Bourg-Saint-Maurice – An Active Holiday Guide
The French alpine town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice is the gateway to the Tarentaise Valley and makes an ideal base for exploring the valley’s famous mountain resorts, including Les Arcs, La Plagne, Tignes, Val d’lsère, La Rosiere and Sainte Foy. Bourg-Saint-Maurice is also an activity hub in its own right, with some outstanding rafting, climbing, mountain biking and paragliding right on its doorstep.
Mountain Biking in the Tarentaise near Bourg-Saint-Maurice | © Camping Huttopia
Active Holidays in Bourg-Saint-Maurice
We’ve teamed up with the best active holiday companies to help you organise an unforgettable trip to Bourg-Saint Maurice:
Bourg-Saint-Maurice is an ideal base for exploring the spectacular mountain ranges of Beaufortain, Mont Blanc and Vanoise. Whether you’re into hiking and mountain biking or paragliding and kayaking, it’s all easily accessible. The surrounding mountains are breathtakingly beautiful with typical Savoie villages to explore and and local specialties to enjoy, such as fondue, raclette, tartiflette and local cheeses and charcuterie.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a hub of exhilarating adventure sports and cultural exploration. Get your adrenaline pumping with a range of activities like skiing at the renowned Les Arcs resort, cycle touring through picturesque landscapes, hiking high alpine trails, tackling the challenging via ferrata, or soaring through the skies with paragliding. After a day’s adventure, immerse yourself in the local culture. Visit the serene Saint Marie Madeleine Chapel, and delve into the art of cheese-making with a tour to see how the famous ‘Beaufort’ cheese is crafted. This town offers an enviable blend of sports and cultural enrichment.
Parc National de La Vanoise
Nestled in-between the Tarentaise and Maurienne valleys, the Vanoise National Park has hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails weaving through preserved, stunning countryside. Small villages like Champagny-le-Haut, Termignon, La Chiserette and Bramans lie near the park and on the Italian side, the park continues on into the Gran Paradiso National Park. Several large ski resorts border the park including; Les Trois Vallées, Tignes, Val d’lsère, Les Arcs and La Plagne.
Bourg St Maurice Arc En Ciel Funiculaire
The Arc en Ciel Funiculaire in Bourg-St-Maurice in winter | © lesarcs.com
The Arc en Ciel Funiculaire whisks you up from a lowly 805 m in Bourg-Saint-Maurice to 1,615 m in seven minutes flat. From Arc 1600 you can access the Mont Blanc 4 and Cachette chairlifts and ski the Les Arcs resorts and beyond. If you have a valid ski pass, you can ride the funicular for free, otherwise it’s € 3.00 for a single ticket or € 5.00 for an adult return. Free inter-resort shuttles are available to travel between each resort (Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950, Arc 2000, and Peisey-Vallandry). And, you can cross from Peisey-Vallandry to La Plagne via the Vanoise Express glass-bottomed cable car.
Outdoor Swimming at the Nautical Centre
Chambéry (1 h 20 min)
Pharmacie Centrale, 11 Avenue de la Gare, 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
La Poste, 72 Avenue du Centenaire, 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
Tarentaise Taxi, 180 Rue Saint-Michel, 73700 Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
ParkingFind free parking at Parking du Gymnase on Rue du Pré de Foire.
The nearest airport to Bourg-Saint Maurice is Chambery Airport, with a transfer time of 1 hr 20 min. Other airports include, Grenoble (2 hr), Lyon (2 hr 2 min), and Geneva (2 hr 8 min). You can get major train connections from Paris, Lyon and Chambery, with the option to take an overnight train from Paris.
Active things to do in Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Bourg-Saint-Maurice offers easy access to hundreds of kilometres of MTB trails whatever style of riding you’re into – XC, downhill, enduro or eMTB. Some highlights include the Traversee du Beaufortain, a 60km ride ending in Albertville, the 29 km Balcon de Tarentaise with its outstanding scenery, and the challenging Little Saint Bernard Pass.
