Sunday 25 March 2018

La Plagne, Mâcot-la-Plagne, France

In the heart of the French Alps, La Plagne is one of the more low-key and low-rise places to stay in the vast Paradiski area, which boasts 425km of pistes. If you can avoid the French school holidays, there should be plenty of room to spread out on the extensive slopes despite a few bottlenecks at popular lifts, such as those at nearby Plagne Bellecote. Moreover, there is plenty of variety both on-piste and off-piste - one route takes you through a tunnel with flashing lights and dance music, while another takes you along a kind of half-tube and a third takes you down a race track with a series of lively chicanes. Most of the black runs are skiable by intermediates, while even the blues can be steep enough to be fun. Once you are away from the blocky hotels, the scenery is also pretty special, particularly if you head over into the wooded slopes leading down to the peaceful valley that houses Champagny en Vanoise. Your lift pass entitles you to one day in Les Arcs, which is easily accessible via a short cable car visit and is well worth the trip. The Paradiski lunch options tend to be fairly mundane, but there are a few comfortable places to refuel and soak up the sun. Although it has a couple of lively bars, the village of La Plagne seems to be favoured by families and large gangs of young teenagers that throng around the supermarket. Still, there are some pleasant and peaceful walking trails above the village, from where you can soak up majestic mountain views.  8/10