Arguably the most iconic of the French Alpine resorts, Val d’Isère has a lively and vibrant ambience, and carries itself well as one of Europe’s top ski destinations, with a fearsome reputation for its challenging black pistes and off-piste itineraries, and its buzzing après ski scene.
Val d’Isère lies at the far end of the steep Isère Valley, at the farthest end of the larger Tarentaise Valley region where you will find the biggest concentration of world class ski resorts in the world. Of these Tarentaise super-resorts Val d’Isère more than holds its own, being arguably the most iconic of the French Alpine resorts. Alpine skiing began here in the 1930’s, and was later linked into the neighbouring ski resort of Tignes, to form the extensive Espace Killy ski domain.
Less than 5 km from the border of Italy, and on the border of the Vanoise National Park Val d’Isère is for the most part now a traditional-looking alpine village, nestled between the famously steep sides of the Isère Valley. Historically a small farming hamlet just providing accommodation for farmers grazing their animals on the high alpine pastures, the village developed first into a summer destination, before winter sports enthusiasts encouraged the development of the ski resort we know today.
The first major lift, a cable car to the Solaise, was even built during the Second World War, and after the war ended the resort really took off, including the opening up of the Glacier for summer skiing.
In the 1960’s the resort’s architecture took a turn for the worse with high-rise buildings and apartment blocks. Luckily thanks largely to the 1992 Albertville Olympics bringing the men’s downhill events to Val d’Isère improvements were made to the look of the resort, and many of the high rise buildings were slowly changed into buildings reflecting traditional design and using local materials, leaving us with the pretty resort we know today.
The development of Val d’Isère into the resort we know today was largely thanks to three people; Mr Charles Diebold and Parisians Mr & Mrs Jacques Mouflier, led by local Mayor Nicolas Bazile, who strongly believed in the resort’s potential. With the construction of more reliable roads and access to the resort (including the pass over the Col de L’Iseran) the winter sports market grew apace. In addition to the ‘beautification’ of the resort carried out in the run up to the 1992 Olympics there is also now a strictly-enforced no parking policy in the town centre; roads are left snow covered and mature trees line the route where cars once parked, much improving the winter wonderland feel of the resort. The iconic church of Saint Bernard de Menthonwas built in 1664 and is undoubtedly the most charming feature of the resort, forming a central focal point around which the town has developed.
Le Fornet is a beautiful and quaint hamlet, just 5 km to the east of Val d’Isère. The architecture here is particularly appealing - traditional Savoyard stone and wood designs and not a high rise in sight. The beautiful River Isère bisects the hamlet, with an ancient stone bridge crossing, very picturesque, but also practical. In summer this area marks the start of the Col d'Iseran; snow covered and inaccessible in winter it opens up some of the Espace Killy's best off-piste skiing. Traditionally quieter than central Val d’Isère with only a handful of (chic) chalets, the access to the skiing is often less crowded at the start of the day, meaning less queuing of course. Just above Le Fornet lies the Glacier du Pisaillas, at 3,400m it offers summer skiing, and ensures excellent conditions in winter.
At the far western side of town lies the hamlet of La Daille; constructed in the 1960’s, accommodation was purpose-built to house the growing numbers of winter clients, now flooding to the resort, which had firmly established a reputation for being one of the finest ski resorts in the Alps. Although there are a number of large apartment blocks here, the area also houses a couple of the resort’s most spectacular chalets, and a rather nice restaurant in Edelweiss. The skiing access here as you would expect is superb, with the ‘Funival’ funicular taking skiers to the start of the infamous men’s downhill track ‘Le Face’, but also accessing the linking runs and lifts across to the neighbouring resort of Tignes.
