- Rating: 5 Star
- Location: La Legattaz
- Room Type: Studio, 1-2 Bedroom
Val d’Isere is one of the most famous ski destinations in the world and lives up to its legendary reputation for grandeur and excitement. At an altitude of 6069 feet (1850 meters), Val d’Isere is also among Europe’s highest ski villages sitting below 186 miles (300km) of trails located between 7545 feet (2300 meters) and 11,155 feet (3400 meters). This great elevation helps the ski area attract such abundant snow that the season starts in the last week of November and runs until the first week in May – before kicking off again in summer on the highest glaciers for a few weeks usually in June and July. There is a wide choice of ski schools here too.
Val d’Isere’s large village nestles in a picturesque setting at the end of a valley. Dotted with quaint chalets and charming baroque churches, it is one of the most attractive in the French alps. Val d’Isere is very lively in the evening. Nightclubs, art galleries and fancy restaurants including Michelin-star dining are par for the course, the resort being as high on the list for the well-heeled as it is for all. Many lodges are ski-in ski-out, and there is a free shuttle bus for getting around the resort.
The slopes of Val d’Isere divide into three main sectors with the Bellevarde mountain area the best known and location of Val D’Isere’s famous downhill course. Val d’Isere is far and away one of the best resorts for the advanced skier, driven by its many steep runs and extensive lift-accessed off-piste. Some of these off-piste areas are also ideal for adventurous intermediates looking to master the demands of skiing beyond resort boundaries.
Val d’Isere has produced several champion skiers and racers, arguably the most well-known being Jean-Claude Killy who won three medals at the Grenoble Olympic Games in 1968. Val d’Isère and neighbouring ski area Tignes were named l’Espace Killy, in his honor.
Val d’Isere is a linear development and the main part of the resort is on either side of the main road running from La Daille, at the entrance to the resort to Le Fornet at the end of the valley. There is an excellent free shuttle bus which runs along the main road, so it is very easy to navigate around the resort.
La Daille – The first area you come to when you arrive in the resort. There are main ski lifts in La Daille which gives access to the Bellevarde area. It is about 15 mins walk (or short bus ride into the centre)
Centre – The majority of the shops, bars and restaurants are in the centre around the Val Village. You’ll find hotels, banks & the Tourist Office here and access to the slopes via Solaise sector.
Le Joseray & La Legattaz – These are newer residential areas that have been developed to the south of the centre of the village. They have great ski access but maybe a slightly longer walk to the bars and restaurants – around 10 mins.
Le Fornet – This is the pretty hamlet at the end of the valley with lifts which takes you up to the Col d’Iseran and the Glacier de Pissaillas. There are a couple of restaurants / bars here but you’d need to get bus into centre for the wider selecti
Val d’Isere is France’s premier resort – it has everything you could possibly want from a ski holiday : great skiing, pretty village, lovely restaurants and a lively nightlife. There are 300 kms of pisted runs as well as incredible off-piste opportunities and because of its height and location it is open from November to May – in fact the resort has traditionally been chosen as the location for one of the opening races for the skiing world cup in Europe.
The ski area links Val d’Isere and Tignes and with one of the most efficient lift systems in the world which has been increased and improved over the last 5 years. The new, fast Solaise lift can move 2600m on heated seats and in-cabin Wi-Fi and the new gondola going from La Daille to the Folie Douce has 51 cabins with heated seats, and can move 2,800 passengers per hour in a journey time of just 4min 30sec. The gondola cabins were even designed by Ferrari and Maserati.
The ski area is split into four sectors, two of which can be reached direct from resort and the lifts make moving from one area to another and to access the slopes in Tignes easy for anyone of intermediate level or above. As the resort is a linear development along a dead end valley (although open in the summer) there are main lift point all along the central road from La Daille, at the entrance to the resort to Le Fornet, the pretty village settlement at the end of the valley.
The most famous run in resort is probably La Face de Bellvarde with its magnificent views of the alps and of the village – this was the men’s downhill run in the 1992 Olympics and a great test for the legs as it is often mogulled from top to bottom. It is a run best tackled in the morning when it’s been groomed ! The area is intermediate paradise with lots of wide, fast blues and reds. Head up to Glacier de Pissaillas where you’ll find great snow, amazing views and some lovely red and blue runs in an area that is frequently quieter than some of the other ski area. But beginners are not forgotten here – there are new beginner slopes in the recent Solaise development as well as some good green runs in in the Bellevarde area.
