London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Whoever has doubts like me that a ski holiday with a baby and child is possible – hesitate no longer. Esprit ski holidays will make it happen. Just got back from a week: all 4 of us had a fabulous week skiing and playing, so many fabulous things to do in Tignes with kids or without!
Esprit teams have been all, from booking staff who understood within few minutes what we were after and recommended a cute chalet in a truly world class ski location but without compromising food or entertanment options parents and kids alike.
To the Esprit ski holidays reps who will welcome you at the airport, bus and the ski resort making sure all is smooth and you have help at all steps. To their childcare staff who are so kind with all the little ones, cheeky or grumpy included.
Our baby at his 9 months had a week filled with arts and crafts (yes at 9 months he loved painting and messing with colours and various textures), songs and stories, walks to soak in the beautiful Alps air, a taste of sledging by the frozen lake and lots of interactions with the other nursery babies. We’ve seen him at various points of the day during the week, so smiley and very well looked after!
Our 3.5 years old had his snowclub – indoor playing until ~ 10:30am when the sun comes out properly, thereafter bumboarding, sledging, snowmen building and more fun stuff in the outdoors playground area next to the frozen lake.
Lunch at midday followed by ski classes every day 2 hours early afternoon. 4pm back indoors for more playing – parents could pick up the spritelets 5pm or they can be dropped 5:30 directly to the chalets. R loved it, their group consisted of 5 boys up to 5 years old, including a sweet 4.5 years old who was in our chalet and became a good friend and partner in crime. On a couple of occasions I tried to pick him up earlier from the Snow club without much success – he preferred to stay a bit longer and play with his friends. In a nutshell: fully mesmerised by his spritelets gang, the fun of snow – from rolling into fresh powder to sledging, skiing- including taking a teleski by himself in his 5th day of ski lessons, to taking the cable car with our friends and grabbing a hot chocolate on Toviere at 2,700m. And after moaning a while about leaving after 7 amazing days and attempting to hide in our room, R made us promise solemnly we will get back.
The parents are child free as much or little as they want between 9am to 5pm. There’s also flexibility for 8:30 drop offs to nursery and 5:30 drop offs back to the chalets. So we got to properly enjoy 6 days of uninterrupted ski and discover almost the full domain of Tignes and Val d’Isere – from Glacier du Pisaillas to Glacier la Grande Motte at 3,656m.
The ski variety and options are truly world class: off pistes, moguls, reds and blues – pleasing the most demanding ski & snowboard crowd. The food and entertaining options also out of this world – from sweet retro eateries, to Michelin star lodges and very cool Ibiza like après-skiing. We played it by ear every day: Monday, the coldest day we ever skied at -28C at 3,500 on la Grande Motte, we spent an hour defrosting by stunning fireplace of Panoramic. Thereafter we learnt our lessons and added a couple of extra layers – by the end 6 layers were quite the norm. Though temperatures were freezing, the sun kept shining for a truly glorious week and grades got slightly milder by the end of the week – we managed on Saturday our first lunch outside at la Fruitiere to finish off in style by the best party tunes of La Folie Douce. Some great things to do in Tignes slopes and little villages as well – gourmet, sophisticated and fun!
We also had a couple of late mornings – one we caught up with sleep, the other played with kids in the snow; as childcare is impeccable parents could organise themselves as they wish.
In terms of other fantastic things to do in Tignes with kids or without, the lake has also ice-skating plus a nice swimming pool next door (both included in the ski passes) – same stunning view by the mountains and lake. But with such amazing skiing, we left them for the next trip, after all we have good ice-rinks and indoor pools in London as well.
Each evening kids have their dinner served at the chalet at 5:30pm plus an Esprit member comes around to catch up with parents on the little ones day. The meals have been very cute and Esprit ladies amazingly patient – it’s the end of the day so the boys will always prefer some more playing or funny things to a proper sit down dinner. Ipad helped on few occasions to keep my boys sat and fed – not ideal but certainly practical.
And with most kids in bed by 7:30pm, Esprit ski holidays ladies entertained us with wine and canapés. Given the 1 hour time difference UK-France, our 3.5 years old felt like staying slightly longer on few occasions – all parties have been very understanding and kind to our marathon running young man around the sofas and the coffee table. No surprise when at the end of our trip, our young man has been awarded with the Duracell medal 😉 And with baby E in bed by 7pm and R by 8pm, each evening we had beautiful 3 courses dinners and more wine. The most notable dishes included beef bourguignon, duck on a bed of vegetables, the best panacotta and cherry crumble we had in a long time, the fish provencal, some speck mozarella canapes and crispy aubergines. Dinners were plentiful and delicious – company and conversations very nice.
We got to share the cute Canvolan chalet with 2 other families with 2 and respectively 1 kid. Over dinners and aperitifs we had plenty of fun conversations about parenting styles, kids sleeping habits, jobs, politics, drinking and slopes – all parties relaxed and fun. The chalets staff has Wednesday evenings free so there’s a child listening service i.e. Esprit member who gets to spend the evening in the living room and makes sure the parents could properly enjoy the night out. We also hired one of the Esprit ladies for more listening on Saturday night- so we could properly enjoy a grown up dinner with our friends who came over from Geneva.
Ski wise our favourite slopes were Les Glaciers and Grande Motte – stunning views and wide beautiful red slopes. With freezing temperatures stops at Panoramic very wise and luckily the Funicular is all inside and offers a good chance to warm up. We also loved Ok Coupe de Monde and Orange – both from top of Funival from La Dailles or Olypmique cable car Val d’Isere. Less fond of the blue Genepy from Grande Motte – we took it by mistake and it’s very up and down as well as flat – true though, the views are stunning. Also the black going into Val d’Isere interesting challenge but far too many moguls for our taste. We’ve also done our part of spontaneous off piste attempting various shortcuts – fun when you dont get stuck in funny valleys! 😉 40km each day of skiing for 6 days – thanks a million again to Esprit impeccable childcare!
For non skiing parents, Tignes Le Lac has few entertainment options. Swimming pool by the lake – the Lagon. Iceskating on the lake next to Toviere cable car. Flying over the mountains – paragliding. Husky sledging or just sledging. And for the very brave ones diving under the frozen lake.
A week goes by really quickly when you have so much fun and you are so well looked after! Sunday midday the bus picked us up from Tignes le Lac for a 2 hours scenic drive back to Chambery airport. Flights just over and hour back to London, so already dreaming about the mountains and the snow. Looking at Esprit ski holidays brochures for next season already, so many beautiful things to do in Tignes still – and could not think of better arrangements for us and the kids!
For more inspiration on winter fun, head to our Best ski resorts in Europe with kids or without. For a dedicated article on best restaurants in Courchevel 1650, head here; for inspiration mid-April head for Val Thorens in here; Chamonix with baby here and for Courchevel at Fahrenheit 7 in here. All Covid restrictions in France have been lifted on March 14th 2022 other than wearing masks on public transport and in certain public places such as clinics and hospitals. Therefore, if you meet the travel entry requirements there are no further restrictions on your holiday, hurray and fingers crossed it stays this way!