An independent guide to Val Thorens

View of Mt Blanc from Val Thorens

Val Thorens resort

The resort of Val Thorens, with Mont Blanc behind

Val Thorens is the highest resort in the Three Valleys ski area (and in Europe), at 2300m. It was 'born' on 18th December 1971, when the first three draglifts opened, and it has developed and flourished since then. The resort of Val Thorens now has 25,466 beds (2015 figure). New hotels are superbly insulated and built to high standards of luxury.

There's everything you'd expect in a modern ski village - a tourist office, a post office, banks, a medical centre, a church, car parks, a cinema, and a radio station. There's also a good sports centre and swimming pool. Val Thorens has a twice-weekly market. Although it's a compact resort, the free shuttle bus can come in useful, and runs from morning to evening in the winter.

Read about the resort of Val Thorens here.

Map | Tourist Office | Post Office | Banks | Market | Sports Centre | Medical Centre | Pharmacy | Church | Parking | Radio Station | Club des Sports | Cinema | Shuttle bus 

Val Thorens resort map

You can find a map of the resort of Val Thorens here (click on the map to enlarge):

Val Thorens resort map

Or see a Val Thorens resort map page, for different maps showing hotels, apartments, restaurants, bars, and banks.

Val Thorens resort: tourist office

Val Thorens tourist office (Maison de Val Thorens)
Val Thorens tourist office

Val Thorens tourist office is in the Maison de Val Thorens, which is the big building on the snowy place de Caron. They're open from 0830-1900 every day during the winter season. They can answer questions about the resort, and they are multi-lingual - as well as French and English, there are staff who speak Dutch, German, Russian, Japanese, and other languages too. Generally, they are friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic.

There's a selection of booklets and leaflets - among the more useful are:

  • Val Thorens AnimHebdo - a weekly guide to the events in Val Thorens. (See also events on ValThorensGuide)
  • Practical Holiday Guide - a small Yellow Pages type guide to shops, restaurants, bars, and services in Val Thorens

By the tourist office counter is a children's play area, and a space for changing babies' nappies.

Internet in Val Thorens

The tourist office in Val Thorens offers internet connection - wifi, and two computers in the lobby of the Maison de Val Thorens. It's now free

There is also free wifi at some of the lift stations (including Funitel Péclet, Plein Sud, Pionniers, Moraine, Portette, Funitel 3 Vallées, Plateau, Cime de Caron, and Cairn; wifi is available at the bottom of Rosael chair in Orelle, and reaches to the terrace of the Chalet Chinal Donat mountain restaurant). Internet access is during the skiing day only, from 9am to 5pm. The ski pass offices at Forum, Olympiades, and Montana also have free wifi.

Most of the cafés and bars in Val Thorens offer free wifi as long as you buy something, so that might be a good option if you're using your own laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Try, for example, O'Connells bar, La Piscine pizzeria, or Pizzburger; or Le Bowling

Val Thorens resort: Post Office

La Poste delivery van on a snowy road in Val Thorens

The Post Office, La Poste, is also in the Maison de Val Thorens. As well as dealing with post and selling stamps, they have mobile phone packages, they do foreign exchange, and there's a cashpoint.

The opening times during the winter season are:

  • 0900-1200 and 1400-1730 Monday to Friday
  • closed on Saturdays and Sundays

It's often the case that everyone goes to the Post Office at the same time - just before they close - so to avoid queuing, visit earlier if possible.

Val Thorens resort: banks

Banque Populaire in Val Thorens

There are four banks in Val Thorens, all of them in the middle or top part of the resort, and three of them have cashpoints (Crédit Agricole, Banque Populaire, and Banque de Savoie). There are no banks at the bottom of Val Thorens, but there is a cashpoint under the Cheval Blanc arch, in the rue du Soleil.

See locations and opening times of the banks in Val Thorens.