More centrally located are the areas of Le Cret, Le Joseray, La Legettaz and Le Chatelard. Le Cret is one of the earliest areas of Val d’Isère and retains a certain charm as a result. Chalets here tend to be converted farmhouses and offer stunning views across the valley floor. Le Joseray, La Legettaz and LeChatelard are all in close proximity, with a mix of apartments and chalets. The real benefit of their position is being located at the bottom of the Manchet Valley where the Santons piste offers guests the highly prized ‘ski-in’ access so many of us seek. Most exclusive is arguably the area becoming known as millionaire’s row under the Bellevarde cliffs. These properties are accessed by private road with the world famous ‘La Face’ piste at the end of the road – a challenging start to the day for all but the most experienced skier.
Val d’Isère in winter has a lively and vibrant ambience, and carries itself well as one of Europe’s top ski destinations, with a fearsome reputation for its challenging black pistes and off-piste itineraries, and its buzzing après ski scene. Opening the European ski racing season with the Criterium de la Première Neige each year Val d’Isère is a firm fixture in the Alpine calendar, and attracts visitors from across the globe.
The Espace Killy lift pass gives access to over 300 km of ski runs
(with 94 lifts), and both Val d’Isère and Tignes boast glaciers so you can be confident that early season or late season ski holidays here will
offer guaranteed skiing.
Altitude (Val d’Isère) 1,850m
Skiable Range 1,785 – 3,456m
Highest lift 3,456m, the Grande Motte cable car
Longest Run: 10km La Sache
Ski terrain (Espace Killy)
Pistes 300km (150km in Val d’Isère itself)
Blue 76%, Red 26%, Black 17%
*skiing with a qualified mountain guide advised
Vallée Perdue descends to La Daille and is one of the most popular off-piste routes, starting from near the bottom of the Tommeuses chairlift.
La Face the world cup run is the best known, and Rhone Alps – another black used on the Women’s world cup racing circuit. Also on the Tignes side La Sache which is the longest run in the Espace Killy at 10km.
The Madeleine Express chairlift serves a gentle slope ideal for beginners moving on from the nursery slopes in the same area. Alternatives are the cluster above La Daille; Verte Haute is particularly recommended, linking into Verte Bas, which leads all the way to the bottom of La Daille for a lovely long run.
There are lots to choose from in the area above Le Fornet on the Glacier du Pissaillas – try Pissaillas, or Mangrad which swoops down through the trees.On the Belvarde side piste ‘Santons’ has stunning views across the valley.
Of course the famous Stade competition zone is a fabulous wide red run, perfect for practicing your super-G turns, if it’s not closed for the professionals who would be doing the same. We also like Arcelle which leads into the Le Manchet Valley – because the only way out of this valley is the Manchet Express chair back to the top it’s less skied than most pistes, meaning better conditions and less people to trip you up.
La Face has to be mentioned of course, as the famous world cup run, but in addition we like Epaule Charvet because it is rarely pisted. Foret leading back into Le Fornet is also really technical for those who relish a challenge.
Both Val D’Isère and Tignes combined as the Espace Killy have something to offer every level of skier. The skiing in Val D’Isère is split into 4 distinctive (though well linked) areas. From the centre of town there is either the ‘Solaise’ side host to the famous ‘Rhone Alps’ black run, a Women’s FIS downhill course – or the ‘Belvarde’ side; host to the more famous ‘Face’ black run, the venue for the men’s downhill at the 1992 Albertville Olympics and the 2009 World Championships.
Though both sides can claim challenging blacks they also offer good intermediate skiing. To the western end of town you will find the hamlet of Le Fornet, tipped by us to be some of the quietest in the Espace Killy. The runs here are lovely blues and reds extending to the highest skiing in Val D’Isère at the Pointe du Montet (3,488 m) with the Pissaillas glacier just below at 3,450m.
East of the town centre is the La Daille ski area, with its infamous underground funicular the ‘funival’ and access from here to neighbouring resort Tignes. The skiing here is varied, with a number of green runs in addition to more challenging reds – and also blacks. The valley’s free ski bus (known as ‘le train rouge’) carries skiers between the different areas of Val D’Isère should you prefer this to skiing, with a reliable service that is also free of charge with your lift pass.
