Tignes and the French Alps are iconic ski destinations, but there's plenty more to see and do off the slopes than you might think. Join our Pirates on Tour to see exactly what you can get up to in this high-altitude ski resort, from ice-floating to moonbiking and partying hard at the hottest après-ski spot on the mountain.
My trip to the French Alps
With this travel blog, I'm going to tell you all about my trip to the French Alps. I spent a few days on a winter sports holiday in Tignes, and I fell in love with this ski resort.
After all, this is the perfect place for skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor activities like paragliding, ice-floating, snowmobile tours and much more! Tignes is a huge ski resort with over 298 kilometres of slopes and its high altitude means you can hit the slopes here between 8-10 months a year.
Getting here: When travelling to the French Alps, it can often be easier to fly into Geneva airport and drive from there to Tignes in a rental car (about 3 hours) which is how my colleague Megan and I travelled.
On our trip, we were lucky with the weather: as there was plenty of sunshine! The first snowy mountain peaks came into view, more and more snow along the road, and eventually I had the first slopes in sight. It had been a long time since I'd been on skis for me, so with healthy excitement I arrived at the hotel in Tignes: Hotel Le Paquis, a cosy family hotel overlooking the slopes.
I received a warm welcome at reception and was taken straight to my room, which had an incredible view of the piste and mountains.
By the end of the afternoon, Megan has also arrived, so we went for a coffee on the terrace at Oxygene Café, basking in the sunshine. From here, too, we caught another stunning view of the mountains.
Hungry from the long journey, we asked the reception for tips on good restaurants. Coincidentally, there is a brand-new hotel directly opposite our hotel with a very good restaurant: Il Savoia. We order delicious cocktails, wine, starter, main course and dessert (all the trimmings), our holiday has started, so it's okay. Everything was incredibly delicious, we can only recommend this restaurant!
After our meal, we went straight to bed, with dreams of the slopes we'd ski running through our minds.
We start the day off at the hotel's restaurant with a delicious breakfast: yummy chocolate rolls, croissants, baguette with various toppings, eggs, coffee, tea and juice. Can you ask for more?
After breakfast, we hoisted ourselves into our winter outfits and headed to the Mountain Story Shop to rent skis for me and a snowboard for Megan. Then we quickly took the gondola to the top, took a few photos of the view, and then headed for the first slope. We decided to start easy with a blue piste: it had been a while for both of us.
The first descent was a bit wobbly, but little by little it went smoother and smoother. We had lovely sunshine, the crowds calm and the slopes beautiful. There is nothing like skiing down a freshly groomed slope in the sunshine.
In the afternoon, we went for lunch at Le Panoramic, a restaurant at 3,030 metres altitude, with a large terrace and an amazing view. Here, of course, we had a beer to celebrate that we both haven't fallen over yet. Cheers!
After a wonderful day on the slopes, we ended the day with another winter activity: ice-floating. I'd never heard of this myself and was very curious to know exactly what it was. We were given bizarre orange suits that made us look like crazy sea monsters and then had to walk onto a frozen lake and jump into a hole in the ice. It was a very bizarre feeling, floating in ice-cold water, but not actually feeling the cold because you still have your warm ski suit on under the flotation suit.
We were served a cup of tea and, floating on our backs, were able to enjoy the view of the snow-capped mountain peaks and the paragliders that came flying by from time to time.
We had fun doing a few more crazy jumps and floated around for a while until we actually started feeling the cold through the suit, swiftly deciding it was time to get out. Ice-floating is an activity that really helps to relax your muscles. The floating sensation and the pressure of the water is a balm for weary muscles after a long day on the slopes.
In the evening, we drove to La Table de Jeanne, a traditional French restaurant with the very best cheese fondue in the region. It was undoubtedly my favourite meal of the trip! If I could, I'd eat cheese fondue every night!
On this day, we decided to up the difficulty a bit, by trying out some red slopes (and even a jump in the snowpark). Thankfully, there are different levels in the snowparks too, we go for a few modest jumps and choose the lowest ramps (which already look quite scary by the way). Fortunately, we get some tips from a ski instructor before venturing down the first ramp.
WHOOP, WHOOP, what a great feeling to fly a bit through the air on skis. Throughout the morning, we hit up several snowparks and couldn't get enough of jumping.
In the afternoon we took off on a snowmobile tour. Our plan was an off-piste ride on moonbikes (small electric snowmobiles). We first rode a few test laps before starting our tour. We had underestimated these moonbikes a little, it looks so easy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Riding a moonbike is pretty challenging. You have to keep your balance at all times and the steering feels very unnatural. Once we got the hang of it, we started riding faster and faster, with the result that we got snowed in a couple of times. Exhausted and covered in snow we came back, it was tough, but very cool!
Because it was tougher than we had thought, we were completely exhausted after a few more descents. And what's the best thing to do when you're completely exhausted from a long day on the slopes? Exactly: on to après-ski! We had asked around where the best place to go for a nice après-ski party was, and we got the same answer almost everywhere: Le Cocorico. When we got there, the party was already well under way. Everyone was already on the tables and the dance floor was already super busy. Quickly to the bar for a beer! A few drinks and several dances later, we headed back to the hotel exhausted.
It wouldn't be a ski holiday without one last descent! We had just under 2 hours to catch a few more runs before we had to leave, so we raced up the mountain. This holiday was actually far too short. To really see everything of this large ski area, you need at least a whole week. In short, we will definitely come back again for a longer time and make a menace of ourselves across every slope.
There are of course several ways to travel to the French Alps. One of the easiest is by flying into Geneva and travelling in by car or train, as this way you have all the freedom to explore the area at your own pace, you can visit the most remote villages and reach the most beautiful viewpoints.
There are of course countless accommodation options in the French Alps, in Tignes and in the other ski resorts nearby, check our faves below.