La Plagne

Ski Resort in France

Introduction

La Plagne is a purpose built resort, made up of 11 different villages, each with their own style and greatness. The ski resort is set at a high altitude, ranging from 1800m up to 3250m. La Plagne is linked to Les Arcs via the impressive Vanoise Express to make up the the Paradiski area, a massive 425km ski and snowboard playground.

La Plagne lies at altitudes between 3,250 metres (10,660 ft) (on the Glacier de la Chiaupe near the top of Bellecôte) and 1,250 m (4,100 ft) (in the village of Montchavin). La Plagne has 100 km2 (39 sq mi) of ski area spread across four communes (Aime, Bellentre, Champagny-en-Vanoise and Mâcot-la-Plagne). La Plagne has 225 kilometres (140 mi) of slopes (134 slopes: 15 black/expert, 30 red/advanced, 72 blue/intermediate, and 10 green/beginner), and a large off piste skiing area including Bellecôte's North Face. La Plagne is a modern ski resort with 2 cable-cars: the Telemetro, linking Plagne Centre and Aime-La Plagne and the Vanoise Express (which links La Plagne to Les Arcs, was opened in 2003, and travels at over 40 km/h (11 m/s; 25 mph), making it one of the fastest of its kind in the world, 8 gondolas, 36 chairlifts (2 8-seater, 11 6-seaters, 19 4-seaters, and 5 2-seaters) and 38 drag lifts.

La Plagne is the most popular ski resort in the world with more than 2.5 million visitors a season on average.

La Plagne info card

Resort Altitude2100m
Highest Lift3250m
Total Piste225km
Longest Run6km
Directions of SlopesN/E, S/W, N/W, N
Total Lifts105
Gondolas/Cable cars9
Chairlifts36
Drag Lifts60
Snow Parks1


Best time to visit La Plagne

With 70% of the Paradiski above 2000m including the Bellecote and La Chiaupe glaciers, La Plagne has access to some of the best snow conditions in the Alps. The artificial snowmaking here is state of the art, with a hoard of snow cannons and piste maintenance machines making sure the slopes are ship shape. All this has added up to a history of reliable snow from December through to April, and sometimes you can even ski the glaciers in the summer months. For the sunniest skiing at the beginning of the season, we love the south-facing slopes around Champagny. Towards the end of the season, some of the best spring skiing can be found up on the Bellecote above 3000m.


La Plagne Villages & Resorts

Plagne Centre (1,970 m)

When it comes to Plagne Centre, the clue is in the name, if you want to be at the centre of the La Plagne universe, Plagne Centre is where it’s at.

A hub of activity and the biggest by far of the La Plagne villages, Plagne Centre has everything you need for a great holiday. Packed full of amenities all accessible through indoor tunnels including grocery shops, bakery and delis, tabac, souvenir, clothing and equipment stores, ski hire, service and ski schools, internet café and more places to eat and drink than you can get through in a week, you would be forgiven for never venturing further than Plagne Centre, but if the urge takes you to get out and about to other villages it couldn’t be easier.

Plagne Centre hosts a convergence of runs and lifts rivalled only by Bellecote. The new and improved Becoin lift is fast opening up the Mont Albert side of the resort and has at its peak the Cretes drag which affords access to some epic black runs and one of La Plagne’s best powder bowls. The Grande Rochete pedestrian friendly bubble offers amazing views, reds, blacks and easy blue access to the south side of the mountain.

Bellecote is quickly accessible several ways and from there you’ve got lifts to the glacier, Montchavin and the Vanoise express to Les Arc. For beginners Plagne Centre can't be beaten, it is the meeting point for most ski schools, has a beginner area with drag lift, snow garden and the longest green run in resort serviced by its own slow speed beginner chair lift. Once you’re off the greens hit the Colorado chair for some cruisey blues and La Plagnes unique Purple Piste..Home of the Milka cow who, when chased will distribute chocolate to all who want it regardless of age or ski ability!

Plagne Centre has it all going on for all ages and all kinds of holidays but in between the activities, shopping, eating and drinking please, do try and remember you are living slope side and it’d be a crime not to be up for first lifts in the morning!

Aime-La Plagne (2,100 m)

The village is dominated by a gigantic pointy-topped building, which - built to emulate the surrounding mountain peaks, is for better or worse one of La Plagne’s most recognisable landmarks. It is packed with self-catering apartments whilst the ground floor consists of shops, conveniences, bars and restaurants. There is a Spar, tabac, souvenir and clothing shops, speciality cheese and meat stalls as well as plenty of ski hire, service shops and ski schools.

There is an easy blue run down the hill to Plagne Centre, a choice of long blues and reds down to Montalbert and in the centre of the village there are two beginner ski areas complete with beginner draglifts. The newly upgraded Becoin lift running straight up from Plagne Centre discharges skiers a short blue run away and also affords easy access to the collection of black runs dropping off the back of the mountain, whilst from 1800 it’s a two lift connection back to Aime 2000.

The best thing about Aime La Plagne – aside from its piste side location, is its elevation, the accommodation has epic views out over the valley, surrounding mountains and Mont Blanc, the height also gives it the advantage of sunshine! Not being in the shadow of the mountains means you keep the sun substantially longer than nearby Plagne Centre, perfect for after ski drinks on your balcony.

A quick warning – don’t confuse Aime La Plagne (2000) with the town of Aime, situated at the base of the mountains, it is not part of the resort and is one heck of a walk from the chair lifts!

Champagny-en-Vanoise (1,250 m)

Champagny-en-Vanoise is one of the Alp’s best kept secrets, once a rustic farming village its has seamlessly grown and expanded to become a thriving alpine town populated year round and offering a breathtaking holiday spot in winter or summer.

Champagny has all the amenities you require including grocery shops, bakery, deli, small souvenir and clothing stores, several sports shops, ski hire and service outlets and a cinema with regular English screenings. There are several ski school options available and an independent childcare centre.

Champagny is a great spot for all standards of skiers, the cable car disembarks amidst a plethora of blues perfect for intermediates, there are many red runs some of which are extremely challenging, several blacks including un-pisted trails and also a boarder cross course. There is a beginner area including snow garden at the top of the cable car and this is also where ski schools meet to begin lessons. All these exceptional off piste areas are accessible using the ‘village sector’ ski pass for Champagny-en-Vanoise. For those carrying the La Plagne or Paradiski pass Plagne Centre is one chair and two runs away from the top of the cable car, if you’re after a real leg stretcher you can take three lifts to Bellecote and from there race down to the Vanoise express over to Les Arcs, well worth a day trip but you have to be aware of your timing as its a long way and a lot of lifts back to Champagny at the end of the day.