These four distinct areas from which you can begin your day’s skiing are a serious advantage during peak season weeks, giving far more choice to holiday makers and thus shortening the inevitable queues.
There are excellent nursery slopes in Val D’Isère at both La Daille and Solaise, and of course right in the centre of resort. Moving on from the nursery slopes of Val D’Isère does require a little forethought and planning – all of which would be down to your instructor of course if you are taking ski lesson. There is only one green run returning to resort (Verte Bas) in the La Daille area; in the centre of resort you would choose from Piste L or perhaps Santons, both marked as blue runs, but in our opinion a different resort would easily class sections of these as reds, and beginners may find them challenging, especially towards the end of the day as they get crowded with skiers returning to resort.
There are of course options to return into town via some of the lifts to avoid this, which we recommend for more nervous beginners. For the more advanced skier however, the run classifications will be pleasing as the black runs are equally challenging for their classification. In fact, there are several pistes marked on the Espace Killy map as perforated black runs – indicating an additional challenging aspect to the run; often the challenge is that these are un-piste.
For the more adventurous skier both Val D’Isère and Tignes offer plenty of off piste opportunities, but it is not for the feint hearted. The valley sides in Val D’Isère especially are steep, and should really only be tackled with the expertise of a qualified mountain guide. The Belvarde side has the most to offer, with three of the most famous ‘itineraries’ being the Bannana, the Charvet Tour and the Face du Charvet.
There are cliffs and concealed streams and rivers on all of these – so it is essential to know the safe routes. On the Solaise side there is less to offer, but the Lavancher Couloir is steep and challenging. From La Daille there are lots of options that involve no walking at all, and one of the most famous itineraries begins here; the ‘Vallée Perdue’ (hidden valley) is quite an adventure, lots of fun. Le Fornet being quieter in general means the off piste gets less tracked, and there are lots of options close to the pistes around the Signal lift, and the Cascade Express.
Val D’Isère also has its own terrain park (sponsored by Oakley) in the Belvarde-La Daille area at the foot of the Marmotte chair. With rails and kickers to suit all ability levels this is great fun even as a novice ‘park’ skier or boarder. Just next to the terrain park is the Stade de Slalom, where you can race against the clock from €3.
The real advantage of staying in Val D’Isère of course is not just for the charm of the town and the skiing here, but to take advantage of the excellent links across into neighbouring Tignes under the Espace Killy lift pass. Tignes offers a further 150km of pistes that many experts would claim to prefer even to those in Val D’Isère. Unlike some ‘linked’ ski areas here the links are natural, with proper pistes you would choose to ski (rather than difficult and dull traverses), and high speed lifts.
It is fabulous to spend a day skiing across from the furthest point of Val D’Isère (above Le Fornet) to the furthest point of Tignes (Les Brevières). This takes in the resorts longest piste in the form of ‘La Sache’ a black run that is at times challenging, but beautifully steep and picturesque. Finishing in Les Brevieres you will have worked up an appetite – and fortunately there are several excellent restaurants to choose from. No time to linger though – if you plan to ski back across to Val D’Isère.
The Artic Café - a lovely relatively new cafe with great organic coffee and lots of healthy juices and snack. It is bang on trend and very friendly.
Or for a really French experience try the Salon des Fous - it's very cosy with friendly staff and is open from breakfast to aperitifs.
Triffolet – This popular mountain restaurant is on the Verte piste, on the way down to the La Daille area of Val d'Isere. The menu includes pizza, grills, salad and traditional French dishes and is the best food on the mountain.
La Face - It can be difficult, but when its just snowed it is perfect but it is definitely not for the faint hearted or beginner skier. But then it was the Olympic Men's Downhill slope.
