Winter Holiday Guide for Les Arcs 1600 Skiing France

Arc 1600 – Winter Holiday Guide for Les Arcs Resort

Set in the breathtaking landscape of the Paradiski Valley is the popular ski resort destination Arc 1600. It forms part of the Les Arcs Resort which comprises four high-altitude villages: Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000. As well as three lower towns; Plan Peisey, Vallandry and Peisey Nancroix, all interlinked via ski lifts, cable cars and gondolas known as the Les Arcs Paradiski ski area.

Paradiski area is renowned for its stunning mountain scenery, excellent ski conditions and guaranteed snow.  With its 425km of slopes that include snowparks and beginners areas the Paradiski area is a limitless playground for ski and snowboard lovers of all abilities. 

Whether you have skied in Les Arcs before or are a first-time visitor, here is a winter holiday guide to help you make the most of your time at Arc 1600 ski resort:

Mont Blanc from Les Arcs Paradiski Winter France Skiing

View of Mont Blanc from skiing in Les Arcs Paradiski French Alps 

Arc 1600 Review

Arc 1600 is predominantly a pedestrian-only ski resort village and is easily walkable as most of the buildings are connected via a walkway from the funicular stop. Built in the 1960s under the guidance of the famous architect Charlotte Perriand, Arc 1600 was the first village in Les Arcs. One of the most recognisable buildings in the resort designed by Perriand and Rey-Millet is the apartment block La Cascade. 

Most of the accommodation in Arc 1600 is ski-in/ski-out making it more convenient to ski especially if you have a family. The village has a good selection of restaurants and bars as well as a decent supermarket. There is also a ski school and ski hire shops with most offering discounts depending on where you stay.

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For the more hard-core party goers looking for après ski bars like La Folie Douce then you can easily catch the chairlift there and catch the connecting bus back.

Location Ski Arc 1600

Arc 1600 ski village is located in the Tarentaise Valley, in the Savoie region of France, near Sainte-Foy ski resort. It is the first village in the ski resort to be reached as a part of the Les Arcs Paradiski area and is directly connected to Bourg Saint Maurice by a 7-minute funicular.

For people looking for sustainable travel, the best way to get to Arc 1600 is via train as it is a great low-carbon footprint option. Paris is only 5 hours by train and London is an overnight train. To reach Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000 is via the free shuttle bus that leaves from where the funicular ends in Arc 1600.

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Winter Les Arcs ski resort France Skiing

The Les Arcs Sign at the top of the Col des Frettes 2384 meters

Skiing in Les Arcs

Arc 1600 is part of the greater Paradiski area, one of the largest linked ski areas in the world. It has 425 km of piste across Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne ski resorts. It’s pretty much guaranteed snow with most of the Paradiski ski area being above 2,000m. It can get really due to the altitude, so I suggest wearing good ski mittens to keep your fingers together and warm.

   You might be interested in reading – Best Ski Jacket – Buyer’s Guide for Skiing 2023

The opening of the ski season in Les Arcs starts in early December and finishes in late April. There is a good mix of green, blue, red and black slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities to enjoy. As well as access to some of the most amazing areas for off-piste skiing on the mountain terrain. ESF at arc 1600 offers guides for off-piste skiing. 

HERO11 Black - Skiing Les Arc 1600

Points of interest for skiing in Les Arcs

Ski in La Plagne for a day

Hop on the largest cable car in the world, the Vanoise Express from Vallandry Resort and head to La Plagne ski resort. This is a great option for a day of skiing, as it takes a bit of time skiing and catching cable cars over to Vallandry and back to Arc 1600.

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See Mont Blanc and Matterhorn 

Head up to the top of Aiguille Rouge 30 cable car where on a clear day you can see both Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. If you are a good skier, then ski back down the Arandelieres 2 red slope. Just be aware at the top it can get icy and the slope is narrow in some parts. If you don’t want to ski back down, then you can catch the cable car back. 

Do you know there is an Italian side of the Matterhorn where you can ski? Check out my skiing guide on Cervinia Italy. 

