Audi A6 Allroad driving through the French Alps

Climbing back to the top

Destination: Audi takes the A6 allroad to the French Alps to discover how Flaine ski resort has once again become the fashionable place to go for your winter holiday

Up view of the Le Totem hotel

When we drive into Flaine at the helm of the Audi A6 allroad it's immediately clear this place isn’t your average alpine ski resort. Forget about chocolate box wooden chalets with stone chimneys and picket fences. Imagine, instead, a concrete jungle of brutalist architecture that contrasts starkly with the surrounding blanket-white ski runs and snow-covered mountain peaks.

Audi A6 allroad parked outside Le Totem

Front view of the Le Totem hotel

When the French town opened in 1969 it was aimed at affluent tourists and dubbed the ski resort of the future. The blend of concrete hotels and apartment blocks was hailed as design masterpiece and Flaine's creator, the eminent Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer was at the pinnacle of his career after finishing the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and the Whitney Museum in New York.

Sadly, Flaine quickly lost its appeal and the radical concrete structures that had once seemed so avant-garde reminded visitors of council housing blocks and Soviet Russia. Flaine lost the title of Europe's most fashionable resort and for the next few decades it was forgotten among the many resorts catering for the lower end of the winter holiday market.

Overview of the French Alps

Today the ski resort is back in the news for being home to the latest opening from Maisons et Hotels Sibuet, one of France’s most renowned luxury hoteliers. Bauhaus design is back on the menu and staff at Le Totem hotel are more than happy to indulge their customers. The entire building has been renovated with no costs spared.

All the original Bauhaus features have been preserved and enhanced with mid-century vintage furniture and bold Navajo Indian-inspired fabrics. Exposed concrete pillars and walls bring the starkness of the outside in and retro arcade games add a touch of fun to the otherwise grown-up surroundings.

Close up of the Le Totem hotel

The Audi A6 allroad leaving Flaine

Parking outside the hotel creates a stunning contrast with the design of the A6 allroad. The smooth lines of the Floret silver Audi are highlighted against the sharp edges of the dark grey building and the angular cut of the road between the different buildings. Even with the Audi ski and luggage box, the allroad preserves its grace and aerodynamic shape. The high-quality, rivet-free box has a dual-tone finish so it's not only highly practical, but stylish too.

With 405 litres available and a 75kg load capacity, the box can carry everyone’s bulky ski gear, including several pairs of skis, without encroaching on boot space. This means that you don’t have to hit the ski hire shop and as soon as you arrive, instead you can head straight for the slopes. In Flaine, skiiers have access to 267km of the best pistes in the world, so there’s no time to lose.

Written by John Silcox. Photographs by Christoffer Rudquist.


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