du Miravidi Hauteville le Plan 73700 Bourg st Maurice Website: La Bergerie du Miravidi Hotel du Golf

Perfect for a family holiday, this hotel enjoys a perfect location in the heart of Arc with easy access to shops, restaurants, bars and it is not only at the very foot of the nursery slopes but also less than 100 metres from the ski lifts. With a jazz bar, a spa, sauna, swimming pool and 3 restaurants, this 3 star hotel offers a great combination of convenience, comfort and relaxation. Plus, with its low-flow plumbing fixtures, biomass swimming pool heating and the support of a non-polluting electrical plant on the Himalayan, it provides an eco-friendly stay.

Address: Arc 1800, 73700 Bourg Saint Maurice, France. Phone: Tel : + 33 (0)4 79 41 43 43

Just ten minutes’ drive from Bourg train station is this neat little mountain eco-lodge - if you do arrive by train you’ll even get a reduction in the price. The comfortable chalet sleeps up to 16 and allows access to the slopes in Les Arcs, Sainte Foy and La Rosiere. Each bedroom has its own balcony that looks out over the mountains while a biodiesel fuelled minibus provides complimentary transport for skiers. The lodge is catered and prices include breakfast and afternoon tea, plus a three-course evening meal and wine.

Address: Seez, Les Arcs, Paradiski

Base yourself at this simple mountain chalet to ski in Les Arcs or alternatively to explore the mountains on cross-country skis, snowshoes or horseback. Once the snow has melted there’s plenty of hiking and exploring to be done in the Vanoise National Park. There are a choice of three bedrooms, each is en-suite, and sleep 2 - 6 people. Bread is baked in the outside oven and fruits and vegetables are grown in the owners’ garden.

Address: 73210, Peisey-Nancroix

Website: Maison Coutin

Where to eat

A stamp of a stone chalet in the middle of the snowy slopes, where the locally renowned « chausson du boulanger » (a dish combining melted cheese, charcuterie and fresh bread) remains the house speciality, honouring saoyarde gastronomie. Savour locally raised and produced food in the comfort of the inner rooms or on the terrace, making the most of the magnificent view of Mont Blanc.

Address: Les Chalets de l'Arc Le Bérard 73 700 Bourg Saint Maurice

Nestled in the intimate setting of an old hunting station for the Maison de Savoie, the restaurant Belliou la Fumée offers a sold Lyonnaise cooking that re-explores regional classics. On the menu are beautiful slabs of meat and rustic vegtables (carrots, endives or celery) slow cooked over a wood fire, black berry tarts and local cheeses, all to be enjoyed while listened to the soft jazz on the terrace of this charm-filled location.

Address: 3700 Arcs 2000 Savoie France

At the foot of the Arc 1600's ski routes, le Chalet de l’Arcelle remains a welcome address, very sought after by those who enjoy a good meal. Above and beyond its Savoyard specialities, that it revisits and constantly modernises, the cook and his team offer a varied and high quality mean where truffes, foie gras or lamb chops are to be savoured in the sun or next to the fire in an atmosphere marrying mountain-life warmth with modernity.

Address: Les Arcs 1600, 73700 Bourg Saint Maurice

An entirely new address, found on the snow front and the natural latest extension of the station. At midday a brasserie style menu, and traditional Savoyarde cooking in the evening with a modern and swish decor. Revisiting and recreating the history of the Maison de Savoie, there are ancient Paintings, writings and woodcuts on the wall, with the wine cellar opening onto the main restaurant. One for the curious and the traditional.

Address: La Cime des Arcs, ARC 2000, 73700 Bourg Saint Maurice

Website: Le Savoy

Where to visit

Local Market

Every week, the old streets of Bourg-Saint-Maurice serve as the setting for this wonderful traditional market. The opportunity and the delight to find anew regional products, starting with the famous Beaufort cheese, known affectionately here as "The Prince of the Gruyères". Local meats, polenta, crozets (a local variety of pasta) and alcohols are part of the range of local and bio produce on offer. To be enjoyed standing, sitting in the grass or to be taken home.

