The village of Val d’Isère
Val d’Isère, high up in the French Alps, is one of the few ski resorts getting prettier and more traditional by the year. It really is a very pleasant place to visit now. Parts of the baroque church date back to the eleventh century, and there are several little hamlets of old chalets, each with its own chapel. The grotty 50s and 60s blocks of flats are slowly disappearing, replaced, refurbished or just hidden. There are splendid new chalets everywhere, and the modern buildings now look even older than the old ones. The main street is tree-lined and fabulous for an après-ski stroll.
Surprisingly, for somewhere as famous and as French, it is a very friendly village. The Avalins are particularly nice to Brits. You might assume that this is because we bring them rather a lot of euros, but since when are the people in tourist areas kind to tourists? No, the locals have always been friendly to outsiders, and it makes a lot of difference when every lift operator, waitress or shop assistant genuinely wants you to have a ‘bonne journée’.
Please read the separate sections on Restaurants and Après-ski and non-skiers.