Les 7 Laux is located in the Isère department of France. This family-friendly ski resort has been wooing French families for the last five decades (the resort celebrates its 50th birthday this year) but remains stubbornly under the radar for most British families. This is a huge shame because Les 7 Laux ski resort is incredibly family-friendly. There’s some great skiing on offer, a range of family-friendly accommodation, fun after-ski activities and close proximity to the airports of Grenoble and Lyon.
If you’re looking for a great family ski resort in France then this is why you should consider Les 7 Laux.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Isere Tourism, Les 7 Laux and Peak Retreats for the purpose of producing this guide. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
Les 7 Laux Ski Resort
Ski resort Les 7 Laux sits within the Belledonne mountain range in the south-eastern corner of the French Alps. The purpose-built resort is made up of three stations, Prapoutel, Le Pleynet and Pipay.
Prapoutel is the largest of the three stations. Located in the Haut-Bréda valley, this is where you’ll find the majority of the accommodation and restaurants.
There are two ski schools in Prapoutel, ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais, the largest and most ubiquitous ski school in France) and ESI (Ecole de Ski Internationale). There are ski hire shops here too, we hired skis from Skimium.
Also in the Haut-Bréda valley is Le Pleynet, the second largest station with a handful of restaurants and some accommodation options. Pleynet is also home to the Wiz Luge, a thrilling bobsleigh-type ride (more on that later).
Pipay, which sits on the Grésivaudan side, is home to a restaurant, ski school and large parking area, and is used by daytrippers coming from nearby Chambéry.
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Skiing in Les 7 Laux
Les Sept Laux ski domain offers 120km of ski slopes with runs to suit everyone on a family ski holiday. There are There are 11 green runs, 14 blue runs, 18 red runs and 7 black runs. There are also some very good off piste options
For beginners, the Taupe Route in Prapoutel runs from the top of the Bouquetins chairlift down to the bottom. This green run is a fun course with arches to ski under, foam obstacles to hit and tunnels to cross.
Similarly the Squirrel Route (Itinéraire de l’écureuil) is a fantastic option for those still getting the hang of skis. This multi-lift course is made up of mainly green runs (with the odd blue run thrown in) and takes around two hours to complete. Along the way there are snow bumps, foam obstacles, a wooden tunnel to pass through and even picnic spots complete with BBQs.
The Squirrel Route is a lot of fun and can easily be repeated numerous times during your stay in Les 7 Laux. It’s also offers some fantastic views over the valley. On a clear day you can see Grenoble and Chambéry below and on days when the clouds sit in the valley, it looks as though you are skiing above a sea of clouds.
For more advanced skiers the 7 Laux ski area has some fantastic red and black runs. Mataru is a wide, open red run that was a joy to ski. The Boarder Cross run is a fun black run that resembles a bobsleigh track on skis. My favourite run in Les 7 Laux, however, has to be Le Vallons du Pra, one of the most famous runs in the resort.
This freeride piste boasts perpetually good snow thanks to its position in a north-facing gully. The trail is marked but not groomed and starts at an altitude of 2,400metres and boasts a 1,0000m vertical drop. It’s a beautiful run and one that will have your legs burning by the end as you navigate the perfectly formed moguls.
There are lots of off piste options in Les 7 Laux too; much of the domaine skiable can be skied even if the route is not marked.
The Snow Park
The HO5 Snowpark is located at 1,700m at the top of the Soleil ski lift on the Pleynet side of the resort. The 8 hectare renowned snow park was designed by Oakley and has something for all levels of daredevils. The freeride park is divided into four zones with varying difficulty levels including a series of gentle jumps that even beginners can enjoy.
Ski Schools in Les 7 Laux
The two main ski schools for skiing and snowboarding lessons; ESF (Ecole du Ski Francais) and ESI (Ecole de Ski Internationale). Group lessons and private lessons are available.
In Prapoutel there is also SLASH and Easy Riders, two schools offering snowboarding lessons. Easy Riders also offers mountain bike lessons during the summer months. There is an ESF in Pipay and in Le Pleynet as well.
Other activities in Les 7 Laux
Once you’ve stored away your skis for the day there are lots of fun activities and other winter sports to enjoy in the resort. During the winter season the following activities are on offer:
Les 7 Laux enjoys 20km of nordic ski tracks in Prapoutel. The Domaine Nordique de Beldina (‘Les Ardets’), the cross country ski area, is a 15-minute walk from the Prapoutel centre. This is where you can hire equipment and book a lesson. On Tuesday evenings the centre stays open later for nordic skiing in the dark (with head torches!).
The Domaine Nordique de Beldina has a variety of loops the longest of which is a 6km loop. The others range from 3 to 5km. There is also the 0.1km-long black trail, the “Challenge of Beldina”.