To return to Champagny you can get the cable car down or there are two ski runs back, please note that they are both very long technical reds so if you’re not competent be sure to take the lift. If you can ski them however do so, Mont de la Guerre is an incredible run, one of the best in resort and Le Bois, shorter but more technical is serviced by snow cannons to keep it open as late in the season as possible. The Southern slopes of resort are beautiful but they are naturally the first ones to begin to melt, the mountain staff do their best to keep Champagny accessible, whilst the two runs right down to the town may be beyond their help they do ensure that the runs to and from the top of the cable car are well groomed and enjoy great coverage until the end.

Champagny is an accessible yet off the beaten track spot for a holiday, secluded and peaceful, with access to all manner of activities and adventures your holiday here can be as relaxing or adrenaline fuelled as you like.

Montchavin (1,250 m)

The rustic working mountain village of Montchavin is situated at 1250m and Les Coches  Village/Ski Station at 1450m. It is north facing so keeps its snow much longer than southern facing Champagny.

That plus the judicious positioning of snow cannons make it possible to ski into Montchavin late into the season, if at any point it does become impossible there is a cable car that runs to nearby village and ski station of Les Coches, which at 1450m retains its snow longer and affords access all season to Montchavin.

For those of you looking at the village sector lift pass for Montchavin/Les Coches you have access to three large beginner zones at different altitudes, accessible by bubble lifts, a multitude of lengthy blue and red runs including the Mont Blanc run, longest in La Plagne, beautiful and varied from top to bottom. Several black runsare there if you hunt them out, there’s a boarder cross track, huge opportunity for off piste and large cross-country ski areas.

Montchavin is a fully functioning village with everything you will need for your stay, a grocery store, bakery and deli, souvenir shops, clothing and equipment stores, multiple ski hire and service outlets, doctors (in Les Coches), pharmacy, cinema and a well-being centre with pool, jacuzzi, sauna and massage suite which is perfect for an afternoon off or at the end of your ski day.

There’s something to suit everyone in family friendly Montchavin/Les Coches, excellent ski area, activities, amenities, bars, restaurants and a touch of night life, you can be as busy as you want on a holiday in this village that prides itself on its family atmosphere.

Montchavin/Les Coches are well placed near the Vanoise Express giving access to explore Les Arcs ski area.

Plagne Bellecôte (1,930 m)

Plagne Bellecote is linked via shuttle bus to Plagne Centre and 1800 and by bubble to Belle Plagne. It's packed with accommodation, restaurants, shops, activities and events Plagne Bellecote rivals Plagne Centre as the hub of the whole resort scene.

Unbeatable for piste access, Bellecote village is host to a convergence of runs coming from all directions and with four chair lifts, one drag and one bubble lift all heading off to different ski areas and all within a stones throw of each other plus a beginner’s ski zone complete with magic carpet lift you can really get the most out of your skiing from here.

Les Coches (1,450 m)

Opened in 1980 as a modern satellite to Montchavin, a traditional Alpine farming community. Family ski resort now at the centre of the Paradiski circuit and next to the Vanoise Express cable car, also linking into the La Plagne area by a four man high speed chair (Plan Bois). Offers many delightful runs down through extensive larch forests. Much high quality, principally self-catering, accommodation

Montalbert (1,350 m)

Montalbert, situated on the far right side of the piste map at 1350m is a charming village built mostly in traditional alpine style and enjoying stunning views out across the valley.

Montalbert is currently rather a hidden gem on the mountain, it is several lifts away from Plagne Centre and the furthest point away from the Vanoise Express so holiday makers looking to experience the whole of the Paradiski area tend to set up camp in the other villages. However with the upgrade to the Becoin chair lift, (Plagne Centre’s main link to Montalbert) a ride that used to take twelve minutes now only takes five and skiers are discovering the often neglected right half of the piste map with it’s beautiful tree runs, powder fields and large cross country ski areas. It’s low altitude can be a problem in low snow times but it’s northern outlook helps it keep its snow longer than some slopes and the prudent positioning of snow cannons keeps the runs open and the village accessible all season.

All of these elements are accessible on the ‘village sector’ ski pass for Montalbert, an option well worth looking into. For those holding a La Plagne pass it is a three-chair connection to Plagne Centre and from there the rest of the resort is easily accessed. At the end of the day you need only take the Becoin chair up from Plagne Centre and then it is one very long blue or red run home.

Plagne 1800 (1,800 m)

Plagne 1800 is one of the prettiest villages of La Plagne affording the onlooker a traditional vista of wooden snow topped chalets clustered about a few steep turns of la Plagne’s hairpin road.

Family friendly 1800 offers a small, beginners ski area, where lessons take place, whilst the Melezes and 1800 chairlifts connect the village with the rest of the resort via Plagne Centre and Aime 2000 respectively. The runs back into the village from the surrounding area are a mixture of reds and blues offering wide highway pistes and narrower winding ones, these runs can become busy and somewhat messy in peak season as they are high traffic areas, but with care and a little off-piste can provide access to – or close to most accommodation.

There is a range of accommodation available in 1800 from private chalets and apartments to full service hotels.

1800 offers a little bit of everything and anything else you fancy is never far away.

Belle Plagne (2,050 m)

The largest of the three high altitude villages in La Plagne is Belle Plagne, situated at 2050m. It is also one of the most attractive places to stay. Pedestrianised in the centre and made up of traditional wood, stone and slate buildings Belle Plagne will give you a real feeling of being immersed in the mountains.

The runs surrounding Belle Plagne are wide open family friendly blues affording you access to the children’s snow garden, beginner ski area, lift to the snow park and all the way down into Bellecote from where you have chairlift access to the rest of the resort. Both ESF and Oxygene ski schools have bases here helping your lessons get off to an easy start.

When you’re not bombing down the pistes or admiring the stunning views from your accommodation take a minute to check out the village and all its charms. Belle Plagne has no shortage of amenities with souvenirs, grocery and clothing shops, multiple ski service and ski hire outlets as well as restaurants and bars to explore at your leisure.

