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AChristmas in Arc 2000 - Bit long winded, sorry

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Following a happy stay at a Compangie Altitude Chalet in La Rosiere last Christmas I booked apartment 82 (for 10 to 12 persons) for 3 generations of our family in their Chalet Altitude in Arc 2000 for two weeks this Christmas.

I travelled with my elderly Aunt from Stansted airport to Lyon Airport, with Easyjet (£63.98 for the two of us) who arranged mobility help at both airports. We took the tram from the airport to Lyon Part Dieu rail station (15 euros each) and stayed overnight in the Novotel next to the station. I popped over the the Carrefour in the huge shopping mall to pick up snacks for our train journey the next day as the train has no restaurant facilities before having a nice dinner in the hotel.

Acces Plus provided mobility help at Lyon station, and when just over 3 hours after our departure collected us off the train at Bourg St Maurice (83.50 euros for both of us first class) and took us to our pre-booked taxi. Taxi took us to the Super U (8 euros) then picked us up a couple of hours later and took us complete with shopping up to Arc 2000 (78 euros Taxil’vie)

One of the family flew into Geneva from Hamburg and took a bus transfer to Arc 2000 for (Snowbus £55), he and a few other passengers for various resorts along that valley would have all ended up in Val D`Isere if he had not been fairly fluent in French with a reasonable idea of the geography!

The rest of the family gathered in London and travelled by Landrover Discovery, taking the tunnel.

Our apartment (6,000 euros for the two weeks) had five bedrooms. One large twin with only a high up window and an ensuite bathroom. The next room was also a large twin with a shower room opposite. Both these twins had plenty of room for a cot or additional bed. Then came a small twin with bathroom opposite and then two small doubles with balconies, one barely had room to get round the bed There was another bathroom and another toilet

The lounge/dining area/kitchen was all one large living space, with a lovely fireplace and large balcony overlooking Arc 1950, and some of the ski slopes could be seen in the distance. At full occupancy the apartment would be a bit cosy but for us it was fine. Raclette and Fondue machines could be borrowed from reception, there is a pub on the ground floor (though only open early evening there are quizzes some nights), a minimarket attached, swimming pool (I was a little suspicious of the chemical balance of the pool but was assured it was checked daily) sauna and parking in the basements. All the Chalet staff were extremely helpful and friendly. Bread etc could be pre ordered and prepaid from the minimarket but although the staff were very obliging and friendly the bread and croissants were a little disappointing and the selection in the shop was, as might be expected up a mountain, somewhat limited.

Be aware if you like a lie in in the mornings that the Ski Espirit Kids club meets just outside and the staff shout so loudly that I could hear the name of every child called out from my 8th floor room with the window shut. Sleeping through the shouting and songs is not an option and the primary school I worked in for 10 years would have been horrified that strangers could so easily identify individual children. However my Aunt thoroughly enjoyed watching them.

Ski equipment hired from the shop attached to Chalet L`Ours, with a discount for Co Altitude customers, was very good and the staff were knowledgeable and very willing to change skis according the to snow conditions or the sort of skiing everyone wanted to do on different days.

We were all jolly glad we had chosen to go high as snow conditions in general were not brilliant, but the skiing was varied and interesting though I generally prefer to be lower and to ski where there are trees. There is plenty of information available on the skiing at Les Arcs and the Paradiski area so I won`t say more. Mountain restaurants were a little dearer than many smaller French resorts but pretty much in line with other large resorts. Lunch at a Les Chalets de L’Arcs (claims to be the highest bakery in the Alps) was pleasant and came with a free loaf to take away (Good job I have a huge inside jacket pocket!) Ski passes could be recharged etc online.

We had a couple of very nice meals at Le Relais Au Gourmand (around £30 a head including all drinks), some nice apres ski drinks in Whistlers Dream and a hilarious game of pool at their table around which there is not enough room! Christmas Eve dinner was at the Kilimanjaro (around £35 a head including some wine) in Place Olympique, chosen because we could watch the Christmas eve celebrations just outside then go in for dinner. The staff were very friendly, helpful and efficient but the food was nothing special. I gather the younger members of our party celebrated the rest of Christmas eve in ‘Latino’? and seem to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

We drove back down to Bourg mid stay to top up the food shopping and drop my eldest son off at the station. He took the night sleeper leaving Bourg 8.20pm, reports having a good sleep, got off in Paris around 6am, took the Metro and then Eurostar to London. Cost wise he says it was similar to flying/transfers etc but a lot more convenient.

The rest of us left the following Saturday by car and sat in a horrendous traffic jam from Bourg to the now light controlled tunnel. I know the traffic is bad on Saturdays but 5 hours to get to Geneva was a little longer than anticipated!

We all stayed overnight in the Hotel Ibis at Geneva airport and drove in to the Cornavin area for dinner at La Brassuers opposite the station. We could have taken the free shuttle to the hotel and used the free public transport card provided by Geneva hotels to take the short train ride to Cornavin but chose to drive and park in the underground car park (around £1) Dinner was lovely, (Chf 131 for 5 inc drinks) and the beer, brewed on the premises, delicious. Hotel Ibis was adequate but I felt the staff begrudged doing their jobs.

Some of our party left the hotel at 7am the following morning, having decided that at 15 Chf a pop the typical swiss breakfast (cereals, cheese, boiled eggs etc) was not worth it, bought croissants and pain au chocolate etc at the filling station just round the corner to eat on the go. Enroute they stopped for meals and a large supermarket wine/beer shop and still got the the tunnel over 3 hours before their scheduled crossing. They were boarded within half an hour at no extra cost despite it being a much more expensive listed crossing!

