Why Tignes les Brevieres?
Why Tignes les Brevieres?
Nestled just a couple of hundred metres down the valley between the famous town of Val d’Isere and the central villages of Tignes, Tignes les Brevieres is often considered the prettiest village in resort. With a peacefully trickling river and quirky old architecture, including one of the original churches that dates all the way back to the 16th Century, Les Brevieres has an abundance of character, history, and heart.
The quaint village centre features old winding footpaths, pretty traditional chalets, and a nice selection of French restaurants serving traditional French cuisine. There is also a selection of bars and a further café on the snow front with deck chairs to enjoy the afternoon sun.
The new gondola station is located just over the bridge from the village centre and runs everyday to give you access to the entirety of the Tignes and Val d’Isere resort. The pistes down into les Brevieres include a gentle winding blue run through the trees and a wide red run, making the homerun enjoyable for all levels of skier. For the journey back to les Brevieres, should you wish, you also have the option to hop on the gondola from the top to carry you back down, giving you peace of mind for a safe and comfortable end to a big day of riding. As well as the gondola, there is a short button lift which is free and offers a beginner slope with a very gentle gradient, perfect for first time skiers or even just for those wanting to warm up a little before heading up the mountain.
Unlike the other Tignes villages, Les Brevieres consists of nearly all traditional alpine chalets, setting it apart as the prettiest village as it is not made up of modern high-rise buildings. The majority of chalets are located on the road which winds upwards from the village centre, with the slope of the road meaning all our chalets have beautiful unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains. And for any of our chalets located slightly higher up the village, the ascenseur – a handy funicular-style ski lift – provides easy access down to the piste in the morning and back up to your chalet at the end of the day.
While providing you with a more secluded and peaceful base from which to explore the Tignes and Val d’Isere resort, Les Brevieres is by no means unsuitable for those seeking to explore the famous apres-ski scenes of the resort. Firstly, the village has some of its own friendly and lively bars to spend the evenings, a couple of which stay open into the early hours. And secondly, the village is not far from the centre of Val d’Isere or Tignes, so you can easily jump in a taxi and you will in no time find yourself in some of the best apres-ski pubs, bars, and clubs that the French alps has to offer.
Les Brevieres is easy to reach no matter your transport of choice. Busses stop in the village centre of Les Brevieres before heading up to the other villages of Tignes, and private transfers can easily drop you right outside your chalet. There are also two large car parks, meaning you can easily drive to resort.
Tignes les Brevieres is truly a hidden gem of the valley, offering beautiful and cosy chalets within touching distance of the vast mountain range of Tignes and Val d’Isere, but at more affordable, accommodating prices. The quirky little village, with its cosy community feel, becomes a home away from home for so many visitors, ourselves having many returning guests who just can’t wait to return to the pretty village of “Brev”.
- High altitude, snow-sure resort
- The same amazing skiing, with access to entirety of Tignes and Val d’Isere, but at a more affordable price
- Traditional Savoyard village, not purpose-built for skiing
- New high speed gondola installed in 2019
- Evening gondola to give access to other Tignes villages
- Family friendly, with free drag lift for learners
- All chalets within walking distance of piste
Originally, there were just two villages making up Tignes – Les Brévières and Tignes main town. The main town of Tignes – the ‘Chef-Lieu’ – consisted of several hamlets with names that are probably familiar to regular visitors as many bars and restaurants are named after them – ‘Ronnaz’, ‘Chaudanne’, ‘Illaz’ and ‘Le Franchet’ to name a few. Both had existed since the 16th century as farming communities often running a profitable sideline in smuggling goods from Italy over the numerous mountain passes. Many of the local families have a strong Italian influence as the strongest locals would haul up to 50kg of contraband over the Rhemes-Gollette glacier via the Sassiere combe and into the Aoste valley, returning a few days later with an equally large load. Changing valleys and languages obviously had its benefits and consequently there was an exchange of brides and bridegrooms between the two communities resulting in local names such as ‘Mazzega’ and ‘Marro’ with a distinctly Italian flavour being as common as ‘Favre’ and ‘Orsiere’ which are more traditionally French. This influence also extends to the local cuisine with pizzas, jambon-cru (parma ham in Italy) and ‘Crozets de Savoie’ (a type of pasta) appearing in almost every local restaurant.
The first rumours that a dam was to be built in the valley began circulating in 1928. There followed a series of legal disputes and various government deceits, which saw the original plans for a small dam and lake that would spare the village transform into a 200 metre high monstrosity that would forever change the valley and result in the forcible expulsion of over 500 largely illiterate and poor farming people from their home. By 1946 the town priest, who was the only educated person able to put up a coherent argument against the forces of the government, had been killed in the war and the battle to prevent the building work was lost. A 5-year struggle then began which saw military action being brought to bear on locals who were disrupting the construction works in a ‘resistance’ style movement that was ultimately futile. The ‘Barrage de Tignes’ was completed in 1952 and the original town of Tignes was finally lost beneath the waters of the newly created ‘Lac du Chevril’. The hydroelectric lake could, at the time, generate power for up to 10% of France, making the project of enormous importance and condemning the town of Tignes to its fate. This was not the end, however, but rather the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the valley.
Monies paid to the local community from the government in damages for the loss of Tignes helped to build the first ski lifts and buildings in the new villages of Le Lac, Val Claret and Lavachet whilst Les Brévières went back to sleep recovering from the 5000 workers who had been housed in and around the valley in a series of pre-fab army style huts. This had earned the village the title of the ‘Wild West of Savoie’ during the construction as men came from all over France to earn fortunes only to lose them again gambling, drinking and fighting in the many temporary bars, casinos and brothels which had sprung up. There are rumoured to be several bodies entombed in the concrete of the dam as a result of these terrible five years. Fortunately, once the clean up was completed, Les Brévières remained largely intact and in the 70s the first chair lift links were put in place, connecting Les Brévières with its larger sister skiing and snowboarding resorts and putting the village on the map for skiers.
Meanwhile, the resort of Tignes continued to grow with lifts first serving the Palafour and Tovieres sections of the mountain expanding to eventually serve the Grande Motte, Col du Palet and Les Boisses sectors as well as linking directly to the resort of Val d’Isère to create on the of the greatest skiing and snowboarding lift systems in the World.
Tignes Les Brévières supports the following facilities for ski and snowboard holidaymakers:
- Sherpa supermarket
- A variety of bars and restaurants
- A post office with a cash machine
- A Tabac
- Evolution 2 ski school
- ESF ski school
- Tourist office
- Ski Pass office
- An ice driving circuit
- Two equipment hire shops
- A couple of other ski/clothes shops
Beyond Les Brevieres
The other villages of Tignes, and where is considered the ‘centre’ of Tignes, are just a 15-20 minute drive up the mountain, and offer further shops, supermarkets, and other facilities. This is accessible either by car, or you can ski there within half an hour. Alternatively, as a pedestrian you can take the Brevieres gondola for free up to Tignes les Boisses, from where there is a free shuttle bus then runs regularly to take you to the other villages of Tignes.
Val d’Isere is also only a 15-20 minute drive away, or you can ski there in about an hour, depending on your speed. There are also busses that run from Tignes les Boisses to Val d’Isere.