Tignes has a large and diverse skiing area comprising a number of villages, including: Tignes Le Lac, Val Claret, Les Boisses, and Les Brévières and spanning from an altitude of 2200 meters down to 1550 meters at the valley floor. With snow parks for beginners or experts to play around in, the longest black run in the Espace-Killy and the perfect range of pistes, from the smooth blue run Lac to the challenging Trolles, it’s pretty hard to get bored in this vast mountain arena!
Spanning such a vast area, the villages that make up Tignes and the distance in between have a number of natural wonders up their sleeve. The famous Aiguille Percée – or eye of the needle – can be found at the top of its eponymous chairlift (watch as you slowly creep closer and ponder just how a rock could naturally form to erode such a smooth, oval-shaped hole in the middle). Head further down the mountain, trail through the woodland and look out for the winter wonderland-like ice cave as you near the Tignes Les Boisses area.
Home to one seriously adrenaline-pumping mountain range even when the snow has melted, Tignes offers some of the most thrilling mountain biking terrain in the French Alps. Get an incredible view of the Chevril Dam below as you hurtle downwards, as well as the Isère river and surrounding countryside. The ground and the gradient can be challenging, but the surrounding landscape is unforgettable!
In the centre of Val Claret, the Grizzly Bar specialises in toasty log fires and bear figurines. Although a pint will set you back a slightly alarming amount of euros, sink into a bear skin rug by the fireplace and embrace the homely comfort and charm a place crammed with such mountain paraphernalia can offer. The Grizzly also has a shop, so you can take home a kooky souvenir too if you so wish!
Tignes’ fun-loving spirit never ceases to stop giving with a number of amusement activities. The Bowling Alley in Le Lac makes for a great low-key social event. Go the whole hog and organise a games’ night entire, making use of the pool tables and video game systems here too. Open until the evening and at around just €7 a game, it’s a much cheaper option than an evening of bar time debauchery, that’s for sure!
Rue des Almes, Tignes, France, +33 4 79 06 39 95
Tignespace Sports Centre
If you’re staying in Tignes Le Lac then get involved with a variety of activities at the Tignespace Sports Centre. From rock climbing and abseiling to swimming and badminton, check out the sports centre for an engaging exercise session. The care and investment put into creating the centre is evident as it offers stellar facilities for everyone from professional athletes to your average leisure goer.
Tignespace Sports Centre , Tignes, France, +33 4 79 40 26 60
The Lady of the Lake
Historically intriguing, the huge reservoir at the bottom of the valley here tells an eerie tale. The original town of Tignes was purposefully flooded by the government in order to create a reservoir providing hydroelectric power to the region. Families were uprooted from their homes despite protest, and legend has it that one woman refused to evacuate her house – hence “the lady of the lake”. The ethereal statue by the roadside overlooking the reservoir commemorates the protest against people’s lives being destroyed, while every five years the lake is fully drained and the tops of buildings and winding lanes can be seen in the process.
Barrage de Chevril – Dam
In order to build Tigne’s reservoir, the Barrage de Chevril, or Chevril Dam was put in place. Recognisable and used in the filming of Channel 4’s hit show The Returned, it retains a silent and ominous atmosphere to this day. Before the 1992 Winter Olympics was held in the Espace Killy, Jean-Pierre Perriet painted a mural of Hercules on the side of the Dam, it has largely faded away but look carefully and you can make out the Olympian’s dashing face and strong torso.
La Pignatta Restaurant
One of the best restaurants in Val Claret, La Pignatta boasts a delectable and affordable menu. With freshly made pizza, goat’s cheese and parma ham salads and other Savoyarde delicacies besides, picking a meal here can be difficult! Opt for the lunch time deal for a meal and a drink for a reasonable price tag, and sit inside for cosy alpine charm with twee wooden furnishings and homey décor to boot.
La Pignatta Restaurant, Rue du Val Claret, Tignes, France, +33 4 79 06 32 97
Hotel Les Campanules Spa
Part of Hotel Les Campanules, this luxury spa is the best way to fix up an aching body after a day of invigorating workout, whether on skis, bicycle or foot! All the facilities you could want for the ultimate relaxation are on offer. Swim in the heated outdoor pool, sink into the bubbles of the Jacuzzi, calmly revive in the steam room, or get a totally soothing massage – the choice is yours!
By Bethan Sweeting