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.
- Skiing bucket lists! A must once in a lifetime ski resort to visit.
- Very good English services, with around 30% of visitors being British.
- Huge variety of apres activities for time off the hill.
Val d'Isere is one of the finest skiing resorts in the world, with a long and storied pedigree at the very top of the international sports tree as a World Cup and Olympic venue. It's also very pretty, fairly exclusive and can be expensive. Don't be put off though! The fact that the skiing in the stunning slopes around Val d'Isere is of the best quality means that the resort hasn't lost its raison d'etre and become an Alpine Champs Elysees. With its younger sister resorts at Tignes, Val d'Isere enjoys access to the superlative Espace Killy ski area, and more than 300km of pistes labelled by its owners as the most beautiful in the world - with which they have a point!
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Val d'Isere is Cinderella to Tignes purpose-built sister, with a well-preserved historical mountain village rather than 1960s apartment blocks at its centre. That heritage has been built upon with some very attractive modern buildings, easily outnumbering the few architectural missteps that were taken as the resort mushroomed from the 1930s onwards.
Val d'Isere has a long history of welcoming British visitors, who make up around 30% of current guests, so has very good Anglo services. It's also a very glamorous place, so it can be expensive, but everyone is welcome and all budgets are catered for. If you're after some ski inspiration, time your visit to include some competition watching, but remember that the racing can reduce access to some of the runs.
All skiers are spoiled around Val d'Isere - particularly experienced skiers - and everyone should come here once in a skiing lifetime. The resort has 42 lifts serving pistes from 1,850m to 3,456m. Despite its reputation as an expert's resort, 21% of the pistes are green - 39% are blue, 29% are red, and 11% black. High altitude generally means good ski cover, with an average fall of over 5 metres. The world's biggest snow machine helps keep the slopes in good condition.
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Beginners have good nursery areas by the resort, in La Daille, and a new area of safe slopes at Solaise. Beginners should stay away from the runs that finish in the resort, which tend to be crowded and speedy.
Intermediates have loads to enjoy. Try Fountaine Froide followed by Santons for an excellent red and blue descent. Even some of the World Cup slopes are skiable, in part, by intermediates, including the OK run named after Henri Oreiller and M Killy himself. The Pissaillas glacier is the apogee of the resort, and it's a good starting point for blue and red runs. La Face from the Bellevarde lift is good, once an Olympic downhill run.
Epaule du Charvet is one of the hardest blacks you'll find anywhere. The Oakley Valpark is a fantastic quality terrain park. Off-piste in Val d'Isere is world-class, and popular, so be prepared to start early for the best experience. It's also potentially dangerous with avalanche risk very real so be sure to check out local weather reports or hire a guide.
The wider ski area brings the altitude range up to nearly 2,000m, the number of lifts into the 80s, and the length of pistes over 300km. Of these, 170km are categorised as easy (though that's relative here), 78km as intermediate, and 52km as difficult.
There's another glacier above Tignes, the Grande Motte, and it's the start of some unmatched runs of all sorts. Use the lift from Val Claret to get to nearly 4,000m, before skiing 1,550m down on one of the longest verticals in the world.
L'Aiguille Percée, at 2,748m, is another peak from which to descend all the way to the Tignes villages. The Trolles run, a black, is also a must-ski challenge. Head to the Grande and Petite Balmes for some of the best powder above Tignes. There's another terrain park at Tignes, a beginners' Gliss Park and a boardercross course off the Col du Palet Lift.
It's difficult to know where to begin with the off-slope attractions of Val d'Isere, which has a long history of keeping a very demanding clientele happy through a long season. You'll find an excellent range of alternative snow sports and sliding attractions, from snowshoe walking to dog sledding. Take to the skies with paragliding, microlight and helicopter flights. For watersports of all sorts, try the Centre Aquasportif, which also has one of the place's many gyms. There's a cinema, bowling alley and plenty of places to play pool or other indoor games.