It's a beautiful village and with a snow guaranteed, Belle Plagne is the place to be for serious skiing and serious scenery, family friendly, great restaurants, happening nightlife and a bowling alley too, you can't go wrong with Belle Plagne!

Plagne Soleil (2,050 m) & Plagne Villages (2,050 m)

Plagne Villages and Plagne Soleil are La Plagne’s two smallest villages but rival Belle Plagne for the honour of highest, they are situated a hop up from Plagne Centre at the dizzying snow sure heights of 2050m which makes for stunning views out across the valley to Mont Blanc.

They are peaceful secluded villages, and each contains a small Spar supermarket, a couple of ski hire outlets, ski schools & adventure companies, Plagne Villages has a tobacconist/souvenir shop but for any other shops you will need to visit one of the larger villages.

The two villages are situated amidst several blue runs, which lead down into Plagne Centre from which you have complete access to the rest of resort, which means that you can start your day with a ski run rather than a chair lift. Returning to your accommodation couldn’t be easier as there is easy access to those same blue runs from Plagne Centre and Bellecote and the villages are well signposted from the lifts and at forks in the runs. There are small beginner ski areas in both villages and a meeting point for ski lessons in Plagne Village.

Plagne Villages and Plagne Soleil offer a great alternative to the larger villages for a quieter holiday, at a cheaper price, the necessities are there with adequate amusements available and Plagne Centre is close by if you want it, but if not you can relax in peaceful semi seclusion and enjoy a laid back holiday with great ski access.


La Plagne Ski Resort

La Plagne is extensive and an ideal ski holiday destination and caters for all abilities. Children are well catered for at La Plagne, with nurseries in most of the villages, providing convenience for your ski holidays in La Plagne.

There are more than 50 restaurants to choose from in the resort, and after dinner, there are 10 night clubs where you can party the night away during your ski holidays in La Plagne. Other amenities you can enjoy during your ski holidays in La Plagne include an ice rink and outdoor heated pool at Plagne Bellecôte and ten pin bowling at Belle Plagne.

Champagny lies to the South of La Plagne and has good links into the skiing above Plagne Centre and Plagne Bellecôte. It is a traditional village and is an ideal back door resort. Les Coches (1450m) is a modern resort built in chalet style. It has a good atmosphere and benefits from its own ski school and kindergarten.

Day trips to Les Arcs are easy, especially now with the connecting gondola. For those willing to travel a little further then trips to Val d'Isere, Tignes, and the Three Valleys, all of which are covered for a day with a six-day pass.

There is a regular and free bus that runs between Bellecotte, Plagne Centre and Plagne 1800 which make access between the villages very easy. The bus runs until midnight so that holiday makers can experience the nightlift in the various villages during their stay plus gondoloas between Belle Plagne to Bellecote and Aime La Plagne to Plagne Centre stay open late too for pedestrians.

Non-skiers can still access many of the high points of La Plagne. With a pass, non-skiers can take the gondola up to the glacier as well as take the Grande Rochette cable car up at Plagne Centre to experience the views and mountain resturants and take the Telemetro cabin to Aime La Plagne.


Skiing in La Plagne

There are plenty of nursery slopes with access to free beginner lifts for those new to skiing. This is complimented by a wide choice of different ski schools ready to cater to your particular needs. The slopes around the Belle Plagne area are particularly suitable for beginners, with the blue run linking Les Bauches to Montchavin, providing a manageable step up in difficulty from the nursery slopes.

For those who class themselves as intermediate standard skiers this really is paradise. 77% of the runs are graded either blue or red. A particular favourite is the run from La Grand Rochette to Champagny. The La Plagne main bowl offers plenty of wide motorway pistes to practice your carving and there is an interesting run from Roche de Mio back to Belle Plagne.

More advanced skiers will enjoy 18km of black runs, with the best found on the glacier at Bellecotes. The black run from the glacier down to Montchavin descends 2000 metres and will provide a great challenge to anyone. In addition, there are extensive opportunities for off piste skiing. If you really want to get serious, get an off piste mountain guide for a real adventure and pick up plenty of useful tips for skiing in powder snow.

La Plagne's snowboarding offerings keep getting better with ever more parks and a new boarder Cross. There are terrain parks at Belle Plagne, Montchavin and Champagny. Bellcote has a halfpipe. The 7-3 snowpark has an unprecedented combination of modules spread over a 900 meter-long freestyle run, very American in design! There are plenty of wide open cruising runs, but some flat spots, so boarders may have to do a bit of walking. Get some guidance from one of the ski schools to find the best powder fields.


La Plagne Apres Ski

This is an exceptional resort for unique après ski opportunities. Spend the night in the Black Sheep Igloos, facing Mont Blanc, complete with a fondue meal and a morning wakeup call with breakfast. If this isn’t your idea of fun then ice climbing in Champagny and husky sledding are also on offer. One experience not to be missed is the bobsleigh track, used for Olympic training. There are a variety of ways you can choose to go down it, but they are all guaranteed to give you a thrill as you will hurtle down at speeds ranging from 80 km/hr all the way up to 120 km/hr. Children will also enjoy the outdoor skating rinks and the chance to go swimming in the outdoor heated pool.

With 11 villages, there is plenty of variety in terms of lively nightlife. The Spitting Feathers bar, in Plagne Bellecote, is a great choice for live sports. Not only are there 3 separate happy hours, starting from 5pm, but a minibus can also pick you up and drop you back in any one of the 6 high altitude villages in La Plagne.

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional then the Camp de Base bar at the bottom of the Montchavin bubble is very popular with the locals. It also serves a special beer, fermented from the genepi flower that grows on the hill. It is very delicious but very strong! In total there are 50 après ski bars and 5 night clubs, as well as 5 cinemas and a bowling alley, so you will never struggle to find some form of entertainment.

You can expect to find the usual range of foods that are offered in French Ski resorts. There are 93 restaurants to choose from with excellent choices on and off the slopes. On piste, you can get a cheap burger, chips and a drink at McCotes in BelleCotes, or if you are looking for a speciality of the Savoie region, Chalet des Verdons Sud above Champagny does some great food with a modern twist.


