Apres Ski in La Plagne
Several restaurants in Plagne Centre offer typical French food at reasonable prices. Belle Plagne has the best nightlife in the valley.
Après-Ski Bars & Nightlife in La Plagne
Belle Plagne has the best nightlife in the valley and the cable car between there and Plagne Bellecote runs until 12.45am. La Tête Inn is a great bar with old milk churns for seats, the Saloon bar keeps it swinging doors open until 4am and the Cayenne is a lively Tex-Mex restaurant and bar. The Cosy Bar and Showtime Café are worth visiting in Bellecote; No’Bleme (which serves good home made rum) and the Luna are your best bets in Plagne Centre. Most of the late bars also run their own courtesy buses which will drop you back to whichever village you are staying in. For nightclubs try Oxygene in Montchavin and Galaxy in Champagny en Vanoise
Restaurants in La Plagne
Many of the restaurants recommended for lunch should be also be considered for an evening meal. In Plagne Centre Le Chaudron, Le Bec Fin, Le Metairie and Le Refuge (the oldest restaurant in town) offer typical French food at reasonable prices. Le Matafan, in Belle Plagne, is very popular and is usually packed. Gourmets should try La Mine where the food and prices are a level above.
Other Activities in La Plagne
The most famous non-ski activity in La Plagne has to be the bobsleigh.
The most famous non-ski activity has to be the bobsleigh. The 1992 Olympic run is an adrenalin rush through 19 bends which pull as much as 3 G’s. You can either go down in a four-man “taxi-bob” at speeds of up to 108 kmph, a driverless “bob-raft” at a more sedate 80 kmph or even try the 100 kmph “mono-bob”. There is also the largest ice climbing tower in the world in Champagny. Non-skiers would be best advised to stay in the lower resorts. There are cinemas in Montchavin, Bellecote, Plagne Centre and Aime and a bowling alley in Belle Plagne.
La Plagne Villages
La Plagne has 11 villages. Plagne Centre, Plagne Aime 2000, Plagne 1800, Plagne Soleil and Plagne Villages are all high resorts in the main bowl, and Belle Plagne and Plagne Bellecote are just one lift away. Montchavin, Les Coches, Champagny en Vanoise and Plagne Montalbert are the lower villages surrounded by woods.
La Plagne Village
Accommodation in the resorts in the main bowl – Plagne Centre, Plagne 1800, Plagne Soleil, Plagne Villages and Plagne Aim 2000 – is almost entirely ski-in, ski-out. Plagne Centre is the biggest village, the most central, the liveliest at night (although that is not saying a lot) and has the most shopping and other facilities, but it is probably the ugliest too, with its huge box-like apartment blocks. Just below it, but developed in a much more pleasing style is the chalet-dominated resort of Plagne 1800, which was based on an old mining village. Plagne Soleil and Plagne Villages are both small, quiet, convenient and quite pretty in an artificial ‘Disney meets the Alps’ sort of way. Plagne Aime 2000, once called Aime La Plagne and now usually referred to as just ‘Aime’ is the highest Plagne village at 2100m and is home to the Club Med complex. Like Plagne Centre it consists of huge modern apartment blocks..
Plagne Bellecote and Belle Plagne
These are two modern, high, ski-ski out villages which are just one lift away from the main bowl. Arguably they are even better located than the main bowl resorts because they are on the way to both Les Arcs and La Plagne’s highest, and most challenging, skiing on the Bellecote glacier and Roche de Mio. Plagne Bellecote is another big apartment block complex, similar to Plagne Centre and Plagne Aime 2000 (see above). Most of the lifts are a short walk uphill from it. It’s cheaper however than Belle Plagne and has better apres ski and nightlife.
Belle Plagne which is just above Plagne Bellecote and shares its lifts (if you’re staying in Belle Plagne you ski down to them rather than walk up to them as you generally have to do in Plagne Bellecote), has now grown up to be a sizeable resort, but it’s still attractive inan artificial way (see the description of Plagne Soleil and Plagne Villages) and is very convenient – almost all the accommodation is ski-in ski-out. It can be slightly more expensive than the other Plagne villages, partly because its hotels and apartments have larger rooms and more luxury add-ons like swimming pools and saunas.
Montchavin and Les Coches
Montchavin is a traditional Alpine village. It’s low at 1250m, but its runs are north-facing and shaded by trees and hold their snow well for their altitude. Les Coches is the purpose-built ski station that was created 200m above it, and is therefore slightly more conveniently placed in terms of getting to the other villages and more snowsure. It also has more slope-side accommodation and a popular icerink, but it has less rustic charm. Both Montchavin and Les Coches are family friendly with traffic free centres, have tree-lined slopes that suit all standards and have the added attraction of being close to the link to Les Arcs. The disadvantage to them both is that you have to take a series of short chairlifts and bubbles to reach either the main bowl or the Roche de Mio and Belelcote galcier skiing.
Usually just referred to as ‘Montalbert’, this is perhaps the most village-like of the la Plagne villages. Although it’s comparatively low (1350m) its slopes are shaded by trees and face north, so only in exceptional conditions will you not be able to ski back home. And because the resort has been developed in a U-shape with the pistes in the middle, almost all the accommodation is either ski-in/ski-out or a short walk from the lift. Montalbert has also been the beneficiary of a huge investment in the nearby ski lifts, reducing the time it takes to reach its own summit (le Formelet) to less than 10 minutes, and making it feasible to reach the main La Plagne bowl in under half an hour from when you set off from your accommodation. Les Arcs and the Bellecote glacier are still quite far away however: making the odd day-trip to either destination is fine, but if you plan to ski at either of these locations regularly, then choose another village.
Champagny en Vanoise
This is sometimes the forgotten village because it’s on the other side of La Plagne and so has a different section of the ski map. Again there is a core of a rustic village here, with orchards and woods, and it has been sensitively developed. It also has reasonably quick access to the main bowl, which is only a couple of lifts away, and to Roche de Mio and the Bellecote glacier. But this is the La Plagne village with low south-facing slopes, which means often at the start or end of the season you either can not ski back to the resort, or will find it unpleasant to do so. On the upside, Courchevel is only a short taxi ride or car drive away, so you can stay in Champagny and easily ski two of the biggest ski areas in the world: Paradiski and the 3 Valleys.