The Ultimate Guide to Tignes

Tignes ski resort

Photo: Tignes – © andyparant.com

Tignes is located in one of the best ski areas in France. Its high altitude gives Tignes a more extended winter than many French ski resorts and makes it a very snow-sure destination. In this post, we will go through everything you need to know about Tignes. You will be armed with all the information of where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink.

THE RESORT

As you approach Tignes on the twisty mountain roads, you will cross a huge dam, holding back the Lac du Chevril. Under the lake is the original village of Tignes, which was flooded by the dam in 1952. The resort is now made up of a few smaller purpose-built villages. Each village is set at different altitudes and are connected via ski lifts, slopes and a free shuttle bus.

Tignes Les Brevieres (1,550m)

Tignes Les Brevieres is the prettiest of the five villages. The traditional wooden clad buildings have a charm that the other villages don’t have. It is nestled in Tignes next to the Isere river that leads to the dam. The village is made up of bistros and boutique shops, giving it an authentic Savoyard feel. Even if you don’t stay here, it is worth going to, as it is a great lunch stop.

Tignes 1800

Tignes 1800 is the quietest village of Tignes and located at a lower altitude. This is the first village you see after the dam and is currently going through a massive renovation. A large part of Tignes 1800 is the MGM’s Eco-resort, which was completed in 2014. This is becoming more popular with guests thanks to the renovation of accommodations and their slightly lower price.

Tignes Le Lac (2100m)

Tignes Le Lac is the main resort on the banks of a large lake, at an altitude of 2100m. It consists of mainly high-rise hotels and apartment blocks with some chalets scattered around. One of the main advantages of staying at Le Lac is easy access to the slopes. There is also a wide range of bars and restaurants to enjoy for après and in the evenings.

Tignes Le Lac isn’t the most picturesque resort due to the style of the buildings. But look beyond that, and you will see that it is in a stunning setting, is very convenient and provides its visitors with many fun things to do.

Tignes Le Lavachet (2100m)

Tignes Le Lavachet is a hamlet just outside Tignes Le Lac, which also has easy access to the lake. It is a little quieter than Le Lac, but it still has some nice bars and restaurants. If you decide that you want to explore what the other villages have on offer in the evenings, you can jump on the free shuttle bus. The accommodation is mainly made up of good value apartment blocks, small chalets and hotels.

Tignes Val Claret (2,100m)

Tignes Val Claret is a humming village thanks to its amenities. But its location puts it right in the middle of all the action. Here, you can get all the way up to the Grande Motte glacier, which is open for summer skiing too.

Similar to Le Lac, Val Claret is not particularly pretty. But the skiing from here is fantastic, and shopping is excellent. Tignes Val Claret is definitely the best village for après and nightlife. The accommodation options in Val Claret range from beautiful chalets, delightful hotels and wonderful apartments. Some of the accommodation in Val Claret is ski-in-ski-out, which is another reason why the village is so popular.

©greg Mistral 18012017 Dsc9197 Modifier Les Brevi
Tignes Les Brevières - © Greg Mistral

Tignes Les Brevieres is the prettiest of the five villages with charming traditional wooden clad buildings that the other villages don’t have.

ON THE MOUNTAIN

Along with neighbouring ski resort Val d’Isère, Tignes forms part of what was previously known as the Espace Killy ski area. The area is now known as Val D’Isere – Tignes, and the slopes are linked by a lift system that covers 24,000 acres and most of it is above 2000m.

Tignes doesn’t have many actual beginner slopes, but there are enough to practice on closer to Val D’Isere. Many of the pistes are for lower-intermediate skiers and snowboarders, and there are lots of long, cruisy intermediate runs. The Grande Motte glacier is the highest point of the whole ski area, at 3,459m. This is usually the last part to open after a snowfall, but it is definitely worth going up there. The cablecar is impressive, and the views are awe-inspiring.

More advanced skiers and snowboarders have lots of choice for off-piste and freeride routes, as they are everywhere. Book a guide to find out where the best spots are. There are some excellent long and wide black and red runs too.

