Val d’Isère, originally a small alpine farming village, has become a bustling and lively ski resort, popular with British and French alike.
Val d'Isere Village:
The old town is still centred around the traditional church, which, along with the stone and wooden chalets, helps retain its traditional alpine feel. Despite several 1970's style apartment blocks, emphasis is on the traditional style chalet buildings.
We first visited Val d'Isere in Feburary 2007 and were really impressed with the resort. The village is very pretty, having maintained its traditional alpine feel, whilst being lively and bustling. There is a large variety of shops, restaurants and bars, not to mention several specialist patisseries!
Val d'Isere is made up of a number of small charming little 'hamlets' namely :Le Cret, Le Joseray, Le Chatelard, La Legettaz, Le Laisinant, Le Daille and Le Fornet. More recently the area of Les Carats (millionaire's row as it's locally known!) has developed it's own character and charm.
The hamlets of La Daille and Le Fornet are the largest of these areas, and essentially 'villages' in their own right.
Val d'Isere Skiing:
Located at the head of the Isere valley, Val d'Isere is in a sunny bowl, surrounded by mountains on three sides. This means that skiing on the sunny slopes is particularly enjoyable, and you can relax in the sun with a drink or a bite to eat in one of the mountain restaurants.
Val d'Isere is famous for it's excellent skiing and boarding, with over 300 km of runs and unlimited off piste skiing in the Espace Killy ski area, which is shared with neighbouring Tignes.
We were very impressed by variety of runs, making Val d'Isere an excellent choice for all abilities of skiiers and snowboarders, with its perfectly groomed pistes for beginners to its extensive off piste and snow parks for the advanced and advenurous! In fact Val d’Isère is reputed as the kingdom of off-piste, and freeride. The modern, rapid ski lifts maximse the amount of time spent on the slopes, and make waiting a thing of the past.
Val d'Isere has a fantastic snow record, one of the best in Europe, and the season usually lasts into May, with excellent conditions throughout the seaon. This means that you can generally ski back to the heart of the village right until the end of April/beginning of May,
Val d'Isere - Apres Ski and Non-Skiing Activities:
Apart from the fantastic skiing, Val d'Isere has a lively apres-ski scene, with plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, night club and even a cinema. There is also a swimming pool and sports centre in the village. Every Thursday the village centre becomes pedestrianised and is given over to street entertainment, ice and snow sculpting, parades and live music. There is a local market which visits Val d'Isere once a week, selling a variety of local cheeses, meats, sweets and clothing.
Val d'Isere offers a large variety of non-skiing activities, including husky drawn sleigh rides, snowshoe trails, karting, quad driving, snowmobiles, ice climbing, cross country skiing, paragliding, or iceskating. For those wanting something more relaxing there is a host of spa treatments, including massage, sauna, whirlpool baths and yoga, not to mention the swimming pool in the village centre.