Les Deux Alpes, 1650m
The resort of Les Deux Alpes is situated in the Isère department of the French Alps where North and South Alps meet. It is part of the Serre Chevalier mountain range and lies at the heart of the Oisans region, renowned for its amazing scenery and boundless opportunities for both winter (due to having the largest skiable glacier in Europe) and summer sports.
You may think Les Deux Alpes is named after the mountains but actually, it is named after the two neighbouring villages, Vénosc and Mont de Lans that sit at both ends. It is a haven for mountain bike enthusiasts, climbers and walkers. With the Ecrins National Park on its doorstep, the flora, fauna and scenery of the Alps are all close at hand so it’s great for nature lovers.
However, it is the skiing that gives Les Deux Alpes its international reputation. It is the largest ski resort in the Dauphine region and the second oldest in France, after Chamonix in the Haute-Savoie region. It makes up part of the Grande Galaxie ski area, together with Alpe d’Huez, La Grave, Puy St Vincent and Vaujany. Les Deux Alpes offers approximately 220 km (137 miles) of pisted runs and 2,300 m (7,546 ft) of vertical drop.
Les Deux Alpes has one of the most enviable, modern lift systems in Europe, often being the first to trial new technology in its quest to attract more skiers. An example of this is the Dôme Express Funicular railway, the world’s highest funicular/cable railway and one of the very few underground cable railways in existence. It carries 1500 people per hour and accesses not only the ski area but also the ice caves and La Croisière Blanche with an elevator linking it to the Jandri Express Gondola.
The Jandri Express is the world’s fastest gondola and can get you from the bottom of resort to the top of the glacier in only 24 minutes – pretty impressive for a 7km journey including a cabin change at 2600m! It can carry up to 1800 people per hour and each cabin holds up to 20 people standing up carrying their skis.
Les Deux Alpes also offers a great night life. There are so many cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants that whatever you’re in the mood for is right at your fingertips. There are also loads of events and tours which pass through the resort, so there’s never a dull moment.
Grenoble airport is one and a half hour’s drive away and Lyon is two. You don’t need a car once you’re in the resort as everything is fairly accessible – you walk from one end to the other in about 20 minutes and there’s a free bus service from 8am to 8pm. However, if you do have a car, there is plenty of parking available throughout the resort.