You will find many blue runs to enjoy all over the ski area. One popular route is known as the Loop. This starts in Tignes Le Lac from the Palfour lift and takes you around the lake to Val Claret via the Merles lift. On your way around, do an extra lap of Grattalu. Here you can have some fun in the snowpark or go for a blast on the boardercross. Continue following the pistes back to Le Lac and a beer at Le Loop Bar. It is a good idea to start this in the morning, and you will be in the sun all the way around.

Val D’Isere is accessible if you buy the full area lift pass. There are plenty of lovely pistes to enjoy in Val D’Isere, but the runs into the resort can be a bit tricky. The Face de Bellevarde is the famous Olympic downhill; even though most of it is very steep, it is lovely when the conditions are good. However, it when it is covered in moguls or ice, it can be very challenging.

There is a blue piste that takes you into Val D’Isere. However, this grading is a little ambitious and is more of a red/black. Therefore, if you have kids or less experienced skiers in your group, it is best to go through La Daille or get the Olympic bubble down the mountain.

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Tignes - © andyparant.com

Tignes Le Lac, Tignes Le Lavachet and Tignes Val Claret view from above the slopes

LUXURY ACCOMMODATION

Tignes has some great value for money accommodation options, but interspersed between them, are some fantastic luxury hotels and chalets. Here are some of our favourites.

Hotel Les Suites

Hotel Les Suites is a beautiful five-star hotel located in Tignes Val Claret. It comprises of 24 modular suites of different types and sizes. All the suites are designed for easy access for guests with mobility issues. The decor of the whole hotel has a contemporary style and includes pieces from local artists.

After a day exploring the expansive ski area, guests can take full advantage of the hotel spa. The spa team provides a range of relaxation and rejuvenation treatments in contemporary surroundings. Guests can also enjoy the indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, hammam and gym. There is also a hairdresser situated within the hotel.

Guests can relax in the hotel’s lounge area by the fireplace, while the cosy bar is an excellent setting to enjoy a drink while chatting about the day’s adventures. There is also a fantastic on-site restaurant that creates a unique dining experience. Here you can enjoy authentic Michelin star cuisine in a space designed to look like a forest, as you are surrounded by 380 trees!

Residence Le Jhana

Residence Le Jhana is a fantastic four-star apartment complex consisting of 19 apartments in Val Claret, close to the shopping centre and Curling Square. The residence has a modern chalet-style decor and architecture and is close to everything Val Claret has to offer.

These beautiful apartments are ideal for those that like to relax as much as they like to ski. The on-site spa and beauty centre is features an indoor swimming pool, saunas, hammam, Jacuzzi and a fitness room.

Le Jhana’s luxury apartments are beautifully decorated and will make sure you have a pleasant stay. The location of the residence makes it very convenient, as does its ski rental shop, which is fully stocked with high quality and up to date equipment.

Le Residence Télémark

Le Residence Télémark sits close to the lake and has fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. This location makes Le Télémark the ideal place to stay to discover this massive ski area. The Chaudanne drag lift is right at your front door. And the piste will bring you back home at the end of the day.

The four-star 2, 4 or 6 bedroom apartments have elegant mountain architecture, and their balconies and terraces are perfect for soaking up the last of the day’s sun with a drink.

The residence also has its own private spa. The gorgeous Spa Ô des Cimes has a private indoor pool and cardio room.

La Ferme du Val Claret

La Ferme du Val Claret is another fantastic four-star apartment residence. Its location gives you easy access to the Espace Tignes – Val d’Isère ski area, as the lifts are very close to the building. This also means that guests can enjoy the local bars, restaurants and amenities without having to stray too far from their accommodation.

The residences’ guests have use of an excellent spa. This spa includes a swimming pool, sauna and hammam, located in a nearby hotel. Massages and body treatments are available to rejuvenate you after a long day on the mountain.

Le Nevada

The Residence Le Nevada is an excellent four-start apartment block located in the centre of Tignes Val Claret. Its locality means that guests have just a three-minute walk to reach local bars, restaurants, shops and lifts.

The building has a beautiful spa, which includes an indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam room and gym. It has been designed to offer guests a tranquil place to relax.

