A short history of lively Tignes
Tignes – a village in the sky
As Tignes Val Claret was designed solely for skiing, all car parking is underground or in one designated area.
This makes the village almost car-free and also makes it compact.
No part of the village is more than a 10 minute walk from Le Bollin which means that access to the two supermarkets, other shops, cafes, the big range of restaurants and bars, very easy for all the family.
Situated on the slope side of the village, 38 Le Bollin is close enough for all, but far enough away so that you don't hear people leaving the bars and clubs in the early hours of the morning.
Modern day Tignes is now made up of five villages: Brevieres, Boisses, Lavachet, Le Lac and Val Claret. In the 13th century, however, only Brevieres, then called Les Brenieres, and Tignes itself existed.
These two villages were farming communities that also profited through smuggling from nearby Italy.
|Gigantic ... Hercules dominates the Tignes dam near 38 Le Bollin."|
Rumours of a plan to build a hydro-electric dam in the district began to circulate in the 1920s. Rumours became reality when the dam was built in 1952, in spite of huge opposition from the people of Tignes.
The dam meant that the village would be buried completely beneath the newly created Lac Du Chevril.
It's said that locals tried for years to disrupt building works using resistance-style tactics.
The dam was supposed to provide 10% of France's electricity. Ironically, however, France soon joined the nuclear age and the power has never been used.
The village they drowned
Interestingly, the lake is drained every 10 years, and you can walk among the remains of the drowned village.
Here to help
Good advice ... Meet UK skier Tracey who will welcome you at 38 Le Bollin when you arrive, show you round the penthouse, ensure you know how everything works, answer questions, and make you feel at home. Tracey lives in Tignes and calls at 38 Le Bollin daily.
The lake is now used to charge up a storage battery as a backup in the unlikely event of the ski resort suffering a power cut.
The dam has become a landmark for Tignes and now has a huge figure of Hercules painted on its walls, known as the Giant of Tignes.
Government contributions meant that Tignes could re-invent itself as a ski resort. In April 1967, the developer Pierre Schnebelen and the Savoie Department were able to use funds originally intended for a 55,000 m2 development at Lavachet, to develop fully the resort at Tignes.
Schnebelen was granted a 30-year lease on the lifts, already built, and authority for the development of the resort, including the original seven hotels and 646 apartments. Pierre Schnebelen is the original owner and was the year-round resident of our penthouse.
He is said to have asked for his study to be extended after the building was in construction. The result is a room on the 7th floor which overhangs the side of the building.
Over 300km of skiing
A number of irregularities appeared in the construction of the resort. For one, the Grande Motte cable car built in the Vanois national parc was constructed without the state's authority. In the 1980s the running of the lifts were handed to the Compagnie des Alpes.
The close proximity with Val d'Isere has enabled these two snow-sure world-renowned resorts to team together creating the Espace-Killy skiing range named after Jean-Claude Killy, the famous French skier, who won three gold medals in the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble.
You can ski over 300km of terrain, serviced by 96 lifts with a carrying capacity of 149,425 persons an hour, from the villages of Le Fornet and Val d'Isere to Le Daille and Tignes.
The Espace-Killy has a history of hosting the most prestigious events. The 1992 Albertville Olympics staged a number of events in the Espace-Killy range.
Tignes hosted the freestyle skiing with Val d'Isere and the prestigious Giant Slalom, Super G and downhill events.
Tignes continually strives to improve itself. In 2006, the new leisure center Le Lagon in Tignes Le Lac opened. It's a short walk or free bus ride from Val Claret.
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