Winter in Arc 1600 Paradiski Ski Area France skiing

At a crossroads like while skiing in Les Arcs Pardiski area

Les Arcs Snowpark

Try your hand at some freestyle snowboarding and skiing at Les Arcs Snowpark, located between Arc 1600 and Arc 1800. The snowpark covers an area of 7.5 hectares that includes 3 pistes, a jump and a mini-pipe for beginners. As well as 4 lines of kickers and a box so beginners and intermediates can improve steadily.

The Snowpark is made for everybody whether you’re an expert, an intermediate or a beginner. To get there from Arc 1600take the Cachette chairlift then join the Belvédère piste to reach the SnowPark chairlift.



Why Les Arcs is good for beginners

Les Arcs is the perfect ski resort in France for beginners, they have a great selection of green slopes and gentle blue slopes that cover lots of miles. There are 11 green runs across the Paradise ski area and in Arc 2000 there is a specially designed area created for beginners known as the “Step by Step Progress area”.

Arc 1600 has two green slopes Vezaille and Piste des Animaux and ESF has created a beginners’ area that is easily accessible for skiers. Most of the slopes back into the village resort are nice tree lined blue runs. My favourite run from Arc 1800 to Arc 1600 was the gollet blue run that adjoined the Arpsette 1. It is the perfect slope for beginners who have built their confidence up, as it is big and wide in some parts to do those turns.

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Skiing back into Arc 1600 winter France

ESF Arc 1600

The ESF Arc 1600 ski school offers private and group ski lessons for beginners and advanced. As well as Ski touring, handiskiing and off-piste skiing. There is a main ESF office in Arc 1600 and 6 meeting points around the village resort.

Whether you are a beginner, someone wanting to improve their skiing technique or you want an experienced guide to show you the Paradiski ski area then I suggest hiring a Arc 1600 ESF guide.

My ESF guide Jimmy (his English name) was fantastic. Not only did show us Les Arcs Paradiski, but he was also very friendly and gave us tips on skiing techniques. He made our time skiing in Les Arc ski resort for the 2 days so much more enjoyable. Here is the ESF Arc 1600 ski school site for prices and bookings.



Winter Activities from Arc 1600

Les Arc ski resorts have a wide range of winter activities that cater to both families and adults. Here are just some of the activities you can enjoy while on your winter holiday in Arc 1600. Make sure to remember to take a good pair of gloves and a ski jacket for any activities in the snow.

Zipline

You can’t go past zooming down the mountain at high speed on the Aiguille Rouge Zipline. One of the latest adrenaline-inducing activities created in Les Arcs Paradiski. Descend down the 1.8 km zipline for 70 seconds, while reaching up to speeds of 130 km/hour.

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Aiguille Rouge Zipline starting point is located at the top of the Varet gondola just above Arc 2000. You can descend two ways, in a sitting position or in a laying down position like you are flying. In the sitting position, you also have the option of going solo or in a pair.

Prices vary depending on the type of ski pass that you hold and you can make a reservation online or at the sales point of the zipline. Don’t do what I did and make sure to wear your ski gloves and ski goggles so your hands don’t freeze and your eyes don’t water. The zipline is also open during the summer season, like the one in Pays de Gex and Chatel France.

Zipline in Winter Les Arc 2000 Paradiski France

Take off on the Aiguille Rouge Zipline in Arc 2000

Visit the Illuminated Murals

One of the top things to do in Les Arc with families is to see the illuminated murals of the Aiguille Rouge, located at the top of the Varet gondola in Arc 2000. The rouge illuminated murals are a unique light show experience inside the Varet telecabin garage.

Visitors can wander, listen and gaze at the Aiguille Rouge illuminated murals which are centred around the seasons, and created through colour and music. Entry is included in your Les Arcs ski pass.

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First Tracks

Be the first on the freshly groomed slopes in Paradiski with the ski patrol, available every Wednesday morning. Afterwards, enjoy a well deserved breakfast in a high-altitude restaurant with the ski patrol talking everything ski.

Arc 1600 departures for the ‘First Tracks’ are at the Cachette chairlift at 8 a.m, in case of bad weather, it will be postponed to Friday. The winter activity is included with a premium ski pass and a discount is given with an essential ski pass and reservations must be done online before 3 pm every Tuesday.