Enduro mountain biking near Bourg-Saint Maurice | © beaufortain-vtt.com
Les Arcs Bike Park
Beginners to mountain biking should start with the fun trail in the Mille8 centre at the bottom of the Les Villard’s telecabine in Arc 1800. Here you can enjoy forest and meadow trails for a fun ride. Endurance riders can tackle one of 5 endurance routes amounting to 68km in distance. Other routes include; 8 downhill rides, 2 cross country circuits, 1 fun trail and 7 links. A freestyle zone can be found in Arc 1600 alongside 7 practice parks from beginner to advanced.
Route 66 – One of the world’s longest enduro trails
Route 66 is a 33 km blue-graded enduro trail which starts from the top of the Transarc gondola at 2,545 m and drops nearly 2,000 m back down to Bourg-Saint-Maurice. It passes through the high-alpine terrain of Arc 1950, and down through the trees to the Hauts de Villaroger nature reserve and then back down the valley along the Isère river to the bottom of the funicular.
Beaufortain and the Val d’Arly
Beaufortain is located about an hour north-west of Bourg-Saint-Maurice, but the quality and variety of the trails make it well worth the trip. There are hundreds of kilometres of MTB trails to explore, whatever type of riding you’re into. For downhill and Enduro riding, head to Le Bike Park des Saisies where you can access graded trails from green to black via three chairlifts. For XC and eMTB check out Arêches where you’ll find everything from easy 45 minute loops to 5 hour epics.
Rafting in Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a great group activity and it’s a fun experience everyone can enjoy (as long as you’re comfortable in the water). It’s also a great way to see the spectacular alpine landscape.
Rafting the mighty Isère river in Bourg-Saint Maurice | © terrederaft.com
From late spring through to the end of summer, the Isère River is fed by snowmelt from the high mountains. Experience wild mountain scenery, hidden canyons and some of France’s best whitewater rapids. With lots of options for different abilities, you can choose from a half-day, full day or weekend adventure right the way through to a five-day epic.
The Val d’Aoste and the Dora Balte are also popular rivers for rafting. Whichever descent you choose, a variety of whitewater activities in addition to rafting are on offer, including canoe-raft, packraft, hydrospeed and kayaking. Rafting company Terre de Raft on Rue de l’Arbonne (+33 7 57 09 46 89) has a good reputation.
Skiing and snowboarding
Skiing in Les Arcs | © Tristan Shu Photography
Paradiski has over 425 km of runs from 1500 m to 3110 m, and world-class artificial snow capabilities, making the resort as snow-sure as it gets in the French Alps. As an added bonus, the mountain scenery is spectacular with a panoramic backdrop of the majestic Mont Blanc and the iconic Pierra Menta, which towers over Arêches-Beaufort.
To access the skiing from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, take the funicular railway (Funiculaire) up to Arc 1600. You can cross from Peisey-Vallandry to La Plagne using the incredible, glass-bottomed Vanoise Express, which is supposedly the world’s largest cable car and links the two mountain ranges in just four minutes.
Climbing at the Falaise du Monal in the Haute Tarentaise | © escaladehautetarentaise.com
Aim to visit here in the best conditions between April-June and September-November. The scenery is picture perfect with alpine chalets, craggy stone walls, tiny lakes and gold leafed larch trees scattered about.
Best visited between May and October, the terrain here is challenging ranging from vertical slabs, overhangs and dihedral points. Check out the climbing school at Arcs 1600 for help with equipment and stunning views over the valley.
Falaise de Versondane
Located next to the small hamlet of Le Villaret, climbing the Falaise de Versondane is best between April-June and September-November. Enjoy slabs and vertical points around challenging climbs.
Pont de Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Tackle slabs and vertical points over 10 and 25 routes from 6a and 6b. Avid climbers will love these craggy routes and certainly get a sweat on.
Via Ferrata des Bettières | © J-B Pascal
Via Ferrata des Rochers du Vent. For a real challenge, take a whole day to conquer the Via Ferrata des Rochers du Vent. Climb through difficult terrain while enjoying views of the Mont Blanc and Roseland Lake. Jump onto the Nepalese Bridge, descend into a canyon and discover a tunnel dug before the war.