Val Thorens resort: market

Val Thorens market

There's a market in Grand Rue (near the church) every Tuesday and Thursday, in the winter and summer seasons. There are stalls with local cheeses and meats, locally produced honey, fleeces and other clothes, craft items, and more.

Read about Val Thorens market.

Val Thorens resort: Val Thorens Sports Centre

Val Thorens sports centre

There's a great sports centre in Val Thorens, located in the Caron shopping centre. It has sport facilities including a gym, and tennis and squash courts, as well as an 'aqua-club', a children's fun park, and a 'well-being' area.

Read more about Val Thorens sports centre.

Val Thorens resort: medical centre

The main medical centre in Val Thorens has its own building in place Péclet, new in December 2016. There are four doctors, and they deal with any injuries or illnesses that do not require hospitalisation. (They will assess patients, and send them to Moûtiers hospital if necessary). The opening hours are 0900-1800, and outside of those hours, there is a doctor on call. Phone the centre's number + 33 479 00 00 37 in the first instance.

There is another doctor in the medical centre in the rue du Soleil, towards the bottom of the resort. Opening hours are 0900-1200 and 1500-1800, and the phone number + 33 479 00 74 39.

Medical centre, rue du Soleil

You will have to pay for any consultation, and claim the money back afterwards. Any visitor from the UK should make sure to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which you can apply for here, and ski holiday insurance is recommended.

The emergency numbers in France are:

  • 15 (SAMU - the ambulance service)
  • 17 (Gendarmes - the police)
  • 18 (Pompiers - the fire service, who also transport people to who hospital)
  • 112 (emergency number for any of these services, from a landline or a mobile)

What to do in an emergency:

  • if you are in the village, visit the medical centre or, outside normal hours, phone them on + 33 479 00 00 37
  • in serious cases outside normal hours, call the pompiers on 18, or 112
  • if you are on the piste, alert the ski patrol (pisteurs). Ask at the top or bottom of any lift, or call + 33 479 00 01 80

Note that there are defibrilators in the Maison de Val Thorens, the sports centre office, and at the top of the Boismint, Grand Fond and Peclet lifts; and there is one at the lift company's 'central'.

Val Thorens resort: the pharmacy

The pharmacy is in the upper shopping centre, the Galerie Péclet. During the ski season, it's open from 0830 to 1930 non-stop.

Val Thorens resort: the church

Val Thorens church

The church in Val Thorens is interdenominational. There's a Mass once a week, and special services at Christmas and Easter. Check the tourist office's weekly events leaflet for timings.

As well as church services, there are classical and jazz concerts, at 1830 on Tuesdays in the winter - see events. (The concerts are free, but a collection is usually taken).

Val Thorens resort: parking

Badly-parked car in Val Thorens
A badly-parked car in Val Thorens

Parking in Val Thorens is in one of the resort's car parks, run by Valthoparc, or in your hotel or apartment's parking.

Val Thorens is a semi-pedestrian resort, which means you may drive through resort, and stop to unload your luggage outside your hotel, apartment, or chalet. You must then park your vehicle in a parking - either your hotel's car park, or one of the parkings run by Valthoparc.

You're not allowed to leave your car parked in the street, and if you do, it will eventually get towed away to the pound. The fee for recovering it is very expensive. On Saturday and Sunday, the Municipal Police do the rounds, putting warning notices on cars, but they do not usually tow them away, unless they are obstructing traffic. From Monday morning, any car parked on the street will be towed away.

Valthoparc car park, Val Thorens

It is slightly cheaper to book with Valthoparc in advance (and by booking, you ensure you get a space in the parking of your choice, which is important in busy holiday periods). For example, 5, 6, or 7 nights in one of the covered car parks cost €77.50 (2018-19 prices) if booked well in advance, or  €82.50 if booked nearer to the time or paid in resort. It's slightly cheaper for the open car parks. Book on Valthoparc's website.

Valtho Premium is more expensive, and your car is parked for you. In practice, it ensures that some convenient spaces near the entrance to one of the car parks remain empty for most of the season.

