From legend…

flaine-franceThe first person to discover Flaine was a giant. It is said that he was making his way from Lake Geneva to the mediterannean when, stricken by tiredness, he decided to lie down in a small mountain haven. He lay down and stretched out and soon fell asleep. After several hours he awoke and decided to christen the pretty mountain valley “Flainoz“ which is the local dialect for pillow. Over time, Flainoz became Flaine.

…and beyond.

In 1959, the geophysicist Eric Boissonnas and the Swiss architect Gérard Chavez discovered the mountain bowl of Flaine and dared to imagine building an example of urbanism and architecture at the site. From 1963, Flaine became a living laboratory. Eric and Sylvie Boissonnas brought in Marcel Breuer, one of the architects of Bauhaus, world renowned for his architectural creations (Unesco building in Paris, the Whitney Museum in New York) as well as his furniture (the Wassily chair), to design the resort. The architecture and even the concept of the resort were developed with a respect for nature and a desire to integrate into the mountain setting. The layout, the line of the ski runs chosen by the champion Emile Allais, the creation of subterranean tunnels to house the electrical and water networks… even the use of concrete whose colour resembles so closely the surrounding rock faces, everything was motivated by this desire to find a balance between integration and functionality. Flaine has long been at the forefront of technical innovation:

– For the first time a true ski-in, ski-out ski resort with a traffic free centre and ski lifts right at the foot of the pistes,

– a subterranean system of tunnels to house electricity and telephone lines and water pipes,

– a central boiler house powered by non-polluting gas,

– a private cable TV system from 1970,

– the first network of artificial snow machines in 1973.

 

dubuffet_flaine

Eric and Sylvie Boissonnas wanted to turn their creation into an open air museum and bring art and culture to the heart of the resort. Hence one can find monumental works of art and buildings with cultural purpose throughout the resort: Dubuffet’s “Le Boqueteau”, “The Lady’s Head” by Picasso and “The Three Hexagons” by Vasarely; the Eric and Sylvie Boissonnas Auditorium boasts a fountain by Pol Bury. Flaine is the only place in the world where it is possible to admire a Picasso, a Vasarely and a Dubuffet at the same time! Yet another particularity of this already unique resort, the Hameau de Flaine, built in the 1980s, is a group of 70 Nordic chalets, located some 2km from the resort in a magnificent natural setting. A real mountain village with all the charm and comfort one would expect. It provides some 1000 beds which make up the 9500 for the whole resort.