Taverne d’Alsace – This is one of the oldest restaurants in Val d’Isere and I recommend it for its consistent service, delicious food and outstanding staff. It can be found on the main road by the Kandahar Hotel.
Val d'Isere has a brilliant sports centre with pool and gym and there a number of fantastic spas in the resort. So treat yourself to a day of pampering and relaxation.
Cocorico – It is open from 14h every day and has the best live music and atmosphere to be found in the resort. It is at Place du Rond Point des Pistes so in a great central location making it easy to get to (and to get home from!)
So hard to choose - it would be a close run between the Le Chardon and Kilco Penthouse. Le Chardon has old world style, beautiful views, great location and lovely staff. Kilco Penthouse showcases modern design, fantastic facilities and great staff. Maybe come for 2 weeks?
For the best childcare in resort or for evening baby-sitters go to Jelly & Ice Cream. Just ask your wonderful SkiBoutique PA.
The town itself was developed around a fine 17th century church and a handful of stone farmhouses and started it’s ski resort development in the 1930’s. Further development and beautification began in the run up to the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, when Val d'Isère hosted the men's downhill, Super G and giant slalom.
Attached to the famous and original ‘La Folie Douce’, this is their very popular à la carte restaurant. Not cheap, but modern Savoyard cuisine, organic and beautifully presented with great ambiance. Opt for a late lunch here as the atmosphere is building outside La Folie Douce, then move outdoors as the music cranks up and enjoy the legendary après. Situated at the top of La Daille.
This unique gourmet restaurant is in a heated tented dining room on the snow. With an extensive wine list, good service and an excellent menu, they can also cater for larger groups. There is also a good self-service / pizzeria. Located at the top of the Solaise Express.
The waiter-service restaurant in the refurbished at 3,032m at the top of the Grande Motte funicular is full to the brim with a plethora of sheepskin rugs –they cover the chairs and even form the curtains. The chef here is Jean-Michel Bouvier who also presides over La Table en Montagne in town in Hotel Les Suites de Nevada. Try 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 home-made chips.
A lovely restaurant in an old Savoyard farm building that serves great food using local ingredients and traditional recipes with a modern twist. A lot of their produce comes from their own farm on-site. Young chefs Nicolas & Guillaume are developing a fantastic reputation and booking is advised.
The restaurant focuses on traditional French cuisine with fresh ingredients, and is always popular with locals. Also has an excellent self catered restaurant. Located at the top of the Le Fornet cable car.
A lovely restaurant with a terrace and great views, and a roaring log fire, certainly welcoming on a cold day. The menu includes local specialties and delicious pasta. Located off the blue Mangard piste, down from the Le Fornet cable car.
A popular lunch spot for Val regulars for years; good food and service in a fun and friendly atmosphere, serving pizzas, pastas & fondues. Located next to the bottom Funival funicular station at La Daille.
A very popular mountain restaurant, with a menu including local French dishes, pizzas and salads and grills. The inside is cosy so it’s a great stop for a long lunch en route back to La Daille. Located on the Verte piste on the way down to the La Daille area.
This 2 Michelin star restaurant in Le Fornet has an excellent fixed tasting menu as well as a la carte options. Certainly more of an adults' evening than a family outing. A beautifully restored traditional Alpine building serving wonderful French cuisine. They are also open for lunch with a more relaxed menu and a lovely terrace.
Part of the five-star Les Barmes de l’Ours hotel. La Table used to have a Michelin star and still scores highly with the Michelin inspectors, and eating here is a true gastro experience. The plush decor is graced with a huge fireplace. The recipes are sophisticated and made with the finest ingredients.
First opened it’s doors in 1936 when there was just one lift in Val d’Isère – always popular with the Val d’Isère clientele, with favourite dishes including lobster ravioli, duck foie gras with sautéed apples and grilled Dover sole.
