Arrival in Val d’Isère
Prepare for your stay before you leave home
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4pm : Teatime Val-style
It’s well known that the fresh mountain air makes you hungry! Once you’ve settled in, it’s time for a tasty snack at Maison Chevallot. The most difficult part is choosing which of the mouth-watering pastries created here in Val d’Isère by Patrick Chevallot, Master Pastry Chef of France.
They’re a feast for the eyes, but above all for the tastebuds. Our favourite : l’Ancolie is an exquisite gâteau with raspberry blended subtly with hazelnut. It tastes divine, but it also plays a small part in the Val d’Isère story : when they were building the Olympic downhill course on the Face de Bellevarde, they they found that columbines (l’Ancolie in French), grow there. To protect the habitat of what is one of the rarer alpine flowers, the course was modified and that section of the Face is known as the Passage de l’Ancolie.
A particular must: enjoy a cup of hot chocolate made with fresh whole milk from the Adroit farm.
5pm : Discover the history of the resort
After your tea, it’s time to stretch your legs and explore the old village, the cradle of the Val d’Isère story. Pause first of all in front of the Maison Moris. Originally constructed in the 17th century, this building is a fine example of all aspects of local architecture. Then move on to the iconic Maison de Famille des 5 Frères, before continuing to the church that was also built in the 17thcentury. Beside it, there’s a small chapel that dates from the 11th, century. The buildings are dedicated to Saint Bernard des Alpes, the patron saint of skiers and all those who live in the mountains. Down the years, the community has grown and developed from around the church. It’s believed that Val d’Isère has been continuously inhabited since Roman times. To learn all about the history of the village, visit our internet site or the museum located in the Maison de Val.
6.30pm : Time to raise a glass?
Kick off the evening with a cool cocktail. Head for La Baraque, one of Val d’Isère most popular restaurants and bars that is much loved by locals and visitors alike. This bistro has a wonderfully relaxed ambience where you can enjoy an evening drink while listening to live music. For a cocktail and canapés in more sophisticated fireside surroundings, Hotel Blizzard is the place to be. Since its opening three years ago, La Mourra, at the top end of town, has become one of the most attractive cocktail bars in the resort. Otherwise you could opt for the minimalist Scandi chic of Le Yule or the hunting-themed ambience of the Tsanteleina.
8pm : A dinner to get you in the mood
To appreciate the full-on mountain atmosphere, head for the Fondue Factory with its huge range of different fondues that can be served as individual portions. You can also see the permanent collection of skis and boots worn by Jean Claude Killy in World Cup races.
Also on the cheesy front, you could try La Luge where the fondue speciality is a Beaufort and Vacherin blend with grated fresh truffles. More melted cheese dishes can be found in all their various forms at l’Avancher which deserves a special mention for its iconic Fred’s four raclettes.
Day 1 in Val d’Isère
9am : Go skiing !
After a hearty breakfast you decide with your guide on the skiing plan for the day. Explore the ski area in ideal conditions and complete safety.
12.30pm : Lunch on the piste
In Val d’Isère, you don’t have to be a skier to reach nearly all the mountain restaurants. You can also get to them on foot to enjoy fine food and incredible mountain scenery.
On the Bellevarde side, the Peau de Vache, halfway down the Face de Bellevarde, has unusual retro-themed decor. The restaurant is famed for its giant burgers and we recommend the one with foie gras.
For a really relaxed beach party atmosphere, try the barbecue on the deck of the l’Ouillette with magnificent views across a mountain lake. At the Fornet end of the ski area, there are two choices for fine dining : Edelweiss is tucked away on the edge of the Mangard piste. Back up at the top of the cable car enjoy a gourmet lunch at le Signal – if you don’t want to continue skiing, you can download at the end of the meal and catch the bus back to where you are staying. The fine-dining experience at Le Signal is exceptional, based on innovative gourmet cuisine – and the views from the roof terrace are astounding. Back on the front de neige in the village, l’Etincelle offers a warm welcome and specialises in grilled meat cooked on an open fire, along with hand-crafted pizzas.
5.30pm : Après-ski time
Après-ski is a long held tradition in Val d’Isère and you can make of it whatever you want – each to their own. If your ideal goal at the end of the skiing day is a quiet glass of wine in warm and welcoming surroundings, try the bar of l’Avancher, La Cave sur Le Comptoir, or the lounge of the 5 frères.
If you’re looking for somewhere with live music and more of a party atmosphere, ski or ride the new gondola to the Folie Douce. On the edge of the village and reached either on skis or on foot, there’s Cocorico. You could also settle for Au Coin des Amis by the Tourist Office roundabout (the locals love to join Jules, the patron, for a drink). Alternatively, there’s always XV, an ever-popular meeting place by the entrance to the Galerie des Cimes.
8pm : Star-lit dinner at Le Fornet
L’Atelier d’Edmond, situated in the ancient hamlet of Le Fornet, is a two-star Michelin restaurant presided over by acclaimed chef Benoît Vidal. New for this winter: his adjoining, moderately priced bistro is offering takeaway dishes at lunchtime that you can warm up at home. You need to place your order 48 hours in advance. For wine lovers, the restaurant is organising two days of tastings.
Day 2 in Val d’Isère
9am : To ski, or not to ski
For dedicated skiers, it’s easy – click into your bindings and help yourself to 300km of skiing. For those who fancy doing something different, you can choose between a walk on cleared pedestrian paths, a ride on a fat bike, cross-country skiing or a load of other activities.
11.30am : Shop for local made-in-Val d’Isère items
Before heading back to where you’re staying you’ll find it impossible not to make a detour to the shops. Mountain Girl has a collection of locally-designed sweatshirts with fun logos. They’re environmentally friendly, made from bio cotton in a factory that’s Fair Trade certified. You can pick up a mug at Unplugged or Mattis Diffusion as presents for your friends. You can find must-haves such as sweatshirts, t-shirts, beanies, boxers, and socks in the great majority of clothing shops such as the Telemark Store. For a decorative touch, buy a Val d’Isère glass snowglobe from the Tourist Office. For almost the same extra weight in your suitcase you can take home from Seccotine a piste marker of your favourite run or other souvenirs from the concept store Chenapans & Co.
1pm : Enjoy a healthy lunch on a terrace
Numerous restaurants offer a wide choice of menus for all tastes. Settle for a salad at Arctic Cafe avec a Sexy on the Beach smoothie. Make the best of the blue skies, and don’t forgot to apply plenty of sunscreen.
4pm : Departure
Smile ! You’ve just spent 48 hours in Val d’Isère and it’s been perfect. All you need to dream about now is coming back here again. ..and that’s easy. Book an all- inclusive trip from Paris travelling aboard the Val d’Isère Snow express or buy our Final Tracks holiday package to celebrate the end of the season with us.