Mountain holidays aren’t just for winter – many resorts have heaps going on in summer too. Among our favourites is Arc 1950, built between 2003 and 2005 but in a traditional style, with a pretty square with a clocktower and gorgeous views of Mont Blanc. Best of all, it’s totally traffic-free, and for this reason as well as its small size, I’d imagine most parents will be happy to let older children wander around on their own. Most people drive to the resort but it’s easily accessed by train, then a whizzy little funicular up from Bourg St Maurice station.
There’s certainly plenty going on to justify the journey. Every Wednesday is themed. Pirate Day, while we were there, included fencing workshops, face-painting and a Pirates’ Ball. The previous week had seen the square transformed into a waterpark with inflatable slides.
Other free activities during the week include table-tennis and pétanque tournaments, supervised trampolining and a circus workshop. Those staying five nights or more can also take part in free archery lessons, fitness classes, guided walks and an introduction to mountain-biking for children. There’s also a spa with pools, steam room and outdoor sauna plus treatments for kids aged 6–12.
For parents who want to explore the mountain without little ones in tow, there’s a crèche/kids’ club (at a charge), while activities for older children and adults include mountain-biking (you can take your bike up on the lift and cycle downhill), white-water adventures and paragliding. Many lifts stay open in summer, so you can also go up to the glacier and see some snow.
The resort is made up of several residences with hotel services, giving you a good compromise between the convenience of a self-catering apartment and the pampering of a hotel. Free laundry rooms, for instance, are a big boon. We stayed in Manoir de Savoie with its outdoor pool with a terrace and loungers, two saunas, Jacuzzi and hamman. Nice touches made it feel more luxurious than your typical French apart-hotel – fluffy white robes and slippers, a midweek clean (or daily cleaning at an extra charge) and groceries delivered for your arrival.
Who needs the beach?!
Find out more about family holidays in Arc 1950, including our hand-picked family-friendly accommodation recommendations.