If you’re looking for a challenge for the week, start in Le Fornet and ski from the Glacier de Pissaillas to the Grande Motte on the Tignes side and then down to Tignes Les Brevieres so skiing between the two furthest points of the ski area. Just don’t forget to leave time to ski back !
|Skiable Terrain||300 km of piste. 24,700 acres|
|Vertical||1605 m (5269 ft)|
|Top Elevation||3,197 m 10,488 ft|
|Base Elevation||1,850 m 6069 ft|
|Average Snowfall||5.25 m (207 in / 17 ft)|
|Trails||151 (Green 22, Blue 68, Red 39, Black 22)|
|Winter lifts Total||70 + 2 Funiculars|
|Longest Run||6.5 km (4 mi)|
Geneva 3 hrs
Lyon 3 hrs
Chambery 2 hrs
Grenoble 2hrs 45
1 heliport with organised transfers
There are may options for flying with the greatest number of flights available going into Geneva. There are various transfer companies operating from all of the airports to Val d’Isere ,with a greater frequency at the weekends. There is also a public bus to and from Geneva several times each day. It also possible to rent a car and drive to resort however you should be prepared to drive on mountain roads in winter conditions. Parking charges apply in resort. Once you are in resort, there is no need to use a car as there an excellent, frequent bus service running round the resort all day and until late at night.
The closest train station is at Bourg-Saint-Maurice (45 mins), which offers an excellent and frequent service including high-speed rail options (TGV, Eurostar, Thalys).
There are regular bus or private transfers (multilingual taxis) from the airports and train station in Bourg-St-Maurice.
There is a single ski pass that covers the resorts of Val d’Isere and Tignes. This gives you access to 300km of piste across the resorts of Val d’Isere and Tignes.
Children under 5 years can get a free pass and there is a reduced price for 5-13 year olds ( and for those aged 65-74). There is also a Family Pass which is available for 2 adults and 2 or more children up to the age of 17 (or up to age 20 if they are in full time education). Proof of age is needed for all passes with reductions and a student card for those between 17-20 studying full time). Family passes are available for the duration of 6 or 7 days.
It is worth noting that a 2 to 15-day passes give you one free entry to the swimming pool at the Aqua Leisure Centre (available during your ski pass validity).
There are free beginners lifts in resort as well as the ned beginners’ area at the top of Solaise where there are 9 lifts. Passes can be bought on a daily basis and you should check with your ski school before buying a main resort pass.
Non-skiers can obtain a 6 day pass allowing unlimited trips on any accessible lifts ( there are 7 main cable cars with pedestrian access) or you can just pay per trip.
There are several ski schools in Val d’Isere and you can arrange everything from group lessons through to private instruction and off-piste guiding.
Group lessons usually start on Sunday or Monday and will typically run for 5 or 6 days on either morning, afternoon and whole day basis. In the busy weeks, it is advisable to book well in advance for both group lessons (particularly for children).
There are English speaking instructors in all the main ski schools and most also offer teaching in other languages but be aware that in group lessons tuition will be give predominantly in French or English.
The French Ski School (ESF) and a number of other ski schools now offer lessons from age 3 and 4 as introductions to the sport.
Aqua Leisure Complex – This large leisure centre is at the foot of the pistes, close to the two main gondolas. Its 5 000sq m of space has everything from a swimming with a 25 m pool with wave machine. Water jets and Aquabike seating to a wellness section with saunas, steam baths and a full à la carte menu of massage and beauty treatments. There is also a gym, squash court, climbing wall and a golf simulator.
Ice Skating – An artificial ice skating rink is built every winter in the middle of the village with a small welcoming chalet serving hot drinks
Ice Driving – There is an ice driving circuit which is open every afternoon/evening and has two circuits
Fat Bikes – This is a new activity on mountain bikes with specially adapted tyres allowing you to ride on the snow or mud.
Snowshoe – Snowshoe hikes are available for all levels for either a whole or half day trek or go for an evening adventure to a mountain restaurant.
