La Clusaz, Rhone-Alpes: tourism & sightseeing
Visit La Clusaz (Rhone-Alpes, France)
Despite its accessibility for international tourists, La Clusaz is predominantly a resort favoured by French families, who appreciate its charm. The resort has been a farming village much longer than a ski resort, so the chocolate-box houses outnumber the few purpose-built winter lodgings, and its possible to buy cheese, eggs and other local produce from the farmers directly.
Skiing at La Clusaz
The pistes are varied in length, width and difficulty, providing something suitable for all ages and abilities. The resort contains five peaks: Beauregard (the lowest, warmest and easiest); Manigod (quiet, tree-lined runs); l’Etale (steep); l’Aguille (something for everyone); and La Balme (great off-piste area). A ski pass can also be purchased to cover the neighbouring ski resort, Le Grand Bornand, accessible by car or by the free regular shuttle bus.
World freestyle champion Candide Thovex grew up in La Clusaz, and it’s on the La Balme peak that he holds his Candide Invitational event each March, attracting world-class skiers and snowboarders from all corners of the world.
With Annecy so close by, the busiest mountain days are weekends, when all the locals spend their days off in the resort. Even so, the busiest times in La Clusaz are still quieter than other, larger resorts, such as Meribel or Chamonix.
Note: Unlike those larger resorts, don’t expect to walk into a shop in La Clusaz and speak English: you may be served by someone who can speak English, but the predominant language spoken in the resort is still French, and not all shop and restaurant staff can speak English.
Apart from downhill skiing and snowboarding, the resort offers lessons in telemarking and cross-country skiing (ski du fond). It also offers dog sledging, night skiing on Thursday nights, full-moon skiing (literally skiing with just the moonlight) two or three times each winter, outdoor ice skating, outdoor swimming in the heated swimming pool, and snow-shoeing.
Another local winter activity is sledging with the ‘parait’ – a sledge that’s more like a giant ice skate because it has one horizontal piece of wood that touches the ground and a seat on top of it to balance on. You use your legs to brake and a vertical piece of wood in front of the seat to steer. Falling is easy, but lots of fun, and parait hire is free during night skiing on Thursday nights if you can provide some identification.
A variety of ski schools exist in La Clusaz, including some English-speaking ones such as Skieo and the usual French Ecole du Ski. Lessons are often booked well in advance by in-the-know French families, so book early to ensure a place.
Summer in La Clusaz
La Clusaz is almost as popular in summer as it is in winter, with two downhill toboggan tracks, water slides, mountain walks, overnight refuges nearby, paragliding, a via ferrata, mountain biking, ice skating and lots of family activities and events.
he in-between season months of May, June, September and October are much quieter, and most of the shops are closed. If you’re visiting, make sure you visit in summer or winter.
La Clusaz and the Aravis area are famous for Reblechon and Tomme de Savoie cheese. Reblechon is used to make the local dish, tartiflette – potatoes, garlic, onion, lardons and Reblechon cheese – to provide the perfect stodge at the end of a long day on the pistes.
Other regional dishes such as fondue, raclette and beignet du pommes de terre (like a hash brown, served with unaged Reblochon cheese known as Tomme Blanche’, but no relation to Tomme de Savoie) are readily available in the many traditional restaurants in town and on the pistes. La Ferme is fantastic for some lesser-known traditional dishes and great desserts, while l’Outa provides consistently great food with a broad range of menu items for kids, vegetarians and fussy adults.
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Map of La Clusaz and places to visit
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Address: Clusaz, Thônes, Annecy, Haute-Savoie, Rhone-Alpes, 74220, France || GPS: latitude 45.905, longitude 6.42389
Plan your visit to La Clusaz, Rhone-Alpes
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Col de la Colombière: site of natural beauty (10km)
- Megeve: ville fleurie 4* (16km)
- Sallanches: recommended detour (17km)
- Col de Romme: site of natural beauty (18km)
- Roc de Chere: site of natural beauty (18km)
- Mont Veyrier: site of natural beauty (19km)
- La Roche-sur-Foron: recommended detour (20km)
- Lac d'Annecy: site of natural beauty (20km)
- Mole: site of natural beauty (23km)
- Annecy: town of art and history (23km)
Market days in La Clusaz, France
Regular market(s) are held in La Clusaz each Monday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at La Clusaz (Francais)