Great vacations don't have to be confined to the summer, or involve sun-kissed beaches, as for many people, winter holidays are the best breaks of them all, especially when spent in a winter paradise like the Savoie Alps. The Savoie Alps are located in the south-east of France, close to the border with Italy, and they are known globally for providing some of the best, and most glamorous, ski resorts in the world. Among the pearls of the Savoie Alps are Tignes and Val d'Isere, but there are many more attractions in the region as well.
Skiing To Suit All Abilities
Whether you're a seasoned skier or a nervous newcomer to the sport, the Savoie Alps ski resorts have something for everyone. Expert skiing tuition is available for people of all ages, and high-quality skiing equipment can be hired at very reasonable rates. There are also pistes that are suitable for all levels from intermediate to advanced and using them allows you to experience some of the thrills that many of the most legendary names in skiing enjoyed. People like Elgar Grospiron, who won the men's mogul gold at Tignes in the 1992 Winter Olympics, or the great Patrick Ortlieb of Austria who took the downhill skiing gold at Val d'Isere, as part of the same winter Olympiad.
Tignes has an Olympic and professional skiing history to be proud of, but this isn't the only thing that attracts tourists there every winter - and during its music festival, which runs from 17th to 19th April. The town's population of around two and a half thousand people is greatly swelled at these times, and it becomes a vibrant and energetic city. There are a number of high-class restaurants that specialise in French, Savoyard, and international cuisine, as well as lively bars and nightclubs filled with beautiful people dancing to beautiful beats. One of the great things about Tignes is the variety of accommodation on offer, including superior quality catered ski chalets from Ski Bonjour, which is what you will want to invest in to ensure you have the best time.
Majestic Val d'Isere
Val d'Isere is one of the first names people think of when their thoughts turn to skiing. It has hosted world cup Alpine skiing events for several decades and is now the centre of the Espace Killy skiing region, named after legendary French skier, Jean-Claude Killy, who was raised in the town. Just three miles from the Italian border, holidaymakers staying in Val d'Isere can quickly reach the beautiful region of Tuscany or the famous resorts of the south of France and Monaco, but they'll struggle to find a town centre more captivating than that of Val d'Isere itself. The town has a rich heritage and has lovingly preserved many of its traditional buildings, but there are still enough bars and restaurants to keep tourists happy. The 1664 parish church, Saint Bernard's, is an especial delight and is a perfect representation of Alpine architecture.
Snowboarding has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity in recent years, especially among young people, and their needs are more than catered for in the Savoie Alps. Once again, there is snowboarding tuition available that can be tailored to all abilities, and you're never too old to give it a try. If you're a competent skier but have never set foot on a snowboard, it can seem strange at first, but you'll quickly master the basics and can then enjoy a whole new exhilarating winter sport. You're never far from highly experienced and qualified ski or snowboarding instructors in Tignes or Val d'Isere, and most of them speak excellent English as well.
Incredible Mountain Views
Skiing and snowboarding are not only great fun, they're also ideal ways to get fit, but sometimes it's nice to simply sit back and relax. There's no better place to do this than in the valleys of the Savoie Alps, for the views are simply breath-taking. Transport links between and within the resorts are excellent, and one particularly recommended form of transport is the Tignes funicular railway. At more than four kilometres long, it's the fourth longest funicular in the world, but the views it affords are hard to beat. The journey lasts around eight minutes and transports passengers up the Grand Motte glacier. Once at the summit, you can enjoy a meal in a panoramic restaurant or explore the famous ice caves.
Winter sports may bring the crowds flocking to Savoie Alps resorts like Tignes and Val d'Isere, but once there they are sure to discover a whole host of other reasons to return to the area year after year. From spectacular hiking trails to cultural festivals, fine dining, and great shopping, there's something for everybody, and for all ages, here. Whether you want to set your pulse racing as you head down the pistes, or simply relax with a glass of wine as you look at the splendour of mountains such as Mont Blanc, it can be a winter holiday you'll remember forever.