You can give any non-perishable food you have left over at the end of your stay to the French charity Restos du Coeur, by handing it in at parking P0 or P2.

Val Thorens resort: radio station

Virgin Radio Val Thorens Les Menuires

The radio station for the valley is on 92.3 and 101.0FM. There's a local programme in the morning and evening, and the rest of the time they take a feed from Paris. They broadcast a weather forecast and the piste and lift information several times a day, and traffic information on Saturdays (but in French only).

Val Thorens resort: Val Thorens Club des Sports

Adrien Théaux, Super G, Val Thorens
Adrien Théaux in the Alpine Combined event of the French National Championships, Val Thorens, 30th March 2017

The Club des Sports de Val Thorens is the local sports club, which includes the ski club. The office is in the Maison de Val Thorens, and in the winter it's open 0900-1200 and 1400-1800.

The main purpose of the Club is to train the local kids for competitions in skiing, freestyle skiing, and snowboarding. It also has sections dedicated to cycling and pétanque. They have a fan club to support the current champions. At the moment, the downhill and Super G specialist Adrien Théaux races in the Alpine skiing World Cup, and has a number of podium finishes, including a victory; Jean-Fred Chapuis is 2014 Olympic Skicross champion, and has won the overall World Cup title (globe de cristal) three years running, with the latest in 2016-17; and Chloe Trespeuch is Olympic Boardercross bronze medallist.

Sam Alphand, slalom of the Alpine Combined, French National Championships in Val Thorens, 30th March 2017
Sam Alphand, slalom of the Alpine Combined, French National Championships in Val Thorens, 30th March 2017
The Club des Sports in Val Thorens also:

  • organises events
  • organises races, from the weekly slalom and GS races, to FIS and European Cup events. (You can book the slalom stadium to organise your own race)
  • is responsible for the Skicross course
  • sells ski insurance (carte/carré neige). (The easiest way to buy this insurance is to ask for it when you buy your ski pass, but if you want a carte neige for the whole season, not just the duration of your lift pass, this is on sale at the Club des Sports office)

Contact them on + 33 479 00 01 08 or through the Club des Sports website.

Val Thorens resort: cinema

Cinema Lac Blanc, Val Thorens

The cinema Lac Blanc in Val Thorens is in Grande Rue. It often shows French films, or American films dubbed into French (version francaise - VF); occasionally there are films in original English version, with French subtitles (version originale - VO).

Tel: + 33 479 00 01 51

Val Thorens resort: shuttle bus

Val Thorens resort shuttle bus

Val Thorens is quite compact, and it's usually possible to walk anywhere you want to go. Sometimes, though, if you're carrying luggage or ski equipment, or if you're with small children, you may wish to make use of the resort shuttle. It runs from 8am to 8pm every day, in the winter season.

Read about the Val Thorens resort shuttle bus.

Val Thorens resort: history of Val Thorens

Val Thorens began on 18th December 1971, when the first 3 draglifts were opened.

Read more about the history of Val Thorens.

Make the most of all the facilities in Val Thorens resort!

Val Thorens accommodation

Montana Plein Sud apartments, Val Thorens

Val Thorens offers a wide range of accommodation, including luxury hotels, comfortable apartments, catered chalets, and budget self-catering. Read about the hotels, self-catering accommodation, and chalets in Val Thorens.

Read about accommodation in Val Thorens.

Guide to the Val Thorens ski area

Top of Cime de Caron, Val Thorens

The Val Thorens ski area section covers the beginners' area (including the green runs, and the easy blues), and the ski area sector by sector. There's a page dedicated to the snow park, Skicross, and the slalom stadium. Here, you can also find a page dedicated to Val Thorens off piste itineraries, a piste map, and the Val Thorens ski pass prices, and the Val Thorens mountain restaurants.

Val Thorens tourist officeMarket, Val ThorensChurch, Val Thorens