At Pleynet there are 3.5km trails at an altitude of 1,950m, accessible via the Pincerie ski lifts
Possibly one of the best things to do in Les 7 Laux without your skis is the Snake Gliss. This activity takes place once a week outside of school holidays and more regularly when the resort is full on the P’tits Loups beginner run in Prapoutel.
Participants are each handed a black plastic sledge that can be attached to up to 20 other sledges, created an articulated luge that speeds down the mountain. The more people who join, the faster – and windier – the sledge goes!
You need to book at the Tourist Office in advance and it costs €5 for 45 minutes.
The Wiz Luge
This bobsleigh-style sledge runs up, down and around da 300m track through the trees from Le Pleynet. It’s a thrilling ride that (almost) all the family can enjoy; children can take part from the age of 3 if accompanied by an adult.
The Wiz Luge is open year-round; hours change according to the season. One ride costs €7.
Pascal Paper Lépine runs Alp’in, a company that runs organised snowshoes walks in the mountains. We took part in a snowshoe walk at sunset, which took us through the forest as the sun was setting and then had us running through deep powder snow in the darkness before sliding down a snowy bank. Pascal is very good with kids – even recalcitrant six-year-olds who would much rather be at home!.
Pascal offers a range of other snowshoeing adventures including walking to a refuge for drinks and charcuterie. He also offers traditional hikes in the summer months.
Dog Sledding in Les 7 Laux
We did not get to try dog sledding when we were in Les 7 Laux but it is another activity offered. Located in the heart of the Belledonne massif at the “Clos de la vallée blanche” at la Ferrière, or in Pipay with “Nunavut”, visitors are invited to learn about the world of sled dogs, touring their kennel, taking a hike with the polar dogs and then learning to drive a dog team.
The Taupi Camp sits just about the ESF in Prapoutel and is a fun adventure park for kids that’s open year-round. There are zippiness, labyrinths, slides, wooden games and more. There is an entry fee of €5 per child.
Where to stay in Les 7 Laux
There are no hotels in Les 7 Laux, all accommodation options are apartments. We stayed in an apartment courtesy of Peak Retreats, a ski holiday company specialising in traditional resorts in the French Alps. Our one-bedroom apartment was in the Les Granges de 7 Laux complex, a ski-in-ski-out apartment block with direct access to the slopes.
The apartment was not large – think more traditional French ski apartment rather than a modern one – but it was really well set up and very comfortable. The kitchen had everything you could need, the living room sofa could transform into a sofa bed, the bathroom was large and there was a generous terrace. The apartment block also had a ski boot room with lockers. Plus, you are right on the slopes!
Where to eat in Les 7 Laux
There are lots of dining options in Les 7 Laux; all are very traditional French ski resort restaurants so expect lots of hearty meals and plenty of cheese! There is also a Sherpa supermarket in town if you want to self-cater. All of the restaurants listed below offer kids’ menus.
One thing to note, Les 7 Laux Prapoutel is not big on après ski; there are bars where you can enjoy a post-ski drink but this is not the place to come for late night dancing on tables!
We enjoyed meals at the following restaurants:
The Kaktuss: This restaurant sits within the apartment complex of Les Granges des 7 Laux and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I tried their Raviole du Dauphiné, a speciality from this corner of France. These tiny, thin squares of pasta are stuffed with Creme Fraiche, Comte PDO and Emmental and are absolutely delicious.
The Prapouta: Located in the heart of the resort, this is a great lunch option owing to its big, sun-drenched deck.
Le Rocher Blanc: A more upmarket option that still welcomes kids. They serve traditional French home-cooked food including fondues and raclette. I had one of their specialities, the Boîte chaude des Alpes, melted cheese served alongside cold cuts, potatoes and salad. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
Chalet des Cortillets: This restaurant sits at the top of the Les Bouquetins lift in Prapoutel and is open for lunch serving quick meals including good burgers and chips.
La Sierra: A great option for an easy meal with kids, La Sierra serves homemade pizza and amazing ice creams. They also offer more traditional mountain fare.
Le Sainbioz: Located in Le Pleynet, this is a really lovely restaurant. We had lunch here on the terrace and the food was excellent.
How to get to Les 7 Laux
Les 7 Laux is located in Isere at the heart of Belledonne mountain range. It is 35 km from Grenoble and 50 km from Chambéry. Prapoutel is 155km from Lyon.
We flew with British Airways from London Heathrow to Lyon (1.5 hour flight) and had a taxi to the resort. You can also fly into Grenoble or Chambéry.
Travelling by train you can take the train from London St Pancras to Paris and then change for a train to Grenoble.
For more information on visiting Les 7 Laux, take a look at the official website.