The residence comprises of four chalet-style buildings, with a north American style, which is unique for a French ski resort. Each room has been tastefully fitted out, using neutral colours, comfortable sofas and beds and timber furniture.

Guests have use of the residence’s ski room with boot warmers. There is an inviting reception area with an open fireplace as well as a luggage room.

Hotel Les Suites – Maison Bouvier is the first 5 star hotel in Tignes located in the heart of Tignes Val Claret and close to the slopes and shops

THE BEST LUXURY CHALETS

Chalet Quezac

Chalet Quezac measures an impressive 600m², with seven suites, each with its own style. This beautiful chalet comfortably sleeps up to 12 adults and 4 children.

With its contemporary design, Chalet Quezac provides its guests with a luxurious experience in one of the most impressive ski areas in Europe. The top floor features an open plan living area, which is the perfect place for relaxing and entertaining. Lay back on the cosy sofa while enjoying the incredible views over the mountains—Alternatively, unwind in the bar area with a game of pool. The bar area also has a cinema projector screen for relaxed nights in.

Outside Chalet Quezac is an extensive entertaining space. This is a great place to socialise on the main heated terrace. It features comfortable soft furnishings, a sound system, changeable mood lighting and an internally lit bar. Another unique feature of Chalet Quezac, is the private gondola bubble. Here you can sit and sip après drinks.

Chalet Quezac is owned by rally driver Guerlain Chicherit. He has ensured that guests have plenty of opportunities to relax during their stay. The outdoor hot tub overlooks the stunning alpine views, while inside, there is a wellness floor with an indoor swimming pool.

The chalet is perfect for groups and families. To keep the kids entertained, the chalet features a children’s hideaway accessed from a secret entrance. The pool table is always popular with kids and adults alike, as is the ping-pong and a football table.

Chalet Rock’n Love

Chalet Rock n’ Love is another unique chalet owned by Guerlain Chicherit. The Rock n’ Roll theme of its design makes it a chalet with a difference, transporting guests into a retro world of vintage cars and guitars.

Vintage memorabilia from Route 66, a Wurlitzer jukebox and an original Marshall amplifier can be found scattered throughout the chalet. These items creates a fun and engaging atmosphere. One of the best pieces sits in the chalet’s bar. This is a one of a kind pool table built from the body of a real vintage MINI Cooper.

The uniquely designed and spacious living area is open plan and vey comfortable. It features a Wurlitzer jukebox, a fully stocked bar and musical instruments to keep you entertained. The outdoor jacuzzi area on the balcony can be accessed via the living space.

The chalet’s wellness area has a private gym with a cross trainer, rowing machine and kettlebells. Guests can rejuvenate in the steam room and massage room, which has a massage Hydro-jet bed. In addition to all this, the 25m² heated, indoor swimming pool comes complete with a water fountain and inflatables to enjoy.

Chalet Rock n’ Love’s four spacious master bedroom suites are colourful and match the rest of the chalet’s quirky design. You may be a bit jealous of the kids, though, as they get to sleep in the fantastic “Garage Room”. This room has beds made from actual VW T2’s and a Jeep.

Chalet Ubud

Chalet Ubud has a design inspired by the iconic town of Ubud in Bali. Along with its beautiful design detailing, the chalet has fantastic views of Tignes Les Brévières and its picturesque lake. This excellent location means that guests are just 50m from the nearest ski lift.

The chalet has 310m² of living space, and it comfortably sleeps ten adults and four children in six en-suite bedrooms. The interior incorporates Balinese furniture and crafts as well as many original pieces to create a unique atmosphere.

The spacious living area is open plan and features a large TV and table football. One of the unique design features of the chalet’s dining area is a table with a crocodile-sculpted base. The only problem with this chalet is that you may be enjoying it so much, you may forget that you are in Tignes to ski!

Chalet Babylon

Situated in Tignes-les-Brévières, Chalet Babylon offers easy access to fantastic skiing. The funicular is approximately 50 metres from the chalet and will take you to the main lift station. The chalet is set on four levels and has 280m² of living space. It comfortably accommodates eight adults and four children in its five fantastic bedrooms.