Families in La Plagne

La Plagne is a really family friendly resort; there are a total of 17 free lifts for beginners and lots of different ski schools to choose from, making it a great place for little ones on the slopes. As well as all this there are lots of different childcare options available so adults can have some real fun tearing up the mountain for a couple of hours whilst the kids are thoroughly entertained in a kids club. There are a range of off-slope activities too - from swimming to the cinema to keep children amused as well as special events on peak dates such as Christmas and Easter like the annual Easter egg hunt and the theatrical visit from Pere Noel at Christmas. We have a great range of accommodations to suit all types of families, whether you want a self-catered apartment with a great location, somewhere near the slopes or a catered chalet that will take all of the workload off you, so you can all relax and maximise quality family time!


Group Holidays La Plagne

La Plagne is well suited to group skiing as the vast ski area ensures that there is a range of terrain for all levels of skier and ‘boarder, making it great for groups of mixed abilities. There’s also a great range of activities such as bobsledding, swimming and shopping if you’re planning to take any non-skiers with you. The accommodation is extremely varied in La Plagne, with 11 different villages to choose from, and we offer hotels, chalets and self-catered apartments to suit any group. Our range of catered chalets will offer you a really personalised holiday; find one with the right size for your group to ensure that you avoid paying supplementary fees. Check out the different villages in resort to find out which has the best accommodation and nightlife to suit all the members of your group. Look out for special offers to take advantage of group discounts and free holidays for group leaders.

Transportation - Get In

If you are travelling from outside of France, then flying into Chambery is likely to be the quickest way to get to La Plagne. La Plagne is then a transfer (taxi or minibus) or a bus ride away from the airport, unless you're driving yourself.

Chambery is the closest airport (1h 30 mins) and has a good choice of airlines operating in winter only. The next closest airport at Grenoble is a little further away (2 h 15 mins) and is also only used in winter. If you're looking for summer flights, Lyon or Geneva are your best options as they have flights all year round.

You can also get the fast TGV trains to Paris or Lyon and then onto Aime or take one of the dedicated 'snow trains' which run throughout the ski season.


Airports

In winter, there are four main airports you could fly into (see below) whilst in summer, flights only operate to Geneva and Lyon.

Airports close to La Plagne
ChamberyGrenobleLyonGeneva
1h302h552h152h50
117km190km194km196km

Chambery Airport is where most Tour Operators fly into in winter although you can get independent flights here too. Once you’ve arrived, we recommend you take a private transfer to resort as this is easier and faster than taking lots of connections on public transport.

Grenoble airport is also used by a number of winter tour operators and again we'd recommend a private transfer to resort.

Lyon Airport is also a viable option, sitting somewhere between Grenoble and Geneva in all respects - geographically, for passenger and flights volumes, flight pricing, although transfer times are a little longer and therefore slightly more expensive.

Geneva Airport is extremely well connected from most UK and European cities, year round. Flights to Geneva are much more competitively priced because of higher passenger volumes and you can pick up Swiss chocolate and fancy Swiss watches on your way through!

Once you’ve arrived at the airport you’ll need a transfer to La Plagne, which you can do via private taxi or minibus, hire car, coach, train or public buses. Travel times vary for each airport, as do the respective transfer costs.


Flights

There are an increased number of international flights to the above airports during the winter months, operating from December to March/April. In summer, the same airlines fly out here but your choice of departure and arrival airports is reduced. Use our Flight Finder via the link below to search for the best flights for your trip.

If you’re bringing sports equipment with you, don’t forget to check how much extra the airline might charge you for carriage and give yourself extra time to get this additional equipment checked in. Often the excess baggage areas are separate from the main check in desks, so make sure you get there with plenty of time to potentially do two check-ins. You should be able to find out more information about prices and check in desks either on the airline website, on your tickets or email confirmation.


Transfers to Resort

Once you reach the airport, bus or train station, the most popular option for onward travel to La Plagne is to take a transfer minibus. Most transfers for La Plagne are offered on a private basis although shared transfers are also available.

Alternatively you can catch on of the public buses from any of the airports to either Aime or Landry bus stations. Landry has connections to Montchavin & Les Coches whilst Aime has connections to the main resort villages of La Plagne.


Buses

Using public transport can help keep the costs down on your trip to La Plagne, however it can take considerably longer and may involve a few changes along the way.

The closest bus station to La Plagne is at Aime, the town at the bottom of the mountain (which is also where you'll arrive if you're coming by train).

Buses from Chambery airport to Aime operate 4 times per day on Saturdays and once on Sundays during the ski season. It takes around 2 hours to get to Aime from Chambery and then you connect on another bus up to the different villages of La Plagne in around 40 minutes to an hour depending on which village you're heading to.

Buses from Lyon airport run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the ski season, 3 times per day and take around 2 hours 45 to get to Aime.

Buses from Geneva airport operate every day of the week in winter with 6 buses on Saturdays, 4 on Sundays and 3 on all the other days of the week. This route takes around 2.5 hours.

Buses from Grenoble operate on 5 times per day on Saturdays and once on Sundays in winter and takes around 2 hours to get to Aime.


Trains

The nearest train station for La Plagne is at Aime and it takes around 40 minutes to an hour by road to get to the different resort villages of La Plagne from here.

If you’re travelling from the UK, the Eurostar leaves from London or Kent and takes you into Paris, where you can pick up a connecting TGV train heading to Bourg St Maurice, getting off at Aime (two stops before BSM). These trains only operate in winter (from December to April) on Saturday during the day and overnight on Fridays (without sleeping compartments). Please note that for the return journey, you cannot board the train at Amie, so you'll have to get to either Moutiers or Bourg St Maurice and we'd suggest you hop in a taxi or a transfer minibus for this.

International trains connect Aime to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport or from Paris-Gare-de-Lyon on the TGV service, which takes around 4-5 hours. If you're coming from Lyon Part Dieu you can reach BSM on the regional trains which takes around 3 hours 20.


Long-distance Buses/Coaches

There are a couple of International coach companies that get you to Lyon, Chambery, Grenoble or to Aime or better still directly up into the resort villages.

International coaches are usually more comfortable than your average coach and many travel through the night, allowing you to spend more time on your actual holiday. Although the journey time is obviously longer (London to La Plagne takes around 18.5 hours), you don't have the usual airport hassle of checking in luggage and hanging around in the departures lounge waiting for your flight to board. It is also more eco-friendly and often a bit kinder on the pocket.


Ferries

If you’re travelling from the UK, or perhaps from other European destinations to France by car, one of only a few options is to take the cross-channel ferry; another is the Eurotunnel train. You should book ferry tickets well in advance, especially if you’re thinking about travelling during peak holiday season.


