La Plagne Transfers
If you Google 'How long does a transfer take from Geneva Airport to La Plagne?' you will get a variety of results back, from a nippy 2.5hrs to the best part of 3.5hrs. This isn't because taxi and transfer companies are stretching the truth, it's because La Plagne isn't just one place, it's actually a collection of 11 resorts and villages that make up what is officially known as Grande Plagne ski area.
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And the whole domaine is vast. It stretches from Montchavin at the western extremity, to Plagne Montalbert in the east, whilst up and over all the main summits of La Plagne is Champagny-en-Vanoise, which is just a snowball's throw from Tignes. Resorts vary from 1250m in altitude to 2050m, hence the difference in transfer times.
Everything you need to know about La Plagne
Most people love La Plagne because it's so easy. No, we're talking about the actual pistes, but that fact that everything you need is on hand here in La Plagne. That's because the whole resort was meticulously planned, after the local Mayor of Aime decided the pastures above his village with their mix of snowfall and sunny aspect were perfect for being developed into a ski resort, especially as agriculture was in decline.
So in 1961, what is now Plagne Centre opened with two drag lifts and four pistes, closely followed by Plagne Aime 2000 in 1968 and Plagne Villages in 1971. All were purpose-built 'integrated' resorts, which means you get proper ski in/ski out accommodation (in fact many of the residences just seem to appear in the middle of pistes!), underground car parks with direct access to buildings and internal galleries of shops so you can wander around without getting snowed on.
At best the style of the buildings can be described as 'functional' in many of the resorts, but let's face it, if you're nice and cosy inside looking out at the crisp snow falling you don't care what the place looks like from the outside! It also means La Plagne lacks the snobbishness that belies many a modern ski resort and people just get down to the business of skiing and having fun.
And you've got loads of pistes to discover in La Plagne. Since 2003, the area has been linked to Les Arcs by the impressive Vanoise Express cable car between Montchavin (La Plagne area) and Plan Peisey/Vallandry (Les Arcs) to create Paradiski.
Mind you, there's plenty to keep most skiers and boarders happy in the La Plagne area alone with a thigh-burning 225km of pistes, with 18 black runs, 33 red runs, 69 blues and 10 green slopes. There are 359 snow cannons to assure those home runs all season long and the resort altitude ranges from 1250m right up to the glacier at 3250m.
Having said that, it's definitely worth paying an extra 20-odd euros to upgrade to the Explorer lift pass that gives you a day in Les Arcs to satisfy your curiosity and take a ride in the impressive double decker cable car!
All the villages and hamlets of La Plagne
So, if you're looking into booking a ski holiday to La Plagne and are not sure which is the area for you, you'll hopefully find our lowdown of each resort pretty useful. And whilst you're trying to narrow your decision down, there's no need to worry about how you get to each resort, as at Mountain Drop-offs we have competitively priced private transfers to all the resorts and villages of La Plagne from Geneva Airport, so wherever you decide to stay, we can take you there.
La Plagne offers both those high-altitude, purpose-built resorts, as well as more traditional villages:
Plagne Centre - the original resort and some say still the best, as it is the crossroads to all the Plagne resorts, pistes and lifts. It's still a collection of rather high-rise residence blocks, but at 1970m, it's a very much snow-sure resort under the watchful eye of the impressive Grande Rochette peak behind.
Plagne Aime 2000 - at 2100m the imposing main building looks like a cruise liner perched on the mountain. It's not pretty, but just think of those views from the upper floors and it's linked day and night to Plagne Centre by the Telemetro cable car. You might also know the resort as Aime 2000 or Aime-La Plagne.
Belle Plagne - despite being at 2050m, this part of resort is more relaxed and has a more alpine feel to it, with a that traditional Savoyard style. It's still purpose-built though of course, and sits in a bowl pretty much in the middle of the whole domaine.
Plagne Bellecote - just down from Belle Plagne, the hamlet at 1930m is pretty much made up of one huge, curved building that resembles a dam barricading the valley when seen from the pistes. It's the choice for those wanting to maximise slope time, as offers direct access to the glacier and the snowpark.
Plagne 1800 - enjoys a forest setting below and between Centre and Bellecote with low-rise apartment blocks and individual chalets all nestled around pine trees. The area was originally settled as a lead mining village and is the closest resort to the famous Olympic bobsleigh piste.
Plagne Villages/Plagne Soleil - these two neighbouring hamlets both at 2050m have smaller residences with staggered roofs that seem to perch of the edge of the pistes and you ski around them! Villages dates back to 1972, whilst Soleil is more modern in style, having been developed in 1990.
Aside from the high up stuff, La Plagne also boasts more traditional village resorts such as Plagne Montalbert on the edge of the forest at 1350m with cute stone and wood chalets and direct lifts to the main ski area. The obvious advantage here is that your Mountain Drop-offs transfer will get you here from Geneva Airport in well under three hours as there are fewer kilometres of winding mountain roads to do.
Then there's Montchavin les Coches offering a great view of the Mont Blanc Massif above Chamonix, small pedestrian streets and low-rise alpine chalets, whilst still keeping the essential ski in/ski out going and the shorter journey time to and from the airport too.
Finally there's Champagny en Vanoise, which is hidden in a valley of its own at 1250m, leading to the gorgeous Vallon de Champagny le Haut which is a nature reserve area providing cross country skiing and ice climbing in winter, as well as alpine skiing pistes linked to the main areas of La Plagne. Be aware that if you stay here, the transfer will take you in the opposite direction to most La Plagne resorts and will be longer.
Wherever you decide to stay you will find La Plagne is vast with skiing and boarding for every ability, excellent ski schools and childcare, interesting activities for non-skiers and some lively apres-ski too. No, it may not be the most charming looking of resorts, but the facilities and easily accessed ski areas make it a perfect choice.
All altitude ski areas we've talked about are linked by pistes and a free shuttle bus service that runs from 8am to midnight everyday during winter, so once in resort you really don't need a car. We advise a private airport transfer straight to your door from Mountain Drop-offs and leave the car at home!