You're arrived in Les Arcs after flying, driving, catching the train or transfer bus, but how do you find your way around whilst you're here? We've put together this handy guide on the best way to get around so you can get to all the key places, and help you find your bearings quickly.
Les Arcs has a well-connected ski area, with a number of different attractions throughout its many resort villages. Find out how to get around once you're here, so you can easily travel between the villages and get the most out of your holiday.
For skiers at an intermediate level and above, the easiest way to get between resorts in the daytime is typically by skiing or snowboarding. A quick assessment of the piste lift map will give you a number of options for traversing from one side of Les Arcs to the other.
If you hold a full Paradiski ski pass you can also take the Vanoise Express from Plan Peisey to La Plagne. However, make sure you know when the last lift returns to Les Arcs, and give yourself plenty of time to catch it, as getting back from La Plagne can involve a costly taxi trip if you are stranded on the wrong side of the valley. All Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry ski passes (between 3 and 15 days) come with one free day in La Plagne so if you're .
It is always worth checking the most expedient way of returning to your “home” resort and the relevant last lift times to avoid unnecessary schlepping at the end of the day with ski-weary legs.
Even if you are not a very confident skier, or do not ski at all, it is possible to take some of the lifts both up and down the hill to travel between the resorts. If you do not already have a ski pass you will need to buy a pedestrian pass; there are various types available, from a single trip to six full days’ access.
You can travel between Arc 1800 and Arc 2000 by using both the Transarc cable-car and the Arcabulle covered chair-lift. Be aware that there is a walk from the bottom of the latter to the centre of Arc 2000 that some may find challenging. Arc 1950 and Arc 2000 are connected by the free Cabriolet gondola lift.
The funicular runs regularly between Bourg St Maurice station (at 840m altitude) and Arc 1600, stopping at two intermediary stations: La Grange and Montrigon. In the morning, it starts up at 07:30, long before the other ski lifts, with the last one in both directions at 20:00 (later on Saturdays). This allows people staying in Bourg St Maurice the chance to enjoy some on-mountain après-ski, and those staying in the higher resorts to do some post-piste shopping in the valley. Find timetables above.
Shuttle Buses (Navettes)
There are two local buses which are free and are timetabled to intersect with the funicular at Arc 1600. The first goes to Arc 1800, making a series of stops on the way to Les Villards on the far side of the resort, before returning. The second services Arc 1950 and Arc 2000. When the first funicular arrives at 07:40, the first bus departs, when the last funicular of the day arrives, the last bus leaves.
It is now also possible to get a free shuttle from Peisey-Vallandry to Les Villards in Arc 1800. This navette runs much less frequently than the ones above: in general terms, you cannot catch a bus when the ski lifts are open. In the evening approximately one bus an hour runs in either direction between 17:00 and 23:30 opening up the possibility of dinner and dancing in another resort village.
The Peisey-Vallandry side has some local free shuttles which operate throughout the day between various points in Plan Peisey, Vallandry, Peisey village, Nancroix and the Nordic Area at Pont Baudin (for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, dog-sledding and various other things). Find the timetables above.
Although there are a variety of pleasant walks in the Les Arcs area, only a couple of the resorts are linked by navigable footpaths in the winter. It is easy to walk between Plan Peisey and Vallandry however, due to a slight difference in altitude you will have to walk uphill in at least one direction (unless you get the free bus).
It is possible to walk from Vallandry to Arc 1800. The trip is via a road which only opens to buses during the ski season and takes approximately 45 minutes. If starting in Vallandry, take the pathway up from behind the ski school early-learner slope to avoid unnecessary walking around the winding roads. Going from Arc 1800 to Vallandry can be a little quicker as it is slightly downhill all the way.
You can walk from Arc 1950 to Arc 2000, as it is not far, but it is much easier to take the Cabriolet lift as mentioned above. There is no easy way of getting between Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Arc 1950/2000 by foot. Do not take the main roads between resorts as the proliferation of cars travelling up to 90km an hour can make this very dangerous indeed.
Unless you have good snow boots (and, often, even if you do) it may be worth investing in a pair of over-shoe “grippers” for walking around resort. These act like snow-tyres for your feet, giving increased purchase on snow and ice. These can be bought from most sports/ski hire shops in the resort villages.
Travelling by taxi is not the least-expensive option for getting around, but may be necessary if you are going on a night out in another village. All of the resorts have local taxis and it is always best to book ahead. Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 and Arc 2000 are fairly close by car, so should only involve around a fifteen minute journey at worst. If you travel from these villages to Bourg St Maurice it takes at least half an hour. Getting from either Peisey-Vallandry or Villaroger to the other Les Arcs resorts entails first going to Bourg St Maurice. At best, this will take around 30 minutes from either place.
If you are skiing to the other side of Paradiski try to avoid getting stranded in La Plagne as it will take at least an hour to get back to most Les Arcs resorts. Also, you may have to wait around for an available taxi.
If you have driven to Les Arcs, either in your own vehicle or a hire car, this gives you another option for travelling between the villages. There is free outside parking in Arc 1600, Peisey-Vallandry and Villaroger. The Arc 1800 car parks (including the indoor ones) are free for up to 4 hours, with the two covered car parks in Arc 2000 free for the first 2 hours. The Arc 1950 car park is pay-only, so it may be wise to leave the car at Arc 2000 and use the free lift. Of course, even a short journey can mean clearing half a metre of snow from the roof before you get started, so be prepared.
It is worth mentioning that Villaroger is the least accessible of the Les Arcs villages, by any means. After the ski lifts have closed, the best option for leaving the village is driving yourself or taking a taxi to Bourg St Maurice and then connecting to other villages from there.