Sunday, August 27, 2017

Heroic summer in Les Arcs!

Arc 1800 in summer mode
I have just returned from a week staying our chalet L'Aiguille Grive at Courbaton (Arc 1600) with my wife and children and another family. It's about ten years since I was last there in August, and I was really surprised to see how the summer offering has grown in that time.We had with us  7 children, aged from 6 to 14, so finding a range of interesting things to do was essential!

Les Arcs' summer activities now form part of an integrated programme, called 'Hero Les Arcs', which also includes the impressive range of mountain biking facilities on offer.  The Hero programme covers all the Arcs' resorts and Bourg St Maurice, but the bulk of the activities are based around Arc 1800. This is logical, as the Mille 8 swimming pool and 'wellness suite' are key features, with the impressive open-air pool and water slide in full swing. At the foot of Mille 8 there bungee-trampoline, mini-golf, pony-riding, a circus show and a bouncy castle, aimed mainly at the younger-end of the age range. The large climbing wall is popular with older children, but there's a 48 hour waiting list for the 1 1/2 hour supervised sessions.

With several lifts open to pedestrians and bikers, access to the Col de La Chal and the Aiguille Rouge is straightforward, with the possibility to walk down on marked trails separate from the vast web of mountain bike trails that now cover the mountains of Les Arcs.

The Hero progamme also offer fully-supervised and coached activities for children, from half a day to a full week, covering  pursuits including kayaking, mountain-biking, rock climibing, archery, tennis and hiking. Its possible to pay a bit extra to sleep out in bivouac on the mountainside!

Golf  seems to have taken on a new élan with the construction (as part of the Mille 8 project) of Le Lodge, at the centre of the golf course. This acts as a club-house, with a lounge, bar, restaurant, shop and the impressive life-size golf simulator which enables you to play on many of the worlds top greens in virtual reality. Several independent golf schools occupy  the old stone huts and chalets which pre-date Les Arcs, but give it all an authentic Savoyard feel.

Rochefleur, near Courbaton
Les Arcs and Bourg St Maurice seem busier and much more active than I remember 10 years ago. The streets, shops and restaurants everywhere were bustling, the holiday atmosphere all pervasive. However,  the natural splendour of the mountains and quiet verdure of the forest is never far away: Our group enjoyed trekking through the Malgovert Forest, around the vertiginous Rochefleur outcrop as well as simply admiring the summer scenery of the masif de Beaufortain from the balcony of L'Aiguille Grive - just as in winter Les Arcs in summer really does have something for everybody.

The Hero Pass, which gives access to these activities is available from €36 a week.  As ever with Les Arcs there are a complicated range of options and prices, but  it's well worth going for the Hero Premium pass (€89) which gives unlimited access to everything. Accommodation on the mountain is much cheaper than in winter, so start planning now for your 2018 summer holiday!

The Les Arcs season finishes on 2nd September. Click here for full details of Hero Programme

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