An independent guide to Val Thorens
Val Thorens is the highest resort in the Three Valleys ski area (and in Europe), at 2300m. It began on 18th December 1971, when the first three draglifts opened, and has developed and flourished since then. The resort of Val Thorens now has 25,466 beds (2015 figure). New hotels, such as the Pashmina, Altapura, Koh-i-Nor, and Club Med, are built to high standards. 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, a free shuttle bus runs from morning to evening in the winter. Read about the resort of Val Thorens here.
You can find a map of the resort of Val Thorens here (click on the map to enlarge):
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 - amongst the more
*Val Thorens AnimHebdo - a weekly guide to the events in Val Thorens. (You can also see the highlights of the week's events on our events page)
*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.
The tourist office in Val Thorens offers internet connection - wifi, and two computers in the lobby of the Maison de Val Thorens. It's quite expensive: wifi through Neptune at the tourist office costs €9.50 a day, or €30 a week; and internet on the computers by the tourist office is €3 for 30 minutes, €5 an hour, then a range of times and prices up to €50 for 50 hours. There are other places around resort where you can get free wifi.
There is 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 also 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 better 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.
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 queueing, visit earlier if possible.
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. 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.
There's a market in Grand Rue (near the church) every Tuesday and Thursday, in the winter (and summer) season. There are stalls with local cheeses and meats, locally produced honey, fleeces and other clothes, craft items, and more. Read about Val Thorens market.
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.
The main medical centre in Val Thorens (Centre Médico-sportif) 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 00 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 00 33 479 00 74 39.
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:
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'.
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).
A badly parked car in Val Thorens, by ValThorensGuide
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.
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 €72.50 (2017-18 prices) if booked a month or more ahead, €79 if booked nearer to the time, and and €80 if you pay in resort. You can book on Valthoparc's website. It's slightly cheaper for the open car parks.
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 parkings P0 and P2.
The radio station for the valley is Virgin Radio Val Thorens Les Menuires, on 92.3 and 101.0FM. (It may change to R'Val Thorens Les Menuires for winter 2016-17). 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. There is traffic information on Saturdays (but in French only).
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 2017The Club des Sports in Val Thorens also:
Contact them on 00 33 479 00 01 08 or through the Club des Sports website.
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: 00 33 479 00 01 51
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 began on 18th December 1971, when the first 3 draglifts were opened. Read more about the history of Val Thorens.
We hope you make the most of all the facilities in Val Thorens resort.
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.
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, skier/boardercross, 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. Finally, we have a guide to the Val Thorens mountain restaurants.
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