La Table des Neige is the highly regarded restaurant of a hotel located right in the heart of Val d'Isere, just a short walk from the pistes. Their Chef, Mr Jérôme Labrousse, creates a gastronomic, inventive cuisine based on local and regional specialities that go far beyond the basics of the traditional cuisine you can find elsewhere. An extensive set menu is offered each evening with the option of dining "à la carte" if you prefer. Special buffets are prepared on certain nights during the week with the Dessert Buffet on Wednesday evenings and the Seafood Buffet on Fridays being particularly noteworthy.
Highly recommended, wonderful food, service & ambiance, often with live music in the bar. Located on the main street of Val d’Isère at the start of the centre as you approach from La Daille.
Popular and lively restaurant; great pizzas, pastas and great value. It also has a good bar underneath. Located in the centre of town between Dick’s Tea Bar and La Poudreuse ski shop.
Highly recommended is the cote du boeuf, which is said to be the best in town and cooked on an open fire in front of you and served with big chunks of bone marrow. Located just off the main street of Val d’Isère at the start of the centre as you approach from La Daille.
+33 479 06 02 07
Ambience is guaranteed at La Luge with its typical Savoyard inn decor.The menu here is renowned for its fondues, including one made using mature gruyere. In fact, there is a danger of being overwhelmed by the choice of cheese – the farmhouse raclette is irresistible – but do look at other parts of the menu. The steak tartare is popular, as is the fillet de boeuf, which has been described as melt-in-the mouth and I would recommend the delicious roast chicken.
The short and appetising menu is based on the great classics of family cooking at this restaurant. Savoyard pot-au-feu, cream of vegetable soup, foie gras terrine, blanquette of veal is all served in a rustic-style decor. An original feature: on Wednesday evenings the restaurant proposes a "tea/dinner buffet”, which is like an evening brunch with savoury & sweet options such as pancakes, gâteaux, soups, club sandwiches, charcuterie & substantial cheese board.
Hearty mountain fare in a Val d'Isère restaurant-cum-museum. The Ski Gallery and Fondue Factory on Avenue Olympic is the concept of the Killy family and there are over 130 pairs of vintage skis & ski and Olympic memorabilia to view. The restaurants serves great salads and 11 different fondues to choose from as well a regional dishes such as Tartiflette and Raclette.
This family run restaurant is on the main street in Val d’Isere and is extremely popular with locals so you need to book ahead for the evening (but not at lunchtime). The menu includes Thai bouillion with shrimps, fondue, steaks and pastas. A great place for a relaxed evening en famille or with friends.
Dance outdoors in your ski boots and drink Champagne. Lively from 3-5pm and accessed from La Daille and the funicular. Reserve a table in the VIP area to enjoy a glass of Veuve Clicquot and soak up the atmosphere. Best bar for people watching.
Located right at the foot of Solaise and the Face de Bellevarde, making the Cocorico perfectly positioned for Après Ski with its spectacular views. They've got a great outdoor terrace and bar so you can party on from 14h. A faultless fusion of Austrian Après Ski and the region’s traditional French vibe, bringing a totally new feel to the centre of town.
Popular with Scandinavians and always has live music from 16:30 – 18:30 (except Saturdays)
A lively bar at the bottom of La Face. Regular music & DJs, happy hour, Barman's specials (according to his mood!) and good TexMex snacks.
Perfect for a more relaxed drink to start the evening; open from 17:00 and mellow live music starts at 18:30, before DJs and cabaret late into the evening.
Great cocktails served with a side of jazz and funk! Happy hour (!) from 15:00 – 18:00 serving up some specials.
The resort's original apres ski bar which is also open late. If you’ve got the stamina the infamous Dick’s is open until 4 am and books well known guest DJs throughout the season
Opens at 22:30, particularly popular with the French locals and on a Wednesday when they run their Electrograal Clubnight featuring live acts.