Walking – The resort has some lovely marked walking trails.
Dog Sledding – Spend an afternoon with a team of huskies and enjoy the quiet beauty of Manchet Valley. You need to be reasonably fit and be over 12 years.
Paragliding & Speedriding – See the resort from a different perspective. Go for a tandem paraglide or try your hand at speedriding (skiing with a parachute).
Ice Climbing – Located in La Daille is a floodlit icefall which is open every evening There are beginner and improver lessons on a group or private basis.
Heliskiing – Although heliskiing is not permitted in France, due to Val d’Isere’s proximity to Italy it is possible to arrange a day’s heliskiing over the border.
Val d’Isere has a well-deserved reputation for its restaurants and it can cater for all tastes and budgets. Fine dining is assured at L’Atelier d’Edmond which was awarded 2 Michelin stars in 2019 or at La Table de l’Ours which achieved 1 star level. Alternatively enjoy great food and live music at La Baraque in the centre of the resort and be sure to get your cheese-fix at The Fondue Factory, which is part of Killy Sport.
The resort offers everything from pizzerias, burger joints and Savoyard specialities to great snack bars and takeaways. Just a short walk down the main village street will give you a sample of the selection of cafes, bars and restaurants.
There is equal choice for lunch on the mountain. Try La Tete de Solaise which is a Val’ institution and be sure to visit La Fruitere which is the restaurant at La Folie Douce where you can enjoy a great meal and then stay to enjoy the live music and afternoon cabaret. Le Trifollet above La Daille serves hearty pasta, pizza and local dishes and has a great piste-side terrace with sofas so you can ensure the views.
Val d’Isere’s bars and nightlife is legendary – this is the home of Dick’s Tea Bar, an institution that has been entertaining the crowds for over thirty years. After the cabaret at La Folie Douce, ski down to the village centre and enjoy the bands playing après-ski at Cocorico. If you prefer a quiet drink then head along to La Cave sur Le Comptoir or Le Coin des Amis, a small bar rumoured to have the best Genepi in town.
List of Restaurants & Bars
Phone : +33 4 79 06 12 55
ARBRE DE VIE
Phone : +33 4 79 06 17 97
Phone : +33 4 79 00 00 82
AU BOUT DU MONDE
Phone : +33 4 79 41 14 54
AUBERGE SAINT HUBERT
Phone : +33 4 79 06 06 45
Phone : +33 4 79 06 02 00
BAR DE L’OUILLETTE
Phone : +33 4 79 41 94 74
Phone : +33 4 79 06 03 89
Phone : +33 4 79 06 18 19
BISTROT GOURMAND DE L’ATELIER D’EDMOND
Phone : +33 4 79 00 21 42
Phone : +33 4 79 00 51 43
Phone : +33 4 79 06 26 21
Phone : +33 4 58 00 11 54
Phone : +33 4 79 41 15 71
CHALET DU COL DE L’ISERAN
Phone : +33 479 06 00 05
COFFEE SHOP QUIKSILVER
Phone : +33 4 79 06 09 54
Phone : +33 479 41 14 62
Phone : +33 4 79 06 27 63
DANS LE JARDIN DES ALPES
Phone : +33 4 79 06 34 64
Phone : +33 4 79 40 06 12
MAISON DE FAMILLE LES 5 FRÈRES
Phone : +33 4 79 06 00 03
Phone : +33 9 87 07 19 28
PIZZERIA-RESTAURANT CHEZ NANO
Phone : +33 4 79 06 18 41
SALON DES FOUS
Phone : +33 4 79 00 17 92
SI MON PÈRE SAVAIT…
Phone : +33 6 34 59 68 38
SKI GALLERY & FONDUE FACTORY
Phone : +33 4 79 08 04 37
Phone : +33 4 79 41 16 61
Phone : +33 4 79 55 61 18
Phone : +33 4 79 06 1789
4 SEASONS / BAR ALEXANDRA
Phone : +33 4 79 06 00 83
Phone : +33 4 79 08 01 62
BAR RESTAURANT LE LODGE
Phone : +33 4 79 06 02 01
BARILLON DE LA ROSÉE BLANCHE
