Geneva to Val d’Isere by Bus, Train or Private Transfer
On this page we provide details of travel from Geneva to Val d’Isere by taxi, bus, train or private transfer. So that you can choose your preferred method.
Geneva to Val d’Isere by private transfer
1st Lifts is an airport transfer company and we genuinely believe that a private transfer is the easiest and most comfortable way of getting from Geneva to Val d’Isere.
We take you from the airport direct to your ski chalet or other accommodation. We even carry your bags and skis.
We charge from around 75 euros per person (based on 4 people), one way and that is limited, by law, to a minimum of 2 people per van. We often offer heavy discounted prices for transfers taking place Monday – Fridays but you need to contact us directly to get our best price as these discounts are not always advertised. From Geneva to Val d’Isere takes around 2hours 45 minutes on a ‘normal’ weekday with 1st Lifts, Saturdays are usually around 3 hours. On peak weeks it can be longer, depending on traffic and weather.
Geneva to Val d’Isere by taxi
Not the cheapest way from Geneva to Val d’Isere, a taxi can be about €680 one way.
More often than not there are plenty of available taxis to be hailed from authorised taxi ranks outside Geneva airport, in town and at the main station.
Taxi fares between Geneva airport and the city centre range from CHF 35.00 to CHF 45.00, dependent on traffic conditions, time of day and number of passengers. There is a minimum fare of CHF 6.30.
Useful taxi numbers in and around Geneva
Taxi-phone SA Geneva
+41 22 33 141 33
+41 22 3 202 202
AA Genève Taxi
+41 22 3 20 20 20
Geneva to Val d’Isere by train
It is not possible to get directly from Geneva to Val d’Isere by train, as the train line terminates at Bourg Saint Maurice. However coaches will then take you from the train station in the centre of Bourg Saint Maurice to the centre of Val d’Isere.
Geneva to Bourg-st-Maurice by train is about €33.00.
SNCF (the National society of French railways) has an informative website from which you can check times of trains and costs of tickets from Geneva to Val d’Isere. The site is translated to English, just choose your language from the top right menu.
Once you have arrived by train to Bourg-st-Maurice loca buses can be used to get to Val d’Isere. Or book 1st Lift Transfers to pick you up at the train station and take you to your accommodation in Val d’Isere.
Buses from Bourg-st-Maurice to Val d’Isere
Buses travel frequently from Bourg-st-Maurice to Val d’Isere, dropping off at Gare Routiere, which is the bus terminal.
Once there you will then need to get a taxi or a local bus to your chalet. We cover the local Val d’Isere shuttle buses at the bottom of this post.
Geneva to Val d’Isere by bus
There is a good public transport system in the winter that links Val d’Isere to to the airports as well as the train stations. Buses from Geneva airport to Val d’Isere operate every day of the week in winter. There are 6 buses on Saturdays, 4 on Sundays and 3 all other days of the week. They take around 4 hours.
Here are some bus time tables and how to book: www.valdinet.com/buses
Alti-bus will take you from Geneva to Val d’Isere or from Bourg-st-Maurice train station to Val d’Isere. It goes every 3 to 4 hours weekdays and every hour on a weekend.
The Alti-bus drops you off at the Val d’Isere Office de Tourisme, which you can see on our map below. Here you can get a local bus, taxi or walk to your accommodation if you are close enough.
From Geneva to Val d’Isere the Alti-bus is about €115.00 return.
From Bourg Saint Maurice to Val d’Isere the Alti-bus is about €22.00 return.
Ben’s Bus is a shared bus service that runs on Saturdays and Sundays through the winter season costing about £80 return, Geneva – Val d’Isere. Ben’s Bus service stops at the Gare Routiere and La Daille, which you can see on our map below. Here you can get bus, taxi or walk to your accommodation if you are close enough.
Local Buses within Val d’Isere
Once you have arrived in Val d’Isere by public transport you will need to get to your accommodation with your luggage.
Les Rond Pont des Pistes (Round About of the Slopes) in Val d’Isere is where the local buses operate from. These are free buses that will take you around the resort between December and April. There is a day service and a night service, which operates until about 2am.
Please check the time tables on each stop for more up to date information.
The red line goes from Le Fornet, and stops at Le Village, Le Laisinant, Les Richardes, UCPA, Val Village (Office du Tourisme), Rond Point des Pistes, Hôtel Tsanteleina/Salon des Focus, Gare routiere/cinema, Portillo, Le Cret, Funival, La Daille, and returns.
The blue line goes from Rond Pont des Pistes and stops at Eureka, Club Med, Legettaz and returns.
The yellow line goes from Rond Pont de Pistes and stops at Pont du Joseray, Chatelard, Vallee du Manchet/Clochetons. There is a branch that goes from Pont du Joseray to Gare Routière, via le Forêt and le Centre Aquasportif.
Timetables at bus stops are in French. The days of the week are as follows:
L for Lundi = Monday,
M for Mardi = Tuesday,
Me for Mercredi = Wednesday
J for Jeudi = Thursday
V for Vendredi = Friday
S for Samedi = Saturday
D for Dimanche = Sunday
Visit www.valdisere.com for information on local bus services in Val D’Isere.
So you can see why we think that a Private Airport Transfer from Geneva to Val d’Isere is the nicest way to get to your ski accommodation.
