Tignes is lift-linked to Val d’Isere, forming the Espace Killy ski area. The resort itself is not one of the most charming resorts from an architectural perspective (to put it mildly), but what it doesn’t have in chocolate box charm, it makes up in general affordability, ski in ski out offering an all round in-resort convenience.
The main villages of Val Claret and Tignes Le Lac (now collectively called Tignes 2100 the altitude at which they sit), are predominantly comprised of apartments, although there are some hotels and a few chalets interspersed. Most of the accommodation in Tignes is either ski-in, ski-out or only a short walk from the pistes and lifts. There is next to no traffic in the resort, with many of the access roads and car parks build underground.
There has been a lot of work over the past few years in the building of new and amenity filled apartment blocks, with shops and swimming pools as standard. Tignes 1800 (which includes the original post-war village of Tignes Les Boisses) being the perfect example. And for those who really prefer charm above convenience, there is always the option of staying in Tignes Les Brevieres, the lowest of the Tignes resorts at 1550m. It’s a little bit isolated but has more traditional chalet-style architecture and a village-like ambience.
Wherever you stay in Tignes, you will enjoy the state of the art lifts, ever reliable snow, free nursery slopes, excellent ski schools, a huge network of pistes for skiers of every standard, and easy access to terrific off-piste. Oh, and you have Val d’Isere just a short ski away offering a fantastic range of slopes and Glaciers.
150km (300km including Val d’Isere)
1550m – 3456m
December – April
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Both Val Claret and Le Lac, as well as down at Les Boisses offer great learning zones. Progression on to longer greens is possible but this is best on the Val d’Isere side of the hill, where piste Verte from the Bellevarde and the entire Borsat area offer long, easy greens. The wide blue beneath the Grattalu chair is good for moving further forward, just take care on the resort return as there are a couple of steeper sections.
Tignes provides some of the Alps’ best intermediate terrain. Our top pick is the long, undulating Genepy run down from the glacier and for quieter slopes the long blue from the top of the Aiguille Percee is a great option. Keen intermediates will want to cross over to Val d’Isere just note that the descent into the resort can be tricky, especially in icy conditions. But once you are in Val, there are some great intermediate slopes on the Solaise mountain.
There are some great options here, both on and off piste. For a long, steep descent on piste, ski the Sache all the way from the Aiguille Percee down to Les Brevieres. Most of the other blacks have been converted to ungroomed ski routes, of which Golf and Campanules are popular. Over in Val d’Isere the options are vast, from the Banane off the Bellevarde to the trees above Le Fornet the ski area offers some fine off piste terrain.
On the Piste: To start with it can be hard to know where to head in Tignes as it’s a vast ski area but riders of all abilities could do worse than start on the The Grande Motte Glacier the snow sure glacier offers slopes of various widths and pitches so nobody should feel left out here. Beginners: There are a number of free to ride lifts scattered around the resort should keep newbies happy for the first few days. We then suggest and of the blue runs to step up to. Freestyle: Freestylers arriving in Tignes should head straight up the Grattalu chairlift where they can lap the park using this high speed chairlift.
Non Ski Winter Activities
You can do anything from husky rides, ice diving under the lake or even enjoy a traditional Savoyard meal in some of their beautiful classic yurts followed by a night time sledge down into Tignes Les Brevieres.
Being so high above sea level, Tignes and the Espace Killy ski area really do provide some of the most spectacular views of the French Alps, something no one should really be deprived of. With that in mind, purchasing a six-day pedestrian pass from the ski pass office for a mere 49 euros gives you the perfect opportunity to experience Tignes scenery without having to even touch a pair of skis or snowboard. You can take the Toviere gondola from Le Lac and have your picture taken in front of Mont Blanc. In Val Claret, you can travel up the mountain via Tignes new 17 million euro development called Altitude Experiences, an exciting refurbishment to the funicular and the development of the worlds largest Gondola with a viewing platform, which leads to the glacier. Why not have lunch at the Panoramic restaurant? You can also travel down into the valley via the shuttle bus to Boisse and then the pedestrian lift to Tignes Les Brevieres at 1500m. This quaint village sits underneath the damn and has a more traditional feel with authentic french restaurants.
Le Lac: Tignes works very hard to keep the resort safe, assessable and to get the most joy out of this natural landscape. Each year, when the lake fully freezes over, a path is mapped out so you can walk over it from Le Lac to Val Claret. This tranquil walk takes approx 30 minutes to each village. You can also ice skate on the lake next to Le Lagon. Skates cost a couple of euro to rent, there are aids to support children, and nets for a game of ice hockey.
Pala’Fou was made for adrenaline junkies. An exciting way to end a day on a 3km tobogganing slope. Race through a 40-meter tunnel amidst the natural slope accessible via Palafour chairlift in Le Lac. From 16:45 to 19:30 you can rent a sledge, helmet and head torch, and enjoy this big thrill adventure.
