Vaujany vs Val d’lsere: Boutique or Big Name For Your Next Holiday?
Every winter thousands of Brits pack their boots and head in masses to the French Alps for a week of skiing in the fresh mountain air. The French Alps are incredible no matter where you ski, but just like people, each resort has its own personality.
From the crowded mega resorts with every amenity you could want with the price tag to match to the tiny hamlets with tons of charm at a fraction of the price, you'll find the perfect ski resort for your next ski holiday.
Vaujany is a small ski village linking into the popular Alpe d’Huez resort in southeastern France. It’s a quiet yet growing ski resort perfect for the whole family. Val d’Isere, on the other hand, is a crowded, large purpose-built ski resort on the French-Italian border.
Which one is better?
Picturesque Location vs. Purpose-Built
Once a tiny, rustic village, Vaujany is perhaps the ultimate back-door ski resort, with more than 300 days of glorious blue skies a year.
Just a short stroll through the village with its ancient wooden chalets, charming bars and authentic restaurants frequented by the locals will have you booking your next ten ski holidays at Vaujany
Plus, the views from your Vaujany chalet are unrivalled, eastward you have the high peaked, snow covered mountains with the jaw dropping ‘La Fare’ waterfall cascading (in the spring and summer) and to the West you look down into the unencumbered Romanche valley and the Grand Galber Mountain face.
Val d’Isere, on the other hand, is a purpose-built resort with one thing on the mind – skiing.
It’s not as pretty as Vaujany, but Val d'Isere has a wide variety of accommodations to choose from with plenty of ski-in-ski-out options. If you've come to the French Alps to spend as much time as possible on the ski hill, then Val d’Isere is the mountain for you.
Big and Busy vs. Small and Chic
Val d’Isere is one of the most popular ski resorts in the French Alps. Every winter thousands of Brits come to Val d’Isere to ski its 300km of pistes from the end of November to the beginning of May.
Due to its popularity, the slopes are often crowded, but it’s easy to find special offers and deals with various travel companies.
Val d’Isere also has loads of places to shop, eat, and drink - here’s a useful resort guide from the Telegraph. It’s like a tiny city nestled in the mountains. Getting around is easy with the free bus service, but getting there is a little harder. During the winter months, there is only one road in and out, and the resort is located two to three hours from the nearest airport.
Vaujany may be smaller, but it is more personal. You'll meet the same people repeatedly while queueing for the lift. The pistes are never crowded, and you'll often have a whole piste to yourself. But, you better book fast as Alpe d’Huez (and Vaujany) has been named the Best European Ski Resort in 2017 by European Best Destinations and also at the top of Ridestore Magasine's run down of the top 100 European resorts
Vaujany is easy to get around on foot. You can walk everywhere from the pistes to the local pub to your chalet in a matter of minutes. And, getting there couldn't be any simpler. It's only a one-hour drive from Grenoble.
What About the Skiing?
Linked to the popular Alpe d’Huez ski resort by a cable car, Vaujany has over 250 km of pistes and 80 lifts for your skiing pleasure. Vaujany offers excellent skiing for beginners to experts and the local ESF ski school has been providing quality ski lessons for all ages, for over 25 years from their local base of Montfrais, which is full of gentle greens and blues.
Vaujany is a true treasure trove for expert skiers. From Le Tunnel, one of the top ten hardest runs in the world, to the off-piste heaven at your fingertips in the Grandes Rousses, you’ll be in skier’s paradise.
Vaujany’s glacier sits at 3300m high creating the Champagne Run, the largest pisted vertical descent in the world (2,200m) without taking another lift from the top. Don’t miss Sarenne, the longest black piste in Europe and one of our favourite pistes in Vaujany, also voted in the top 15 greatest pistes of the world!.
Val d’Isere links to neighbouring Tignes to form a ski area of over 300km of pistes in the Tarentaise valley.
The resort is perfect for beginners to experts with loads of pistes for every level. Experts have access to off-pistes for incredible skiing while beginners will love the British-run ski schools at the resort. You have your choice of several schools.
Val d’Isere is known for its high-quality snow and miles of well-groomed pistes. Great snow parks are found in Val d’Isere and Tignes, which regularly has a super half-pipe for your freestyle dreams.
Espace Killy is a phenomenal ski area with a vertical drop of 1,900m.
Authentic Food Experience vs. Home Comforts
Vaujany is more than just skiing. It's an authentic French Alps food experience.
The whole resort offers an abundance of food and drink experiences year-round from small local markets to pizza at La Remise to an afternoon beer tasting at Goodwin Brewery. You'll find something delicious to satisfy your taste buds.
If you're looking for long lunches or leisurely evening meals, this is the place to be. We love the Brochettes de Boeuf at Le Chalet du Lac Besson and the Tartiflette at La Combe Haute, but you really can’t go wrong with your restaurant choices in Vaujany.
The restaurants in big name resorts like Val d’Isere tend to be focused more on turnover than an authentic food experience.
If you have fussy kids or adults, then they can rely on pizza, burgers, and other home comforts that are commonly found on the menus at the local restaurants. Just don’t faint when you get the bill - eating out in Val d’Isere can be expensive!
Big Night Out vs. Quality Night In
You’ll struggle to find peace and quiet in Val d’Isere. Val d’Isere is known as having some of the liveliest apres ski parties in the French Alps. It’s great for 20-somethings looking for a good time, but you might be too hungover the next morning for skiing.
Popular hangouts include Dick's Tea Bar, which is open until 5 am, Moris Pub, Le Petit Danois and not forgetting Le Folie Douce.
The village has some bars, but Vaujany is best for staying in with friends and family to enjoy a good meal in your catered chalet or just to relax with a glass of wine in the hot tub.
If you’re looking for something unique, don’t miss the Sarenne by Night event. Join ski patrollers down Europe’s longest piste guided only by the light of the moon followed by a lovely dinner at a mountain restaurant.
Time to Go Boutique or Keep It Big Name?
Both Vaujany and Val d'Isere have a lot to offer skiers. It just depends on what you want. If you're looking to spend all your time on the slopes skiing and enjoying après ski, then Val d’Isere is probably your top choice.
But, if you’re looking for a quaint, quiet resort with access to some of the best pistes in all of Europe, an abundance of backcountry and delicious local restaurants, book a ski holiday to Vaujany. Just answer a few questions here, and I'll help you plan your best ski holiday yet.