A guide to Tignes
Tignes is one of the best ski resorts to come to for a long, snow-sure season. The main resort on the edge of Le Lac sits at an altitude of 2100 metres above sea level and the lower villages still boast altitudes of 1550 and 1850 metres. Above all of this is the Grande Motte Glacier which rises to a lofty 3450 metres and is accessible not only during winter but in the summer too - yes you can come summer skiing in Tignes!
The old village of Tignes disappeared beneath the waters of the Lac du Chevril when the valley was dammed in 1952. The ski resort of Tignes 2100, is now made up of many smaller purpose-built villages at varying altitudes. Tignes Les Brévières (1550m), Tignes Les Boisses (1850m), Tignes Le Lavachet (2100m), Val Claret (2100m) and Tignes-Le-Lac (2100m) which is generally classed as the main village of Tignes.
Although having spent millions in improving its visual appearance, the architecture of Tignes is somewhat more synonymous with a collection of high rise housing estates, than your typical traditional Savoyard chalet village. There are few trees at this altitude so Tignes isn't the most visually appealing of resorts. However, beauty is only skin deep, so if you’re there for the skiing and not fussed about your outside appearance of your accommodation then Tignes is the place to go. Being one of the more affordable French ski resorts, Tignes attracts families and large groups of university students or groups of friends, and as such the nightlife and dining options ensure there is something to suit every taste and budget.
Skiing in Tignes
Tignes offers something for every level of skier or snowboarder, with a world class snow park, pistes suited to beginners and advanced skiers alike and for the more adventurous, some of the best off piste skiing in the French Alps. In Tignes alone there are 47 ski lifts, a funicular railway, a cable car, 24 chairlifts and 19 drag lifts, enabling you to ski around the 150 kilometres of pisted terrain. The range of pistes on offer means Tignes is an excellent place for mixed ability groups.
Tignes and its neighbouring resort of Val d’Isère make up the ski area known as the Espace Killy (named after France’s Olympic downhill skiing champion Jean Claude Killy). It offers over 300kms of pisted skiing linked by around 77 ski lifts which include a funicular railway, a cable car, 24 chairlifts and 19 drag lifts, enabling you to ski around the whole area with ease.
Also see: Ski Areas in Tignes
Things to Do in Tignes
Tignes Le Lac has plenty else to offer for those who do not fancy venturing out onto the slopes. The beautiful and picturesque lake freezes over in the winter and you can meander across it and enjoy the wonderful snowy mountain scenery (although check it is safe before setting off!), and there are lots of alternative winter activities to do. Tignespace and Le Lagon offer a multitude of different sports and swimming once you're in resort and on the way up to resort you can't fail to miss the impressive Tignes dam which has featured in TV shows like "Les Revenants" and has a statue of the "lady of the lake" overlooking it. Other activities include bowling, cinema, husky dog sledding, ice climbing, ice skating, and shopping.
In the summer the mountains turn from white to green and with plenty of sunshine there is a lot to do. There are a whole host of summer activities that are perfect for groups, families and individuals. Tignes Le Lac has great access to the ski lifts and in the summer you can whizz up the mountain and enjoy a range of walking and hiking routes or the mountain biking trails that Tignes is famous for in the summer time. You can also hop on the free bus service and be at the Grande Motte in Tignes Val Claret for some summer skiing on the glacier in just a few short minutes.
Also see: Sports & Activities in Tignes
Events in Tignes
"The Brits" skiing & snowboarding competition takes place in Tignes every winter and in summer it plays host to the "Ice Trail Tarentaise", one of the toughest trail running races for miles around.
Also see: Main Events in Tignes
Where to Stay in Tignes
There are four parts to Tignes, each offering a slightly different atmosphere, but all linked to the same great ski area. From the lowest elevation to the highest, you have Les Brevieres, Tignes 1800 (Les Boisses), Le Lac and Val Claret.
Tignes Le Lac and Tignes Val Claret are the main resorts. Both are made up of an array of high rise apartment blocks and hotels with a few traditional chalets dotted around. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes that will welcome you in from the winter cold for lunch, dinner or just a bit of apres ski fun. They both enjoy excellent access to the ski slopes. Val Claret is better for the Grande Motte ski area and the snowpark whilst Le Lac has better connections to Aiguille Percee and the lower (more sheltered) slopes down to Tignes 1800 and Les Brevieres. Both provide easy access to the wider Espace Killy ski area.
Tignes 1800 has recently had a massive renovation and is now a tranquil, modern development of chalet style hotels designed with families in mind. Les Brevieres is quieter still, but one of the prettiest. Traditional style stone farmhouses, boutique hotels and a few self-catering apartments make up the majority of accommodation, and with the old traditional Savoyard feel of the village, it is a charming place to stay.
There is a wide selection of accommodation, often at more modest prices than its neighbour Val d'Isère. In comparison, there is less choice of luxury or high-end accommodation, but this market is starting to develop now and more options are becoming available.
Also see: Where to Stay in Tignes
Restaurants in Tignes
You can enjoy some lovely traditional Savoyard restaurants or choose from the more modern restaurants in each of the villages of Tignes.
Also see: Where to Eat in Tignes
Nightlife in Tignes
There are many bars and restaurants in each of the Tignes villages and four nightclubs; two in Val Claret and two in Le Lac. There is also a 24 hour free bus service between Val Claret, Le Lac and Le Lavachet making it especially easy to experience each village by night!
Also see: Nightlife in Tignes
Where is Tignes?
For Tignes the most convenient airport is Chambery, situated 144 kms (2 1/2hrs) away by motorway and then mountain road. From the airport, you have a number of different methods of transport to choose from to get you up to resort. If you can’t get a flight to Chambéry, the next best options are Lyon (3hrs) and Geneva (3.5hrs) both of which are serviced by a number of the major airlines.
Also see: How to Get to Tignes
Location: Tignes Region