Val d’Isère is jam-packed full of shops, bars, restaurants and non-skiing activities to keep all your group more than happy
The local cinema features the latest flicks and some classics – in English – and occasionally opens early on bad weather days if you don’t fancy battling the mountain conditions. Located in the centre of town, off the Avenue Olympique.
To totally unwind head to one of the many spas available in Val d’Isère – we love the Clarins Spa at Hotel Le Blizzard. It has a spectacular outdoor heated pool, from where you can soak up the mountain views, before taking a turn in the sauna or hammam, and relaxing in the Jacuzzi. The spa offers a wide range of treatments, and there’s also a gym if you’re feeling energetic - but we prefer the hot tub.
Val d’Isère has its own natural ice rink in the centre of the resort, open from 15:00 – 20:00 and with its own little ‘chalet’ serving you hot drinks, it’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon especially for families. Skate hire is rink-side.
The pool facilities here are impressive; a separate children’s pool is perfect for the little ones and the complex includes a sauna, steam room and spa. Entry to the pool is often included with your ski pass, so this is worth checking. There is also a 12m indoor climbing wall in the complex – with 7 different routes of varying difficulty level. Finally you will find 2 squash courts, indoor football, volleyball, basketball, badminton and a gym & weight training area overlooking the swimming pool.
For those trying this for the first time – or new to this area - high mountain guides accompany you in groups of one to one or two, as you bravely tackle the frozen waterfall, 40m wide and 200m high. Depending on the route taken there’s something for all levels of expertise.
Learn to drive on ice at this specialist driving school; cars all have specialist, studded tyres and qualified instructors will teach you to both control and have fun in a car sliding around on ice.
Exhilarating and good fun for all the family – instead of learning to drive on the ice track why not race each other in these specially designed karts. You can book in sessions of 10 minutes at a time, or a race formula, which includes time trials and podiums for the winner. Or if you’re travelling in a group, you can book out the whole track by the hour for your exclusive use.
Lots of fun once the pistes are closed; you can take these out with guides and explore the mountainside cutting through the powder and carving your own route. Skidoos take two people; if you don’t fancy driving you can hop on with a guide as a passenger.
There are a number of marked trails in the area and maps can be picked up from the Tourist Office. If you want to really explore the mountains and go off the beaten track do hire a guide who can help you to explore in safety. Snowshoes and poles can be hired from most sports shops in Val d’Isère.
Take a scenic flight over the snow-capped mountaintops for an entirely new perspective on Val d’Isère and the surrounding area. You can even travel as far as iconic Mont Blanc. Flights are offered daily, weather conditions permitting, are a very unique experience – and perfect for a special celebration.
Although heli-skiing is not permitted in France many companies can offer you these excursions by dropping you just over the border into Italy or Switzerland. Taking off from the Val d’Isère heliport (situated in La Daille), one option is to be taken across the border of La Rosiere/La Thuile where you can choose the number of drops, and the level of skiing (though you must be a strong skier to participate). You will be guided of course by a fully qualified professional, and can opt to have a second guide accompany the group – to take video and photographs of the flight and your powdery descents.
Modern winter biathlon involves cross-country skiing followed by rifle shooting; a test not only of strength and stamina, but also of patience and control. We’ve all seen it feature at the Olympics, but very few of us will ever get to try our hand at it, but in Val d’Isère, Altitude Biathlon give you the chance to have a go – with expert tuition of course. Located at the bottom of the Face piste you can be taken out in groups with an instructor, a fabulous team building event for families of corporate groups; minimum age for participation is 7 years old.
While Val d’Isère is truly a skiers’ paradise we all like to indulge in a little retail therapy on holiday, and Val d’Isère won’t disappoint here either. Although not in quite the same shopping league as Courchevel 1850 for example, it’s quality over quantity here and you won’t be short of choice if it’s the latest in ski fashion, or ski kit you’re after. It’s easy to navigate your way around the shops as they all spill off the one main street running through Val d’Isère – Olympique Avenue.
