We will refund you the difference plus an extra 5% discount off your stay. Contact us on 0203 475 4756.
- If you find the exact same product (same dates, same residence, same type of accommodation, same reservation conditions) on sale elsewhere cheaper than we offer, we will refund you the difference.
- To qualify for this reimbursement, the offer price seen elsewhere must be recorded at the same time as booking with us, and you must send us proof of the price seen elsewhere (screenshot or scanned document).
- Offer only available on destinations directly managed by Madame Vacances.
- Sports, nature and action-packed winter activities
- Family-friendly chalets
- A massive choice of pistes for all levels
Tignes isn't really a winter sports resort. It's an (almost) all year round winter wonderland, as the snow cover here is so good that the highest slopes only close for 10 weeks of the summer. Tignes is purpose built, and they picked a wonderful spot, sharing the monster Espace Killy ski area with Val d'Isere. In the beautiful Tarentaise Valley, in Savoie in south-east France, the designers of Tignes found a perfect perch for their collection of resort villages. Branding itself as the sportiest ski resort, Tignes certainly does offer world-class skiing for all abilities, but it has a lot more besides.
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Tignes is a collection of five resort centres clambering up a stunning mountain scape in some of the best skiing terrain in the world. There's no way around it: some of Tignes could be called ugly. Back in the 1960s, characterless blocks were the height of architectural fashion. That's changed of course, and newer accommodation is much prettier. The village split makes for quieter centres with more family-friendly restaurants and bars than world-class nightlife. But people come to Tignes to ski, and for that it’s hard to beat.
With a 1,900m from its glaciered heights at 3,450m, Tignes alone has 150km of fantastic skiing in its 77 pistes. It's a domain that's particularly welcoming to good skiers, with 8% of its runs green, 44% blue, 27% red and 21% (that's a huge proportion) the most difficult black run. Snow cover is rarely a problem, thanks to the famous Grande Motte glacier and good snowfalls, getting up towards 8m a year sometimes. Tignes has 39 lifts, including five gondolas. This is a well-used ski area and there has been major investment to make it accessible though you will probably have to queue at some point while in Tignes.
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A lot of the skiing at Tignes is at very high altitude, well above the tree line. That means good snow cover, but bad weather can be a problem too. Off piste skiing is a particular strength of Tignes, with many of the most popular routes centred around the Grande and Petite Balmes.
There's good territory for intermediates too, though, with inviting blues well-served by lifts, particularly close to the resorts themselves. If you're looking to avoid the most crowded blues, head west and try the Palafour, Chardonnet and Tichot lifts.
Beginners can have a good time here, and there's no shortage of instructors, but it is a little difficult to transition from nursery slopes to the mountain. No such problem for freestylers and boarders: Tignes has been a leader in these scenes from the start, and has a good terrain park. Around half of the Espace Killy's 44km of cross country skiing are in Tignes, most towards the lower slopes and around the valley’s lake, with trips organised by most of the local ski schools.
Jean-Claude Killy has faded into history somewhat, but the triple Olympic champion was the first winter sportsman to become a genuine international superstar. His legacy is assured if attempts to change the domain's name fail - in this massive ski area that prioritises sporty, serious skiers. The full area has 300km of pistes: 22 greens, 61 blue runs, 46 reds, and 25 blacks with 90 ski lifts rushing skiers up to the slopes. Even more than Tignes, the Val d'Isere section of the domain is good for good skiers. But head to the top of the resort, at the Pissaillas glacier, to find a cracking set of pistes for intermediates.
Around La Daille is an international competition course if you fancy a long, testing run. Beginners should stay near the resort to start with, before trying some of the gentler slopes in the Solaise area. Val d'Isere has a terrain park of its own that's probably better than its sister site at Tignes; the Oakley Valpark for boarders and freestylers is really world class.
In 1992, Tignes was an Olympic venue, and today it offers a huge range of winter sports and fun snow activities. In the resort you'll find: bungee trampolines, dog sledding, helicopter trips and heli-skiing, ice diving, ice climbing, ice driving, skating, karting, snake-gliss, snowkite, snow mobiles, snow-shoe trips, mountain biking and more. You will not get bored in Tignes!