Phone : +33 4 79 41 13 92
Phone : +33 4 79 06 05 76
BISTROT DE L’AVENUE LODGE
Phone : +33 4 79 00 67 67
Phone : +33 4 79 06 02 07
BRASSERIE DU GRAND COCOR
Phone : +33 4 79 41 94 33
Phone : +33 4 79 06 28 04
COIN SAVOYARD DES BARMES DE L’OURS
Phone : +33 4 79 41 37 00
Phone : +33 4 79 06 18 75
Phone : +33 4 79 41 17 90
Phone : +33 4 79 07 29 63
Phone : +33 6 10 28 70 64
Phone : +33 479 06 13 02
Phone : +33 4 79 06 11 57
Phone : +33 4 79 41 96 06
FOLIE DOUCE / FRUITIÈRE
Phone : +33 47 9 06 01 47
Phone : +33 4 79 41 11 11
Phone : +33 4 79 41 13 11
LE REFUGE DE SOLAISE
Phone : +33 6 33 12 49 03
LES 3 CAVES
Phone : +33 4 79 06 01 47
Phone : +33 4 79 06 68 58
Phone : +33 482 53 05 38
Phone : +33 4 79 40 28 70
Phone : +33 4 79 06 12 93
PAUL – TABLE PIERRADE®
Phone : +33 4 79 06 18 88
PEAU DE VACHE
Phone : +33 4 79 06 11 29
Phone : +33 4 79 06 18 88
Phone : +33 4 79 06 20 84
PIZZA PIZZA BURGER
Phone : +33 4 79 06 45 89
RÔTISSERIE DES BARMES DE L’OURS
Phone : +33 479 41 37 00
Phone : +33 4 79 06 13 51
Phone : +33 4 79 07 04 54
Phone : +33 4 79 06 03 38
STEM – HÔTEL LA SAVOYARDE
Phone : +33 4 79 06 01 55
TABLE DE L’OURS
Phone : +33 4 79 41 37 00
TABLE DES NEIGES
Phone : +33 479 06 12 13
Phone : +33 4 79 06 25 24
Phone : +33 4 79 06 48 49
Phone : +33 4 79 07 36 62
Phone : +33 4 79 41 96 99
Phone : +33 4 79 22 89 88
VICTOR’S RESTAURANT & BAR
Phone : +33 4 79 06 06 52
Phone : +33 4 79 06 11 76
Phone : +33 4 79 06 11 73
The main street running through the centre of the resort is where you’ll find the majority of the shops as well as some great cafes and bars for a quick pit-stop when the shopping gets too much. You’ll find every ski brand imaginable (plus a few new ones) from Arc’Teryx, Rossignol, Killy, Kjus, Mountain Force, Nike, Parajumpers, Red Bull, Timberland, Sorel, Lange, Lacroix, Castelbajac, Head, Scarpa, Salomon Technica, Dainese, and Burton. In honour of the great man of the resort, I would recommend a visit to Killy Sports – not only is the choice of clothing and kit second to none but they also have a fascinating display of old skis and a great restaurant if you want to combine shopping with a meal out ( The Fondue Factory is part of the shop complex). If you’re looking to replace your ski boots, then head for Snowberry where you’ll find experts in boot fitting.
There are some great non -ski shops offering a range of apres-ski and leisure clothing including Patagonia, Roxy and Quiksilver. It is also a great resort for souvenir T-shirts with innovative and fun designs.
If you’ve been inspired by the scenery and local design, you find a number of interior design shops so you can take home all the necessary alpine-inspired items to recreate the look at home. In particular do visit Arpin where all the products are made locally, especially the woollen rugs and throws which are woven as they have been since 1817 in the mill near Bourg St Maurice.
Food shopping is always a delight in France and Val d’Isere is no exception. Do visit Patrick Chevallot, an award-winning patisserie where you can indulge in his fantastic bread, cakes and savoury tarts. Buy local charcuterie and cheeses at Fermette de Claudine and La Cave sur le Comptoir is great for wine tastings and if you find a favourite you can purchase a bottle or two to take home with you – or arrange for cases to be shipped. Every Monday there is a market with stalls of clothing, jewellery, gifts and Savoyard delicacies of cheese and meats.