Exert some of that excess energy by renting out a sports space in the Tignespace complex. Not only do they have a climbing wall (bear in mind you have to bring your own harness and rope) and bouldering wall (this is free for anyone to use), but you can also rent out a space to play some indoor football, have a go on the trampolines, or brush up your racket skills with some tennis, badminton or even some squash.
The Lagon swimming pool is located in the heart of Tignes Le Lac, offering spectating views of the mountains with floor to ceiling windows. The Lagoon has three pools: a baby pool, an interactive pool with bubbles and slides and an athletic pool, making this a popular choice for both adults and children. The pool area is 5.50 euros for adults, 4.50 euros for children and free for the little ones under 5yrs. The Lagon has a wellness area with jacuzzi’s, saunas and a steam room for only 17,50 euros. If you have enough energy to stick to your gym routine, you can visit the modern fitness area for 10 euros.
Spas and massage
A winter mountain holiday can be exhausting for anyone, especially at such a high altitude (it can really take it out of you!) So what better way to unwind than spend a day in the many array of spas Tignes has to offer? Three of the most popular you can find is at Les Campanules in Lavachet, the wellness area of Les Suites du Nevada in Val Claret and the Village Montana hotel in Le Lac. Les Suites du Nevada offer everything from waxing and manicures from around 25 euros to a full body massage and facial lasting around and hour and half for 150 euros. If that happens to break the bank a bit too much for your liking you can make full use of the Village Montana facilities for as long as you like for just 20 euros. This includes access to their outdoor heated pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Access to this area is free if you book a treatment so there is no excuse not to spend the whole day relaxing and pampering yourself.
Cafes and bakeries
Along with all the fantastic restaurants and bars that are scattered around the town, Tignes has a few amazing bakeries and cafes worth visiting. If you are in Val Claret, visit Planks cafe for a quirky freshly made lunch of pies and craft drinks. Another brilliant option is the Chevallot Bakery and Patisserie located on the Promenade de Toviere in Le Lac. Not only is it fantastic value but when the sun is shining it has a brilliant terrace that could can spend hours sunbathing and gorging on its delights. If you are in lavachet, I suggest La Cantine which will exceed your expectations, with a modern twist on the humble grilled cheese sandwich.
Market (and shopping)
A great option is the local market that appears every Thursday and Sunday from midday to the late afternoon. Situated on the Promenade de Toviere, you can get everything from meat to mittens at this local and traditional French market. Once you have exhausted all the shops in Tignes, there is always the option of venturing even further to the picturesque Val d’Isere just the other side of the mountain. There is a local bus service that runs from outside the front of the Maison de Tignes in Le Lac that takes you right across to Val d’Isere, so don’t feel limited to just sticking around in Tignes.
View the live snow report for Tignes here
Tignes is a resort which is well set up for families. It has an abundance of great ski schools, a number of which are tailored to offer English speaking lessons, there is also a great range of convenient accommodation close to the slopes.
Family Friendly Accommodation
Families are on the whole well looked after in Tignes which for starters has the advantage of being purpose built at altitude. For families this means hotels and apartments with pools and other child friendly areas in great locations to allow families the opportunity of a holiday with minimal faff.
Ski School and Childcare
Children can get on the snow in a supervised class from age three or even two and a half either through one of the ski schools programmes or with Les Marmottons, which runs special children’s ski nurseries complete with mini snow park for kids aged from age two-and-a-half to eight years old at Le Lac and Val Claret (+33 (0)4 79 06 37 12; marmottons-tignes.com). The ski schools have their own programs, the largest is Ecole de Ski Francais which also has several piou piou snow gardens for children aged three and older, and then the French National standard courses for older children depending on their age and stage. Other ski schools offer kids ski school too, with our partners in particular leading the pack with their excellent choice of kids group and private lessons taught in English. If you’re looking for Childcare then there’s Jelly & Ice Cream specialising in private nannies and baby sitting.
Family Friendly Food
Tignes also scores for dining out with low priced family-friendly creperies and pizzerias.
Les Suites du Montana
Hotel Le Refuge
Hotel Ski d'Or
4 airports are located around Tignes, allowing you to get to the resort in less than 2.30 hours:
http://www.lyonaeroports.com/ – Airport: Lyon Saint-Exupery (international)
http://www.chambery-airport.com/ – Airport: ChambÃ©ry (international)
http://www.gva.ch/fr/desktopdefault.aspx – Airport : International de Geneve (international)
http://www.grenoble-airport.com/ – Airport: Grenoble (international)
To reach Tignes from airports, you can take a shuttle or rent a car.
Your route on: http://www.viamichelin.fr/
A430 Chambery – Albertville, 2 x 2-way to Moutiers N90 to Bourg-St-Maurice, D902 to Tignes
The bus transportation is provided through regular bus lines from Bourg St Maurice, Chambery or Geneva airports Lyon or Grenoble. For more information contact the various providers http://www.transdev.com/fr/
Daily trains, TGV, Eurostar and Thalys arrive in Bourg St Maurice (nearest train station = 30km from Tignes).Your trip on http://www.voyages-sncf.com/ the SNCF website. For your transfer to Tignes from the train station, you can either take/book a taxi or take/book a bus.