One of the four main on-mountain centres that make up the French Alpine resort of Les Arc, Arc 1950 'Le Village' is the newest and most 'traditional' looking of the quartet. With its colourful 5* ski-in/ski-out residences, its high-end services, its car-free streets, pretty shops and varied restaurants and its exceptional entertainment programme, Arc 1950 is a huge hit with families looking for the complete ski holiday package.
When Les Arcs was inaugurated in 1968, its original development - Arc 1600 - was one of France's first purpose-built 'designer' ski resorts, created by the ground-breaking architect Charlotte Perriand. And Les Arcs has remained at the avant-garde for winter-sports tourism and snowsports innovation ever since.
It can also claim to be the spiritual home of European snowboarding, since local instructor Regis Rolland was featured riding an early-model snowboard in the seminal Apocalypse Snow ski movies filmed in Les Arcs in the early 1980s. And today, Regis is running some 'Ride with a Legend' sessions for a few lucky boarders, in association with Privilege Ski School.
Where is Arc 1950?
Located in the northern French Alps, Les Arcs is one of the most accessible of all French ski resorts. Ski train services roll in to Bourg St Maurice on the valley floor and from there you can take a funicular up to the first Arc centre, Arc 1600, where shuttle buses will transport you further up the mountain to Arc 1950, the third highest of the Les Arcs resorts (Arc 2000 and Arc 1800 are the other two centres).
About Arc 1950
When Arc 1950 'Le Village' first opened in 2003, it stood out with its concept that was unique in the Alps and its location at 1,950m with spectacular views and guaranteed snow. A pioneer in luxury accommodation, today it is home to 5* brands such as Club Med, the Taj-i-Mah hotel and the Chalets des Neiges residences.
Arc 1950 le Village is an attractive, practical and comfortable resort for all ages and generations. Properly pedestrianised, there are no vehicles to disturb your eyes or ears; this cocoon of comfort is built over a huge underground car park, designed for easy parking if you arrive by car and with direct access to the apartments.
Each of the residences has its own swimming pool, Jacuzzi and fitness rooms where you can relax after skiing. If that doesn’t get you sufficiently chilled, the Deep Nature Arc 1950 Spa will recharge the batteries of visitors, from the most sporty to the most contemplative. With its themed grottos, counter-current pool, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, nail bar and massage rooms with a view of Mont Blanc, wellness is a refined way of life here.
A holiday in Arc 1950 also includes the freedom to choose your arrival and departure dates (flexibility offered by the management firm Pierre & Vacances according to availability).
Ski-in ski-out and snowsure
Arc 1950 skiing is blessed with a great snow record. Snowsure from the start of the season to the end, Arc 1950 is ski-in, ski-out the way you always imagine it to be. You can ski right back in to the village on snow-covered streets taking you right up to the doorstep of each residence and even to the doorways of most of the boutiques: ski and shop!
When you ski through Le Village, your gaze is captured by the views of Mont Blanc, the Aiguille Rouge and the mountains of the Tarentaise valley. The slopes are wonderfully groomed and you can enjoy skiing at every altitude, from the top of the Aiguille Rouge at 3,226m down to Villaroger at 1,200m.
- READ NEXT: The Best Ski Resorts for Families
Part of the wonderful Paradiski ski area
As well as being part of Les Arcs, with its 200km of runs - and two snow parks - Arc 1950 is also part of Paradiski, one of the world’s largest and most beautiful ski areas, offering a massive 425km of piste and boundless opportunities for off-piste play. Combining Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne, this massive winter playground offers breathtaking panoramas.
While beginner skiers have their own nursery slopes at Arc 1950, the vast majority of Les Arcs' ski area is ideal for intermediates and the huge high-altitude bowl above Arc 2000 and Arc 1950, is filled with great intermediate pistes and, for advanced skiers, the highest concentration of some of the best black runs in the domain.
The highest lift-served peak is the Aiguille Rouge (3,225m), which towers above Arc 2000; reached by the Aiguille Rouge cable car, this gives access to steep off-piste powder slopes, as well as an epic 7km long black-into-red piste with a vertical drop of over 2,000 metres down to the linked village of Villaroger, one of the best on-piste descents in the Alps.
On the opposite western side of the domain, beyond Arc 1800, lies the Peisey-Vallandry sector, where pretty forested slopes house an excellent range of long tree-lined runs that sweep down to the satellite resort villages of Vallandry and Plan Peisey, where the keenest big-mileage enthusiasts can connect with the cable car link to La Plagne.
Perfect for families
In the Arc 1950 Village, everything is just a few steps from your residence, whether on foot or on skis. You'll find lovely boutiques, animated bars, elegant restaurants and a crèche for children ensuring that everyone’s needs, from the simplest to the most extravagant are met in full. Ski hire and ski lessons are right on your doorstep, too, and with the village being car-free, families can wander the village and explore safely.
Après-ski here is lively; the resort organises entertainment, games, shows and concerts, to enjoy with your family or friends. Resort activities include a snow sculpture workshop, an introduction to biathlon, mini-golf on snow, ski joering and a scooter race on snow. And a highlight of this winter is sure to be the new Zipline where you can soar over the slopes at speeds up to 130kmph.
The events are programmed according to a specific weekly theme and the lavishness of the entertainment is part of the 1950 Experience. Children are happy, so their parents are too...
Unmissable events at Arc 1950 this season
The winter season at Arc 1950 is packed with great events, including:
23-29 January: Freeride Week - The Freeride World Qualifier brings together 50 or so of the world’s top freeriders for this prestigious event.
19-25 February: Arc1950 Air Show
26 February - 4 March: Mardi Gras
19-25 March: Pride Week
16-22 April: Easter
April will also see the creation of a pop-up eco-village with environmentally-responsible brands and experiences to underscore the resort's commitment to making outdoor activities more sustainable.
How to get to Arc 1950
Follow directions to Albertville, Moutiers, then BourgSaint- Maurice / Les Arcs. Take the A43/E70 to Albertville then the dual carriageway to Moûtiers and the N90 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
TGV from Paris, Lille and Nantes, Eurostar from London. The nearest railway station to Arc 1950 Le Village is Bourg Saint Maurice, approximately 35 min from the village. The funicular links Bourg Saint Maurice railway station to Arc 1600 in just 7 mins. You can therefore travel direct from Saint Pancras in London to Les Arcs via Eurostar and the funicular!
If that's the way you roll... there is a helicopter drop-off zone 200 metres from the Village.
For more information about everything this fantastic resort had to offer, go to their website, arc1950.com
- READ NEXT: The Best Ski Resorts in France