Driving

Bringing your own vehicle with you to La Plagne is a good idea if you want to have a little more flexibility getting around once you’re here. Being able to drive yourself around the area is far more comfortable and convenient, allowing you to take day trips or visit other nearby resorts such as Les Arcs, Tignes, Val d'Isere, Meribel, Courchevel or Val Thorens.

Bear in mind that in winter the road on the way up to La Plagne from Aime is quite winding in places and although snow clearers operate every day in winter, conditions can be hard to drive in. Read our Driving to La Plagne Guide and find more information on Parking in La Plagne once you’ve arrived.

You could also consider hiring a car from the airport or train/bus station.


Travelling with equipment

Airlines, trains and transfer companies are all well-versed in catering for customers who travel with their own sports equipment (eg skis/snowboards or bikes/golf clubs in the summer), but it’s well worth checking the details in advance. Each company will have their own individual policy terms and conditions depending on the type of sporting equipment you are transporting. Here's a snapshot of the different transport options and a guide to their restrictions:

By Plane: Some airlines charge for taking skis/snowboards, and some don’t, and this can also apply to bikes, golf clubs, parachutes, mountaineering equipment - so check before you book. Make sure you pack your gear well, as it’s not unusual for there to be a few bumps and bruises along the way, if you don’t! The same applies for your bike, whether that be a mountain bike, road bike or touring bike...pack it well and ensure it falls within the packaging guidelines specified by the carrier.

Airport Transfer companies - again, these guys know that you’re going skiing, so they are able to cater for skis and snowboards coming too. However, it’s always important to let them know exactly what you’re bringing, so that they can ensure having sufficient capacity for skis/snowboards/bikes/clubs etc. An 8-seater minibus is much more cramped if all 8 of you turn up with skis without having forewarned the driver!

By Train - depending on where you start from, remember that train travel might include a couple of changes and almost certainly lugging your gear up and down a few sets of stairs or escalators. Eurostar allows skis/snowboards as 1 of your 2 permitted pieces of larger luggage, however golf clubs, bikes and other sporting equipment incur an additional charge of around £30 for their registered luggage service.

Transportation - Get Around

La Plagne is super easy to get around, with all of the free inter-village transport.

From Belle Plagne to Plagne Bellecote there is no bus service, but a cable car that runs from 08:00 until 01:45.

Plagne Bellecote then offers a loop bus service, heading to Plagne Centre then to Plagne 1800. It runs every 15 minutes from 08:00 until midnight.

In Plagne Centre the Telemètro (cable car) connects with Aime 2000. It's open from 08:00 until midnight.

Between Plagne Villages and Plagne Soleil there is both a bus service and the Telebus, depending on the time of day. From 08:30 – 09:00 there is a bus service, then the Telebus opens from 09:00 until 20:30 then the bus service then takes over from 20:30 until 23:45.

All of the bus timetables are available from the Tourist Information office and above, and there are also timetables at all of the bus stops.

If you wish to head down to the Bobsleigh, you can either head down on your skis or snowboards via La Roche piste or there is a free bus service that leaves from Plagne Centre and runs every 30 minutes.

After the bus service stops, if you are planning on heading out after hours and need transport home, it is best to pre-book a taxi, to avoid a long wait, if not you could have a chilly walk home in the snow.

Heading over to Les Arcs on skis is super easy on skis, if you are leaving from Plagne Centre you head up the Bergerie Chair Lift, then ski down into Plagne Bellecote. From here you take the Arpette Chair Lift, from the top of the Arpette you can then ski down Montchavin and Les Coches, which is where you take the connection to Les Arcs via the Vanoise Express cable car. Once in Les Arcs, remember to check the closing times of the chair lifts and cable cars to return to La Plagne, if you miss these a taxi can end up being pretty expensive.

Ski Area

One of La Plagne ski area's great strengths is that almost all of its summits can be skied north, south, east and west.

One of la Plagne's great strengths is that almost all of its summits, spread over the eastern valley of Les Bauches, the central bowl comprising most of the accommodation centres, and the western valley of Montalbert, can be skied north, south, east and west. Some of these routes are off-piste but for any skier able to exploit them, the resort has great flexibility and ensures that you can always find good snow conditions whatever the weather.

Montalbert

A first glance at the piste map can be confusing, but the skiing can be divided into seven distinct well-linked areas. Starting on the right of the map, to the west, the pretty, gentle, tree-lined slopes of Montalbert are often underused and are a great option in flat light and high winds. Bois Croizelin offers a red and blue way down and is a particularly scenic descent. There is a tendency in the resort to always aim high at the expense of some of the most charming skiing in the valley. The same is true for the other lower altitude area of Montchavin-Les Coches, though the link to Les Arcs has increased traffic here. Don't always follow the crowd up the mountain: some of the best skiing for all levels is found between the trees, good snow cover permitting.

Above Montalbert is the summit of Le Biolley (2350m) which is well served by both Plagne Centre and Aime La Plagne and opens up the top of the Montalbert valley with some fine blacks as well as offering good runs back into the heart of the ski area.

Les Verdons, La Grande Rochette and Champagny

Les Verdons and La Grande Rochette (2505m) are the main peaks accessed from Plagne Centre and offer several fabulous runs, from the bumpy red of Vega to the sculpted motorway of Carina, which flies down under the Colorado chair. Next to this is the well-skied (though strictly speaking off-piste) area known as the grand canyons, which is like a giant natural half pipe running down under the lift.

These peaks, along with the others along the high ridge line between here and the glacier, also allow you to drop down onto the south-facing slopes of Champagny. This area has some wonderful off-piste to skier's right from the Mont de la Guerre (2290m) peak: sumptuous slushy late-season bumps, good intermediate terrain and splendid views over the valley towards Courchevel.

Bellecote

Most of the skiing above Belle Plagne is accessed from the lifts of Plagne Bellecote and is dominated by the imposing Roche de Mio (2700m) which has great runs feeding off in all directions as well as big cliffs and steep powder fields under the Inversens chair which regularly feature in extreme-ski videos. This is also where you take the cable car first down to and then up the Bellecote glacier (3250m). Although there are a few blue runs on the glacier and an easy path down, this is predominantly expert terrain. Aside from the challenging blacks, there are also three of the most famous off-piste descents in the Alps: the south facing Cul du Nont glacier; the banks of Friolin, leading back down into the valley of Les Bauches (carrying on down to Montchavin gives you 2000m of off-piste vertical); and the awesome north face itself. None should be attempted without a mountain guide.


