The car free ski resort of Flaine in Le Grand Massif ski area of the French Alps is a modern resort that is a product of the 1960’s push for economical ski holidays.
Although not entirely without charm there is no escaping that this resort is all about skiing at an affordable price, which it does to perfection. At just over an hour from Geneva Airport and less than 30kms from the nearest motorway Flaine is also fabulously accessible.
The modern exterior hides a multitude of culture though, Flaine is not only home to some great cuisine but it also houses iconic art work and boasts several buildings of historical importance – taking the time to scratch below the surface to find the real Flaine reaps more than a few rewards.
Sat in the Haute-Savoie region Flaine is the main resort in Le Grand Massif area and is surrounded by over 265kms of slopes – sitting at 1600m (Flaine Forum) and 1700m (Flaine Foret) gives the resort perfect access to the surrounding snow which lies between 700 and 2580m; the 144 runs across the Grand Massif region vary hugely in difficulty making Flaine perfect for skiers of all abilities. The 77 lifts across Grand Massif ensure that skiers can quickly get around and can easily be where they want to be on the slopes.
Beginners have a unique opportunity in Flaine as one of the green runs is situated at the top station allowing for perfect views whilst they learn (although they will have to travel back to the resort via cable car); the rest of the green runs are all close to the main village centre and along with the excellent choice of two ski schools will soon have the novice skiers tacking the slopes.
Intermediates are really in their element in Flaines with access to over 100 red and blue runs, the red runs are particularly good for those looking to improve their skills, advanced skiers are fairly well catered for too with some interesting black runs, plenty of off piste and 70kms of cross country.
The French Savoyard specialities are served at many of the resorts restaurants and include the usual favourites of warm cheeses, cold cured meats and pastries, all fuel providing foods that can easily be stored through the winter months. Pizzeria Chez Pierrot in Flame Foret serves a great Savoyard menu and also does excellent pizzas whereas Black Grouse in Flaine Foret serves a hearty selection of grilled meats and fish.
Although a family friendly resort there are some good bars but those expecting the wild aprés ski atmosphere may well be disappointed, the resort is more about family activities with outdoor concerts and torchlight walks organised throughout the season; the cinema is open regularly as are the gym and pool that service the resort.
The accommodation tends to be of the concrete variety which is in keeping with the age of the resort and much of it is self catering, the ski to door culture is prevalent with most apartments and hotels being conveniently located. Flaine Foret is the place for the best choice of apartments from the budget Flaine Apartments to the much more luxurious Terasses de Veret.
Flaine Forum is better known for the larger hotels that encompass the family friendly feel, these generally have extensive children’s clubs and are well located for access to the ski schools and the lifts. Hotel Le Flaine is a great example of these family friendly hotels, with childcare, a well presented restaurant, leisure facilities and beautiful views over the Alps – this may not be a budget hotel but it offers much more for your money than similar accommodation in other more expensive resorts.
The ski season runs from Mid December until late April with good reliable snow throughout, 218 cannons are available to snow make and the chances of skiing being affected by the weather are minimal.
The first and last weeks of the season have limited access to the ski region but the reduced prices reflect this and for those willing to take a chance can offer a really good value ski holiday.