1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (Vote First)
Loading...
A perfect weekend affordable skiing in Flaine
https://hg-images.condecdn.net/image/Draypv8emlB/crop/1020/landscape/f/geo1900pl-023-house-28feb18-pascal-lemaitre-artedia-view.jpg
Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  


The exterior of Terminal Neige Totem, an original Marcel Breuer building

Pascal Lemaitre/ Artedia/ View

When people tell you Flaine is ugly, they are missing the point. Unlike many of the modern-day ski resorts (I shan’t name them, but you know the type I mean), Flaine was conceived and created in the Sixties as a showcase of contemporary architecture, art and design. Indeed, Marcel Breuer, celebrated Bauhaus maestro no less, was the man tasked with delivering a
modern, innovative ‘urban’ resort respectfully integrated into its natural surroundings.

So perhaps it is no surprise to learn that first, Flaine was awarded the label ‘Architectural Heritage of the Twentieth Century’ by the French Ministry of Culture in 2008, and secondly that it is home to three celebrated outdoor sculptures – Le Boqueteau by Jean Dubuffet, Les Trois Hexagones by Victor Vasarely, and La Tête de Femme by Pablo Picasso. These are positioned unceremoniously on the piste and you can bet your bottom dollar that, to some of Flaine’s visitors, the art and Breuer’s trademark modular, prefabricated concrete panelled buildings are an irrelevance to a holiday in the snow.

More relevant, of course, is where you might stay in a resort where, over the years, as the appeal of Flaine’s utilitarian-style architecture waned, its once-fashionable hotels were converted into sultry apartment blocks. Only Le Totem – an original Breuer building – remained until it, too, was finally abandoned in 2013. Fast forward three years and in steps the Sibuet family (famous for several exquisite hotels in France, not least Les Fermes de Marie in Megève) who, after a lightning-fast refurbishment, relaunched Le Totem as the first of their small Terminal Neige brand, which will roll out a handful of hotels in unconventional Alpine locations (Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers opened high above Chamonix a few months ago).

VERY INTERERSTING  The 11 best rums in the world

The hotel’s large social space, with chairs designed by Breuer

The brand is about youth and affordability, and Le Totem sets the benchmark. It is a no-frills experience – small bedrooms (though suites and the three-bedroom Loft are bigger), no turndown service, no water by the bed, no chocolate on the pillow, no shampoo or conditioner, a pay-as-you-go spa – but it is fun and lively, colourful and creative. It is staffed by a young team and brimful of couples and families who convene in one large social space that is sitting room (with original Breuer fireplace at one end), bar and dining room combined. Exposed concrete pillars and walls, retro arcade games and fabrics and furnishings channelling mid-century vintage with a Navajo Indian vibe define the look and floor-to-ceiling glass windows capture an unblemished view of forest and snowy mountains.

And there are two other need-to-know facts: the slopes at Flaine form part of the vast Grand Massif ski area, combining some of the best views of Mont Blanc with high-altitude skiing and terrain to suit all levels of skier. And Geneva airport is barely more than an hour’s drive away, making this one of the easiest (and thus most enjoyable) resorts for a perfect weekend on the slopes.

Pamela Goodman visited Flaine as a guest of Erna Low (020-7584 2841;
ernalow.co.uk), which offers a three-night stay at the Terminal Neige Totem for two, B&B, from £807 per person, including flights and transfers provided by Ski-Lifts (ski-lifts.com).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *