Montchavin, a picturesque ski resort

Montchavin © T.Joly
Authentic village surrounded by hundred of kilometres of slopes, Montchavin is a ski resort suited for everyone. It offers runs for skiers of all levels, a wide range of activities for the kids and thrill seekers can ride bobsleighs on an Olympic track.

[ Practical ]

Getting there
- Route
670 km from Paris on autoroutes A6, A46, A43 and A430 till Albertville then on N 90 and D 2250 till Montchavin
- Train
TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon to Landry, 10 km away from Montchavin.
Night train from Paris Austerlitz to Landry
Bus and taxi from Landry to Montchavin.
Lodging
- Les Coches
Résidence Maéva
Résidence Pierre et Vacances
Chalets de Wengen
Chez Pat du Sauget
- Montchavin
Hôtel Bellecôte
Chalet d’Anaïte
Village Val VVF
Restaurants
- Les Coches
Chez Pat du Sauget
Les Lauzes
- Montchavin
La ferme de César
Le Bellecôte
Ski lift passes
- Montchavin
1 day : €39
- La Plagne
1 day : €52
6 days : €265
- Paradiski
1 day : €60
6 days : €299
- Reduced rates for kids under 14 years old and seniors over 64 years old.
Information and bookings
- Savoie Mont Blanc
Sale of weekend packages including train + transfers + lodging
Tel : 0820007374, www.savoie-mont-blanc.com
- Office de Tourisme de Montchavin-Les Coches
Tel : 0479078282
www.montchavin-lescoches.com
La Plagne is often perceived as a gigantic and modern ski resort. It’s partially true. However its ski area also contains an authentic little village, Montchavin, where time’s arrow seems suspended in flight. Winding alleys are lined with traditional Savoy houses. The moos of the cows locked in a cowshed ring out in the night… The feeling to be off the beaten tracks is particularly vivid on early evening when everybody is back home and the streets are empty.


Montchavin © T.Joly
 Traditional architecture
The guided torchlight tours the Tourist Office organises around that time are enchanting. All the big hotels and residences are indeed situated on its edge or in the village of Les Coches. Located a bit higher at 1450 m of altitude, it was built from the ground on a spot where once only stood shepherds summer huts. But the new buildings fit the traditional architecture imitating chalets with stone, wood and roofs of lauzes. As a matter of fact the official name of the resort is Montchavin – Les Coches and the two villages are linked by a very convenient shuttle service running till 11 pm. It allows the tourists staying in one to enjoy the facilities of the other one. If both have bars and restaurants, only Montchavin has a movie theatre and a disco.
It’s hard to believe such a peaceful place is found at the feet of the slopes and in the heart of one of the largest ski areas of France.



La Plagne ski area © T.Joly
 425 km of slopes
And yet…. Only few hundred meters over Montchavin stands the departure of the Vanoise Express cable car that links together the ski areas of La Plagne and Les Arcs. Named Paradiski the ski area thus created offers 236 slopes with a total length of 425 km spreading between 1 200 and 3 250 m of altitude : 37 blacks, 65 reds, 129 blues and 11 greens. That’s plenty enough to please avid skiers for a week or more.
Having said that La Plagne offers already by itself a large diversity of slopes and difficulties with 130 runs totalling up 225 km situated between 1 250 and 3 250 m of altitude : 10 greens, 69 blues, 33 reds and 18 blacks. The tracks through the forests or on the flank of narrow valleys, the vast snow fields covering the alpine meadows and, above, at the top, the more technical runs of the Chiaupe glacier, or the ones zigzagging between rocks, allow skiers of all levels to have fun and to enjoy the scenery.



Mont-Blanc © T.Joly
 Breathtaking views
And from the place named L’Arpette the descent to Montchavin combines wooded ways with breathtaking views over the Tarentaise valley and the Mont Blanc rising in the background. This sector squares with the Montchavin ski area, ideal for easy going skiers, that is made up of 20 runs 40 km in length. It also includes a snowpark with border cross run, rainbow tails, fun box, tables,… Several altitude restaurants are also found there and some of them are accessible to the pedestrians who come to enjoy the magnificent panorama or to have lunch with friends skiing. At 1650 m of altitude, one of them, Chez Pat du Sauget, also rents six rooms including two facing the Mont-Blanc.
However, to wander around and discover the nature it is better to wear snowshoes. It gives access to more paths and the woods surrounding Montchavin offer a nice setting. In addition, with a guide, it is possible to explore the nearby Parc de la Vanoise where it’s common to spot ibex and chamois.



Montchavin © T.Joly
 Bobsleigh runs
On the other hand the topography of the area doesn’t make really good to cross country skiing even if there are 16 km of specific trails. Furthermore Les Coches has a 800 sq meters covered ice rink and around its artificial lake a track where to do joering ski has been set up. This winter sport in which the skier is pulled by a horse is every year more popular.
For more thrills the Tourist Office organises trips to La Plagne to practice bobsleigh on its Olympic track. Unique in France and maybe in the world, this activity is almost open to everyone. Indeed it exists a formula with 4 seated bobs equipped with automatic breaking and guiding system on which kids are allowed from 14 year old and even younger on condition to be at least 1, 30 m high and to be accompanied by an adult. It nevertheless speeds up to 80 km per hour !!! And over 16 year old it is possible to be alone on board of a bob reaching up to 90 km per hour. For even more adrenaline, from 18 year old you can board a bob used for competition with a professional driver and reach up to 100 km per hour.



Montchavin © T.Joly
 Cultural tours
The Tarentaise valley being only 10 km away, cultural tours are also organised to discover artists and craftsmen living there as well as baroque churches and mountain farming, in particularly farms where Beaufort cheese is produced. Tours to be done in family or between adults only as there are a wide range of services available for children. Two nurseries, one in Les Coches, the other one in Montchavin, welcome 6 months to 3 year old kids and offer them indoor and outdoor activities. As to the 3 to 9 year old they have the choice between the Club Neige, where they may indulge in learning the mountain, snow and indoor games, and the Club Ski that also includes from 1 h 15 to 2 h 30 of ski lessons per day. Lastly 9 to 12 year old teenagers can spend the whole day on the slopes with a qualified instructor. Of course there are also ski schools and sledge tracks where parents and kids can have fun together. Montchavin well deserves its label “Famille Plus” and is definitely a destination for everyone.

November 09, 2017
Thierry Joly