One of the most prestigious of sports shops is Killy Sport; this shop oozes class, and their expert fitters will be on hand to help with either top quality rental kit, or with purchasing that new pair of ski boots you’ve been longing for. They also sell the latest in ski fashion, with top quality brands including Arc'Teryx, Rossignol, Killy, Kjus, Mountain Force, Nike, Parajumpers, Red Bull, Timberland, SOREL Lange, Lacroix, Castelbajac, Head, Scarpa, Salomon Technica, Dainese, and Burton. They also have an in-house, exclusive ski school Mountain Masters.
For the latest in ski rental and a fabulous pick-up and drop-off service look no further than Snowberry, run by Jack & Susan Dun. They lead the way in expert rental fittings, insisting you must be fitted in their shop using their specialist equipment and giving access to the full and expensive boot range. You can select from this year’s latest lines – or choose to save some money and pick from last season’s equipment. Pre-book in advance and they will send a vehicle to collect you from your chalet and chauffeur drive you to their shop for your fitting, and then return you with your equipment – which will all be seamlessly collected at the end of your stay. Very reasonably priced, and the equipment is of a much higher quality than you can expect at other stores, including free SUPERFEET foot beds in every boo
If your retail therapy is fashion, then try Magasin Bérénice for some nice pieces, and Margherio Boutique stocks a good range of shoes, boots, handbags and some clothing lines. Of the big names the boutiques are mainly sport-branded; Oakley, Columbia, Patagonia, Billabong, Quicksilver and Roxy - the Quicksilver & Roxy shop is particularly fun as Michel and his team welcome you for a drink and a snack in their in-store food-bar & coffee shop, Hint - they do the best burgers in town, either the ‘French Burger’ on rustic bread... or the ‘Double Run’ burger which includes two slices of foie gras.
If you’re looking to purchase some art or for some interior design inspiration try Galerie Jane Griffiths. Jane previously worked alongside Vivienne Westwood in the UK and helped to launch her first perfume ‘Boudoir’, before moving to Val d’Isère to launch the contemporary art gallery which features artists such as Claude Viallat, Pierre Mathieu, Patrick Chappert-Gaujal, Philippe Huart, Antonio de Felipe, Peter Klasen, Arman, Erro, Velickovic, and Cedric Bouteiller. Next door you will also find Décales, a luxury goods store, and Seccotine is also good to browse through for interior design ideas and pieces – they work with many of the alpine hotels and luxury chalets.
Frojo is a fabulous jeweller retailing brands such as, Boucheron, Chaumet, Dior, Hublot, Cartier, Chanel, Tag Heuer, Hermes, Rolex, Bvlgari, and Plaget. If you’re looking for gifts try Boutique Beautiful or Bouquetiniste, and Berraud-Parfumerie-Paul is great for perfumes. Hugo Photographe could also book a photographer to discreetly mingle with your group while you ski and enjoy your holiday in Val d’Isère, to create some very special memories and souvenirs of a wonderful time spent in the Alps.
For your more artisanal delicatessens you must not miss Patrick Chevallot; he is an award-winning patisserie, you can take a table inside at his original shop Boutique Clarines and enjoy his savoury treats or a cake with a coffee, or take away. The Beaufort tart is amazing and one of my favourites. There is now a second shop ‘Val Village’ opposite the Post Office. You can buy delicious chocolates here too, for after dinner perhaps, or to take home as a treat and little souvenir for yourself. Fermette de Claudine sells local charcuterie, and cheeses, including those made in Val d’Isère itself at Fèrme de L’Adroit. La Cave sur le Comptoir is great for wine tastings while relaxing and watching the snow fall, 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.
If you’re looking to explore the surrounding area and for experiences beyond Val d’Isère itself then the Tarentaise Valley has plenty to offer. Some of our favourites for you below.
