Posted on 03 April 2017
Imagine the scale of the outcome if you linked a couple of world-class ski resorts and their surrounding slopes in the heart of the French Alps, to create an interconnected alpine playground? That’s exactly what happened in December 2003 when the purpose built, multi-levelled resorts of Les Arcs and La Plagne, plus their smaller neighbours, joined hands courtesy of the €15 million Vanoise Express double-decker cable car to create the Paradiski ski area. Ranked number three in the world in terms of size, this vast snowy expanse boasts 425 kilometres of seemingly endless pistes and 261 slopes, all of which is skiable up to an altitude of 3250 metres.
So the slopes and super fast lifts that whisk you to the top are obviously top notch in the mighty Paradiski, but what about the resorts you could be calling home when you finally snap up that alpine retreat you’ve been pining after? Let’s take a look at the regions two main protagonists:
If you like your resorts more contemporary than traditional, traffic free and apartment heavy, then you need look no further than Les Arcs. Set high above the town of Bourg St Maurice, the resort consists of seven mostly purpose-built villages scattered across the massif of the 3226m Aiguille Rouge. Situated a couple of kilometres apart both Arcs 1600 – the first Arc – and 1800 consist mainly of large apartment blocks sat at the foot of their slopes. 1800 is largest of all the Arcs, and has recently started expanding up the mountainside – you can pick up a brand-new, luxurious one-bed apartment here for less than £157,000.
On the far side of the mountain ridge – and quite separate from their lower altitude contemporaries – Arcs 2000 and 1950 are close neighbours. 2000 consists of half a dozen huge, linked apartment blocks, plus more recently built chalet-style blocks. Just below it and linked by a short gondola, the mini-village of Arc 1950 was built from scratch in 2003.
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If you thought Les Arcs was dispersed across the mountainside then try La Plagne for size. Consisting of 11 separate villages – some of which are miles apart – this unique resort stretches across a giant and largely gentle plateau alongside a steep mountain. Three are low-lying traditional farming villages, while the rest are purpose-built ski resorts at different altitudes. Belle Plagne and Plagne Centre are the main hubs of the resort, providing the focal point for shops and après-ski. Directly below Centre is the suburb of Plagne 1800, where you could buy a new two-bed ski-in, ski-out apartment for less than £293,000.
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