Les Deux Alpes
At the heart of the Oisans region the resort of Les Deux Alpes is a vast outdoor adventure playground for mountain lovers.
It offers an amazing array of more than 80 activities, from quad biking to via ferrata, paragliding to sledging. Flanked by the Oisans massif to the west and the Ecrins national park to the east, Les Deux Alpes will lead you into a fascinating world of peaks and summits, rock and ice. The national park alone boasts the finest collection of glaciers in France.
Whether you want to enjoy a lazy holiday on the water or spend the days in an adrenaline-filled haze, Les Deux Alpes really does have it all. Climbing, horse riding, canyoning, motocross, mountain biking, hiking, windsurfing, summer snowboarding…. the list is literally endless.
There are however a couple of must-dos in Les Deux Alpes if you find time for. Take the Croisière Blanche caterpillar snow-bus to Dôme de la Lauze at 3568m to admire the panoramic view out over Europe’s largest skiable glacier. Then explore the curious Ice Grotto with its sculptures 30 metres under ice that has stood there for a thousand years or more.
Skiers won’t want to miss the opportunity to ski on one of the highest ski areas in the world, and from 2800 to 3600 metres (11,800 ft) between 11 June and 27 August 2016, the largest skiable glacier in Europe is open in Les Deux Alpes for summer skiing and snowboarding – from the resort, you can be on the glacier in less than 30 minutes. Snowboarders will love the snowpark where they may well find yourself practising alongside professional riders in training. A summer activity pass allows access to skiing areas as well as free or reduced entrance to more than 25 attractions and activities. The pass is available from the tourist office. For Summer 2010, the snowpark has greatly improved.
If you’re a biker, why not take your mountain bike up in the cable car of Les Deux Alpes to 2600m and then take an exhilarating descent by the Col des Gours for the ride of your life. See details on mountain biking in Les Deux Alpes - http://www.2alpes-vtt.com/. Almost 31,000 mountain bikers visited the resort in 2011, making up 20% of Les Alpes’ total visitors.
For a less bumpy downhill journey, go carting instead – you can always whiz back up the slopes on a trottiherbe, a sort of mini scooter that goes on grass. Or how about a spot of ice gliding at the open-air ice rink, it’s similar to bumper cars but three times the fun! Play a round of golf facing snow-covered mountain peaks or have a go at one of the 45 different ascents that Les Deux Alpes’ climbing wall offers. You can even bungee jump from one of the highest cable cars in Europe. Canoeing, rafting and hydrospeed (where you swim downriver in a wetsuit, steering yourself with a streamlined float) are just some of the other activities that are available at the resort.
The area’s highest summits can be reached from Bérard, a mecca for walkers and climbers in summer. And be sure to pay a visit to the museum of mountaineering memories in the commune of Saint-Christophe to find out more about the history of mountaineering on the Ecrins massif. Use the pedestrian pass on the tourist lifts to reach the scenic villages of Mont de Lans and Venosc. The Mont de Lans tourist office organises hikes with qualified guides and storytellers while in Venosc, a gateway to the rugged Oisans countryside, you can watch artisans weaving, wood carving and carrying out other traditional crafts. Don’t forget to sample the local honey when you’re there. Of course, you could always just sit back on the terrace of a mountainside restaurant and listen to the gentle sound of cowbells tinkling in the distance.
The pretty little village of Venosc is accessed from a main road turn-off and is linked to Les Deux Alpes by an 8-minute gondola. Its cobbled streets, old chalets, fountains, 14th century church and old-style architecture gives the village and its hamlets a traditional feel. Stroll along the village cobbled streets and discover vaulted ceilings, sundials and a lot of craft shops including silk paintings, jewellery, wood carving, wood painting, weaving…
Enjoy long treks, easy walks, mountaineering and rock climbing in the heart of the Ecrins National Park. A swimming pool, artificial skating rink, tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, mini golf, 2 summer luge runs, a trampoline area, a climbing wall, 2 archery fields, a sports centre, and a riding centre. In our view Les 2 Alpes is one of the most active centre of the Alps with over 80 different activities to try.
A very child-friendly resort with clubs to entertain children from 6 months to 16 years old.
Did you know?
The glacier situated between 3,200m and 3,600m is a great asset. To preserve it and counterbalance the wind at an altitude of more 3,000m, they have used a specific technique for 2 years: snow traps. The mechanical lifts company stocks the snow with wooden barriers or half tubes dug into the glacier. Snow groomers then collect this snow daily in the winter months to distribute it on all the ski slopes of the glacier. The work carried out during the winter allows us to guarantee the skiability of the high altitude ski area and also ensure perfect skiing conditions in the summer season.
Places of interest in Les Deux Alpes
· Adventure Park: For adults and children, with monkey bridges, rope ladders, barrels and bungy jumping. In the Vallée du Vénéon – take the cable car from Venosc.
· Grotte de Glace: Several caves dug through 1000’s year old thick ice, are decorated with ice sculptures. High up at 3425m, they can be reached by the lift system and a funicular.
· Discover eternal snow and some of the most stunning views of the Alps from one of Europe’s highest Glacier. From the mountain restaurant at 3200m to the top of the funicular at 3425m you will be amazed by the surrounding summits –La Meije, La Barre des Ecrins and as far as far as Mont-Blanc. From there try the tracked mini bus excursion to the Dome de Lauze at 3568m. Known as Croisiere Blanche is offers a memorable experience in a high mountain environment.
· Those in search of pure Alpine tradition should head for Venosc and its cobbled streets, craft shops & local speciality shops. It is reached from Les 2 Alpes by 8mins gondola.