Seems everyone is gearing up for ski season. We had friends just head here today! But what else can you do in these regions beside skiing? Great post, Peter.
Situated in the Rhône-Alpes region in southeast France on the border of Valoise National Park, Val d’Isère, along with Tignes, makes up the Espace Killy ski resort and is one of the most popular ski destinations in the country.
There are many catered ski chalets in France available to rent and some of the most comfortable and affordable accommodations can be found in Val d’Isère.
The main reason for visiting Val d’Isère is the fantastic skiing opportunities. With over 300 kilometres of marked pistes and unlimited off-piste skiing, visitors can also snowboard and enjoy husky rides, skidoo trips and helicopter flights over the spectacular mountain scenery below.
Whilst skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities available in Val d’Isère, this fabulous French resort also offers many other pastimes that can be enjoyed by all, so catered ski chalets France enthusiasts need not fret that they'd have nothing to do aside from skiing and regular snowsports.
Get off the beaten track and experience the beauty of this alpine village by walking or snow-shoeing along the 24 kilometres of marked trails and pathways. Well away from the crowds, walking across the pistes is an alternative way of seeing all that Val d’Isère has to offer. Be sure to take a chair-lift, cable car or gondola up to the striking views that can be found from the top of the mountain. You can also eat at one of the many mountain-top restaurants and enjoy a few drinks in the après-ski bars and clubs. Maps are available and you can also hire an experienced guide if you do not feel confident with your rambling and orienteering abilities. With the stunning alpine scenery, glistening mountain springs, the abundance of wildlife and some wonderfully remote spots that are perfect for a well-earned rest, trekking across the mountains is definitely an experience not to be missed.
Another great place to visit whilst in Val d’Isère is the village itself. With old buildings boasting fabulous Baroque architecture, excellent restaurants, a wide variety of shops and several art galleries, the old village has withstood the test of time and a visit here comes highly recommended. The Catholic Church of St Bernard de Menthon, built in 1664, stands in the centre of the town and is a must-see attraction. Concerts and church services are regularly held here and you can also stand beneath the church’s niche that houses Bernard of the Alps, the patron saint of mountain dwellers.
For a gastronomic treat that is both unique and tucked away from the more popular and well-known restaurants found in Val d’Isère, L’Etable D’Alain is a wonderfully charming family-run eatery only a short walk from the centre of the village. This unusual little restaurant sits its guests next to the cowsheds where diners can look down into the barns and have their meal alongside the livestock. Although some visitors might find it a bit odd to eat their dinner in such close proximity to the animals that feature on the menu, L’Etable D’Alain offers amazing fondue, exceedingly good raclette and promises to provide a memorable dining experience.
So, if skiing is not your thing or you fancy a change from the busy pistes, check out the alternative activities, cultural experiences and lesser-known but equally delicious restaurants that can be found in Val d’Isère.
Peter Tinter was born and raised on ski slopes. Every vacation is spent in another part of the world chasing an enternal winter. He know's that most people love the sun, but he just can't help it, winter is his dream weather.