A private lift takes you up the chalet’s entrance hall, which is a nice touch if you have achy legs after a day on the pistes. The entrance has a ski room where you can store your boots and skis. Heading upstairs, you will find an open plan dining area and well-equipped kitchen.

The top floor is home to the chalet’s spectacular living area. This features original artwork, eye-catching furniture and unique lighting. Here you can enjoy the huge flat-screen TV from the comfort of the luxurious leather sofas. Alternatively, have a game of pool, sip a drink at the bar or take in the spectacular views from the balcony. One of the interesting features of Chalet Babylon is the mounted motorbike which featured in the Babylon movie.

Guests staying at Chalet Babylon have access to a shared wellness centre. This includes an indoor swimming pool, hammam, sauna and relaxation area. Other shared areas include a ski lounge and a heated apres-ski terrace overlooking the Tignes-Les-Brévières.

Tignes Les Brevières has a great selection of beautiful and unique luxury chalets – Chalet Quezac

APRÈS AND NIGHTLIFE

Après

Tignes is known as a party town, thanks to its abundance of lively bars. There is a bar for everyone, whether you want to be dancing on tables, or quiet and intimate drinks. Here are some of our favourite après and night spots.

Le Loop Bar in Le Lac is a fun and lively après bar with a sunny terrace. The outside area is a great spot for ending the day with a beer or two, especially in the spring. It overlooks the Trolles black run, the off-piste Lavachet Wall and the Rosset learner slope, so you sit and watch the action from your deckchair. Le Loop Bar frequently has live music and DJs making it a popular and lively venue during the evenings.

For a more traditional pub feel, head to The Marmot Arms in Tignes Le Lac. This is located at the bottom of the Palafour lift and is great for beers and burgers while enjoying sports on the big screens. In the evenings, they put on live music and DJs, so it is a great place to go from après into the late evening.

For a more relaxed atmosphere, head to the Jam Bar, which is right next door to the Marmot Arms. This is a good place for a bite to eat and to catch up with friends and family.

Le Whitney Bar in Val Claret has a cozy and stylish atmosphere. They have an excellent selection of fine wines to enjoy, along with gourmet snacks.

An alternative to Le Whitney Bar is Bar Hors Piste, which is also in Val Claret. This bar has an open fireplace and comfy sofas to enjoy après cocktails or warm up with a hot chocolate. It is a relaxing bar perfectly suited for a few quiet drinks with friends and family.

If you are staying in Le Lavachet and want to go somewhere a little more high-end, head to So Bar. This has some excellent wines, beers, spirits and food. It is open until 2am, making it perfect for a quiet après drink or a more lively late-night glass of wine.

In Les Brevieres, you will find that there are not many bars to choose from. But Le Moose and The Boot Room are both great bars with fantastic après and live music.

For a truly unique experience, head to Grizzly’s Bar in Val Claret. This bar is very cosy inside thanks to its roaring fire and sheepskins covering the hand-carved wooden chairs. You can often see the owner carving wooden pieces of art outside while you are enjoying the fantastic barbecue. Grizzly’s bar is an excellent stop off at any time, but it is an ideal spot to warm up with a vin chaud on a chilly day.

Late Nights

Tignes has three nightclubs, each with its own atmosphere. In Le Lac, the late-night dancing venue is Caves du Loop, which is underneath the Loop Bar. This cellar-style bar has a more upmarket feel to it, popular with wine and cocktail lovers. It hosts regular happy hours and live bands that play funk, soul and upbeat tunes into the early hours.

If you like RnB, electro & hip-hop, go to the Melting Pot in Val Claret or try Blue Girl if you are a Euro-pop fan. This club is slightly more hidden away; you need to be aware that Tuesday nights at Blue Girls feature an ‘adults’ show.

Nothing like a nice drink after a hard day on the slopes – Le Whitney Bar at Les Suites Maison Bouvier

EATING IN TIGNES

Mountain Restaurants

For the best views and excellent food, Le Panoramic is a superb option for a lunch stop. Le Panoramic is located at the top of the Funicular on the Grande Motte glacier.