The view from Aiguille Rouge of Les Arcs Paradiski Winter France skiing from Arc 1600

Overlooking the Les Arcs Paradiski area from the top of Varet 40 gondola

Apres ski at La Folie Douce

After a full day on the slopes, head to the world famous La Folie Douce for the après-ski scene. It is located at the top of the Villards gondola in Arc 1800 ski resort. There is literally no other place like it in the French Alps to party.

Have drinks, dance along to the music, and watch the entertainers while getting caught up in the electric atmosphere. The La Folie Douce has 3 amazing shows worth seeing, the Folie Family Party, Unlimited Party and the What the F*** Party. You can check their site for further details. There is also a La Folie Douce in Val Thorens and Val d’Isére 



Getting to Arc 1600 via Train and Funicular

Les Arcs Tourism is introducing ways to reduce the indirect emissions generated by the resorts. In doing so and to encourage more visitors to use the train instead of flying they offer free travel on the funicular and extended its evening hours.

Bourg St Maurice is the closest train station to Arc 1600 and from there, the funicular will take a short ride up the mountain to the high altitude resorts. Most major European capitals like Paris, London and Amsterdam are easily linked to Bourg St Maurice.

If you decide to drive, there is a large car park located at the foot of the funicular in Bourg Saint Maurice to leave your car. Then just catch the funicular to the Les Arcs resorts. Here are the prices and availability for the trains from London to the French Alps on the Ski Train.

The funicular to Arc 1600 from Bourg Saint Maurice winter France

The funicular at Arc 1600 from Bourg Saint Maurice 

Snow Train to Les Arcs 

The direct route between London to the Tarentaise Valley will be relaunching for the winter season. It has been renamed the “snow train” and is run by Travelski Express.

The Eurostar Snow train will run from mid-December 2023 to early February 2024. Departing every Saturday to Bourg Saint Maurice and return on Sundays.

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Les Arcs Funicular

It is only a 7 minute ride via the funicular to get to Arc 1600 from Bourg Saint Maurice. From there it is a free frequent Inter-resort shuttle that will take you to Arc 1800, Arc 1950 or Arc 2000.

The funicular is easy to use, runs regularly, and is fast and efficient. Plus it has large panoramic windows to take in the views of the mountains. It is also free for visitors travelling on the trains to the Les Arcs ski resorts.

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Hotel Arc 1600

I stayed at the newly renovated 4 star Hotel La Cachette, located in the heart of the Arc 1600. This kids’ friendly accommodation was great value for money. As well as being a ski-in, ski-out the hotel offered incredible panoramic views from both sides of the hotel.

Hotel La Cachette offers a restaurant, a bar lounge with a huge terrace, as well as a co-working area. There is also a spa with an outdoor and indoor sauna, as well as treatment rooms. Just outside the hotel are shops, restaurants and bars all within a few minutes’ walk.

I stayed in a Superior family room with a balcony that had impressive views of the ski slopes. The rooms are spacious, stylish, and modern and have plenty of storage space. Something I appreciate when you are bringing all your ski gear. The ski lockers were under the hotel, you put your ski boots on and literally walk onto the slopes.

Check out the properties and hotels available in Arc 1600 during winter. If you would like to stay higher I suggest Chalet des Neiges -La Source des Arcs in Arc 200, which is also ski-in ski-out accommodation. 

Hotel La Cachette Arc 1600 France

The view from the entrance area at Hotel La Cachette

Other High Altitude Ski Resorts in France

Here are some other winter guides on the best high-altitude ski resorts in France near Geneva airport. 

Check hassle-free here and read what is required before you travel to France from the UK.

Have you been to Les Arcs Paradiski skiing before? I definitely recommend this high-altitude resort, especially if you want guaranteed snow for your ski trip. 

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Winter Guide for Arc 1600 Les Arcs Paradiski France    A winter guide for Les Arcs 1600 France Skiing

Disclaimer: I was on a press trip with the Les Arcs tourist office. However, all views are based on my own experience. 

Booking links for Arc 1600

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