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Arc 1950: French family retreat is like ‘Disneyland in the mountains’

PUBLISHED: 18:05 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:31 15 March 2017

Arc 1950. Photo: Pete Webb

Arc 1950. Photo: Pete Webb

©andyparant.com

EMMA BARTHOLOMEW and her family find the picture-perfect Arc 1950 has a wealth of activity going on during the summer, meaning you’ll never be stuck for things to do

Waiting for the sun to rise above Arc 1950. Photo: Emma BartholomewWaiting for the sun to rise above Arc 1950. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

“This is the best way to start the morning,” our mountain guide affirmed as the first ray of sun emerged from behind the mountains, spectacularly illuminating the emerald green pastures.

It felt as though the mountain had suddenly sprung to life, and we sat in awe soaking up the splendour of the ethereal moment.

It was not much past 6am, and my teenage sons and I had already trekked for over an hour in the pitch black from Arc 1950.

Sunrise above Arc 1950. Photo: Emma BartholomewSunrise above Arc 1950. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

We followed a steep rocky path with a view of a rose pink-tinged Mont Blanc in the next valley.

At the top we perched on the side of a cliff and warmed up with tea and coffee and cakes our guide had bought in the stillness of the crisp morning calm - until the moment we had been waiting for.

It’s true it is a breathtaking way to start the day - but every start to the day in Arc 1950 is a good one.

I stayed with my family at the Manoir de Savoie self-catering residence. Opening the shutters in the chalet-style flat you greeted by the idyllic sight of tiled rooftops snugly surrounded by mountain peaks.

Architecturally Arc 1950 is a carefully-crafted masterpiece.

Purpose-built 13 years ago, the luxury resort has an idyllic concept.

Just like Avoriaz further down in the French Alps it is car-free, and when there is snow it’s a ski-in, ski-out resort.

But what makes Arc 1950 unique is its compact size.

It takes less than five minutes to walk from one side of the resort at the uber chic spa to the kids’ trampolines at the other.

You can enjoy the view as you have a massage at the Deep Nature Spa in Arc 1950. Photo: Pete WebbYou can enjoy the view as you have a massage at the Deep Nature Spa in Arc 1950. Photo: Pete Webb

One of the hallmarks of a family holiday is the amount of hassle you encounter, and here there is none.

From the moment you arrive, you drive into the cavernous multi-storey underground carpark, and can park directly under whichever one of the five “residences” you are staying in.

You then just hop into the lift with your luggage and ascend to your flat directly above - simple.

The view from our balcony in Arc 1950. Photo: Emma BartholomewThe view from our balcony in Arc 1950. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

Its 11 carefully-selected shops in the village are geared towards families and youngsters, with a sweet shop, a toy shop and an ice cream shop –all adding up to a Disneyland in the mountains type feel.

And there are 12 restaurants offering everything from pizza to the best fondue I have ever tasted at Le Mazot.

In summer there’s an incredible programme of free round-the-clock activities for all the family – an absolute dream for my youngest Ines who’s eight.

One of the swimming pools in Arc 1950. Photo: Andy ParantOne of the swimming pools in Arc 1950. Photo: Andy Parant

Trampolines are open every day, and then circus skills sessions where you can learn to walk along a tight rope, juggle and balance on a ball.

There’s also a water day which sees the whole village transformed into an aqua playground, with remote control boats on the fish pond, and a wet slide where you take a run up to it and skid the whole way along.

A free card issued on arrival entitles you to five free taster activities like archery and a guided walk to spot marmots.

Emma's children Beau and Gabriel join in on Circus Day in Arc 1950. Photo: Emma BartholomewEmma's children Beau and Gabriel join in on Circus Day in Arc 1950. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

Ines joined the mountain biking session and I watched her cycle around the resort from our balcony.

She started out gingerly and by the end of the hour she was navigating steps.

Adults are catered for too with free yoga and dance sessions, including salsa and - impressively - Jamaican dancehall.

The VTT cycling initiation in Arc 1950. Photo: Emma BartholomewThe VTT cycling initiation in Arc 1950. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

At the Spirit shop you can book up the likes of mountain biking courses or canyoning, riverboarding, and white water rafting - which my twin sons and I tried.

We had to drive down the valley to the river at Bourg St Maurice, and spent an exhilarating two hours navigating the white water rapids.

If you don’t want to go far, each residence has its own pool and ours at the Manoir de Savoie has a glorious view of

Ines slides down the water slide on water day in Arc 1950, as seen from our balcony. Photo: Emma BartholomewInes slides down the water slide on water day in Arc 1950, as seen from our balcony. Photo: Emma Bartholomew

the valley.

Right next door is the Deep Nature spa, which families can use in the morning.

We had great fun swimming around its mock-rocks, and the outdoor sauna looks out on the same view - the best I’ve ever seen from a sauna.

During peak summer weeks it’s a bargain to stay at Arc 1950 considering the array of free activities laid on, and you’ll never be bored.

Erna Low offers seven nights in the Residence Pierre et Vacances Le Village Arc 1950 from £723 per appartment sleeping four during the peak week of July 29. Includes self-drive with Flexiplus Eurotunnel. ernalow.co.uk

For resort information see arc1950.com/en.

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