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Mountain-related articles from Winter-Sports.com

Val d'isere resort: luxury and pleasure


One of the world's foremost ski resorts
Like Courchevel and Megève in France, or St Moritz or Vail elsewhere, Val d'Isère enjoys a reputation as one of the world's leading ski resorts.

And like its counterparts, it cultivates its image as a first-rate destination for holidaymakers seeking a combination of luxury, sport and tradition. Small wonder, then, that it tends to attract a clientele which, on the whole, is rather well-off, trendy and cosmopolitan.
Val d'Isère at day-break
One is forced to admit that Val d'Isère has successfully - and tastefully - managed to reconcile the inherent charm of the mountains with the world of luxury and glitter. The local architectural style accounts for much of the resort's appeal, making Val d'Isère one of the most attractive resorts in the French Alps.

What's more, the resort is pleasant, and because of the space reserved for pedestrians and the intellegently implemented parking restrictions, visitors have no trouble getting around on foot...

And by night, with its illuminated hotels and stores, the resort is nothing less than magical.
< An architectural style marrying the luxurious with the traditional accounts for much of the resort's charm
The Espace Killy: a gigantic playground
The Espace Killy, which comprises the twin ski domains of Val d'Isère and Tignes, is a territory which is best described in the superlative. Judge for yourself: 300 km of ski trails, 90 ski lifts, 2 glaciers, 2 snow parks...The trails are well laid out and maintained, and the available infrastructure more than satisfactory. Which doesn't mean that queues are not uncommon during peak periods.
The Tignes side of the domain is unquestionably more spectacular and offers more for the athletically inclined, which is why we had a slight preferrence for this part of the domain. Additionally, because of the variety of exposures and altitudes in this part of the domain, one can invariably find snow of a very high quality.
< Breath-taking view of the glacier and Tignes (peeking out of the clouds on the right)
Pleasures of the table
In Val d'Isère the temptation to indulge in life's pleasures are everywhere, and lovers of good food won't be disappointed. Indeed, the resort boasts a number of excellent restaurants, pastry houses, tea rooms and other establishment. Prices, while high, are generally reasonable given the quality of the surroundings and service. Expect to pay 30 to 40 euros per person for a (very) good meal. Restaurants we recommend: La Casserole and La Luge (don't miss the "fondue au vacherin")
Partying
A casual stroll through the resort at around one in the morning will bring you to the following conclusion: holiday-makers in Val d'Isère love to party. And they have a wide choice of establishments to choose from, including cosy cafés, trendy bars and a handful of nightclubs for those who want to party until dawn.

Our favourite spots: Le XV to start the evening with a quiet drink in a laid-back setting, then on to Le Café Face for some serious partying with a young, trendy crowd to the sound of the latest Electro-pop hits.

It's a pity that the nightclubs are not on par with the bars. To end the evening, or for those who don't like retuning home unaccompanied: Le Graal (try to get there before the bars close or else it will be too crowded!).

And if you want to party by day, that's possible too. Just try one of the high-altitude restaurants like La Folie Douce which hosts an Electro-pop concert every day.

< Daily from 4 pm: Electro-pop concert at La Folie Douce, just at the foot of the La Daille chairlift
Watch out for the bill!
Needless to say, Val d'Isère offers a wide range of first-class services, facilities and activities for the most demanding visitors, including a fitness centre, a beauty centre, an art gallery, a heliport, boutiques, etc...

While we found restaurant prices reasonable, the cost of accommodation quickly attains heights at which the common man has difficulty breathing. Day passes are not inexpensive, either: count a good 40 euros for one day's skiing in the Espace Killy.

In a nutshell, if you're planning to come to Val d'Isère, make sure you come with a full wallet. That said, you won't be disappointed with the quality and services ...

< Val d'Isère boasts a heliport for those who wish to experience high altitudes without wearing themselves out.
Practical advice
If you are planning to come by car, remember to take into account the cost of parking when preparing your budget. Free parking is practically impossible to find in Val d'Isère.

Try to go to the open-air concert at La Folie Douce at least once during your stay...
Our opinion
An excellent choice of destination for the demanding (and well-off) holiday-maker seeking first-rate skiing opportunities in a smart yet festive setting. Skiiers in search of a less luxurious, more affordable, athletically challenging environment, should consider nearby Tignes.
Val d'Isère resort guide
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