recommended family holidays

tignes resort guide, french alps

The ski resort of Tignes 2100, is made up of many smaller villages at varying altitudes -  Tignes Les Brévières (1550m), Tignes Les Boisses (1850m), Tignes Le Lavachet (2100m) and Val Claret (2100) – there is a free shuttle bus service to connect the villages. Tignes Le Lac is generally known as the main ski resort at 2,100m – so high that it is a mecca for early season & Spring skiers in search of great snow conditions.
However, Tignes is not a charming Alpine village, rather a purpose built ski resort with a series of apartment & hotel blocks – so certainly not the prettiest.  However, if you don’t care what the village looks like but do care about the quality of skiing, this could be the place for you.
Tignes and its neighbouring, more famous resort of Val d’Isère make up the ski area known as the Espace Killy (so named after France’s Olympic downhill skiing champion Jean Claude Killy); it offers over 300kms of pisted skiing and some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery plus plenty of off piste adventures. There are plenty of ski lifts including a funicular railway, a cable car, chairlifts & the odd drag lift plus there is a snowboard park giving riders the chance to practise their freestyle moves! The skiing will suit all abilities from beginner to expert & therefore Tignes is very popular with mixed ability groups.
There is plenty to offer those looking for après ski including popular & lively bars, cosy bars to wind down after a hard day skiing, a range of restaurants or alternatively there is a swimming pool & ice rink which is free to those with an Espace Killy lift pass. Several of the hotels offer spa experiences too for the non-skiers in your group.

Winter in Tignes

Due to its location against the peaks of the Italian border, the snow record in Tignes in exceptional – some say the Espace Killy is the best in Europe for snow.  Skiers can choose to either ski in only the Tignes area or the full Espace Killy pass which has around 100 lifts spreading across 10 miles including Val d’Isere. 
The weekly Espace Killy lift pass also includes one day’s skiing in La Plagne, the 3 Valleys & Les Arcs. 
For beginners, Tignes has 4 different nursery slope areas, one in Val Claret, one in Tignes Les Lac, one in Tignes Le Lavachet and one in Tignes Les Brevieres. Across these Nursery Slopes there are various beginner specific lifts ranging from drag lifts to chairlifts and even a children’s beginner ski area with a carpet lift in Tignes Val Claret. All these lifts are extremely accessible from the villages and are free of charge.
There are numerous ski schools on offer in Tignes including the following:
  • ESF Tignes Ski School – the main French ski school offering ski or boarding lessons either in groups or privately.  Lessons are also held in English.
  • New Generation Ski School – offering award winning instruction for adults & children in small groups with English guaranteed.
  • The Development Centre – British ski & snowboarding school offering either group lessons or private lessons.
  • BASS ski school – British Alpine Ski & Snowboarding school – all native English speakers for groups, individuals, children & corporate skiing.

Tignes caters for disabled skiers with lessons and specially adapted equipment and instructors who are qualified to help partially sighted and physically disabled people.

Summer in Tignes

There are a host of outdoor activities on offer in Tignes during the summer months. For real snow lovers, the Grande Motte Glacier actually offers year round skiing & many professionals flock here during the summer months to carry on their training programme.  Alternatively you might like to try one of the following:
  • Road cycling & mountain biking – cycle hire is available
  • Water sports including white water rafting, canoe rafting, hydro speeding & canyoning
  • Relaxation such as spa days & experiences
  • Glacier walking plus Alpine walks
  • Helicopter rides
  • Paragliding or parapenting
  • The Blob Jump or Hot Jumping
  • Trampolining
  • Climbing
  • Zorbing in giant balls on water

Accommodation in Tignes

Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percee from Mark Warner– situated in the heart of Tignes Le Lac, the location could not be better. Offered on a fully catered basis including breakfast, afternoon tea & 3 course evening meal with wine. A great choice for families & groups with interconnecting rooms & family suites. .  Childcare is available from 6 months to 12 years plus evening childcare if you want to go out.  Recently refurbished with brand new indoor pool & spa plus its just 100m to the gondola.
Chalet Hotel Hauts de Toviere from Mark Warner – located in the Lavachet area of Tignes with ski in/ski out possibilities. All bedrooms are en suite & there are twin, double, triple or family apartments available.  Offered on a fully catered basis including breakfast, afternoon tea & 3 course evening meal with wine. A supervised kids club is available during school holidays for 6-12 year olds although the Chalet Hotel Aiguille Percee certainly offers more for families.
Crystal Ski in Tignes also offers a range of accommodation plus a nanny service for children from 6 months to 8 years old for groups or families booking a whole chalet & various kids clubs from 6 months right up to 12 year olds at the Hotel Diva. Catered chalets, self catered apartments & hotels are all available for all budgets.  An excellent choice.
Inghams in Tignes offer an excellent choice of accommodation in Tignes including half board hotels, self catering apartments,  catered chalets & chalet hotels.  They offer an accommodation only service or a full package including flights & transfers.
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Article By Lucilla Paull

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