Call us on our UK mobile 0044 (0)7929 726475, our French mobile 0033 (0)6 98 21 59 78 or email [email protected] to enquire.
We hope you have a good journey which ever way you decide to travel!
Restaurants, cafés and après ski in Les Arcs
Eating out in Les Arcs
We’ve put together a short list of restaurants, cafés and après ski in Les Arcs area to help you to find a place to eat out on your ski day, or get together for après ski.
The list does not yet include Peisey-Vallandry.
We will extend on this list more and more, so please do return for up to date information. Let us know if you would like to be included.
Eating out, slope side in Les Arcs
Belliou La Fumee
Where: Pre Saint-Esprit, bottom of the Comborcière lift
What: Seafood, meat, grills and more.
Telephone: +33 4 79 07 29 13
Open summer and winter.
Where: Les Arc 2000, La Cime des Arcs
What: All day crepes and waffles.
Terrace and dining room. Lunch or dinner. Non stop service Saturday and Sunday.
Telephone: +33 4 79 07 73 00
Les Chalets de l’Arc
Where: Les Arcs, at 2200 metres. Above Les Arcs 2000 and the bottom of the Varet lift, just off the marmotte piste. Accessible to skiers, mountain bikers and hikers.
What: Varied menu. From savoyard specialties, salads, soups or simple pasta.
Real wood ovens giving full flavour to many of the recipes. Home made bread. Sunny terrace. Bar available.
Open for lunch every day. Wednesday and Friday evenings. Winter and summer.
Telephone: +33 4 79 04 15 40
Le Chalet De Candice
Where: Les Arcs 1800, bottom of the Chantel ski lift, opposite ESF office.
What: Traditional cuisine and Savoyarde specialities.
Telephone: +33 4 79 07 62 78
Le Chalet de l’Arcelle
Where: Les Arcs 1600. Bottom of the Combette piste take skiers left towards ESF.
What: Rib of beef, Savoyard specialties and crepes inside a traditional alpage chalet.
Open every day, noon and evening.
Email: [email protected]
Le Sanglier Qui Fume Restaurant
Where: Les Arcs 1600, accessible by the Mont Blanc piste.
What: Local specialities as well as French classics such as steaks or boar (sanglier in French) and Asian cuisine. Set lunch menus.
Sunny terrace for a drink. Great views.
Open in winter and summer.
Telephone: +33 6 03 30 41 42
Where: Les Arcs 1800
What: Rustic restaurant with a large terrace for lunch times or cosy interior to eat in the evening. Traditonal savoie food. Fondue inside large bread loaf.
Telephone: +33 479064834
Open winter and summer.
Mountain Snacks and Cafés
Wood Bear Café
Where: Les Arcs 1950. Bottom of the Cabriolet lift, walk through 1950 past Les Jardins de la Cascade residence. At EVO2 go straight on, you will see Wood bear café on the right.
What: Savoury tarts, homemade soup, sandwiches and toasties and other homemade snacks.
Open 8am for coffee through to aprés ski.
Telephone: +33 6 76 38 92 37
Where: Les Arcs 1950
What: Fast food to eat in or take away.
Telephone: +33 4 79 00 50 47
Where: Les Arcs 1800, Centre commercial des Vallards
What: Crêpes and gallettes.
Telephone: +33 4 79 07 23 88
Where: Les Arcs, at 2200 metres. In the new chalet along the Marmotte piste, near the Restaurant Les Chalets de l’Arc.
What: Fast-food menu.
Vibrant music and a cosy atmosphere. Sunny terrace for après ski.
Telephone: +33 4 79 04 15 40
Les Arcs Après Ski
Bar King Mad (also known as BKM)
Where: 1800, walk through 1800 past ESF from the bottom of the Chantel lift. Turn right at Quicksilver.
What: Snacks including beef burgers, chicken burgers, nachos, wraps and salads.
British run bar and grill.
Comfy sofas on the sun terrace for food or drinks.
Open 9.30 am – 2am.
Telephone: +33 4 79 06 57 14
Where: Les Arcs 2000, Place Haute
What: International, traditional and Savoyard cuisine. Tartare de boeuf, Burgers, fajitas, finger food to accompany aperitifs.
Bar and restaurant.
Opening from 5.00pm to 5.00am.
Telephone: +33 479 064 063
Les Belles Pintes
Where: Arc 1950
What: Sandwiches and snacks.
Bar and restaurant. Irish décor. Screens for sports, darts board and pool table. Excellent selection of beers.
Open 11.00am – 1.00am
Telephone: +33 4 79 07 35 42
Off-piste evening meals
Where: Bourg saint Maurice, Avenue du Stade
What: Traditional dishes (beaufort tart, fondue, raclettes), pizza, salads, sandwiches, duck, steak.
Modern restaurant. Formule du midi available.
Open 9.00am – 3.00pm, 6.00pm – 10.00pm. All year round.
Telephone: +33 4 79 22 21 36
Where: Bourg saint Maurice, Avenue de l’Arc en Ciel
What: Great pizzas, burgers, salads
Sit on some up-turn snow shovels at the pizza counter and watch your pizza made. Can take away.
Open for mid-day and evenings.
Telephone: +33 479076931
Where: Bourg saint Maurice, Grande Rue
What: Quality French and European foods. Menu changes.
A treat for the whole family.
Closed on Mondays.
