The History of La Plagne
Before winter sports, what was La Plagne?
La Plagne was originally an agricultural and mining village, with La Roche and Plagne 1800 being the two main mining sites. In the early 20th century the local industry was put under pressure and the younger generations had to leave in search for work elsewhere. It was a hard time, but if it wasn’t for these problems we would have never know La Plagne as it is today...
(Photo credit : Perso-laplagne)
La Plagne is born
In the 1950s a French ski champion called Emile Allais came to look around the area with the local mayor Doctor Pierre Borrione. Then, in 1960, an association was created between 4 of the local villages - Aime, Bellentre, Longefoy and Macôt - to defend the interests of the local people and provide work for the younger generations.
La Plagne is what is known as a ‘purpose built’ ski resort and was developed with the snow sports industry in mind. The much celebrated French architect Michel Bezançon designed his own vison of La Plagne with an abundance of easy access, ski in/ski out accommodation, interconnecting indoor shopping galeries, with cars and skiers separated at all times. Then finally, in December 1961, La Plagne opened it’s doors with 2 drag lifts, 4 ski slopes and 200 beds.
(Photo credit : Perso-laplagne)
Back in the beginning La Plagne was infact only Plagne Centre (as we know it today). In 1982 it's name changed to Plagne Centre, showing La Plagne was finally becoming a super station with its many interlinking villages.
Next to be built was the avent garde Aime 2000 ‘steamer on the snow’ in 1969. It was another concept from Michel Bezançon and is now recognised as a listed building of great architectural importance. Aime 2000 is connected to Plagne Centre by the Telemetro gondola. Back in the day this was an incredible futuristic design, never been seen before. La Plagne was at the forefront of the ski industry and became the place to be!
(Photo credit : Pillippe Royer)
1970s - Champany, Montchavin & Plagne Villages
Around the same time Aime 2000 was finished the small village of Champany became connected to the La Plagne ski area. From 1970 to 1974 there was a boom within property development in La Plagne and Montchavin, Plagne Villages and Bellecôte were created.
Bellecôte the Bear
The Bellecôte project was, yet again, another of Michel Bezançon projects, and had been in talks since 1968. Finally, in 1974 it was finalised and his hydroelectric dam themed building was brought to life. Originally meant to be named Les Ours (The Bears), it was finally named after the summit of the La Plagne glacier.
(Photo credit: Bezancon, Perso-laplagne)
1980s - Montalbert, Les Coches, Belle Plagne & Plagne 1800
In 1980, Montalbert and Les Coches were added to La Plagnes ever growing empire. Belle Plagne came next in 1981, linking to Bellecôte via the Plagne Bellecôte telecabine. Then the quaint village of Plagne 1800 stole the hearts of many traditional loving mountain village holidaymakers.
Plagne Soleil and the Winter Olympics 1992
In 1990 Plagne Soleil, the last of the La Plagne villages, was built. The creation of Plagne Village coincided with the Albertville Winter Olympics in 1992, where La Plagne hosted the bobsleigh and luge events. The same bobsleigh is still in use today and holidaymakers can test it out and sample speeds of up to 120 km/h!
La Plagne becomes Paradiski
Then in 2003, La Plagne became part of the huge Paradiski area, linking Les Arcs via the Vanoise Express gondola. This lift was ground breaking in size, distance and speed. It can carry 200 people, 1824 metes, 380 meters above the ground in 4 minutes, from Montchavin-Les Coches in La Plagne to Peisey in Les Arcs.
(Photo credit: Andy Parant)
Since then, La Plagne continues to update itself year upon year, and its lift system and slopes are constantly undergoing changes, making them better for everyone. La Plagne has become a huge resort for skiers of all levels, including beginners and experts, young professionals and families, plus for schools and university trips. It is also a leader within the adaptive ski market, with well thought out, accessible slopes and lift systems.
Looking back to its original 2 drag lifts and 4 slopes, La Plagne now has 75 lifts, 135 slopes, 55802 beds, with 3.3 million annual visits recored in 2019 (Paradiski has 129 lifts and 259 slopes).
As you can see our resort is one on the biggest, and from many points of view, the best in the world, and it is defiantly not stopping there…
A few of our properties in La Plagne
Plagne Centre : Le Jannu (3 rooms / 5 people)
Belle Plagne : Corail (2 rooms / 4 people)
Aime 2000 : Fleche H (Studio / 4 people)
Plagne Village : Le Squaw Valley (4 rooms / 6 people)
Plagne Soleil : Chalet des Alpages (6 rooms / 11 people)
Plagne 1800 : Plagne Lauze (2 rooms / 4 people)
See you in La Plagne soon.