Pra Loup, France
How to reach the resort
The popular French ski resort, Pra Loup, is divided into two distinct regions: Pra Loup 1500 and Pra Loup 1600. These villages are separated by a distance of just two kilometres. The former contains a wide range of comfortable accommodation, set amidst snow-covered meadows, whilst the latter is located on a stunning mountain plateau.
To reach Pra Loup, travel by plane to Grenoble. The airport at Grenoble is well-served by a wide range of budget flights departing from airports around the UK and, if you are lucky, you can find real bargains, particularly towards the end of the season. The easiest way to reach the resort from Grenoble is by hiring a car at the airport. Many airlines include the option of hiring a car at a cheaper rate once you have booked your flight.
Flying to Marseille is another option. If you do choose to fly here, try to book your flight for a Saturday, since there is a direct bus service to Pra Loup every week at 2pm. Alternatively, you could take the train. Trains from Marseille St. Charles rail station go via either Gap or Digne. The train terminates at Barcelonnette, located just 10 kilometres away from Pra Loup. Take a taxi from the train station to the ski resort.
To travel by train to the resort from the UK, take the Eurostar to Paris and then transfer to a high-speed train destined for Marseille. From Marseille, catch a train heading for Gap and then take one of several buses running daily between Gap and Pra Loup. The final stretch of the journey takes approximately one and a half hours and will cost you 8.10 Euros. Alternatively, get off the train at Barcelonnette and take a taxi to Pra Loup.
If you choose to drive the distance between the UK and the ski resort, you will need to travel via Lyon, Grenoble, Gap, and Barcelonnette. The latter stages of the journey are spectacular. You will travel over the St. Jean Pass and pass through Le Lauzet until you reach the road that leads to the resort itself.
Who does the resort cater for?
The slopes at Pra Loup cater for skiers of all abilities, but will please the intermediate skiers and beginners more than experts seeking a real challenge. Most of the runs are either red or blue and the wide, open pistes allow skiers to improve their skills. Relatively speaking, there is not too much off-piste action to be found so experts may wish to look elsewhere for their annual skiing fix. Snowboarders, on the other hand, will not be let down by the magnificent snow park.
If you want a day off from skiing action on the slopes, try tobogganing, ice-skating, snowscooting (ideal for young children), bowling, catching a film at the local cinema, swimming in the indoor pool, go-karting, parachuting, and cycling on the snow using special motorbikes. Nightlife in the resort is lively, with one nightclub in the middle of the shopping arcade proving to be particularly popular with foreign guests to the resort.
What accommodation does the resort offer?
Most visitors to Pra Loup choose to stay in private apartments or chalets. One particularly good option is Diffusion Immobilier, which is furnished to a comfortable standard and feels very homely. You can choose from renting a studio, a 2 or 3 room apartment, a large flat, or a chalet. Alternatively, Neige et Loisirs offers a wide range of flats and chalets with accommodation provided on either a full or half-board basis. If you would prefer to stay in a hotel, you will be spoilt for choice. Hotel Le Prieure is a popular, albeit slightly expensive, option. It is a former eighteenth century priory and offers magnificent views of the surrounding scenery. It is located at the entrance to Pra Loup 1500 and has a restaurant serving contemporary cuisine.
There are 5 black runs (suitable for expert skiers), 33 red runs (suitable for intermediate skiers), 27 blue runs (suitable for beginners), and 16 green runs (suitable for those learning to ski). The resort is part of the Espace Lumiѐre Ski Area, which has 113 individual pistes. The slopes are served by modern lifts and they take nearly 45,000 skiers per hour up the mountains. The resort has 252 snow cannons which generate artificial snow to supplement the natural snow.
- Downhill Pistes: 165 km
- Cross Country Trails: 6 km
- Number of Ski Lifts: 53
- Maximum Vertical: 1100 m
- Highest Lift: 2600 m
- Altitude of Resort: 1500 m
- Lowest Piste: 1500 m