Six Things To Do In Les Arcs 1800
February 18, 2019
by Toby S Williams
The Alps are big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big they are.
Ok, nowhere near as big as the universe, but there’s still a lot of places in The Alps and a lot to do in those places.
But let’s say you’ve arrived in on particular place; one of the Les Arcs resorts sat just above the Tarentaise valley town of Bourg Saint Maurice.
To be exact, you’re in Les Arcs 1800, the biggest and arguably most interesting of the four resorts.
You’ve got a week here; maybe two. Yes, you’ve packed your snowboard (or maybe your skis, we don’t judge) but there’s a lot more to do in this bustling mountain resort than throwing yourself down the slopes.
Whether you’re planning a trip here, or sitting in your apartment trying to work out what to do with your time, there’s bound to be something in this list that takes your fancy.
1 – Ski/Snowboard
This one is a bit of a no-brainer really. It needs to be on the list because leaving it off would be even sillier.
Chances are, if you’re in Les Arcs, you’re here to strap on your skis or buckle into your snowboard and hit the slopes. The 264 miles of runs that surround the four resorts are famous as being some of the best in Europe, especially for snowboarding. You’ll find runs of varying ‘colours’ which correlate to skill level, so however much time you’ve spend on the slopes, there’ll always be something to challenge you.
2 – Check Out Mille8
After the last entry’s obvious place on the list, this one is a little more surprising. The Mille8 leisure facility is slap-bang in the middle of Les Arcs 1800, stretching up past some of the lower pistes. The main centre is an easy way from the resort, but to get to some of the outdoor activities you’d be as well getting one of the nearby ski lifts to take you up.
Inside the facility is a lovely leisure pool, complete with waterfalls and bubble areas. This is definitely a leisure pool, and you’ll usually find families relaxing in there after a long day of being outside.
You’ll also find the opulently-named ‘Wellness Area’ nestled onto the pool. It’s a fancy name that simply means ‘two saunas, two hamams, a tea room and one of the most idyllic relaxation rooms you’ll ever find’.
It’s also worth mentioning there’s a gym attached to the swimming pool; it’s small but pretty functional. I’ve rarely seen anyone but locals in there; who wants to go to the gym on holiday?
3 – Try The Local Cuisine
This one will happen pretty definitely; unless you bring a car-load of food with you, you’ll need to check out some of the restaurants in the resort at some point. This can be, I promise, a truly delightful experience.
Les Arcs 1800’s dining options are varied, if not particularly international. You’ll find a lot of places offering raclette, a traditional French dish comprised of potatoes and vegetables over which melted cheese is scraped. Yes, you heard me. Scraped. It’s a strange dining experience but it’s absolutely delicious. Many restaurants in Les Arcs also offer tartiflette; a dish of potatoes, cheese, bacon and onions. A pungent dish to the nose, but very tasty to the mouth.
Other local delicacies include the ever-present fondue (hunt around and you might find some interesting variations on this dish) and the simple but indefatigable crepes. You’ll be able to find more standard fare if your stomach craves it; burgers can be found at most restaurants, and there are a few local places famous for their homemade fries.
4 – Do Some Bowling
There’s a bowling alley tucked away in Les Arcs 1800. I say tucked away; it’s on the main street, it just took me a while to find it because I kept on looking on the wrong side of the road. It’s a nice little spot, a few lanes that are usually not too busy, and pool tables for those who are keen. A good way to spend a day off the slopes.
5 – Visit The Other Resorts
There are 3 other resorts besides 1800 in the area; Les Arcs 1600, Les Arcs 1950, and Les Arcs 2000. If you’re here for a week or two, they can all make lovely day trips to have a look at; especially 1950, the most recently built resort on the list.
Unlike the other three, 1950 has been built in a very traditional Alpine architectural style, making it very picturesque. It operates a ski-in, ski-out system so if you’re walking around, make sure you don’t get hit!
2000 is, of course, the highest of the resorts and most of best slopes can be found around there; meaning that if you’re a fervent skier or snowboarder, you’ll probably be up there anyway. It has some great attractions to check out; a healthy smattering of shops and a cinema to keep you entertained, and of course the views are spectacular at that height.
1600, the lowest resort, is a small place which boasts the honour of being the hub of transport on the mountain. There’s a free shuttle bus from 1800 to 1600, and another from 1600 which goes up to 1950 and 2000. In addition, the funicular (the curious diagonal train-elevator which goes down to Bourg Saint Maurice) is found in 1600, so this small resort sees a fair amount of traffic.
6 – Visit The Bars
Once you’ve spent your day on the slopes, eaten your way around France’s gastric offerings, and sampled the Apres-Ski from one of the terraces dotted around, you might want to sample the night-life that Les Arcs 1800 has to offer. And there’s a lot of it to sample!
If you’re after something traditional, ‘local’ and quiet, try Benji’s or Before Bar. You’ll get a pint and a seat at the bar, so it’s a bonus if you can chat fluent French to the bartenders there. If you can’t, and you’re after something a bit more upbeat, head to Bar King Mad; live DJ sets, lively clientele and a sometimes-too-loud set of speakers will negate the problem of speaking French. If you’re after something still more lively, Red Hot Saloon is the largest bar in Les Arcs 1800, and it can throw a party. Especially true when the students are in the resort; if you catch them at the right time, you’ll have the best night of your life.
Once 2am hits and these places all close down, it might be time to head to either of Les Arcs 1800’s two nightclub. At the top of the resort is Club 73; at the bottom is Le Carre. Honestly, these two are fairly similar; dance floors, cheesy music and far too much drink will blur your night into one long party.
So there you are. Hopefully this list has given you some ideas of how to spend your time in Les Arcs 1800 and the surrounding area! For a more detailed look at some of the other activities available in Les Arcs, check out the official page.