Chef Jean-Michel Bouvier creates a wide range of delicious dishes that everyone can enjoy. The staff are super friendly and give you an authentic French experience, as they wear the traditional Savoyard beret as part of their uniform. Le Panoramic also has a snack bar for those who just want a quick bite to eat.

L’Alpage des Chaudannes is a fantastic mountain restaurant with a beautiful sun terrace. This is an excellent spot for soaking up the sun on those beautiful blue sky days. But the cosy and warm interior is very inviting too, especially on snowy days. Here you can enjoy fantastic Savoyard gourmet dishes along with an excellent selection of Savoie wines.

The restaurant is accessible from the top of the Chaudannes chairlift from Tignes Le Lac and Tignes Le Lavachet for both skiers and pedestrians.

The Couloir Bar & Restaurant is situated in the main square of Val Claret, very close to the Tufs chairlift. This restaurant is a little different, as it serves an international menu and offers live music for après. The food is made from a blend of fresh flavours and locally sourced ingredients to create a cuisine that plays on European flavours and traditional Savoyard dishes. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily, with a superb brunch at the weekend.

In Resort Restaurants

Le Caveau in Val Claret is a quirky restaurant that seems to be underground. It has a cosy atmosphere in which to enjoy local specialities, such as fondue and raclette. Most evenings, diners are entertained with live music.

For a more gourmet dining experience, try Les Campanules restaurant. This fabulous restaurant is located in the heart of Tignes Le Lac. Here you can enjoy Savoyard cuisine with an inventive twist.

L’Arti is a contemporary style restaurant in Le Lavachet that serves up modern Savoyard dishes. They also cater to vegetarians and have an excellent selection of dishes in their set menus.

Tignes Bun J Ride ©andyparant.com2015
Tignes Bun J Ride - © andyparant.com

There are plenty of winter activities to choose from in Megève including ice skating in the heart of town

NON-SKIING ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

Sometimes you want to see what a ski resort offers when you are not on skis. You may also want to have a day off the skis for a rest. Tignes has a wide range of things to do when you fancy a change from skiing.

Enjoy Tignes From The Air

Seeing the French Alps from the sky is a truly memorable experience. There are several ways to take in the alpine views from the air during a stay in Tignes. One of the most popular ways is to take a tandem paraglider flight. This is when you are strapped to your pilot, who flies you over the peaks and valleys under the giant canopy. For more experienced skiers, you may want to book a speedriding lesson. Speedriding consists of skiing under a small parachute, which allows you to fly off cliffs and through the valleys for the ultimate rush.

Alternatively, you can book scenic flights in a helicopter or microlight, which will give you a unique perspective of the spectacular landscape.

Check Out The Sport Centres

Tignespace is the fabulous sports centre in Le Lac. It has many indoor activities on offer, such as rock climbing, squash, a golf simulator, dancing classes and many more to choose from. It is Europe’s highest training centre and is just next to the Lagon aquatic centre. Here you can enjoy a fantastic swimming pool, sauna, hammam, hot tubs and spa treatments.

Tignes For The Animal Lovers

Tignes offers a range of experiences for animal lovers to try something new. Be pulled along by a team of huskies on a thrilling ride through the landscape, or try Ski joering. This is one for horse lovers, which involves being towed by a horse while on skis. An alternative is horse snakegliss, which is when you are pulled by a horse on a rubber ring. All of these are great activities for kids and adults alike.

Experience Tignes With A Little More Power

If you like your activities with a bit more horsepower, Tignes has lots to offer too. Test your drifting skills with an ice Driving experience. Professional drivers deliver lessons suited for all levels on specially designed courses. You will be introduced to driving on ice or given the opportunity to improve your ice driving techniques.

After the slopes and lifts are closed, you can book a snowmobile tour. This is a fun activity that gives you a unique perspective of Tignes after the sun has gone down. Snowmobiles are a very entertaining way of enjoying deserted mountains.

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Tignes - © andyparant.com

Why Book your Ski Holiday to Tignes

Tignes is a fantastic destination for skiers and snowboarders. This is an iconic ski resort with lots to offer its visitors. With all this information, you are fully armed to ensure your trip to Tignes is as memorable as possible.

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