Choose from 31 hiking trails in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, ranging from easy family walks to challenging, high-exertion hikes. Experience a range of terrain from mountain pasture, rocky outcrops, high mountains and lush woodland.
Hiking Les Cinq Lacs de la Forclaz near Bourg-St-Maurice | © savoie-mont-blanc.com
An experienced walker would love the Col de L’Ouillon walk which is 5 hours one way along border with Italy. You’ll enjoy stunning views of the Haute Tarentaise Valley, the resort of Les Arcs, the Bellecote Massif, Aiguille du Clapet, Roc de Belleface and Mont Miravadi.
A bit more accessible is the hike up to the Col du Breuil (2879m) from the Pont de Chezari (2047m) car park. It’s a straightforward 8.5 km walk up to the Italian border and back. You’ll experience some spectacular high-mountain scenery and stunning views back down to the valley below.
If you’re looking for a loop to do with the family, try the Circuit des Lacs in Arc 2000. You can park next to the Club Med and follow the Circuit des Lacs waymarked trail. The walk takes in 3 lakes – lac de l’Homme, lac Marloup and lac de Moutons, and takes about 3 hours. Throughout, you’ll have breathtaking views of the mountains, including the Bellecôte range, the Aiguille Rouge (3227 m) and the Italian side of the Mont-Blanc.
For guided walks and greater insights into the local area you can join a walking tour with the Guides at de Haute Montagne. And remember, you’re in the Vanoise National Park, so there’s a chance you’ll spot wildlife like marmottes, black grouse and chamois.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice has plenty of places to paraglide in and around the area. Whether you are experienced or a complete beginner you will be able to enjoy the sensation of flight. Beginners should hook up with one of the many paragliding schools to experience a tandem paragliding session with an experienced instructor.
Arcs en Ciel paragliding school in Bourg-Saint-Maurice | © arcsenciel.fr
Arcs en Ciel Paragliding School in Bourg-Saint-Maurice provides lessons for everyone from complete beginners to advanced pilots looking for tips on local flying conditions. If you’re paragliding on your own, make sure you check the signs at each take off point. Some spots are closed at certain times of the year due to weather conditions.
Accommodation in Bourg-Saint-Maurice
Hotel Autentic in Bourg-St-Maurice | © Booking.com
Bourg-Saint-Maurice has a good variety of accommodation options catering to different preferences and budgets. Hotel Autentic, a charming three-star hotel, offers a serene and comfortable stay with amenities like an indoor pool, garden, bar, terrace, and free Wi-Fi. The hotel’s in a great location, beds are comfortable and the staff are friendly and helpful.
For those seeking a more diverse choice of rooms and a vibrant atmosphere, Hotel Base Camp Lodge is an ideal pick. It accommodates guests in 106 rooms and 5 dormitories, offering options for every budget. The hotel is known for its innovative and relaxed decor, making it a perfect spot for travelers seeking a unique experience. It’s conveniently located and offers amenities such as a terrace, free private parking, a restaurant, a bar, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
Montagn’Arcs, a sustainable bed and breakfast, provides a more intimate and environmentally friendly option. It features a fitness room, family-friendly restaurant, a bar and a lounge, and offers free private parking, 24 hour front desk and mountain views. With its pool table, darts, free bikes and ski storage, this bed and breakfast is ideal for active holiday makers.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice certainly has a lot to offer with its impressive mountain ranges, rolling pastures, snow-capped peaks and wild forested areas. Thrill-seekers can ski, paraglide, hike and climb through the toughest of terrain, while leisure lovers can meander through pretty hilltop villages and stroll along lush pastures. Whether you’re visiting for a few days or a few weeks, Bourg-Saint-Maurice will undoubtedly make an impression and have you coming back for more. Just make sure you book ahead in the busy months to save disappointment!
Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your trip to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this guide. Happy holidays!