My Aunt and I had a relaxed morning, took our time over the as much as you could eat breakfast in the hotel then took the free shuttle to the airport where Easyjet (flights £154 for two) had again organised mobility assistance. We had time for lunch and a bit of shopping before boarding our flight. A taxi collected us at Stansted airport and we got home about an hour before those that had driven.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

The rest of us left the following Saturday by car and sat in a horrendous traffic jam from Bourg to the now light controlled tunnel. I know the traffic is bad on Saturdays but 5 hours to get to Geneva was a little longer than anticipated!


What time did you leave to get stuck in that? I know on a peak Saturday it is essential to be on the N90 at Aime before 07:15
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
At absolutely the worst time boredsurfin, around 11am! We fully expected to sit in traffic, having always avoided that time in previous years, but were not quite prepared for just how long we had to queue for!
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CaravanSkier, Did you enjoy the trip?

We spent Christmas and New Year in Arc 1600 and it is an amazingly friendly place. We arrived on Christmas eve (The drive across Northern France was not easy in gale force winds and heavy rain) and went out into the village to buy lift passesfood etc.

Since we decided that we fancied going over to La Plagne at least twice on our trip the lady in the lift pass office calculated what the difference in price was between an eight day Paradiski or Les Arcs lift pass with 2 single day extensions would be. Then she advised us that we could get a free day in EK or 3Vs and a discount for La Rossiere. Since the weather forecast for Christmas day was poor she even queried if we would like the pass to start on boxing day. This is in marked contrast to the service in Soelden last Easter where the lift pass salesman didn't even tell us that by paying an extra 10 euro we could get a free day in Obergurgel. All this conversation was very clear and happy and in English.

The skiing was good all week and even though the New year week was very busy it was relatively easy to avoid the worst of the queues. I think the worst were the Grizzley, Arcubule and especially the Vagere at the end of the day. On at least 3 occasions we queued for over 15 minutes. There was never a queue at either the cachette or the mont Blanc lifts and one day we spent a while going doing circuits up the Mont Blanc and down either the off piste under the Deux Tetes or down the Deux Tetes run itself in 40cm of powder.

Sadly most of the top quailty runs in the resort (combourciere, ours, malgovert, almost all down the Aiguille Rouge etc) were shut but we still found plenty to do.

New Year's eve was spent in the Parormatic restaurant, the staff there are very friendly and we enjoyed talking to Pauline and Eric. I haven't had so many hugs and kisses for years.

The abrevoir mainains its reputation as the the weirdest bar in the alps. We had a glorious evening there one night listening to a ukulalie band. Apart from George Formby I hadn't heard one before but it was brilliant. The abrevoir is the only bar I visit where the bar staff shake my hand as I come in.

Even though the funicular is only 10 minutes from our apartment we never went down to Bourg or bought much food over from the UK, we did all our shopping in the little resort shop that had everything we needed.

The drive home on the Thursday took 15 hours door to door with a very slow and slippery descent of the mountain and a one and half hour wait for a tunnel crossing.

sorry to have hijacked your resort review CaravanSkier, (which I really enjoyed by the way) but I thought I could attach my own comments
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
johnE, I think its great to have your report added on, makes it very easy for any one in future searching for information and I am interested in how other people experience the area.

I did enjoy our trip to Arc 2000 and all the staff and people we met were very friendly and helpful. The guys all loved the huge expanse of skiing and only one afternoon got caught out by missing the last lift from 1600 and had to take the navette back up. They loved skiing over in La Plagne but concluded the best skiing was up top at the Aiguille Rouge. I particularly liked the wide red, bumpy run down from the Varet Gondola.

We were all a little disappointed, though not surprised, by just how British the whole area is, seeing adverts proclaiming British foods stocked in the resort shops is not what we are used to and I prefer the general thrust of an area when it is aimed at the home nationality. I have nothing against British holiday makers (after all I`m one myself Very Happy ) but I love to immerse myself in the culture of the country I am in.

With similar criteria I would happily return to Arc 2000. Though now that one of my sons is fluent in German, and smoking is becoming less widespread in Austrian bars and restaurants, I am beginning to think we should go back to exploring some of the German or Austrian resorts I skied many years ago.

However, it was a happy compromise given that we were really adjacent to the slopes, with views over to them for our non-skier, and if we chose could easily make it back to the apartment for lunch. Plus were were surrounded by pretty snow over Xmas. Smile
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CaravanSkier, Yes there werre a lot more British than usual in Les Arcs. It used to be the least British of the Tarrentaise resorts but this year there appeared to be a lot. I gather that Arc 1950 is largely British owned and that coupled with a Britski children's skis race in Arc 1800 increased the numbers this year. In Arc 1600 it is usually a shock to hear an English voice but I heard a couple this year. We met a lovely English family in the Arpette restaurant one evening and had a very good chat.

I can recommend the evening meal in the Arpette. Once a week they have a meal after the pistes have closed. For a respectable 30 euro IIRC you get a pirrade and a 1/3 L of wine. You are then accompanied down the piste at 21:00 in the dark by a pistuer who waits until you a/ get up as many times as you fall down (buying more wine is not forbidden) and b/ you get to the bottom. A great evening
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
johnE, love the sound of the evening meal in the Arpette, would love to give that a go! Very Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yes, that does sound a fun evening!

Your very complicated travel arrangements had obviously been very carefully researched, CaravanSkier. Your aunt is lucky to have such an attentive and efficient travel companion. snowHead
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pam w, I enjoyed the challenge and I must say that travelling with some one with mobility challenges can actually make your own life easier. No waiting in long queues at airport security, priority boarding and accompanied exists from planes. Help and advice at all stages as to where to go and what you need to do. By and large very civilised! A doddle when compared to travelling with 3 small boys Very Happy

I can`t, however, see my Aunt managing it another year, this years travel was much more difficult for her than last Sad
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