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Wherever the beautiful people gather you'll find the treatments they need to top up what nature gave them. Val d'Isere is no exception, and if you can't find a particular spa, wellness, holistic health or massage therapy here it's probably not been invented. There's a big range, from Ski Massage's more practical, sports-science based treatments, to the exclusive PURE SPA in the Tsanteleina Hotel. It would be wrong not to include Val d'Isere's shopping, which is world class and very exclusive, among possible diversions, though it might be good to leave the credit card in your chalet on your first run.
Eating and Drinking
You're spoiled for choice when choosing where to eat in Val d'Isere. There's a lot of high-end dining, particularly in hotels, but this is a traditional Alpine village, so if you want to eat farm-fresh products in your chalet that's still possible.
On the mountain, there are 12 restaurants. Le Signal is popular, with self-service or table-service options. The Tête de Solaise is self-service with meaty, filling mountain food and a brilliant sun terrace. Book if you want to try La Fruitiere, a very trendy gourmet option. There's also a good choice in the resort, and you don't have to spend a fortune to enjoy good food, with family-friendly pizza, burgers and Savoyard joints all to be found. The Lodge is a good family restaurant and very friendly. The Crêpe Val is probably the pick of the creperies. Le Perdrix specialises in fish - including lobster - but also does very popular pizzas. La Taverne d'Alscace and Le 1789 are among the best French restaurants. Hotels Brussels and La Toviere are good hotel dining rooms. La Grande Ourse is one of the grandest Val restaurants, L'Aigle des Neiges scales the culinary heights, but with a local flavour in their Loft restaurant.
Partying in Val d'Isere can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. It's not quite one of the great Alpine clubbing venues, but you'll never be at a loss for a cosy drink. Folie Douce, off the La Daille gondola, is so successful it's now opened a chain, but Val d'Isere's is the original and best for some serious dancing in the snow. Cocorico is new at the Rond Point. In the resort itself, try starting at Café Face, Moris Pub, or Pacific Bar. Dick's Tea Bar is the most popular late-night venue. Of course, you'll trip over elegant cocktail bars wherever you go, including La Cave sur le Comptoir, the Blizzard Hotel bar, or Le Jack lounge bar at the Aigle des Neiges hotel. If you want to do a bit of celeb spotting, try Hotel les Barmes de l'Ours.
Espace Killy boasts the longest ski season in Europe. In 2015-16, the planned dates for Val d'Isere were 28th November to 1st May 2016. Lifts and slopes open as conditions allow, and lifts open from 8.30am with closing around 4.30pm onwards.
There are passes for Val d'Isere or for Tignes and Val d'Isere, with long-stay or six-day versions of these passes. Children under 5 and adults of 75 years or more can ski for free. There are group and family discounts, passes offering an even wider range of resorts billed A La Carte and a dedicated website sells and explains the passes. There are free lifts to some of the beginners' slopes.
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Lessons and Ski Schools
There are 18 ski schools in Val d'Isere and it has a very good reputation for good-quality lessons, many in English. It's a particularly good place for improving experienced skiers to add some polish to their technique. Progression Ski and New Generation are good British-run schools. ESF is the largest French school, with a massive branch here and very good facilities for children. Guiding is advised for off-piste skiers.
Childcare and Family Facilities
Val d'Isere has excellent facilities for families, both to entertain the little ones and to keep a safe eye on them. The Holiday Village is open for children aged 18 months to 13 years. Le Petit Poucet is a nursery for children over 3-years-old. There are numerous independent options, including several British-run ones (Jelly and Ice Cream for example), and online booking in advance is a good idea. Progression Ski and ESF both have good junior ski schools.
Val d'Isere, like its sister resort, Tignes, is car free. The French equivalent of le traffic warden is busy and sharp-eyed, so obey the rules if you don't want a potentially hefty fine. A good free bus system helps take the transport strain. Underground car parks are all charged during the winter, there are four, and you can by long-term tickets and book in advance. There are also a number of outdoor car parks, including a couple just a short walk from the slopes.