Telephone: +33 4 79 07 52 54
Maps and plans of Les Arcs ski resorts
All the information on this page has been supplied in good faith, we are not responsible for any mistakes. Please contact the proprietor of the establishment to check opening times and locations.
Geneva airport transfers to Les Arcs
Geneva to Les Arcs transfer time = between 2h15 – 2h30 (weather/traffic dependent)
Distance from Geneva airport = approximately 214 km
Private transfers from Geneva Airport
Private transfers from Geneva to Les Arcs can be so much more comfortable than waiting for a bus, train or a shared journey. Our private transfer buses will be at Geneva airport waiting for you when your plane has landed, ready to take you to your accommodation in Les Arcs.
We check impending flight arrival times and try our best to be there, even if you are early.
With a private transfer you and your group can sit back and relax, knowing you are in the safe hands of 1st Lifts transfer drivers. Even catching up with some shut eye on the way!
Private transfers are really cost effective if there are up to 8 of you in the group. There are 8 available seats in each of our modern, comfortable vans. We can take groups of adults, or families including children.
Geneva airport transfers with children
When you book with us we always ask the ages of the group. That way are well prepared with child seats for the transfer from Geneva.
Booster seats and baby seats are available on request.
Geneva to Les Arcs: the route
Usually we take the main toll road from Geneva to Chambery, called the A41. Then we join the A43, leading to the A430 towards Albertville. At Albertville we join the N90, where we will start to drive up the Tarentaise valley and you can admire the mountains spotting Mont Blanc and getting really excited for your ski or bike holiday!
If there is a problem on any of the main roads, we have two alternatives to Albertville: the A40 or D1508. Although we will avoid going through towns if we can help it, as we want to get you to your destination as soon as possible.
We drop you as close to your accommodation as we can get, making your journey so much easier with all that gear.
Geneva to Les Arcs transfers, supermarket stop
We know of a great place on the way to Les Arcs to pick up some croissants, a Quiche Lorraine, freshly cooked pizza and have a cup of coffee if you are feeling a bit peckish after your flight.
By prearrangement we can also take you to SuperU in Albertville or the new E.Leclerc supermarche now situated near Moutier. It’s a bit closer to home and a pretty good price range.
Geneva to Les Arcs in snow
The roads are very well cleared when there is snow fall, even the ones leading right up to the mountain resorts, but we can never predict the weather!
We all hope for lots of snow, so 1st Lifts is prepared.
Each driver is trained to put on snow chains in even the worst conditions – even in the dark.
We carry chains in each vehicle and we know when it is necessary to use them to bring your group to Les Arcs safely.
Your own playlist on the way to Les Arcs
If you have a playlist you would like to put on during your journey let us know! We’d love to hear it.
Video your journey singing to your favourite songs and upload it to the 1st Lifts Facebook page.
Make sure you tag your friends and family!
“The Les Arcs Train Station”
The train station in Bourg saint Maurice is often mistakenly called the Les Arcs train station, we suppose because it is the main route into Les Arcs from airports, from Paris and other major cities.
The Les Arcs train station is actually in the centre of a city called Bourg saint Maurice, which is at 840 metres and there is no skiing there! Although you can access the ski hill by the funicular, which whisks you up to Arc 1600. The Bourg saint Maurice funicular is a short walk from the “Les Arcs Train Station”, accessible with bags as you can cross a bridge over the train line.
1st Lifts can be booked to take you from Bourg st Maurice to one of the Les Arcs resorts: Arc 1600, Arc 1800 or Arc 1950.
Compare ski resorts France
Compare the biggest ski resorts in the French Alps.
1st Lifts Transfers offers transfers to and from the best skiing regions in the French Alps; Paradiski, Espace Killy and The Three Valleys (Les 3 Vallées).
But how do you know which ski region to make your next holiday destination?
We cover distances from the airport and the altitude of some of the resorts within the regions, where you can stay.
Restaurants, cafés and après ski in Les Arcs >
Paradiski ski region
Paradiski is where 1st Lifts is based (so forgive us for being biased), and is made up of three main resorts: Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry which is now sold under one ski pass, and across the valley is La Plagne, linked by the Vanoise National Express.
Skiing in Les Arcs
Distance from airport to Les Arcs 1800
Distance from Chambéry-Savoie 135 km
Distance from Grenoble Saint Geoirs 217 km
Distance from Lyon Saint Exupéry 235 km
Distance from Geneva airport 214 km
Towns and resorts in the Les Arcs ski area
- Les Arcs 2000, the very top most village of Les Arcs.
- Les Arcs 1950, Les Arcs 1800 and Les Arcs 1600; ski resorts at named for their altitudes in metres.
- Bourg Saint Maurice, 840m. The town is linked to Les Arcs 1600 by a funicular railway.
- Peisey-Vallandry, 1300-1650m. A cluster of small villages, which include Peisey village, and Plan Peisey where the Vanoise Express connects with La Plagne.
- Villa Roger, 880m. A quiet secluded village. Shuttle bus to Bourg Saint Maurice.
The highest peak in Les Arcs, which is accessible by lift, is L’Aiguille Rouge (Red Needle) at 3226 metres.
