Tignes began as a ski resort in the 1930s, but the original village was swallowed up when the Tignes dam was opened in 1952, submerging the place below the Lac du Chevril. The dam, which you get over on your way up to Tignes, was able to supply a tenth of
's power when it started
operation, so a few houses weren't going to get in the way of progress.
Fortunately for the villagers, the compensation amounted to white gold and this
allowed them to get started in building lifts higher up the mountain. The first
apartment blocks were built in 1956, defining the foundations of modern-day
Tignes and producing in the process a concrete behemoth. France
|image via Wikipedia|
Despite its best campaigns at sensitivity and a massive £35m investment in underground parking and wood cladding to offset a generation of ill-conceived design, Tignes would always be Val d'lsere's not-so-good-looking sister bearing concrete tower blocks and bare landscape. Improvements have definitely been made, featuring underground bypasses, free round the clock buses and incentives for landlords to spruce up their apartments. But no one goes to Tignes for the architecture, unless they stay down at the authentic mountain farming
about 600m below the high-altitude villages. Individuals come to this
high-altitude, high-rise valley to experience the unparalleled snow conditions
and the enormous ski area that it shares with Val d'lsere. village
of Tignes Les Brevieres
Set at the bottom of the Grande Motte glacier, Tignes' primary ski area starts where some ski resorts end and still able to pack in 1,400m of vertical between the top village of Val Claret and the highest lifts on the Grande Motte.
The weatherproof but queue-prone Grande Motte belowground funicular takes skiers from Val Claret 1,000m skyward in just seven minutes and gets them at the bottom of the summer ski area and the Grande Motte cable-car, which heads up to Tignes' highest peak, a breathtaking 3,450m. The snow on the glacier is almost always exquisite. If you can't wait, don't worry - the runs going back down from this point are wonderful, particularly the out-of-the-way Genepy piste, an easy but adventuresome blue that strings back down towards Val Claret.
Read more about Dining, Accommodations, and other Activities in Tignes
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