La Plagne is a very popular choice for family ski holidays - it's great value for money, has purpose built family accommodations and family leisure complexes, and there are plenty of gentle ski slopes that are ideal for learning to ski.
La Plagne is made up of six distinct holiday villages. Aime la Plagne (2,100m), Belle Plagne (2,050m), Plagne Villages/Soleil (2,050m), Plagne Bellecôte (1,930m), Plagne Centre (1,970m) and Plagne 1800 (1,800m). All are pedestrianised with ski-in/ski-out accommodation or offer direct access to the ski slopes. You can take a shuttle bus (free, running every 15-20 minutes) between the villages so you can easily enjoy the entertainments in each resort.
There are also three outlying villages within the ski area - Champagny, Plagne Montalbert and Montchavin-Les Coches. These are smaller, traditional villages that offer a more tranquil ski holiday. They are also lower-lying than the resort villages and have their own local ski pass you can buy which are better value than the whole area ski pass - ideal for beginners.
Wherever you stay in La Plagne, make sure that your accommodation, ski hire and ski school meet-up points are all in the same locality so that getting to your ski school or the ski lifts is not too arduous - important when you are carrying more than one set of skis! Have a look at a Map of La Plagne Ski Area to see how everything is connected.
Accommodation for families
Taking the family on a ski holiday can be hard work so finding good family-friendly accommodation is essential to making life that little bit easier. Each resort in La Plagne has a small selection of hotels, chalets and apartments, many of which are family friendly.
Aime La Plagne
Ski-in/ski-out accommodation can be found in the higher resorts. Aime La Plagne is also one big distinctive apartment block and you will find a Club Med complex which has its own childcare facilities.
Plagne Villages, Plagne Soleil, La Plagne 1800 and Belle Plagne.
Belle Plagne is a more attractive resort, with traditional wood, stone and slate buildings, and fewer high-rises. Plagne Villages and Plagne Soleil are smaller and quieter places to stay with plenty of apartment accommodation. Plagne 1800 is a much prettier place, with traditional wooden chalets nestled in the mountainside.
Plagne Bellecôte, Plagne Centre and Plagne 1800
Plagne Centre is the biggest and liveliest of the resorts with Plagne Bellecôte also being a major hub consisting mainly of apartment accommodation. All are at the base of a selection of ski lifts, so you are never going to be too far away from your first ski run. Ski school can meet you in any of the resorts, but the main meeting areas are La Plagne Centre, Plagne 1800 and Belle Plagne.
Montalbert, Champagny and Montchavin
Quieter villages that have a more traditional feel. They are located at each corner of the La Plagne ski area and all are connected to this main area by ski lift. The new Vanoise Express double-decker cable car goes from Montalbert to Les Arcs ski resort, so if you are looking for the maximum amount of skiing, then it's a good place to base yourself.
Self catering apartments are plentiful in all of the resorts, and for chalets, the biggest selections are found in Montchavin and Plagne 1800.
Lift passes for families
Various family ski passes are available - essentially every family member pays the child's rate. Children under five ski for free (you still need to get them a pass - take some ID to the ski pass office to obtain one) and there are special beginner and pedestrian passes available. Take a look at our Ski Lift Pass Prices page or Lift Pass Offers for further information.
Ski schools for families
If you have designs on raising the next Shaun White or Chemmy Alcott, then getting your kids into ski school as soon as possible is going to be a priority! Ski schools will take children from three years old. If you want to teach your kids yourself, you can find out more about the nursery annd beginner ski areas in La Plagne in our guide. All ski equipment (and sometime ski clothing) can be rented at the ski hire shops in La Plagne, either when you arrive or you can book everything online in advance. They will need a helmet, mittens and goggles in addition to skis (poles are not initially needed for kids), and make sure the children have enough layers on to stay warm. Remember to apply sun cream to their faces before they start and place a snack and your phone number in their pocket, just in case.
For three and four year olds, the focus is on having fun in the snow and games are used as part of the teaching process. Their ski pass is free, just go to the lift pass desk with some ID to obtain the ticket. For children aged five and above, you can enrol them in courses according to their level, from beginners to good skiers who are nearing competition level.
There are several ski schools in each village offering ski lessons for children. They offer full and half day sessions with English speaking instructors and have dedicated areas for your kids to learn how to snow plough, stop, turn and glide. Your child's first experience on skis will be in a 'snow garden' where they can build their confidence whilst interacting with fun inflatables and characters, and by playing games. A 'magic carpet' travelator makes it easy for them to be taken up the slope, and drag lifts on the neighbouring nursery pistes will be introduced when they are ready. Three year olds and first-timers are likely to be satisfied with half day sessions, and all kids receive a medal at the end of their course.
Ski schools offer mainly weekly courses, so if you are here for only a few days then you will need to enquire when you arrive to see if there is any space for your kids on the days you are in resort. The alternative is to hire a private instructor for your dates.