Restaurants, cafés and après ski in Les Arcs >
Skiing in La Plagne
Distance from airport to La Plagne Centre
Distance from Chambéry-Savoie 118 km
Distance from Grenoble Saint Geoirs 200 km
Distance from Lyon Saint Exupéry 235 km
Distance from Geneva airport 197 km
Towns and resorts in the Les Arcs ski area
- Aime-la-Plagne (consisting of Longefoy, Tessens and Villette).
- Champagny en Vanoise, 1250m
- Montchavin la Plagne, 1450m, facing Mont Blanc
- Plagne Aime 2000 facing Mont Blanc
- Plagne Centre 1970m, central primary resort. Funiplagne cable car.
- Plagne Bellecote, 1930m departure point for the Bellecote Glacer.
- Belle Plagne, 2050m Savoyard style
- Plagne 1800, 1800m
- Plagne Village / Soliel 2050m
- Plagne Montalbert 1350m
The highest peak in La Plagne is the Bellecôte at 3417 m. The highest lift is at 3,250 metres on the Glacier de la Chiaupe.
Paradiski, facts and figures
- La Plagne and Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry are linked via the Vanoise Express
- Paradiski is the 2nd largest linked skiable domain in the world
- 425km of pistes over 14390 hectares
- 232 pistes for all levels
- 263 hectares of man made snow
- 2 equipped glaciers at more than 3000m high
- 70% of the skiable domain is over 2000m
Espace Killy consists of Val d’Isere and Tignes, linked by the Tovière gondola. It is named after triple olympic champion Jean-Claude Killy who grew up in Val d’Isère.
Espace Killy is a beautiful region, some of the resorts are well known for the night life.
Skiing in Val d’Isere
Distance from airport to Val d’Isere centre
Distance from Chambéry-Savoie 144 km
Distance from Grenoble Saint Geoirs 225 km
Distance from Lyon Saint Exupéry 219 km
Distance from Geneva airport 223 km
Val d’Isere neighbourhoods
- Le Fornet
- Val d’Isère Centre (Rond-point des pistes) 1850m
- La Legettaz, Le Joseray, Le Châtelard
A quieter group of hamlets close to Val d’Isere Centre. Access Val centre by bus or a 15 minute walk.
- La Daille 1785m
The highest peak in Val d’Isere is 3355m. The top ski station is just below the Pointe du Montet, which is at 3428m.
It is possible to ski on the Glacier du Pissaillas in June and July.
Skiing in Tignes
Distance from airport to Lac de Tignes
Distance from Chambéry-Savoie 142 km
Distance from Grenoble Saint Geoirs 224 km
Distance from Lyon Saint Exupéry 218 km
Distance from Genève International 221 km
The resort, commonly known as Tignes consists of:
- Tignes Les Brevieres, bottom of the dam 1550m
- Tignes 1800m
- Lavachet, traquility
- Lac de Tignes, the heart at 2100m
- Val Claret, cosmopolitan parties
The highest peak in Tignes is 3656m, La Grande Motte and the highest lift, up to the Glacier is 3456m. It is possible to ski on the Glacier from June to August.
Espace Killy, facts and figures
The Three Valleys (Les 3 Vallées)
The Three Valleys is the worlds largest ski area, made up of 8 resorts; Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Brides les Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thoren and Orelle.
Skiing in Courchevel
Distance from airport to Courchevel Village
Distance from Chambéry-Savoie 93.2 km
Distance from Grenoble Saint Geoirs 189 km
Distance from Lyon Saint Exupéry 183 km
Distance from Genève International 186 km
The first of the Three Valleys is Saint Bon, which is better known as Courchevel. There are five resorts:
- Saint Bon, 1100m. Known as the birth place of Courchevel.
- Courchevel le Praz, 1300m. An authentic mountain village with traditional houses.
- Courchevel Village, 1550m. Has direct access to Courchevel 1850.
- Courchevel Moriond, 1650m.
- Courchevel, 1850m. The rich and famous flock to this most exclusive level.
Skiing in Méribel
Distance from airport to Méribel
Distance from Chambéry-Savoie 93.7 km
Distance from Grenoble Saint Geoirs 183 km
Distance from Lyon Saint Exupéry 177 km
Distance from Genève International 184 km
The second valley is Les Allues Valley, more commonly known as Meribel, and consists of:
- Méribel at 1500m
- Méribel-Mottcret at 1700m
- The spa resort of Brides les Bain at 600m
Mont du Vallon is the highest skiing point in Méribel, reaching 2952m. It offers an exceptional panoramic view over the Gébrolaz glacier and Grand Casse.
Between the first and the second valleys lies La Pierriere, where La Tania sits at 1300m, connecting Chourevel and Méribel.
The Belleville Valley is the biggest of the three. There are three main resorts here:
- St Martin de Bellville, at 1400m
- Les Menuires at 1850m
- Val Thoren at 2300m
Not forgetting Orielle, in the Maurienne Valley that sits at 900m, opening up the southern slopes and giving access to the very summit of the three valleys – Le Pointe du Bouchet at 3400m.
The highest peak in the Belleville Valley is Pointe de Thorens at 3266 m, accessible from Val Thoren.
The Three Valleys, facts and figures
- 600km of pistes accessible on skis
- 328 downhill skiing pistes
- 1,512 hectares of maintained pistes
- 62,000 total difference in height
- 166 ski lifts
- More than 2,100 snow canons
- 35,000 hectares of nature
- 105km2 (or 10,500 hectares) of skiable area
Airport Transfers to Les Arcs
Les Arcs is a popular skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and road biking destination which is part of the Paradiski domain in the Savoie region of the French Alps.
