Welcome to Les Deux Alpes
The resort of Les Deux Alpes perches at an altitude of 1650 metres on a high plateau at the edge of the Ecrins National Park, to the south-east of Grenoble. The steep slopes rising to the east of the town provide access to the main ski area, which culminates in glacier skiing at 3421 metres.
The ‘Two Alps’ of its name refer not to the mountains, as you may presume, but to the high pastures that once belonged to the neighbouring villages of Venosc and Mont de Lans. Les Deux Alpes itself stretches between these two old farming communities, the town’s main street dominated by the sharp pyramid of La Muzelle (3465m) in the distance, standing guard over the Vénéon Valley.
Les Deux Alpes attracts a varied clientele thanks to it's well-priced accommodation and ski passes, lively apres-ski and it's status as a 'Famille Plus' family-friendly ski resort. Families tend to prefer the quieter Mont de Lans end of the resort, while party animals will find the liveliest nightlife concentrated towards the Venosc end. Due to some challenging lower terrain but easier glacier pistes at altitude, Les Deux Alpes is sometimes called an ‘upside-down resort’. Beginners are not restricted to the lower nursery slopes but can enjoy wide-open blue pistes at altitude that also offer spectacular views. Pedestrians can ride the lifts to the viewing platform at 3400m, take photos of Mont Blanc and visit the glacial Ice Caves at the same time. The resort is the largest in the Oisans area and, in winter, it makes up part of the Grande Galaxie ski area with Alpe d’Huez, Puy St Vincent and Vaujany. This is not a linked area as such, but four ski resorts which can all be skied with a single ski pass.
Les Deux Alpes boasts the largest skiable glacier in Europe, guaranteeing the winter skiing conditions and providing snowsports action throughout the summer. Skiers and snowboarders flock to the glacier for summer mornings, but the resort is popular with bikers and hikers too. The downhill mountain biking is epic, climbers and mountaineers will find a wild playground in the Ecrins massif, and summer activities range from white water rafting to horse riding, yoga or golf.
Where to Stay in Les Deux Alpes
Most of Les Deux Alpes hotel accommodation is strung out along the main road from Petit Plan at one end to the Place de Venosc at the other. For a catered holiday with a relaxed atmosphere, you still can’t beat the tried and tested chalet concept – established UK Tour operators offer catered chalet accommodation in the main part of resort. If you’re after apartments and self catering, there’s a huge range, from cosy studios to chalets sleeping 10 or more.
A little further down the road on the way into Les Deux Alpes, is the village of Mont de Lans. Venosc is quieter and smaller still and lies at the bottom of the hill on the far end of resort accessed by the gondola.
Also see: Where to Stay in Les 2 Alpes
Skiing in Les Deux Alpes
There are 225 kilometres of pistes here, covering an area of 425 hectares. The 47 ski lifts and a funicular on the glacier give you access to a total of 96 pistes of which 17 are green, 45 are blue, 22 are red and 12 are black. The ski area in Les Deux Alpes is split into two areas, the Valley Blanche sector and the Glacier side, where the majority of the pistes can be found. On this side of the valley, most of the runs are west-facing and enjoy quite a lot of sunshine. The long descent from the top of the glacier (3600m) to the resort can be done entirely on blue runs. If you have the legs for it, you can continue down the Mont de Lans red for a total descent of 2220 metres, the biggest normally-skiable, on-piste vertical drop in the world. It's not just a resort for intermediate skiers though, there are excellent reasons why more advanced skiers can enjoy great skiing here. For those searching for more natural terrain, Les 2 Alpes has a lot of great off-piste terrain. Neighbouring La Grave is an incredible, raw and unforgiving off-piste glaciated area.
Rather uniquely Les Deux Alpes also has a vibrant summer ski scene with snowparks up on the glacier, well-groomed pistes as well as gentle nursery slopes. It attracts ski teams, racers and freestyle skiers and snowboarders from around the world.
Also see: Ski Areas in Les 2 Alpes
Events in Les Deux Alpes
In the winter the resort is host to a number of international festivals and skiing events. the Rise Festival just before Christmas features big name bands and DJ's, with concerts taking place on the slopes during both day and night, and parties in the resort nightclubs. Other big events include the Mad Snow Race in January and the Electro Snow Festival in March. In the summer, snow-camps and freestyle ski competitions take place on the glacier, attracting teams from all over the world. And the legendary mountain bike race, the Mountain of Hell takes place at the end of June.
Also see: Main Events in Les 2 Alpes
Things to Do in Les Deux Alpes
Most people come to Les Deux Alpes to ski or snowboard, both in winter and summer, however the resort has plenty more to offer. Take the Jandri Express up to the top to view the glacier, Mont Blanc and some ice caves. Or stop half way up and join in the apres-ski party from 3pm at the Pano Bar! Try ice skating, snowshoeing, or take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool by the tourist office, or hop into a horse-drawn sleigh and ride through the resort in style. You can paraglide over the mountain tops in both summer and winter, take a tandem jump with an instructor if this is your first time!
During the summer, Les Deux Alpes is a big mountain biking destination with a new bike park, 100km of marked trails and 10 lifts to transport you and your bike up the mountain. Additionally, you can enjoy miles of challenging road cycling, take a guided walk over a glacier, bungee jump, or go rock climbing.
The pretty village of La Grave, notorious for its challenging off-piste terrain is about 30 minutes away by road - ride the old gondola for some of the most spectacular mountain views in the region. The old villages of Venosc and Mont de Lans provide a welcome change of scene, with their historical cobbled streets and artisan workshops. Further afield, you can tour the Chartreuse distillery at Voiron on the other side of Grenoble, visit the museum and grounds of the chateau at Vizille on the D1091, or take a ride on the old funicular railway at St Hilaire du Touvet towards Chambery.
Also see: Sports & Activities in Les 2 Alpes
Restaurants in Les Deux Alpes
Les Deux Alpes caters for everyone from the gourmet to the fast food fan. At the top end, Michelin starred Le P'tit Polyte offers tasting menus and an extensive wine list, and Le Raisin d'Ours is run by the P'tit Polyte's Michelin-starred former chef. Les Sagnes serves excellent crepes and a range of local specialities in a rustic atmosphere in front of a roaring log fire. Tribeca at one end of town and Grain du Sel at the other both have great pizzas, and anyone looking for a decent burger 'n' chips need look no further than Le Takeaway in the centre of town.
Also see: Where to Eat in Les 2 Alpes
Nightlife in Les Deux Alpes
Like any good mountain resort worth its salt, Les Deux Alpes is not all about the sporting activities, it also holds a fine reputation for its nightlife. A multitude of cafés, bars, clubs and restaurants will cater to all your eating, drinking and dancing-in-your-ski-boots needs and, if that is not enough to keep you occupied, there is always a plentiful supply of events and tours passing through such as the many mountain bike rallies in the summer and the board test that kicks off the winter season.
Also see: Nightlife in Les 2 Alpes
Travelling to Les Deux Alpes
The resort of Les Deux Alpes is situated in the Isère department of the French Alps at the point where the Northern and Southern Alps meet. The resort 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 and summer sports. With the Ecrins National Park on its doorstep the flora, fauna and scenery of the Alps are all close to hand.
Grenoble is the closest airport (1.5 hours) but flight options are limited and can be expensive, whereas Geneva has a greater choice of airlines offering better value flights but is a longer commute to resort (3 hours). Lyon sits between the two, with a small selection of international flights and is around a two hour drive to Les Deux Alpes.
Also see: How to Get to Les 2 Alpes