French Alps: Ski your way through iconic architecture in Flaine

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French Alps: Ski your way through iconic architecture in Flaine
The car-free centre of Flaine is a living museum
French Alps: Ski your way through iconic architecture in Flaine
The car-free centre of Flaine is a living museum

I SKI from the door of the timber and stone Les Terrasses d’Hélios, a contemporary rustic retreat, and head down the tree-lined path.

Within minutes I’m in a world of Bauhaus concrete simplicity, where the clear light of a French morning sprays geometric patterns on the façades.

To say Flaine is a place of contrasts is an understatement. Later, reggae music bounces out of the White Bar while a Picasso sculpture – Tête de Femme, a cubist face on a metal pole – is a riot of colour as the sun sets across the sweeping bowl of pistes. Flaine is a dream for style gurus.

The Helios, an imposing creation of 120 apartments, would be as home in the Canadian Rockies as here, an hour from Geneva.

And to those who remember French ski apartments as being so small they could barely fit a cat in, let alone have the room to swing one, they are a revelation.

My abode is a profusion of limed timber with rich red walls, two TVs (with English channels), king-sized bed, lounge, dining table and a timbered kitchen area with (well, this is France) both filter and pod coffee makers.

Flaine was a child of the 1960s, when architecture was fun. It was built by Hungarian-born, US-based architect Marcel Breuer who had created concrete buildings as varied as Unesco’s Paris HQ and houses at Eton College. […]

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