La Plagne Beginner Skiing

La Plagne is an excellent place to learn: all of the high-altitude resort centres have their own nursery slopes.

La Plagne is an excellent place to learn: all of the high-altitude resort centres have their own nursery slopes and quick learners will swiftly develop a taste for exploring as they will be able to move across the mountain very easily.

There are lots of gentle motorway blues in the central area with a particularly good area being under the Arpette chair. The quieter slopes leading down to Montalbert are also a good option for beginners.


La Plagne Intermediate Skiing

La Plagne is a great resort for intermediates, particularly now that the link to Les Arcs gives you more options for day tours.

La Plagne is a great resort for intermediates, particularly now that the link to Les Arcs gives you more options for day tours. As many of the connecting runs are scenic blues, even early intermediates can explore most of the mountains but there is enough challenging and varied terrain to keep stronger skiers entertained; the wide expanse and different expositions guarantee a good sense of travelling through the mountains.

The slopes of La Grande Rochette offer some of the most challenging intermediate skiing though all the reds off the back of Les Verdons are great, particularly the wonderfully long Mont de la Guerre.

From the top of Roche de Mio, Le Clapet is a well-groomed red that develops some bumps when it joins Les Crozats. Lower down, L'Esselet is a great run down through the trees. A gentler option from the top is the blue of Les Inversens which is a lovely run which winds down through a tunnel back into Belle Plagne.


La Plagne Advanced & Expert Skiing

The myth that La Plagne is an intermediate resort needs to be shattered. Many of the reds are left to develop bumps, there are some classic black runs and some of the best off-piste in the Alps. In many ways, it can be argued that the off-piste here is better than in areas like Chamonix because it is not tracked out as quickly.

The blacks in the high Montalbert valley, particularly Morbleu, are excellent runs and if you follow Emile Allais down through the trees it morphs into the bumpy black of Les Charmettes. Under the Colosses chair linking Plagne Bellecote and Plagne Villages is the moguls stadium, used for international competition and not marked on the piste map, but open to good skiers when competitions are not taking place.

The steepest runs are found on the Bellecote glacier. Both of the blacks are a stern test and the red of La Combe is also allowed to keep its bumps. The blacks bottom out at the base of the Chalet de Bellecote chair and although there is no marked piste, there are usually lots of tracks leading down to the Les Crozats piste.

But it is the off-piste that is the real draw. As well as the lift-accessed tree-skiing on the wings of the resort there are several great itineraries down to the village of Macot at 800m. The low altitude makes these routes possible only in exceptional conditions and leaves you beyond the confines of the lift system, needing a taxi back to the resort. More routinely, there is some gentle off-piste terrain in the Montalbert valley between the blacks, including the more challenging Coqs couloirs. There is piste-side powder off Mont de la Guerre towards Champagny and between the pistes on La Grande Rochette and Roche de Mio; another great introductory off-piste descent, called La Salla, takes you down from the top of L'Arpette to Plan Bois.

More testing terrain is found off the back of many of the peaks towards Champagny but the major routes are accessed from the Bellecote glacier. Either explore the terrain between the pistes or stay skier's right from the top of the Bellecote run and a five-minute walk opens up the vast tracts of Friolin. The north face itself is formed by a 6km ridge line and there are over 20 recognised routes down, ranging in difficulty from the classic Petite Face Nord to the most beautiful Gros Glacier which involves abseiling, walking and a system of fantastically narrow couloirs. Do not even think about attempting this face without a guide. Most of the routes join in the middle of the valley and lead down to the village of Nancroix, where a short free bus ride gives you access to the Les Arcs lift network and a return to La Plagne via the Vanoise Express.

Ski lifts & pass

La Plagne and the Paradiski is a high altitude ski area with lifts capable of taking you from resort level of  1200m up to 3250m, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Mont Blanc mountain range.

La Plagne has 225km of pistes to enjoy and forms part of the Paradiski ski area (which includes the neighbouring resorts of Les Arcs & Pelsey-Vallandry), where you can find another 200km of pistes to enjoy. With 130 pistes in La Plagne alone (9 green, 72 blue, 34 red and 19 black) there are slopes for all abilities to enjoy. On top of this you can also enjoy 80km of cross country pistes, one snowpark, a half pipe and three boarder cross areas.

La Plagne enjoys a modern lift system comprising of 10 cable cars, 31 chairlifts and 30 drag lifts. There is also the famous double decker cable car the Vanoise Express that links La Plagne to Les Arcs.

Open throughout the winter season and summer season you can enjoy the mountain fun almost all year round.

La Plagne & Paradiski Ski Pass Prices 2017/18 (€)
lead prices are for 3+ person or family groups for 6 days, in main season
6 Day Passes
prices per person
La PlagneParadiski Unlimited
Adult
13-64 yrs
from €250from €284
Child / Senior
5-12 yrs / 65-74 yrs
from €197from €224
Family
2Ad+2Ch
from €212from €239

La Plagne & Paradiski Ski Pass 2017/18 (€)
INDIVIDUAL
prices per person
Adult
13-64 yrs
Child / Senior
5-12 yrs / 65-74 yrs
4 HrsLAP4334
1 DayLAP5242
PSU6048
2 DayLAP10483
PSU12096
3 DayLAP159127
PSU171137
4 DayLAP201161
PSU222178
5 DayLAP243194
PSU273218
6 DayLAP265212
PSU299239
7 DayLAP307246
PSU335268
1 Day extensionLAP3730
PSU5141


Summer lift-passes

Pass'Plagne Prices (€) SUMMER
Price (€)PointsReductions
0.501-
20.00425%
50.001077%
80.001748%
150.0033510%
250.00585.0015%

La Plagne MTB Lift Pass Prices (€) SUMMER 2017
TypeAdult
10yrs +
Pass'Plagne POINTS
1 Lift5.0010
1 Day15.0030
7 Day30.0050
Season60.00100

Paradiski MTB Lift Pass Prices (€) SUMMER
TypeAdult
10yrs +
Pass'Plagne POINTS
1 Day Extension15.0030
1 Day35.0050
Vanoise Express
1 Way
7.0014
Vanoise Express
​Return
13.0026
Season145.00180

