Winter 2009
Club Med La Plagne 2100 or Bust

Club Med La Plagne (pronounced "La-Plahn-YUH") 2100. It's the mother of all kid-carrying clientèle as far as winter holiday destinations goes. This family-friendly mountainside resort located in the French Alps was recently refurbished to the tune of 10 million. The resort has been rated as one of the best child-friendly destinations – ever. They offer a world-class kids club which includes ski tuition and evening entertainment. To my surprise the children received ski instruction not only in the morning, but they are back-up again on the slopes for another two-half hours of instruction in the afternoon. That's a total of five hours a day of skiing.

As one fellow mom-guest and ski beginner classmate of mine confided, “I was certainly a bit hesitant at first with the ski school for the kids, but our daughter (Elli) loves the challenges on offer here. Just after her third day of ski school she is off on the blue runs! Blue runs!” says, eight-year old Ellie Taylor's mother who lives in Maidenhead, England, and is married to a former executive editor of a well-know UK publication.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR THE KIDS: Everything. It's a luxury all-inclusive hideaway snuggled in-between the snow-capped French Alps. It’s all about skiing here, or at least learning how to ski. The hotel runs a first-rate ski package for children that combines child-care, ski tuition including ski gear and of course, evening entertainment. There are two well-outfitted kids' clubs. One for juniors aged 4-10, the other for 11 to 17 year olds. Both groups are divided into a variety of ski-levels. Best bet: The “skis-on” access to the slopes – can't be beat. By the end of week, kids could quite possibly be geared up for the Winter Olympics in 2014 due to the excellent ski instructor quality found here. Teens rave about the nearby Olympic bobsled track (it’s used by the French Olympic team) where one can ride on a self-guided sleigh at the speed of 50mph.

During our stay I made extended efforts to join the children, ages 9 and 7, in the kids club from time to time, but all they wanted to do was to be with their new friends, the staff at the kids club and go skiing, of course. Over dinner one evening, my son zoomed past me and said “Hey mom! Do you think we could move and live here? I love skiing! It's so much fun here!”

What did I do all-day? I ended-up taking a beginners ski classes until my legs gave out. I'm sure glad I did too. Why? Because during one of my ski lessons I fell in love with resort, the location and its facilities. It was on my second day we were gifted a gorgeous, beautiful day. The sun was shining and we were surrounded by faultless, clear-blue skies, way, way up on the slopes, right in the middle of the alpine snow-covered mountains. The view was breathtaking. A day to remember.

RELAX YOUR WAY TO THE FRENCH ALPS: Because getting there is half the fun. And remember, it's cheaper these days to fly internationally than to fly to the East coast. Start your trip off by saving hundreds of dollars and fly into Brussels Airport in Belgium. Here it quite easy to connect to the high-speed train called the Thalys. The high-speed train provides a fast link to ski lovers because of package called quite simply, Ski-Thalys. This program brings skiers to Aime-la-Plagne in less than four and half hours from Brussels. The train service runs on Saturdays only during the ski season. The kids loved riding the train especially since breakfast is served and the kids got what seemed like endless supplies of hot chocolate. They also had a chance to be inspired and admire several of the snow-covered peaks this part of the world has to offer. A food service option made the trip seem a whole lot shorter. Within 15-minutes after arriving Aime-la-Plagne we arrived our hotel.

VERDICT: Food was fantastic. Kids happily learned to ski, met new friends and loved the staffing, and they even slept all night. What more could a mom ask for, right? Seriously like you really have to twist my skies or push me down the slopes to hear more. I'm sure my kids can sum it up better than I ever could “Club Med La Plagne 2100 or bust!”

Urban Crayon Paris is a family-friendly travel guide on how to have fun with young children in France's famed capital city. Conveniently organized in 12 sections, this book features fun things to do outdoors; activities geared for boys, girls, and the whole family; the locales of the best free playgrounds; the most kid-friendly sightseeing; hip inns that offer real value for the money; and great places to eat. Urban Crayon Paris was a finalist in the 2008 Indie Book Awards.


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