As well as its massive winter sports credentials and a busy summer adventure programme, Tignes is a major centre for pro altitude training French football and rugby teams sweat it out up here before big tournaments. So there's a big sports infrastructure here, with Le Lagon the biggest centre for swimming, training and spa and wellness treatments, and lots of smaller facilities through the villages. If you’re feeling exhausted already, try the cinema and bowling alley. Check the resort website for a busy calendar of musical, cultural and sporting events.
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Eating and Drinking
Tignes serves a serious skiing clientele who want to get back to the slopes as quickly as possible and hasn't developed a great gastronomic scene. Everyone wants to eat well though, and things are getting better.
It's always been good for budget, family and fast food. On the slopes, you should definitely try Lo Soli at the top of the Chaudannes lift and try to grab a seat by the fire. Le Panoramic, right on the Grande Motte, is a real treat, both for a quick hot chocolate or a very good lunch with a choice of waiter or self-service.
Each village is well served, and accessible from the slopes for dining on the go. In Tignes-le-Lac, Le Clin d'Oeil and La Montagne are good for local cuisine, and the Bagus Cafe has good North African food. La Ferme des 3 Capucines is very traditional and well worth a visit. L'Etoie des Neiges's pizzas and l'Armailly's more gastro menus are the best restaurants in Tignes Les Brevieres. The Aspen Coffee Shop in Val Claret is great value, and deservedly popular. Les Suites de Nevada is one of the area's very best gourmet establishments.
Because Tignes is a multi-centre resort there isn’t a big party scene, but you will find plenty of agreeable places to spend an evening. While you're up in the snow, you should visit La Folie Douce, near Val d'Isere, to see some serious international hedonism. Bar du Village Montana is another good mountain bar with a cosy feel. In Tignes-le-Lac the Loop bar has a great terrace, music and comedy shows and happy hours. The Alpaka Lodge has a British-pub feel and is very mellow.
Underground Bar and Jack's Club are late night options. In Le Lavachet try So Bar, Scotty's or TC's Bar. Val Claret's Grizzly's has good cocktails before heading to The Couloir for live music or DJs in this multi-roomed eating and drinking mecca. Clubbers like La Blue Girl (though it’s definitely not a family venue) and Le Melting Pot, which specialises in rum drinks. In Les Brevieres try The Vault, which is also a decent dinner spot.
The longest in Europe, they proudly boast! Projected openings for 2015-16 were 3rd October to 8th May 2016, and there will be some skiing even outside these dates. The lifts open through the Espace Killy as conditions allow, and lifts close around 4.30pm to 5.30pm.
You can buy passes for Tignes alone or for Tignes and Val d'Isere. There are long stay or six-day versions of these passes. A new Infini' Tignes pass allows access to a much wider area including Paradiski which is billed as you ski. A dedicated website sells the passes. There are free lifts to some of the beginners' slopes.
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Ski Equipment Hire
There are nearly 50 ski hire outlets in Tignes, including several Intersport outlets and plenty of independents. If that seems daunting, do ask for local advice or contact Madame Vacances before you travel.
Lessons and Ski Schools
There are eight ski schools in Tignes, including ESF, the French giant, which offers English-language lessons and lessons for very young children. There are also several specialist British schools in the resorts, including New Generation, TDC, and Progression Ski. There are countless independent inspectors and opportunities to improve your downhill racing, powder turns or boarding with guiding also available. British schools can be over-subscribed (and more expensive) so it's worth booking if you want to be sure of your lessons.
Childcare and Family Facilities
ESF and a number of other schools offer skiing lessons for very young children around 3-years-old and ski clubs or kindergartens. There are a number of other nursery, babysitting and nanny agencies and services in and around Tignes, most can be booked in advance.
Parking is regulated and you must park in designated car parks in Tignes, where there are 3,500 spaces split between the villages. Unloading in drop-off areas is allowed as you arrive, and there's a good shuttle bus service for the rest of your stay. You can reserve spaces in advance; contact us for further advice.