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Les 7 Laux.  Beautiful Isère’s ski paradise mainly unknown to British skiers

09/04/2024 by .
Les 7 Laux

Lucy Daltroff gets back her skiing confidence at Les 7 Laux a hidden French skiers’ heaven.

It is 13 years since I last skied, and even longer since I was a chalet girl, so  having the help of  Annabelle, a patient and encouraging  English speaking ski instructor to get back some lost confidence,  was an absolute bonus  and definitely pushed me through!  I couldn’t believe that after just a couple of hours I felt relaxed and able to enjoy the sun, snow ……and my button drag lift.

I’m in the purpose-built ski resort of Les 7 Laux, 29 kilometres from the French city of Grenoble, with excellent pistes, yet almost unknown to the British market.  The locals have enjoyed the slopes here since 1962 as a mass-participation activity, with an affordable infrastructure, but it is only now that the location is being discovered by a wider public.

Les 7 Laux

Les 7 Laux is a made up of 3 villages – Prapoutel at 1350m, Le Pleynet at 1450m and Pipay at 1550m, all lift-linked.  Les 7 Laux began as a collaboration between seven communes who joined forces in the 1960s (hence the name) and then the bulk of the resort was built in the 1970s. This means that the three purpose-built base stations, have more in common with Tignes, architecturally, than the stereotypical traditional French Alpine village.

In the resort, most of the accommodation apartments, as well as the shops,(including many offering ski hire) bars and restaurants have been built at Prapoutel (1,350 m) at the western end of the ski area, where the pistes benefit from the afternoon and evening sun.   There are no hotels, but our modern self-catering flat was warm and comfortable and just 5 minutes’ walk from the centre.

I could see the fresh snow falling during that first night, making the following day a beautiful experience as I followed Annabelle’s bright red jacket down the slopes.  After skiing for some time,  we relaxed midway at an attractive mountain restaurant where she confided in me that “Hers was the best job in the world as,  apart from the sport itself,  people are always in their greatest frame of mind when on holiday”.

Annabelle Les 7 Laux

The facilities on the slopes are contemporary and good, although frankly,  the real appeal has to be the competitive pricing. A six-day adult lift pass for Les 7 Laux is from £158 and it is great for families, for as well as excellent slopes for the practiced skier,  there are  also 11 green, and 14 blue  runs and even a kindergarten for those just too young to take to the slopes.

Les 7 Laux offers secure access to the Vallons du Pra, an exceptional wilderness zone that has become a marked and secure off-piste area, while preserving the wild character of this high-altitude territory. The views are amazing.

Although après ski is not an obvious feature, the many family activities include snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, fat biking or  Snake Gliss –  where all participants are handed a plastic sled that can be clipped onto another,  creating an articulated luge that then whizzes down the mountain.

The natural beauty of the area is outstanding and although there is a shortage of cable cars, button and chair lifts are of the highest standards, and the queues while I was there in March, were non-existent.   As for the food, it’s French. There are a lot of reasonably priced restaurants to visit, with large portions, local produce and plenty of choice.

Les 7 Laux

For me it was also a chance to understand more about this landlocked department of Isère  located in the Northern Alps and named after the dominant river.  (Although confusingly, I realised that the famous ski resort of Val-d’Isère is in the neighbouring department – Savoie).   The department is home to 23 ski resorts, ranging from charming villages to extensive, larger ski areas, nestled across the four mountain ranges of Belledonne, Chartreuse, Vercors and Oisans.

Apart from the skiing, Isère is also an unspoilt and less well-known place to holiday and hike in nature throughout the year, away from urban hustle and bustle. Among the varied flora and fauna one of the more unusual birds is the rare, Bearded Vultures which were re-introduced in 1986. There are now 300 of them, including 60 breeding pairs.

Holiday options include walking in the footsteps of the Huguenots (France’s often persecuted Protestants), visiting the thermal spa towns, sampling the many villages or, in the summer,  enjoying all number of water sports on the many lakes dotted everywhere.

Les 7 Laux

So, if Annabelle if you will have me, my plan is to be back  in the near future.

Images (C) Lucy Daltroff and feature photo Michael Mollier.

Tell me more about Les 7 Laux in Isère

Prices for February half term 2025, for a seven-night, self-catered stay at Les  Granges des 7 Laux  is from £692pp for a two-bedroom apartment based on five people sharing,  and that includes a return Eurotunnel crossing for a standard car with Peak Retreats.

visit Les 7 Laux for more information about the ski resorts.

Visit Isère for more information on the Department.



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