Les Arcs consists of 5 villages at different altitudes: Bourg-saint-Maurice (at about 744m above sea level), ARC 1600, ARC 1800, ARC 1950 and ARC 2000.
Open all year round, les Arcs gives access to the rest of the Paradiski area, linked by a funicular, trails and pistes to Peisey-Vallandry; and to La Plagne by the huge Vanoise Express, that takes it’s passengers across the valley.
The 1st Lifts transfer company offers airport transfers to les Arcs from Geneva airport, Lyon airport, Grenoble airport, Chambery airport and all local train stations. Click for more information
Bourg-saint-Maurice, les Arcs
Bourg-saint-Maurice sits below Arc 1600, and is the last large town along the Tarentaise valley in the heart of the French Alps. Linked to Arc 1600 by a funicular railway, Bourg-saint-Maurice offers an abundance of restaurants and night-life in both the summer and the winter.
The surrounding mountains are good for skiing during the winter season, or hiking, mountain biking and road biking in the summer.
Bourg-saint-Maurice gives easy access to the Paradiski area via the funicular. To access the funicular go to the lower funicular station, which is behind the train station in Bourg. Buy a ticket at the ticket office.
The SNCF train station in Bourg-saint-Maurice is the last station for the TGV, Eurostar and Thalys from Paris (high speed train).
Bourg-saint-Maurice is only a 40 minute drive to Tignes, where summer glacier skiing is available on the Grande Motte.
ARC 1600, ARC 1800, ARC 1950 and ARC 2000
In 1968, the major works began developing les Arcs resort. The resort of Arc 1600 was the first to be built. Arc 1800 was built in 1975, Arc 2000 in 1979 and Arc 1950 in 2003.
There was once a cable car from the centre of Bourg Saint Maurice directly to Arc 1600, but in 1989 it was pulled down and replaced by the aerial funicular, which took 3 years to build.
Each village offers restaurants, bars and accommodation with access to the mountain. More information can be found on the les Arcs website.
Les Arcs and the Paradiski area today
Today the Paradiski area consists of: 425 km of pistes (120 blues, 66 reds, 36 blacks, 10 greens) between an altitude of 1200 and 3250 metres. There are 2 glaciers, 2 snowparks, boarder-cross tracks, a halfpipe, a waterslide, 3 luge tracks, 11 competition pistes and 153 km of cross-country pistes.
At the summit of les Arcs’ ski area, the Aiguille Rouge (3226m), an unsupported cable car serves skiers in the winter season. It spans 1068 metres, with a vertical ascent of 533m.
In the summer there is 180 kilometres of marked trails for bikers, with 2,600 metres of vertical decent. Routes are reachable for every level, thanks to 20 chair lifts, which are adapted to hold bikes. There are 22 runs including 8 Downhill, 5 Enduros, 3 Cross Country and 6 connecting runs.
Not to mention golf, hiking, white water rafting, tennis, para-gliding, swimming, adventure courses, horse-riding and rock climbing.
Click here for the official les Arcs website.
Route des Grandes Alpes by bike
The Route des Grandes Alpes by bike is an experience in itself.
Also known as the Great Alpine Road, the Route des Grandes Alpes consists of winding mountain roads with amazing landscapes, stretching 684km from Thonon-les-Bains at Lake Geneva to Menton, at the shores of the Mediterranean.
The route includes 16 passes that are some of the highest in the Alps. Five of them are over 2,000 meters above sea level. The highest points are the Col de la Bonette (2,802 m), the Col de l’Iseran (2,770 m) and the Col du Galibier (2,645 m).
What is a Col?
The lowest point of a ridge or saddle between two peaks, usually meaning there is a pass from one side of a mountain range to another.
About Route des Grandes Alpes
Route des Grandes Alpes is open after the snow melt between June and October. Be sure to check that your route is open before you set off. Snow can stick around until June. Check the Cols are open on the InfoTrafic website.
Follow the route through the national and regional parks of the Chablais, Vanoise, Queyras, Ubaye and Mercantour. On the way you will see the unmistakable symbols of the French Alps: Mont Blanc and Les Ecrins.
Discover the forts dating from the 16th to the 20th century, mostly located along the French-Italian border.
Route des Grandes Alpes incorporates several sections of the Tour de France, including the passes: Aravis, Cormet de Roselend, Iseran, Galibier, Izoard, Bonette and Cayolle. Those who make it to the end will be awared with the Borne d’Or diploma.
Please plan carefully for your trip. This post is for information only.
Sections of Route des Grandes Alpes by bike
- Thonon-les-Bains to Saint-Jean-de-Sixt, 7h00 : 91k
- Saint-Jean-de-Sixt to Beaufort, 3h30 : 51k
- Beaufort to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, 3h30 : 42k
- Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Lanslevillard, 6h00 : 77k
- Lanslevillard to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, 2h30 : 43k
- Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne to Col du Lautaret, 3h40 : 43k
- Col du Lautaret to Briançon, 1h30 : 28k
- Briançon to Guillestre, 3h20 : 49k
- Guillestre to Jausiers, 2h30 : 40k
- Jausiers to Barcelonnette, 1h00 : 8k
- Barcelonnette to Guillaumes, 5h20 : 60k
- Guillaumes to Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée, 3h00 : 42k
- Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée to Sospel, 6h00 : 80k
- Sospel to Nice, 3h : 50k
The official Route des Grandes Alpes website Move your Alps offers helpful information and advice.
Hiking in the Tarentaise Valley and Maurienne Valley, French Alps
There are some spectacular hikes in the Alps with dramatic alpine scenery and unspoilt breathtaking landscapes.
This post focuses on Hiking the Tarentaise Valley and Maurienne Valley.
Both valleys offer trails for families, routes for hikers and some that are for the more devoted.
Vanoise National Park
The Vanoise National Park is located in the French département of Savoie (in the Rhône-Alpes region). The Park is a wide open space between the Tarentaise Valley and the Maurienne Vallery that you can use freely – with respect. It is the biggest protected area in the western French Alps with over 600km of footpaths inside the park.
Rules of the park: stick to the trails. Visitors and people who live here have a duty to respect the area and leave behind no trace. Take all your rubbish with you and please do not pick or collect flowers, fruit, insects or minerals.
The Park can be reached from Modane to the south (access to the Maurienne area), from Bourg Saint Maurice to the north (access to the Haute Tarentaise area) and or Moûtiers to the west (access to the Tarentaise area). The Italian border is located to the east, with 14 km of border shared with the Italian Gran Paradiso National Park.
Click here to see the area on google Maps
In the summer in the Vanoise National Park you can find an abundance of wildlife such as marmots, ibexes, chamois, the Royal eagle, black grouse, the great horned owl, the tridactyl woodpecker, the blue thistle, linneus borealis or the Piedmont primrose.
Footpaths inside the Vanoise National Park
Exploring the Vanoise National Park
Hikers seeking mountain accommodation
Hiking in the Vanoise National Park
The Park is crossed by some major hiking routes:
The GR® 5 hiking trail – 10 days in the Vanoise National Park
The GR®5 is also known as the European long-distance hiking trail (E2). Some 2500 kilometres long the GR®5 starts in the Netherlands and finishes in Nice. It crosses the Ardennes, the plateau in the Lorraine region, the Vosges mountains, the plateaux and gorges of the Jura, ending up in the Alps and the Vanoise National Park (from Peisey-Nancroix to Modane).
The GR® 55 hiking trail – 7 days in the Vanoise National Park
The GR® 55 trail is a “High Mountain” version of the GR® 5. The GR® 55 the GR® 5 in Tignes and joins it again in Modane (for the stage to up Thabor mountain to the refuge just outside the park) via Pralognan-la-Vanoise.
Beautiful views and permanent snow fields can be seen at the col de la Leisse (2,758 m) and the col de Chavière (2,796 m).
Via Alpina / Red trail – 7 days in the Vanoise National Park
The red trail is a route linking the eight Alpine countries of Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, and Monaco. It crosses the main chain of the Alps several times, linking Trieste to Monaco and Bavaria to Liechtenstein.
The Tarentaise Valley is a valley created by the Isère River in the heart of the French Alps. Famous for it’s ski resorts from Val Thorens to Val D’Isere, the forests in the Valley are also riddled with hiking trails.
Hiking the Paradiski area in the summer
The Paradiski area includes the villages of Vallandry, Plan-Peisey, Peisey-Nancroix, Landry, Bourg st Maurice, Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950, Arc 2000 (Les Arcs), Villaroger, Plagne 1800, Plagne Centre, Plagne Aime 2000, Plagne Villages, Plagne Soleil, Plagne Bellecôte, Belle Plagne, Montchavin-les-Coches, Plan Montalbert, Champagny en Vanoise.
Overall the Paradiski area offers over 500km of marked hiking/walking routes on an over all of 6700m gradients.
The Vanoise Express ski-lift links La Plagne to Peisey-Vallandry and is open in July and August for those who want to use the whole resort. Between these months the chair lifts are also open for those who would like to take a more relaxed journey.
Vallandry, Plan-Peisey, Peisey-Nancroix and Landry sit on the north side of the Vanoise National Park and give direct access to the GR®5.
The Maurienne valley
The Maurienne Valley was the old passage between France and Italy, running from east of Chambéry to the ‘Arc’ water springs and glaciers just past Bonneval.
Haute Maurienne Vanoise, villages
Bonneval-sur-Arc 1800 M
Méan Martin and Grand Roc Noir tour – Hike starting from Bonneval-sur-Arc – 4 days
One of France’s most beautiful villages; stone houses with stone-slab roofs.
Bessans 1750 M
Bessanèse tour (between France and Italy) – Hike starting from Bessans – 5 days
Bessans offers a large network of hiking trails between the Vanoise National Park, the Avérole valley and the wilderness of Ribon valley.
The village itself is characterised by rich heritage where you will find wall paintings, Baroque chapels, engraved stones and artisan sculptors. The legend of the Devil of Bessans characterises the originality of this traditional culture, which is still alive today.
Val Cenis 1400 – 2800 M
The two french villages of Val Cenis Lanslebourg and Val Cenis Lanslevillard have a balance of modern and traditional, nature and man made. Discover extensive Baroque heritage and 12 restored chapels. Or make the most of the many shops, crafts and activities.
The Mont-Cenis pass links France to Italy, where there is a large turquoise Alpine lake, the pyramid museum and Alpine garden. The pass was an invasion route built by Napoleon I in 1803–10.
