Corbusier/Bauhaus architecture (love it or loathe it). Close to Geneva, large ski area & snow sure
Flaine resort guide - a general overview
In the early 1960's Marcel Breuer, the eminent Bauhaus architect (famous for the Wassily Chair made from tubular steel) was entrusted to create a ski resort that despite its confident architectural style would blend into the local topography of the mountainside. You will either love or loathe the large block style concrete buildings. However, as the resort has been built on separate levels (following the contours of the hillside) each is visually separated from the other creating a feeling of privacy and tranquillity.
More recently the Hameau de Flaine area has been built. Located on the outskirts of the main resort this area has been developed in a chalet style residential area. It still offers ski in ski out access to and from the main ski area.
Flaine Montsoleil was built in 2011 and sits between the Hameau de Flaine and the main resort. It too offers ski in ski out access and has been designed in a traditional alpine style, providing large residences containing self-catering apartments.
An ex-ski racer from Megeve designed the ski routes and the main lift lines and the whole ski area was designed with convenience very much in mind. 60 years on the Flaine ski area remains one of the best in the Alps with a wide variety of slopes suiting all standards from beginners through to off-piste experts.
The wider Flaine Grand Masif ski area (267kms of pistes) contains some of the prettiest ski villages in the French Alps, and is certainly worth exploring. The runs down to the valley floor villages of Samoens, Morillon and Les Carroz are long and interesting, descending through the tree line over 1,700 vertical metres from Flaine's highest mountain (2,480 metres).
The après ski scene has improved over recent years with a few more bars being introduced. Chalets in Flaine are few and far between, however, there are a few in the surrounding resorts well worth considering if you like your ski holiday to be on a more tranquil level.
Pros and Cons
- Varied slopes that cater for all levels of skiers & snowboarders
- Snow is very reliable especially in the main Flaine bowl
- Compact & mainly car-free village is conveniently right on the slopes
- Family friendly with good children's facilities. Lots to do off the slopes
- Short transfer time of just one hour from Geneva airport
- 1960's architectural style with large concrete blocks make Flaine less than pretty
- Limited nightlife options
Flaine Resort Restaurants
Lovely local specialities found throughout the resort. The Perdrix Noire in Le Foret area is recommended for friendly and pleasant service. Chez Daniel offers a good range of Savoyard specialities and is good with children. Brasserie Les Cimes is recommended for good local food, value prices and friendly service.
Flaine Mountain Restaurants
In the Flaine bowl there are a few restaurants above the resort's upper outskirts. The Grandes Platieres self-service has been recommended as 'friendly and reasonable' value. The rustic Blanchot, at the bottom of the Serpentine run, has 'friendly' staff and 'excellent food'. At Forum level, across the piste from the gondola, is the welcoming Michet with very good Savoyard food and table service. Up the slope a bit the Cascade is self-service with a good terrace. Epicea has a rustic atmosphere, a terrace and has had rave reviews. Up at the Foret level, the refurbished Bissac has a good atmosphere and good fare.
Flaine Apres Ski
The White pub is the most popular place to go after your day's skiing, where there is a big TV screen (mostly showing winter sporting events) and rock music playing long into the evening. The bowling alley is also popular and stays open until 2am. The Perdrix Noire (Black Grouse) is another popular bar with British and French holiday makers.
It is clear when visiting Flaine that it is mainly a family style ski resort. However, one can still eat and drink into the early hours if you wish to and the bars are quite lively. The White Pub in particular is the place to go for a good night out but it tends to quieten down around midnight. There is also a rather overpriced nightclub but the music is not always to everyone's taste.