10 Things to See and Do in Val d’Isère

The chic French ski resort of Val d’Isère offers plenty to do both on and off the slopes
The chic French ski resort of Val d’Isère offers plenty to do both on and off the slopes | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lucy Pierce
7 September 2020

Val d’Isère is a ski resort in the southeast of France, nestled among the Alps in the Savoie region. Together with Tignes, it forms the Espace Killy ski region, with 300km (186mi) of pistes and some remarkable off-piste skiing. We take a look at the best things to see and do during your visit.

Dance on the tables at La Folie Douce

Restaurant, French, $$$
Map View
© Barry Vincent / Alamy Stock Photo
Renowned for its wild afternoon parties that begin at around 3pm or 4pm, La Folie Douce pumps out some thumping bass that you will probably hear as you ski the surrounding areas. The large wooden tables are there to be danced on, while bartenders spray champagne over the crowd. A live saxophonist also adds to the jazz of the place.

Ski all four corners of Espace Killy

Ski Resort
Map View
© Dennis Wegewijs / Alamy Stock Photo
For even the keenest skier, this can be quite a challenge. You will need to be up for first lifts, skip the long lunch and celebrate your achievement at après-ski instead (if your legs haven’t already turned to jelly). Essentially, you must cover the four corners, which encompass the top of Tignes Glacier, Tignes-les-Brévières, Val d’Isère Le Fornet and Val d’Isère La Daille, which is also where you will find La Folie.

Sing your heart out at Cocorico

Bar, Cocktails, $$$
Map View
Cocorico bar, Val D'isere, France
© Kate Hockenhull / Alamy Stock Photo
If you’ve ever envisioned yourself as a pop star, here’s your time to shine. Cocorico is a live-music bar playing everything from Kings of Leon to old classics. You’re bound to know at least some of the lyrics and will soon be singing along at the top of your lungs, with a beer in your hand.

Conquer La Face

Natural Feature, Ski Resort
Map View
© StockShot / Alamy Stock Photo
This infamous black run has been used for many slalom races, but the average punter will probably be wishing they hadn’t taken that left turn. Combining sheet ice and a nearly vertical drop, this run is an enormous challenge, and chances are people on it are wondering how to get themselves out of this pickle, and whether or not it’s easier to go down bottom first.

Eat like a local

Restaurant, French
Map View

The Haute-Savoie is well known for its hearty cuisine that will warm you and fill you up after a long day of skiing. Whether you opt for tartiflette, cheese or beef fondue, or raclette, you absolutely must treat yourself to a tarte aux myrtilles for dessert. What’s more, it’s rude to decline Genepi after your meal; this digestif has great herbal qualities and is also said to soothe sore throats. The Ski Gallery & Fondue Factory is renowned for being one of the best places for the local cuisine in the area.

Go paragliding

Sports Center
Map View
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
If you have always dreamed of being able to fly, you don’t get much closer to it than paragliding with Val d’Isère Parapente. As you ski off the side of the mountain and take off, you can take in some magnificent views over the glistening mountains. The adrenaline is addictive, and chances are you’ll be booking another session soon after you’ve landed.

Sunbathe and have lunch at Bar de l'Ouillette

Bar, Restaurant, French, $$$
Map View
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
When the sun’s beating down on you and the snow is becoming slushy, you are fully excused from skiing to go and lounge on the comfy seating and deck chairs and the lap up the sun on the terrace of Ouilllette Plage. During the warmer months, barbecues are held here too. Who’d have thought you were in a ski resort?

Party the night away at Dick's Tea Bar

Nightclub, Cocktails
Map View
© Kate Hockenhull / Alamy Stock Photo
This is the only place to be seen after dark; the club is famous for its frivolous parties and for hosting a long list of celebs. With bottles of Bollinger everywhere and a young crowd, you’re bound to have a great time – just make sure you don’t miss the next morning’s skiing because of it!

Master some tricks in the park

Ski Resort
Map View
© toby clifford / Alamy Stock Photo
If you see yourself as a pro skier or boarder, why not test this out in the snow park? Whether you’re nailing your first 180 or practising for the X-Games, Val has a great park with features for beginners, intermediates and experts, so have some fun on these jumps, rails and boxes.
These recommendations were updated on September 7, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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