Sollières-Sardières 1300 – 1500 M
Set on the south side of the Vanoise National Park, Sollières-Sardières is a village made up of 3 preserved hamlets. A 93-metre high monolith protects the village. On the west of the river, stretches l’Endroit, a mountain plateau.
There is plenty of hiking among the plains, glades and forests of the Vanoise National Park.
There is an archaeology museum that traces 6000 years of history in the Maurienne mountains and uncovers the Neolithic past of Sollières-Sardières.
Bramans Val D’Ambin 1250 – 1800 M
Bramans Val D’Ambion is perfectly situated at the crossroads of the GR®5, Tour de Maurienne or the Grandes Alpes route.
When walking or hiking please take all your rubbish with you.
Mountain Biking in Paradiski
Paradiski is now one of the worlds largest biking areas consisting of Peisey-Vallandry, Les Arcs and La Plagne. The Vanoise Express links La Plagne to Peisey-Vallandry and is open in the summer months for bikers who want to use some or all of the resort.
What is known as “Les Arcs Bike Park”, in partnership with Kona, is the whole domain; a huge FFTC approved area for bikers which is accessible to all abilities and all types of riding including Downhill, Enduro, and Cross Country.
It is open from beginning of July until the end of August.
With 2,600 metres of vertical decent there are 180 kilometres of marked trails.
Routes are reachable for every level, thanks to 20 chair lifts, which are adapted to hold bikes. There are 22 runs including 8 Downhill, 5 Enduros, 3 Cross Country and 6 connecting runs.
The runs include: 5 green runs, 8 blue runs, 6 red runs and 3 black runs.
There are practice parks and a freestyle area in Arc 1600. There are 2 aerial courses in the forest made up of aerial gantries, a Slopestyle with linked obstacles that are more or less aerial and 4 cross-country natural courses made up of jumps and banked corners.
Route 66 is a blue Enduro run is one of the longest runs in the world at 34km.
The Woodstock run is a blue Downhill run with banked corners in the forest, a treat for both lower levels and experienced riders alike.
Look out for the Mountain Biking topographical guide, free with all mountain bike passes. It show all the trails in detail, IGN maps, photos and descriptions of the runs in Paradiski.
Take a look at the trail map here www.lesarcs.com
Mountain bike tours and adventures
When biking please take all your rubbish with you.
Driving Safely in the Alps
After the New Year weekend in 2014 when 29,000 cars and coaches were reported stranded in the Tarentaise valley because of a snow storm, 1st Lifts writes about driving safely in the Alps.
We hope this helps you prepare for harsh winter conditions if you decide to drive yourself to the mountains for your ski holiday. The alternative is, of course, to hire professionals who are used to the conditions and will be ready prepared, like 1st Lifts.
How to prepare for your journey to the Alps
Tips for driving in the snow
- To reduce the chances of starting a wheel spin be gentle with the clutch and the accelerator. Use high gears. Pull away in second gear if you can; this will send less torque to the wheels, reducing the chances of digging yourself into a hole.
- Steer and brake GENTLY. Heavy, sharp braking or over steering can lead to skidding. Once you start skidding the vehicle is out of control.
- Drive slowly, and use major routes as oppose to the back roads. Major roads are more likely to be cleared, and will have a higher traffic volume that will clear the road from snow.
Clear snow from the vehicle
Always clear the body of your vehicle from snow before setting off. Good visibility is necessary and snow on the bonnet can obscure your view. Snow on the roof can fall across the front or rear screens, startling you or other drivers and obscuring your view.
It is not a legality in the Alps to carry snow chains in your vehicle in the winter, but in cases of heavy snow the police will not allow vehicles to drive to resorts without them. It is all very well to carry snow chains, but you also need to know how to put them on. 1st Lifts drivers practice putting snow chains on regularly, so it is easy when it comes down to it, in the dark, in a snow storm, in freezing temperatures.
Two chains are the minimum advised – check your vehicle handbook for advice on which tyres.
Always pull safely off the main road to a flat surface to fit your snow chains. Put them on IN GOOD TIME. There is no point waiting until you are half way up a mountain, in 4 foot of snow, sliding backwards. If the weather starts to get bad, put them on when you get to a snow chain area (indicated by signs in France). Your 1st Lifts driver will be experienced in when to fit the snow chains. Look for snow chain lay-bys, there are many around on the major roads.
If you get stuck push your vehicle to the side of the road, to a safe area before getting out to fit your snow chains.
It is a good idea to carry a head torch, gloves and a mat to kneel on, whilst fitting your snow chains. Always carry warm clothes and a good pair of boots in case you have to walk.
You must remove your chains when you get to a gritted/cleared road surface.
Snow socks are not as effective as chains and they are not considered an good alternative to chains in areas where snow chain signs are posted.
1st Lifts vehicles have snow tyres, not just winter tyres.
Winter tyres are designed to give you extra grip during the cold months. Snow tyres have tread patterns specifically designed to bite into snow and ice. They are made from softer rubber that will retain flexibility in cold weather so the tyre conforms to the surface of the road. All season tyres will go hard and are less pliable in cold temperatures.
Snow tyres display a snow flake symbol to show they are of a certain standard.
In France winter tyres are not compulsory.
