Belle Plagne is a very different resort from Saas Fee.
Belle Plagne is above the tree line, while Swiss Fee is below it. This means Belle Plagne has a very open outlook from the hotel, you look down the valley and across to various peaks in the distance. Saas Fee feels more closed in, you are surrounded by snow covered mountains and glaciers looming high above you.
SF is a pretty, chocolate box Swiss village and BP is a purpose built typical ski resort. BP doesn’t fare too badly in the looks stakes but the lower village Belle Cote is pig ugly. It is dominated by apartments that were built for the 1992 Winter Olympics which were designed to look like a dam. This illusion may be more obvious in winter but is wasted in summer.
The third big difference between BP and SF is that there are at least 4 ski lifts operating from SF in the summer; 2 of these take you to other higher lifts.
In BP there is only one lift. In one direction it takes you up the mountain, to another bubble that takes you to the glacier. You have to pay for this one of course, but it’s free to take the bubble down to the lower, uglier village of Bellecote.
Today is the staff day off, so we have to amuse the kids ourselves and so we were determined not to make the same mistake as we did last week. There is also the fact that I woke this morning feeling like I’ve suffered a serious beating and needed 2 ibuprofens and a cup of strong coffee before I could attempt to get out of bed.
I certainly am in no state to drive The Bus down the mountain, so we needed to take public transport, so it was down the bubble lift to Bellecote from where we caught the (free) bus to Belle Centre and Belle 1800.
It was an interesting experience. The bus was stuffed with locals and we weren’t really sure where we were going, but we got off at the far end of the circuit at Belle 1800. We wandered down to a little restaurant beside a summerised ski-lift and had some lunch while the kids ran around in the valley, photographing flowers and trying to catch the numerous grasshoppers.
We had a leisurely lunch, then had to run for the bus clutching our proper vanilla icecreams. The trip back up the valley took only 5 minutes and we soon found ourselves standing at the bottom of the Only Lift In The Village, queuing for our free trip to Belle Plagne.
Down is no fun for me at the moment, even for short distances. I really hope I feel better tomorrow.