Tignes Local Guide
With a combination of enviable snow cover, a variety of impressive terrain and a season that lasts most of the year makes Tignes one of the most snow-dependable winter destinations in France.
It feels as if the season never really goes away here – the Grande Motte glacier is open for six weeks of summer skiing and snowboarding from late June to early August, and reopens in October for the winter season. The full Tignes ski area opens late November.
Tignes shares its huge ski area with neighboring Val d’Isère, offering 300km of pistes for all abilities served by 78 lifts. Tignes is made up of five villages of varying altitudes, and offers some of the finest lift-accessed slopes in Europe – or anywhere else in the world.
Of the five villages, Val Claret (2,100m) has easy access to the glacier and, together with Tignes Le Lac just down the road, it’s the most convenient place to stay, having the pick of the hotels, restaurants and shops. The cheaper, ski-in/ski-out apartments of Tignes Le Lavachet lie very slightly lower and are linked to the lifts by ski bus – Le Lavachet also has its own lifts and there are pistes going back here from the main ski area.
Further down the mountain at 1,800m and 1,550m respectively are the satellites of Tignes Les Boisses (aka Tignes 1800) and Tignes Les Brévières. Both are well linked into the ski area with their own lifts, but they’re isolated from the central hub and have limited shops and restaurants.
It’s not all about the skiing and boarding. Tignes Ski Resort has plenty more on offer on and off the mountain, and is host to the “BRITS” skiing and snowboarding competition annually.
At Tignes Le Lac you will find the Lagon Centre, a fabulous sports and wellness centre which has a spa, 25m swimming pool, a gym, kids play pool and baby swimming lessons, Turkish baths, hot tubs and sauna. With your Espace Killy lift pass, you are entitled to one free entry, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
A free resort bus services runs from Tignes Les Boisses to Val Claret from early morning to midnight daily, and there is a 24hr free bus service between Val Claret and Le Lavachet, making access to all villages very straightforward.
Winter Activities in this great resort include husky riding, hang gliding, skidoo safari, ice climbing & snow-shoeing.
Foodies visiting Tignes are likely to be happiest in Val Claret.
Ursus — A newly-opened high-end restaurant in Val Claret’s Hotel Les Suites, Ursus offers 12 tables and is run by acclaimed chef Jean-Michel Bouvier’s son, Clément Bouvier. On the menu are Breton lobster, crayfish stew and rack of pork with creamy black pudding.
Le Panoramic — The waiter-service restaurant in Le Panoramic at 3,032m at the top of the Grande Motte funicular is full to the brim with sheepskin rugs – over the chairs and even used as curtains. The chef is Jean-Michel Bouvier, whose son, Clément Bouvier, has taken over Ursus at Hotel Les Suites in town. Recommended are the hot creamy cheese in a box cooked on the wood fire, with boiled potatoes and lettuce, or an XXL burger with grilled foie gras, pickled onions, bacon, tomato and lettuce, served with homemade chips.