La Plagne Pedestrian Lift Pass Prices (€) SUMMER
TypeAdult
10yrs +
Pass'Plagne POINTS
1 Lift5.0010
1 Day15.0030
7 Day30.0050
Season60.00100

Paradiski Pedestrian Lift Pass Prices (€) SUMMER
TypeAdult
10yrs +
Pass'Plagne POINTS
1 Day Extension15.0030
1 Day35.0050
Vanoise Express
1 Way
7.0014
Vanoise Express
​Return
13.0026
Season135.00180

Activities & Things to do


Take a ride in a Taxi Ski chair

Try something different for a morning, afternoon or evening with Oxygène. If you can’t ski or don’t want to tackle a particular piste or itinerary, why not sit back and let Oxygène do the work. Their state-of-the-art Taxi Ski chair makes the slopes accessible to everyone – all you have to do is enjoy the ride. You can meet friends for lunch at a remote mountain restaurant, experience new pistes you thought were not possible or simply rest your legs.


Ice Grotto

The Ice Grotto in La Plagne is not to be missed, with beautiful ice sculptures it is a fun and beautiful experience for everyone. At the top of the Plagne Bellecote glacier at 3417m you can explore the Ice cave and grotto and enjoy the wonderfully sculpted animals and ice statues. Accessible to all pedestrians and skiers a pass for the glacier costs 8€ and is free for children 6 years old and under. Every season the glacier changes and the sculptures are re-designed. The glacier is made up of many layers meaning the colours in the cave range from blue to green a truly beautiful sight and one not to be missed.


Winter Walking

La Plagne is a winter walker's paradise, with lifts giving access to the higher ground and a network of groomed trails in the winter, it's very easy to discover the resort on foot. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you set out as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. You do not need any particular equipment, just a pair of sturdy boots and layers of warm clothing that you can take off or put on as necessary. A pair of walking poles will come in handy for extra balance on icy patches and for checking snow depth before you go striding forth. Top tip: buy ‘grippers’ for your walking boots to prevent slipping which you can buy from most local Sport Shops.


Snow Biking

You can mountain bike on the snow in La Plagne in winter. Hire a fat bike from Evolution 2 and after a short introductory briefing you head onto a blue trail in a small group of 3-5 people with an instructor. The vertical drop is around 5-600m and you'll need to be at least 1m60 tall to take part.


Cascade de Tyrolienne (Zipline)

Situated in the Valley de l'Ours, between Belle Plagne and Plagne Bellecote the Cascade de Tyrolienne offers you the same thrills as the treetop adventures...but in the snow and ice of the winter. With a total of eight ziplines between 110 & 200m in length and a base jump to round off your visit, you are sure to find some adrenaline packed fun here.


Super Tyro

Accessed via the pistes, why not try the Super Tyro, a 600-metre zipline descent where you can reach speeds of up to 90km/h. Giving you views over the Mont Blanc Massif, taking you through quiet forests and bringing you back down to the village of La Plagne this activity offers you a very different perspective.


Bobsleigh

If you are in La Plagne it is a must to try out the Olympic Bobsleigh run! You will not be disappointed in this thrilling activity that lets you become an Olympian for a few speedy moments down a windy bobsleigh track. Open every day of the week (except Mondays) throughout the winter season and with 3 different ways to race down the Olympic track it is thrilling, exciting and fun for everyone.


Husky-dog rides

Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths in winter. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start, you set off following the guide’s team. If this all sounds a bit much you can opt for a less physical outing where you sit in the sled and the guide does all the hard work! It's a very popular winter activity, so booking at least 48 hours in advance is a must. They run from early December to the end of April (snow-permitting).


Igloo experience

Have you ever wanted to spend the night under the stars, up a beautiful mountain and surrounded by snow? Now you can with Black Sheep Igloos, they are offering you the opportunity for a truly unique experience - an overnight stay in an Igloo up the mountains. Each igloo sleeps up to 5 people so you can really make an evening of it.


Night Skiing

Enjoy a magical alpine sunset at La Grande Rochette with views stretching from Mont Blanc in one direction to the twinkling lights of Courchevel in the other. Savour a traditional two-course Savoyarde meal complete with wine, tea, coffee and génépi, before you ski down blue runs back to La Plagne. Thanks to the special Taxi Ski service, non-skiers and beginners can enjoy moonlight skiing too! A limited number of Taxi skis are available at no extra cost, complete with qualified Oxygène ‘chauffeurs'.


Ski-touring

La Plagne is popular for ski touring, whether it's going up the pistes that most people normally ski down, or tackling more of a back country route. A number of ski schools, private instructors and companies can show you around, or if you've got all the necessary equipment you can head out in your own group.


Snowmobile / Skidooing

Those who enjoy speed will love riding a powerful snowmobile (like a motorbike with caterpillar tracks) around La Plagne. Discover the different dimensions of driving; carving turns, accelerating in a straight line, ascents and descents. Snowmobiles are a great way to explore La Plagne especially as you get to ride them when the resort is at its quietest. Disappear into the woods and blast around empty snow fields on your scooter with your own guide. Remember to wrap up warmly especially if you go after dark, and bring goggles if there is powder.


Snowparks

Go freestyle in La Plagne at the half-pipe, snow park & boarder cross. If you want to practise though all important jumps with the safety of a big air bag then you're in luck...airBag Montalbert is located near the snow front, next to the toboggan run.


Mountain-biking

La Plagne is a mecca for mountain biking, with varying terrain and fantastic views it is perfect for mountain biking enthusiasts. With the whole of the mountain area to explore, La Plagne is definitely a great place for biking as the different and varied terrains suit bikers of all levels. Whether you enjoy a leisurely cycle around some of the lower level trails, or a day's hardcore downhill mountain is more your ‘thang’, La Plagne definitely has something to suit all tastes.

As well as having over 145km of sign-posted tracks to choose from, mountain bikers have also got especially built trails and parks to choose from. You can even try enduro on a track built specifically for speed and reserved for bikers which goes all the way down to Macot La Plagne.

You can also try an electric MTB, enjoying mountain biking without having to pedal your way up the mountain.


