Val d’Isere sits at the end of the Tarentaise valley at a lofty elevation of 1850m high. Once an isolated farming village, it is now a sophisticated state-of-the-art ski resort which attracts some of the best (and wealthiest) skiers from around the world. Although the first ski lift was installed in 1940, it wasn’t until the 1992 Albertville Olympics that it started to grow into the popular ski resort we know today.
Val d’Isere is France’s best performing ski resort in terms of property growth value. Winter 2018/19 saw property prices increase by a massive 3% on the previous year and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. Its high altitude ensures greater snow reliability for a longer winter season and the resorts investment into new lifts and infrastructure is one of the highest in Europe. Although property prices are notoriously high and comparable to Courchevel in some areas, there are a number of different hamlets which offer different types of accommodation for purchase.
The areas of Val d’Isere village and Le Cret are amongst the priciest in the area with prime property prices coming in at approximately €19,000 per square metre. Although this is on the higher end of the alpine property market spectrum, there is a solid mid-range market in the village of La Daille where piste-side self-catered apartments are the norm over high-end chalets.
Arguably the most popular ski resort in the French Alps, Val d’Isere is a safe investment for those looking to buy a ski home. A stunning resort centre, fantastic skiing for every type of rider and constant investment into new lifts and resort infrastructure means that property prices are sure to steadily increase over time. Val d’Isere receives the most enquiries from interested buyers in the French Alps and with a limited number of available properties and few new properties being developed the property here is easy to sell.
Each year the Savills and Knight Frank Alpine Property Reports show that the biggest indicator of property growth value in ski resorts is the level of investment into resort infrastructure and Val d’Isere is one of the biggest investors in infrastructure the Alps.
Val d’Isere sits at the end of the Tarentaise Valley meaning access is not as quick as comparable resorts. The closest airport is Chambery at 2-hours’ drive and Lyon & Geneva Airports are 2.5 hours’ drive away. There is an altiport for those with helicopter access.
Skiing in Val d’Isere is some of the best in the world and whilst there is something for everyone, strong intermediate and advanced skiers will really thrive here. With three different sectors, each seamlessly linked and seven access points from the valley floor you needn’t worry about queueing up or running out of terrain to explore.
Beginners will be well served in the Solaise sector where several free lifts ferry learners around the nursery slopes. Those looking to progress from greens to gentle blues can move onto the Madeleine runs which are not far from the beginners’ area. Strong intermediate and advanced skiers should head to the higher slopes of the Solaise and explore the runs and off-piste around the Cugnai and Manchet chairlifts.
Facing the Solaise area is Bellevarde which is known for its more challenging runs. The famous run, La Face, was the location of the men’s downhill competition at the 1992 Winter Olympics and is a must-do for experts looking for a challenge. Exploring the backside of Bellevarde will send you over to the Tignes area of the Espace Killy where you will find the highest skiing in the area.
Le Fornet has the highest lift-accessed skiing in Val d’Isere taking you up to the Pisaillas Glacier which sits at 3100m high. The pistes in Le Fornet are ideal for intermediates with dozens of blues and reds to play around on. Experts will love this area thanks to the long off-piste routes from the glacier back to the village.
Linking Le Fornet and Solaise is Les Laisinant with lots of varied reds and some challenging off-piste descents back down to the valley.
Val d’Isere is quickly establishing itself as a true year-round resort with summer activities attracting more visitors each year. Biking is one of the most popular activities in Val with plenty to do for both mountain bikers and road bikers. Those looking for the thrill of downhill are spoilt for choice with 150km of lift-accessed trails. Road bikers are well catered to with around 20 famous road bike routes in the region including the world-famous Col d’Iseran, the highest alpine pass in the Alps which has featured in the Tour de France several times.
There are hundreds of km’s of hiking trails winding through the Vanoise National Park and adrenalin-hunters will be spoilt for choice with activities such as rock climbing, white water rafting, canyoning and parapenting.
For those that struggle to leave winter behind, they even offer ski clubs on the Pissaillas Glacier for all of June and the first two weeks of July.
Val d’Isere has much to offer outside of the fantastic skiing. The Aquasportif Centre has plenty to do for all including a swimming area which is ideal for families, a spa & wellness area, gym, climbing wall and golf & driving simulator. Val d’Isere is one of four hosts of the BMW Winter Golf Cup (along with the resorts of Courchevel, Megéve and Crans Montana) attracting the keenest golfers from all over the world. Each January the Classicaval Music Festival takes place for lovers for classical music and in the summer the trail runners come out in force to participate in the High Trail Vanoise, an official stop on the Skyrunner World Series Circuit.
On-mountain eating is an absolute pleasure in Val d’Isere though inexpensive options can be difficult to find. If you are dining on a budget, Les Marmottes at the bottom of the Borsat Express chair is a great place to refuel after a morning of skiing. Les Tufs at the bottom of the Funival funicular at La Daille is popular with locals and Le Peau de Vache is one of the most popular restaurants on the mountain with hearty French fare and an exceptional selection of wine.
In resort, foodies will be spoilt for choice with some exceptional chefs choosing to call Val d’Isere home. L’Atelier d’Edmond is located in the hamlet of Le Fornet and is the only restaurant in town with two Michelin stars. For those that want to experience the creations of Chef Benoit Vidal without paying for the Michelin price tag, there is a more simple bistro attached as well. Another gastronomic delight is Le Table de l’Ours, which is one of three restaurants in the 5* Les Balmes des l’Ours Hotel. Those looking for a less expensive night out should head to local favourite La Baraque where food is consistently good and reasonably priced or Chez Paolo for delicious pizza, pasta and good times.
Val d’Isere is the birthplace of the Après scene in France, and it is on the slopes of La Daille that you will find the original Folie Douce bar. The DJ starts playing at 2.30pm every day and the cabaret-inspired show is a must see for anyone looking for a bit of a party on the mountain. Attached to the Folie Douce are two restaurants, La Fruitiere and La Petite Cuisine. If you’re not ready for the party to stop once the Folie Douce shuts down for the day, Cocorico in Val d’Isere village is the place to head to and quicks off around 6pm. Dicks Tea Bar is a fantastic late-night option for those looking to go into the early hours and those looking for a more relaxed pub-like atmosphere will feel right at home in The Pacific Bar.
Tignes, Ste Foy, La Plagne, Bourg St Maurice
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