The Top Things to Do and See in Tignes, France

Tignes is one of the most internationally popular ski resorts in France
Tignes is one of the most internationally popular ski resorts in France | © Sergey Naryshkin / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Judy Cogan
4 August 2021

Snowsure skiing in the Alps during the winter? Tick. Exhilarating mountain bike trails in the summer? Tick. Whatever the season, here are the ultimate things to do in Tignes, one of France‘s largest ski resorts, from après-ski beers to yoga classes.

Tignes is one of the most internationally popular ski resorts in France. It sits next door to Val d’Isère, and its super high altitude – up to 3,456m (11,339ft) above sea level – means the winter season lasts from late November until early May, much longer than many resorts in the Alps. It also offers some excellent eateries and a solid après-ski scene. When the snow melts, the area is full of outdoor adventure, wellness perks and fun indoor activities for the whole family.

Go skiing

Ski Resort
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Evening landscape and ski resort in French Alps,Tignes, France
© beatrice preve / Alamy Stock Photo

Tignes is part of the Espace Killy ski area, along with neighbouring resort Val d’Isère, which means you have access to an enormous 300km (186mi) of pistes. This large, diverse skiing area is dotted with quaint villages such as Tignes Le Lac, Val Claret and Les Boisses. The area caters to all abilities with gentle slopes for beginners as well as the longest black run in the region for experienced skiers. Après-ski is taken seriously here with tabletop dancing in ski boots from 4pm onwards.

Spy the Aiguille Percée

Natural Feature
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Ski area at the Aiguille Percee, Tignes, Val d'Isere, Savoy, Alps, France, Europe
© Daniel Schoenen / imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Hiking up to the Aiguille Percée rock formation (which translates as “pierced needle”) in Tignes takes you into Vanoise National Park, well known as a home to rare birds and Alpine wildlife. This is a strenuous full-day climb only accessible in summer, but the views are worth the leg burn. To shorten it, take the Palafour ski lift for free and start the hike from the top of it. Watch out for mountain bikers zipping past you en route.

Hang out at Grizzly's Bar

Bar, French
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Grizzly's bar wood carvings, Tignes Le Lac/ Tignes 2100, France
© Olivia Thomas / Alamy Stock Photo
Not just a snug comfortable bar, but an alpine fantasy palace with thick wooden beams, sheepskin rugs and cow hides hanging over the bar, Grizzly’s has stools and tables carved from tree trunks. Log fires roar all winter, and the wood-heavy terrace is the place to catch some rays with a beer. It’s in the centre of the village of Val Claret, and the food menu is grizzly and simple: led by carbs and meat. Grab something from the outdoor grill or enjoy a delicious beef burger.

Go bowling

Bowling Alley
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If you have time to kill between the last ski lift closing and dinner time, why not head to Le Bowling de Tignes in Le Lac for some low-key fun? While the bowling balls could do with a polish, this place makes up for it with charm. Grab a beer and enjoy some 10-pin bowling before checking out the adjoining arcade, full of retro video games and pool tables. It’s the perfect spot for a wholesome games night, and you’ll stretch out your achy limbs after skiing, too.

Try indoor climbing

Sports Center
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If you’re staying in Le Lac, head to Tignespace, which has 3,500sqm (37,675sqft) of state-of-the-art facilities. Swim, play tennis, squash or badminton if you like here, but rock climbing and abseiling will get the adrenaline pumping nicely. There’s a bouldering wall, and the beginners climbing wall is 7m (23ft) high. If you’re experienced, or the altitude is making you feel brave, go all Free Solo on the expert wall, which is 16m (52ft) high with 6m (20ft) and 8m (26ft) overhangs.

Eat fondue at La Pignatta Restaurant

Restaurant, Italian, French, $$$
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Sitting outside a bar, Tignes Val Claret, Savoie, Rhone-Alpes, France
© Damian Davies / agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Dipping bread in bubbling cheese isn’t a must-do as much as local law (unofficially). One of the best places in Tignes for fondue is La Pignatta in Val Claret. While the menu is primarily Italian, with some tasty pizza and pasta, it doesn’t ignore the traditional French ski-resort staples, melted dipping cheese included. The interiors are comfy and upscale with a spacious outdoor terrace that’s perfect for a lunchtime feast.

Hurtle downhill on a mountain bike

Architectural Landmark
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Lac du Chevril, Savoie, France, Europe.
© Graham Lawrence / agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

Just because the snow has melted doesn’t mean the adrenaline-fuelled fun has to stop. In summertime, make the most of this thrilling mountain range by hopping on two wheels and enjoying 160km (100mi) of biking trails. Enjoy an incredible view of the Chevril Dam and the lush surrounding countryside as you careen downwards. The gradients can be challenging, but a helmet, back protector, knee pads, elbow pads and shin guards are provided.

Book a yoga class

Yoga Studio
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A yoga studio in a mountain resort – why has no one thought of this before? Joanna, your instructor at Yoga Tignes studio teaches yoga classes all year round. In summer, enjoy sessions high in the mountains overlooking Lac du Chevril, or go one step further and book a four-star yoga and hiking retreat. In the winter, stretch out your tired limbs after a day on the slopes with a cosy session indoors. Private and group classes are available on demand.

Unwind at the spa

Sports Center, Spa
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Still buzzing after a full day of mountain sports? It’s time to relax in Le Lagon spa. Treat yourself to a deep-soak in the jacuzzi, a reviving massage or hop between the steam room and sauna. Here, you’ll also find a Turkish bath to ease your stiff joints and scrub you clean, plus a modern solarium serving a range of detox teas with views over the lake and the Val Claret. Combine all this with mountain air and a hearty dinner – and you will sleep like a baby.

These recommendations were updated on August 4, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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