Les Arcs does not aim to offer Savoyard charm; it was developed to be a ski resort and has been planned and designed accordingly. It is considered to be one of the first “mega-resorts” with a large network of connections to the pistes. It is made of four resorts that are named after their altitude – Arc 2000, Arc 1800, Arc 1600 and most recently Arc 1950.
The architecture of the villages is very modernist and is often labelled as ‘avant-garde’ by visitors. Since 1999 however, the Ministry of Arts and Communication for the region introduced policies with an aim of preserving the architectural and urban heritage of the resort. The latest addition to the Les Arcs village, Arc 1950, which was completed in 2008, has been built following the traditional architecture that is usually found in the Alps and with a network of streets more reminiscent of a Savoyan village rather than a large ski resort.
Arc 1600 is directly connected to the Bourg Saint Maurice TGV station, which offers a direct link from Paris to the village. The village houses a myriad of shops and hotels, as well as meeting rooms. Its easy access using the TGV makes it a popular destination for business retreats and professionals.
The villages’ streets are lined with shops, restaurants, cinemas and large hotels, but are built in a compact manner. The villages on the resort are connected via shuttle buses and modern ski lifts. One of the benefits of it being a built-for-purpose ski-resort is that the slopes are right on your doorstep. The nightlife is fairly good in Arc 1800, although generally Les Arcs is not the most exciting après-ski in the Alps.
Les Arcs 1600
Les Arcs 1600 is a small village built on top of a funicular from Bourg Saint Maurice. The station of Bourg has direct TGV access to some of Europe’s largest metropolitan centres, including Paris, London, Brussels and Amsterdam. The village has many large apartment blocks sitting at the bottom of the slopes. It has many amenities such as cinemas and a disco, and the restaurants in town really cater to a family style. Often, those visiting Les Arcs 1600 appreciate the authentic village feel, which the rest of Les Arcs is sometimes said to lack.
Les Arcs 1800
Les Arcs 1800 is the largest of the villages that make up the ski resort of Les Arcs. It is very popular with younger more experienced skiers because of its convenient ski-in ski-out set up. It is made up mostly of larger apartment blocks, and not many high rises. In recent years, the village of 1800 has started to expand up the mountain, providing some more interesting propertie. Being so close to villages like Le Chantel, the properties in Les Arcs 1800 offer the same type of amenities but at a much lower price. They are extremely well linked to the other villages and provide a great outdoor playground, in the summer as well as in the winter.