Obviously if you are going on a ski holiday you will have warm clothes. That said they should be easily accessible in the dark, during a snow storm. Make sure an extra jumper, snow trousers, boots, hats, gloves, scarves and a jacket are easily available for each passenger.
European breakdown kit
It is compulsory in France to carry a European breakdown kit in the vehicle, and it is also very sensible to have one! Breakdown kits include a hazard warning triangle and adult high visibility vests, which are both compulsory in France.
You can purchase European Breakdown Kits from the AA, here.
Failing the above – ask 1st Lifts to pick you up from the airport and drive you safely into the Alps so you can sit back, relax and not worry about driving in harsh winter conditions.
This post is solely used for advice. 1st Lifts will not responsible for any course of action after reading this information. You are responsible for your own driving. Stay safe!
6 Winter Things to do in Paradiski…
(…apart from Skiing & Snowboarding)
Paradiski’s Arc 2000
The Igloo Village in Paradiski’s Arc 2000 is the biggest in France.
Inside the Igloo Village is an ice sculpture gallery, bars, a restaurant and a dance floor.
Enjoy a break from skiing at one of the ice bars open from 10.00 to 16.30. Have a coffee on the terrace whilst soaking up the sun or venture into the giant igloo to enjoy the indoor bar where the chairs are carved in ice.
The restaurant opens between 19:00 to 20:30 and is reservation only. Begin your evening with a glass of mulled wine followed by a delicious Savoyard meal of fondue.
You can even spend the night at the ice hotel, on a bed of ice in a giant igloo. Rooms can sleep 2 or 4 people. Sleep in snug sleeping bags at 2000 metres above sea level!
The ice cave gallery contains ice animals, mermaids and other sea creatures carved out of the walls, open from from 10.00 to 16.30. Adults: 5 euros, Children – 12 years: 4 euros, Children – 6 years: free.
Pedestrians can get to the Igloo Village by taking a brisk snowshoe walk.
Find out more www.village-igloo.fr
Paradiski’s Plagne Soleil
A second Igloo Village is situated in Plagne Soleil where you can simply go for dinner in the restaurant that seats 50, or stay over night too.
After a drink around the fire, you will be served a Savoyard fondue accompanied by mountain charcuterie inside the igloo. “Grandmothers” famous red wine, dessert and a nightcap is all included. 17.00 to 22:30.
If you stay over night you have the choice of a bed of ice or the hot igloo; a heated panoramic structure with a wood stove and double bed. Either way you will be delighted with the view of the valley and Mont Blanc, and a beautiful morning sun rise.
For more information visit www.blacksheep-igloo.com
The 1.5km of the Olympic Bobsleigh run is situated in La Plagne and there are three ways you can hurl yourself down it;
The Bob-Raft is equipped with an auto guide control and automatic brakes and is ideal for families. It can take 4 people. The Bob-Raft goes around 70-80km!
In the Speed-Luge you can go up to 90km/h. You will be by yourself, in an almost lying position inside the luge, which is well padded and has autoguide control.
Or you can go with a professional pilot, sitting behind them in the luge with up to two other passangers. With a professional you can reach up to 120km/h.
Prices (per person, per run): Bob-Raft €41 ; Speed-Luge €107 ; Bob-Racing €115
Vist la-plagne.com for more information or call +33 (0)4 79 09 12 73.
From mid December to mid March there are introductory course to glacier climbing on the Champagny ice tower. The ice tower is 22m high and is made of three sections with inclines adapted to different abilities; from the beginner to pro. Wearing a harness you will use ice axes and crampons (provided) to climb up pure ice in a bid to reach the tower summit.
You can drive to the ice tower, it is situated in the valley of Champagny le Haut at 1500m altitude. 1st Lifts will be happy to take you if we are free, just contact us!
You must be 10 years old or more do the ice climbing. Courses run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 17:30. Please check that the tower is open; it may be closed in adverse weather conditions.
Rates: €38 per person for 2 hours.
For more information visit champagny.com or phone +33 (0)4 79 55 06 55.
Speed riding (also known Parapente) is when you ski/snowboard off the mountain with a parachute. You then literally fly around the area checking out the views of Paradiski and beyond. You land back on the snow, using your skis/board- hence the reason you should be a good skier/snowboarder.
For more information visit www.speedriding-school.com or +33 (0)6 19 51 39 34
Toboganning is great fun for children and adults alike! Paradiski has a 4 toboggan runs.
The toboggan run in the Rodéo Park at Arc 2000 is 3km, and you can speed down it all day until the runs close.
There are two areas in La Plagne – Colorado Park (1.5km) and Eldorado Park (2.9km).
In Mille8 there is a toboggan run with lights and music.
Mille8 is a new area in Paradiski open every day this winter at Les Arcs 1800 until 7.30pm, 8.30pm on Thursdays.
There is a toboggan run, an illuminated and themed discovery trail in the forest, a freestyle snow park, a beginners area and a secure children’s play area. Inside the Aquafun Centre will be a pool, bubbling massage beds, whirlpools, cascades, caves, water games area for children, a wellness centre and a fitness centre.
Walkers and skiers will both be able to access Mille8 via a new 8-person cable car (Télécabine des Villards) from Arc 1800. Entry to the ski area is included in all ski passes. Yay!
This page is written for information only. 1st Lifts cannot be liable to any disappointments or wrong prices.