Ste Foy is a neighbouring ski resort less than a 30-minute drive from Val d’Isère. Much quieter than its more famous big sister, Ste Foy usually takes longer to get tracked-out so we recommend heading here when conditions are right. The whole central bowl is skiable with tight tree-routes and soft pillows to pop down through and all lift accessible. The main event though is La Foglietta (2,950m), and yes you will have to work for it. The peak sits 400m above the Aguille chair lift and after this ascent (and a pause to catch your breath) you then ‘drop’ in through a small couloir at 40 degrees for a short distance, before traversing right. All the effort is worth it for a 1,500m long descent through untouched powder paddocks, taking you alongside and eventually crossing a pretty mountain stream until you reach the hamlet of La Masure, sitting some distance from Ste Foy.
From here you are a short walk up the road from Le Mirroir, a very pretty hamlet hiding the well-known, but tricky to find, Chez Merie restaurant. It has a rustic, farmhouse style and should be booked in advance – have lunch here (excellent homemade terrines, and big chunks of meat cooked on the open fire) before being collected by your pre-booked taxi or chalet driver for the return journey to Val d’Isère. You must be accompanied by a qualified local mountain guide.
For a totally ‘other worldly’ experience, why not try ice diving in the lake of neighbouring resort Tignes? You will be in safe hands with the Ice Diving School in Tignes who will provide all the necessary technical and safety equipment, and instruction. Beneath the surface you will experience complete calm – not a single noise or movement. Air bubbles dance, while rays of sunlight or moonlight play on the frozen surface giving a very surreal feel.
Even if ‘heli-skiing’ in its off-piste sense is not your ‘thing’, why not take a helicopter to the peaks above ‘La Thuile’ (Italy) and ‘La Rosière’ France, just a short hop from Val d’Isère. From the heli-base enjoy a scenic flight, then ski a different resort and head for lunch on the Italian side. Enjoy beautiful pasta, pizza and best of all, proper Italian coffee. You can make the most of the skiing, or pick the most direct route to lunch, totally up to you.
We recommend flying with our partner airline Swiss,
who will carry your ski gear for no extra charge.
Chambery (CMF): 2h 14m /140 km
Grenoble (GNB): 2h 30m /160 km
Geneva (GVA): 3h /220 km
Lyon (LYS): 3h /220 Km
SkiBoutique works with a number of taxi firms to provide shared, private and luxury road transfers from the airport of your choice to Val d’Isère. If you prefer to arrive by helicopter then of course we can arrange that too.
From mid December to April you can hop on the Eurostar ski train at St Pancras International or Ashford International and be whisked direct to the French Alps at 186mph. For Val d’Isère take the train to Bourg St Maurice; a 40 minute taxi ride form here sees you arriving in resort. This is a convenient and environmentally sound alternative to flying.
If you choose to drive to Val d’Isère from the UK it's a straightforward 964 km journey from Calais, on average taking 10-11 hours including some stops en route.
Alternatively, you may decide to hire a car from one of the 4 airports servicing Val d’Isère. Val d’Isère Centre co-ordinates for your satellite navigation system are:
*Please be aware that Sat Navs are not always accurate and particularly in winter they will not show Alpine road closures so please check the route chosen
Bronze - EUR 165
You like discover the mountain with equipment that’s safe
and easy to use.
Silver - EUR 195
You prefer to ski with comfortable high-performance equipment which allows you to take full advantage of the ski area on offer.
Gold - EUR 210
You only ski with the newest and best equipment
each season, for enjoyable high performance skiing.
Tignes & Val d'Isere 6 day adult pass - EUR 285
With our partner SnoCool
Private 4 hour lesson - EUR 260
All day guiding - EUR 400
Bottle of Veurve Clicquot EUR 105
Small beer EUR 5
Bottle of house wine EUR 27
Vin chaud/Gluwein EUR 5
Hot chocolate EUR 5
Cup of coffee EUR 6
Glass of coke EUR 5
Pizza EUR 17