The Tarentaise Valley is actually the valley of the Isère River in the heart of the French Alps, running from Albertville, to Moutiers and then Aime finally ending at Bourg St Maurice. It derives its name from the ancient town of Darantasia, the capital of the pre-Roman Centrones tribe.
The area includes some of the best ski domains in France including Les Trois Vallées, Paradiski with La Plagne above Aime, and Les Arcs above Bourg-Saint-Maurice, right over to Le Grande Domaine above Doucy Valmorel. Paradiski and Les Arcs are further connected by the Vanoise Express to form one of the largest interconnected domains in the world. These resorts hosted most of the events for the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics and you can still use facilities such as the original bobsleigh run. Winter visitors are most likely to focus on the different ski areas, and compare their different characters. However, during the rest of the year when not restricted to the area accessible on two planks, the whole of the beautiful Tarentaise is opened up to you with fabulous opportunities for cycling, mountain bike and enduro, walking, whitewater fun or simply sitting and enjoying the scenery in peace and quiet. It's an area stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage, with lots of fetes, artisan and craft fairs to enjoy in ancient villages as well as old castles and a car free medieval village to explore at Conflans above Albertville,
In the summer, the famous Col de l'Iseran pass is open heading south from Bourg St Maurice over to the Maurienne Valley whilst northwards the Cormet de Roseland heads to Beaufort in the lovely Beaufontain valley and onwards to Ugine and Annecy, Also heading northwards,the Petit St Bernard Col goes to La Thuile and thence Chamonix or Aosta. These cols regulary feature in Tour de France routes and the whole area is perfect for road cycling enthusiasts seeking either the challenge of the mountain climbs or the gentle incline of the cycle path running alongside the river Isère and the Voie Verte running along disused railway line with gorgeous views between Ugine and Annecy. We have secure private bike storage in Bourg, Doucy, Brides les Bains and St Jean de Belleville.
The area offers a wide range of other adreneline pumping activities, with arguably some of the best single track the Alps has to offer to mountain bikers and enduro enthusiasts, and world class downhill courses, where you can descend from mountain top to the valley floor with around 2,000m of vertical drop. The down hill tracks are full of big berms, table tops and wooded sections and provide training for a number of French downhill champions. With loads of well marked and sign posted green trails, blues, reds, blacks and cross country or enduro trails plus freestyle areas and plenty of restaurants for lunch, you won't have to return to base all day.
There is a world championship whitewater course at Bourg St Maurice cited as one of the most difficult and beautiful white water courses in the world by the international atheletes who use it. Great for spectators as well! For those just as enthusiastic but arguably less talented, there are still great opportunities to enjoy whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing and hydrospeed on the Isère, as well as canyoning in the steep valleys to the side.
Access to the valley is easy and direct with both direct sleeper trains from Paris and Eurostar from London arriving into Bourg St Maurice. The valley roads have had a recent upgrade with motorway to Albertville and then fast dual carriageway all the way to Bourg. With no windy mountain roads to negotiate, arriving by car is fast and easy. Coming from Albertville, Doucy-Combelouviere is the first ski resort in the Tarentaise at junction 37 on the N90. Just a few miles further, at Moutiers, is the turning for the Bozel valley and Brides les Bains and then the road continues up the Isère valley to Bourg St Maurice.