Address: Place du Monument aux morts Bourg St Maurice 73700 France

Website: Web address not available Bourg-Saint-Maurices' Baroque Churches

Ornate altar pieces made of gold, sculptures, a spectrum of colours and a fizzling of forms: Baroque art finds embodiment and power in the churches and chapels of Bourg-Saint-Maurice. The visit of these sacred places made to seduce the faithful soul and seen as an illustrated Bible, allowing to delve deeper into the secrets of these sites of worship.

Address: Bourg-Saint-Maurice

Every winter, a team of talented ice sculpters take over the "Grotte de Glace", the Ice Cave. This cave is specially installed in season at the Col de la Chal (2600m above sea level) with performing arts, circus acts, prehistory, music or La Fontaine's Fables the themes that have inhabited the cave over the past years. This year, expect explosiveness and flames with the War of Fire lighting up the cave.

Address: Arc 2000

Affectionately known as the "architectural laboratory for the Arcs", Arc 1600 was conceived in 1968 by a group of architectural visionaries who saw in it the opportunity to put into action grand design principles that were subsequently developed by the other historic sites: Arc 1800 and Arc 2000. Free guided tours of this fluid and creative environment are offered by the Tourism Office to discover and better understand the ideas behind the residences "on the slope", the famous inverted roofs and other oblique façades, recognised by the French Ministry of Culture with the Label XXe Siècle (20th century label).

Address: 73700 Les Arcs 1600, France

Things to do

Take a walk to the wilder side of the mountain by discovering an authentic village of Mongolian Yurts, show shoeing through forest at night by torch light. Find rest inside the yurts, savouring a hearty Savoyard meal or mulled wine, shared around an open fire. A unique, once in a lifetime experience.

Address: Arc 1800

One of the best locations for mountain biking, the Alps offers both well maintained downhill tracks and vast open terrain. Either bring your own bike or hire one here and soon be off racing along the countryside, exploring the mountain’s nooks and crannies. At the end of the day relax in a hot tub or on the balcony, watching the sunset behind the mountains with a beer in hand.

Address: Chalet Lac de Vonnes Châtel, France 74390; Email: or Tel No. +33 450 73 68 71

The Secret Life of Animals

Michel Mauduit, guide, lecturer and specialist of Alpin fauna and flora, invites holiday makers and explorers to follow him to his mountain pasture chalet, an authentic shepard's home isolated in the mountains above Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Hike at sunset for an animal observation session of deers, foxes, wild board, marmots and more besides; all in their natural environment. Then enjoy a candlelit Savoyard diner and a night in the chalet, then return to the valley at dawn with another opportunity to see the fauna and its dawn life.

Address: Contact Michel Mauduit. Phone: +33 (0)6 82 27 50 86

Website: Web address not available

Around the world, Bourg-Saint-Maurice is known for its white water area; offering thrilling descents down to the Aime village over more than 26km filled with splashing valleys and impressive gorges. Take a raft out to the river, try out canyoning (essentially climbing through the watery gorges) or simply swim in the water. Another way to become part of this ever changing landscape.

Address: Coureurs de Rivières, 1090 route d'Hauteville, 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice


Travel by train to Les Arcs

The nearest train station to Les Arcs is Bourg St Maurice. There is a funicular railway from Bourg St Maurice which will take you to Arc 1600 in under 10 minutes or there is a frequent buses from Bourg St Maurice to Les Arcs. Book your bus travel with Autocars Martin.

Day train, arrive at night (9h): Leave London St Pancras on board the Eurostar at 3pm. Arrive in Paris Gare du Nord then transfer to Gare de Lyon in time for the 20.10 direct train to Bourg St Maurice. (It is possible to take a later Eurostar at 4pm, but this may lead to an extremely tight transfer within Paris). Arrive at Bourg St Maurice for 1am.

Sleeper train (12h): Take the 7pm Eurostar to Paris then transfer to Paris Gare de Lyon. From here, board the 20.10 sleeper train to Bourg St Maurice, arriving at 7.46am


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