Ski areas for families
La Plagne forms a part of the famous Paradiski ski area, with over 425km of pistes, a modern ski lift infrastructure and superb snow parks. Each resort has its own beginners areas with gentle slopes and slow drag lifts.
Plagne Centre, Belle Plagne and Plagne Bellecôte
There is a large snow park located above Belle Plagne that includes modules for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Even if you are not tempted in yourself, it can be great fun watching when there are competitions on. There is also a ski and boarder cross track, a half pipe, a pro half pipe and a big air bag. You can be filmed if you scan your ski pass at the start. A new area called the Fun Slope is located under the Arpette lift from Plagne Bellecôte. A cross between a boarder cross and slope style course, it's going to be a popular one with the teens.
At the nursery slope in there is a small children's snow zone with life sized models of fairies and dragons, a play area and music. With the lowest nursery areas being at 1,800m, you are guaranteed good quality snow to learn on.
You can find out more about which slopes are the best for beginners in our Beginner Ski Areas in La Plagne Guide. You can buy reduced price ski passes for the nursery areas, please see the Beginners Ski Pass section on our Lift Pass Prices page.
Activities for families
During the winter, if the kids are only skiing for half a day, then there are plenty of other activities available in La Plagne to keep them happy.
On the snow
There are dedicated sledging zones at Plagne Centre, Plagne Villages and Soleil, Montchavin, Champagny, Belle Plagne, Montalbert, Plagne Bellecôte and Plagne 1800. A kind of communal sledge known as Snake Glisse is available at Montchavin, Montalbert and Plagne Centre. For those above 140cm, there is a dedicated luge track called Colorado Ride above Plagne Centre - sledge and helmet are provided. Other activities you may like to consider for your children include snowman building, snowball fun, and if you want a real treat, try husky dog sledding where the little ones from the age of five can ride in a passenger sledge with you - there is usually only one passenger sled per outing, so book early to avoid disappointment.
There is an outdoor ice rink at Plagne Bellecôte and a covered one in Les Coches. You can rent skates and it's suitable for adults and children. Sticking with the ice theme, you can take an overnight stay in an authentic igloo, just up from Plagne Villages. Dinner and breakfast are included. And at the top of Plagne Bellecôte by the glacier, there is an ice grotto filled with ice sculptures (bear in mind this is at an altitude of 3,400m, so not suitable for babies).
There are indoor swimming pools in Plagne Bellecôte (you will also find an outdoor pool here!) and Montchavin, both offer swimming lessons for children and aqua-fitness classes. There is an indoor bowling alley in Belle Plagne which also has an amusement arcade, and cinemas in Bellecôte, La Plagne Centre and Champagny.
For adults that aren't quite so sure of the skiing, there are a number of spas you can try for some indulgence, as well as fitness classes, or perhaps some snow shoeing or winter walking trails. Pedestrian ski passes are available at a reduced rate so you can join the rest of your group up in the high mountains for lunch and spectacular views.
During the school holidays there will be plenty of child friendly events to explore. At Christmas, you can enjoy festive markets, parades, shows and Santa. Plenty more child friendly events are added to our events calendar throughout the ski season, so please do check it when you arrive.
Summer holidays in La Plagne are all about being active and there are a wealth of activities on offer here for all ages and members of the family. Our dedicated Guide to Summer Activities in La Plagne includes a section specifically on kids' activities with information on horse riding, short family hikes, high ropes courses, where to go swimming, nature parks, and numerous other fun things that will help make your family holiday as unique and memorable as possible!
Some of the ski hire shops in resort will rent out three-wheel buggies, and there are childcare companies who can also provide all the things you need for babies and toddlers. Check with your accommodation provider for high chairs and cots especially. Ski shops offers kids ski pack rentals, with skis starting at a length of 67cm and boot size 23EU. Some will also rent you sledges, strollers and sledge-strollers.
Children under three may be too little to try skiing so some help with childcare is essential if you plan on skiing yourself. The main winter establishments to help with childcare include the ski schools who cater for children who are three years and older. You can book your child in for full or half day programmes and lunch can also be provided for an extra charge. Each village has good childcare options, children's ski schools operate in each resort and independent nanny agencies are also available. Both of these should be booked well in advance of your holiday. Have a look at our childcare listings page for more information or you can contact the local tourist offices for a list of available babysitters. NB: There are several municipal crèches in the area but they are reserved for residents, so we have omitted them here.
You may find that the main sports centre of each town host a kids club during the summer holidays, normally from 1st July to 30th August, with activities such as swimming, climbing, tennis, basketball, ice-skating, etc. and organised hikes and picnics.
School holiday dates
France divides its school holidays into a regional timetable to ensure that the entire country doesn't go on holiday at once - however, this staggered system can mean that some months (particularly February) can be busy from beginning to end as one region after another arrives in resort! Chamonix is in Zone A.
- Zone A - Ain (01), Isère (38), Savoie (73), Haute-Savoie (74) Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes and Toulouse
- Zone B - Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Lille, Limoges, Nice, Orléans-Tours, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen and Strasbourg
- Zone C - Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris and Versailles
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