Museums & Galleries

To learn about the history and traditions of La Plagne, visit the Pierre Borrione Museum, featuring an exhibition that takes you from the Neolithic to the present day. Or you can head to the Grotte des Glaces, in the Chiaupe glacier at the top of Bellecôte (3417m), an ice cave that has been dug every winter since 2005.


Walking & Hiking

In the summer months La Plagne is a mecca for walking and hiking in the beautiful alpine mountains. As the snow melts and the sun begins to shine the mountains make an excellent place to head out on a hike or walk. Walking is the perfect activity for groups, families and friends. Pick from a number of routes ranging in difficulty, from easy child friendly walks to challenging day long hikes. Along the way enjoy the fantastic mountain views, beautiful scenery and wildlife that is normally hidden in the winter months.

Restaurants & Nightlife


La Plagne Mountain Restaurants

There is loads of choice when it comes to eating on the mountain around La Plagne. As always it can get pretty busy during 12-2pm, especially on peak weeks, but otherwise you should be fine and you can always book ahead at some of the table service eateries if you are worried about getting a spot or if you have a big group.

We’ve been told time and time again about Chalet des Verdons Sud above Champagny where you can warm up by the fire inside on a chilly day or bask in the sunshine on the terrace when it is nice. The food is excellent and the service is friendly, definitely worth a visit.

Another favourite is the Forperet, above Montalbert which is an old farm offering exceptional versions of customary dishes such as tartiflette.

If you are looking for something really intimate and don’t mind heading off the beaten track then head down Cul du Nant towards Champagny (its off piste, take a guide) and try out the Refuge du Laisonnay. You’ll find the rustic mountain experience at its best, enjoy traditional Savoyard cuisine cooked over an open fire.


Restaurants in La Plagne

La Plagne offers about 100 places to eat, as always spread through the ten different bases. The options range from simple, family friendly, creperies and pizzerias through to gourmet establishments.

A local favourite is the Matafan (+ 33 (0)4 79 09 09 19) at Belle-Plagne which was the first bar-diner in the area in 1980. Its name comes from the Patois word for a potato pancake that the farmers ate in the morning before going to work in the fields, a dish that as legend has it “keeps the hunger away.” The Matafan’s menu is composed of traditional Savoyard specialities and semi-gastronomic dishes in the evening. Its puddings are great too.

Another recommendation in Belle Plagne is the Carlina Hotel restaurant where Chef Frédéric Grillet offers exciting dishes with refined flavours. In Plagne centre Le Chaudron wins our vote with a great selection of traditional picks which can be enjoyed on the terrace when the sun is out.

If you are looking for something a little different then there are a few international choices to be found, including Moroccan and Mexican options.

 

Festivals & Events

There are loads of events in La Plagne organised year-round and in neighbouring Les Arcs. From quirky local events to large scale sporting spectacles there is always something worth visiting.


January Events

The Red Bull Linecatcher
The legendary circus of Fond Blanc in neighbouring Les Arcs. This is the 7th running of this event that has become one of the biggest backcountry freestyle skiing meetings in the world. A skilful blend of freeride and freestyle played out on a virgin slope sprinkled with couloirs and kickers built in the heart of the mountains! The best European and American skiers are once again expected to defy the laws of gravity.


March Events

La Course du Coeur
Annual 'Race for Life', established by French heart surgeon Professor Christian Cabrol. The participants will be in need of some encouragement as they come to the end of an impressive 750km race that originates in Paris! The race is to raise funds for organ donation and more details are available from the website.


June Events

Fete de la Musique
The Fête de la Musique is the celebration that takes place every summer solstice on 21st June in cities, towns and villages across France. More than a music festival, the La Plagne Fête de la Musique is a free event that spills out from the bars and restaurants onto the streets and encompasses every type of music imaginable, from local amateur teen bands to professional classical musicians, from club DJ’s to traditional folk bands.


July Events

La 6000D
Dubbed “La Course des Géants” (The Race of Giants). The course starts in Aime and climbs up to the summit of the Bellecote glacier before returning back down via the Col de l’Arpette, Plagne Bellecote and Montchavin. New in 2013, the 6000D goes through the Olympic bobsleigh track on the way up (km10). Due to it's sucess there are also a number of shorter courses including the Trail des 2 Lacs; a 22km run from Plagne Bellecote up to the Roche de Mio and back that passes the lakes of Les Blanchets and Le Carroley.

Bastille Day
Celebrated across the whole of France with a bang...well, several in fact, fireworks always feature heavily. And the residents of La Plagne celebrate this national holiday with as much enthusiasm as the rest of the country. Various activities are held across the city on the 14th, in memory of the storming of the Bastille on the same date in 1789. Traditionally the fireworks display normally starts off between 10-11pm.

Tour de France
The Alps have played a large part in the race over the years with the gruelling mountain climbs providing some of the most exciting spectacles of the event. The route changes slightly each year, taking in different towns, villages and cols along the way. Even if the race doesn't pass near to where you are this summer you can guarantee that it will still be avidly watched in bars and cafés around the country with everyone joining in to cheer on the famous yellow jersey!


August Events

Cyclo Coeur
Every summer Les Arcs hosts the Cyclocoeur - a MTB and cycle competition open to all. With uphill, downhill, and cross country routes available, there is something for everyone enabling you to explore Les Arcs extensive biking trails whilst raising money for disabled people in the area.

The Urban Plagne
The biggest extreme sports event in the La Plagne summer calendar. The program for the event is an incredible mix of sports and music in the mountains.The Urban Plagne sees a heady mix of BMX, Rollerblading, Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, Freestyle Motorbikes, street soccer, downhill MTB, capoeira, slacklining and much more.. The event lasts three days and is great for both watching pro's and learning a new sport for yourself.


December Events

Christmas
The festive season in the snowy Alps is always magical and every year there is some sort of celebration in resort to mark the occasion. Christmas in La Plagne officially starts at the beginning of December when the Christmas lights are switched on.  The night is marked with vin chaud, hot chocolate and music.  From then on you can enjoy Christmas concerts, festive markets and live music throughout town as the resort gears up for Christmas and New Year.

New Years Eve
Come midnight the hoards of merry revellers head the centre of town for the big countdown – not an official event as such, more of a long-held tradition.  On the stroke of midnight you are advised to duck as champagne corks and fireworks are unleashed in celebration! Likewise, planning ahead is advised if you have your heart set on ringing in the New Year in a particular bar or club – some of them are ticket-only, so enquire in advance to avoid disappointment!

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