Nestled amongst Parc National de la Vanoise, otherwise known as Vanoise National Park, is the beautiful French ski resort of Tignes. Sitting pretty against the north-western Italian border, Tignes is a picturesque collection of high-altitude villages which offer sublime scenery, incredible ski slopes and eclectic nightlife.
Tignes comprises of five villages: Les Brevieres, Lavachet, Tignes le Lac, Val Claret and the newest addition, Tignes 1800, which opened in December 2013. Each village is unique in its own right, with Lavachet the quietest and Val Claret certainly the liveliest.
Not only is Tignes one of the largest ski resorts in Europe, it also houses Glacier de la Grande Motte which is one of the only summer-friendly ski slopes on the continent. This makes Tignes the ideal place to invest in for all-year-round opportunities.
Property prices in Tignes start at around €200,000 for a beautifully renovated ski lodge, rising to approximately €17,000,000 for a lavish 7-bedroom house with breath-taking views across the valley.
Living in Tignes and things to do
Currently, there are around 2,500 permanent inhabitants in Tignes. While the peak skiing season runs between November and May, Tignes remains popular throughout the year. This is partly down to its proximity to Glacier de la Grande Motte for summer skiing, as well as the five varied villages in the region.
Not just focused on skiing, Tignes also boasts the highest golf course in Europe, 150km of trails featuring incredible views of Tignes Lake, white water swimming, paragliding and much more. Each village also houses several highly rated restaurants, lively bars and plentiful spa and wellness retreats.
In the winter, when tourism is at its peak, Tignes is at its liveliest with an icy itinerary in the making for those who flock to the Alps. Revellers can partake in anything from frozen ice lake diving to dog sledding and ice climbing to mountaineering in the bustling French ski resort.
In the peak winter months, Tignes shares the main ski area, Espace Kelly, with neighbouring resort Val d’Isere to form 300km of pistes. Tignes’ high altitude often results in some of the highest snowfalls in Europe. Thanks to a mix of elevation between 1,550 and 3,456 metres, Tignes’ slopes are diverse and perfect for all abilities.
During the most recent winter season, visitors to Tignes experienced around 400cm of snowfall between November and January – making Tignes one of the snowiest resorts in France with snow sports and winter activities in full flow. In addition, hundreds of snow cannons keep the slopes topped up with artificial snow. Check out the latest snow and weather reports here.
Tignes and culture
Tignes’ five villages offer something for everyone, with the resort increasingly popular in and out of season thanks to its cultural offerings.
Keen historians can visit the Tignes Heritage Centre, where they can see the dramatic story of how the inhabitants of Tignes were forced to leave their homes for the resort to be built. Exhibitions on the history of Tignes are held throughout the year with more information available from Maison du Tignes (tourist information centre).
Each winter, Tignes hosts its annual cultural season at the auditorium of Tignespace, with live music, theatre productions and comedians all on show. Visitors are also able to enjoy the on-site cinema in Val Claret and ten-pin bowling alley in Tignes le Lac, the latter of which is the highest bowling alley in Europe.
Investment potential in Tignes
Not only is Tignes a beautiful part of the world to visit, it’s also an ideal place to purchase property.
Thanks to its high footfall, mostly from foreign travel, Tignes is deemed a perfect place to invest. It’s estimated that approximately 80% of homes in Tignes are a second home, while 50% are tenants rather than owners. Meanwhile, out of 1,950,000 overnight stays in Tignes, around 50% of visitors are foreign – with English tourists making up 34%.
Around 80% of properties in Tignes are apartments, making it an ideal investment opportunity for buy to lets. Holiday lets are at their peak in the winter months, but there are opportunities for returns throughout the summer as Tignes benefits from its eclectic display of non-snow sports and activities.
With the latest village in Tignes opening in 2013, investment in the resort continues as several restaurants, supermarkets, bars and attractions have opened since then. A €17 million high-speed aerial tramway has also recently opened on Grande Motte Glacier making it the highest and biggest tramway in the world, transporting 1,000 people an hour.
Transport to Tignes
The nearest airport to Tignes is Chambery (approximately a 2-hour drive) but it’s also similarly reachable from Lyon, Geneva and Grenoble. The nearest train station to Tignes is Bourg St Maurice, which is accessible from Paris Charles De Gaulle airport and Paris Gare De Lyon in 5-6 hours. From there it’s around a 40-minute bus transfer to the resort. However, most visitors to Tignes choose to rent a car or get a resort transfer directly from the airport for ease.
With several ways of getting to Tignes and so much on offer when you arrive, there is no time like the present to think about buying a property in Tignes.