The ski resort Villeneuve is characterised by the authentic charm of a traditional mountain village and at the same time by its lively range of après-ski activities. Because the small village is a district in the La Salle les Alpes commune, Villeneuve is also frequently referred to as „Villeneuve la Salle“ and is regarded as the centre of the commune as well. Villeneuve has been the the vibrant hub of the community, ever since the small village, which extends along both sides of the Guisane, developed into a ski resort.
There is hustle and bustle in the numerous restaurants, bars and shops on the Place de l’Aravet and particularly on the Rue de la Guisane on the left side of the river, which is pretty much the centre of the village. The heart of Villeneuve is visually defined by the beautiful traditional stone houses and it creates a homely atmosphere.
In terms of winter sports, Villeneuve is considered to be a particularly convenient resort, because the centre as well as the majority of accommodations are located more or less directly at the foot of the slopes. Villeneuve is therefore the ideal starting point for skiers and especially snowboarders to enjoy the largest skiing area in the french southern Alps, Serre Chevalier, with a total of 250 kilometers of pistes.
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The area of slopes directly above Villeneuve is a true paradise especially for beginners. 3 practice zones are located right by the resort. One of which is situated directly next to the valley station at the Aravet gondola lift, it is equipped with its own ski-tow and is also opened twice a week during the night thanks to its floodlights. The second zone for beginner skiers is located slightly further north, it is also at the foot of the pistes and is equipped with two surface lifts. The third practice area lies by the valley station at the Pontillas gondola lift.
Those who want to practise their first moves at higher altitudes can finally find a further beginners area by the mountain station at the Aravet gondola lift. An optimal green practice slope, which meanders down through the thick larch forests back into the resort also leads from there. Ideal blue and green pistes for beginners even start at an altitude of 2491 meters at the Serre Chevalier summit and also allow inexperienced skiers to descend from the summit all the way into the valley.
Needless to say, experienced skiers can also get their money’s worth. There are numerous challenging slopes and 9 additional off-piste slopes in the Villeneuve area as well as in the entire skiing region. Before taking an off-piste tour, it is recommended to visit Arva-Park, where off-piste fans can be trained in the use of modern avalanche transceivers.
Villeneuve’s slope area is particularly popular among snowboarders and off-piste skiers. The reason: for a start there is a halfpipe available directly by the station in the area beside the Mickey Lift, which is even lit up twice a week at night. On the other hand Serre Chevalier’s two snowparks and the boardercross zone directly above Villeneuve are only 2 lift rides away.
The 35 kilometer network of cross country tracks for cross country skiers is also very simple to reach. 4 of the 8 total tracks start directly by the resort and connect Villeneuve with Monȇtier les Bains, where the rest of the cross country tracks are located.
Ski tourists in Villeneuve can most notably benefit from the traditional charm of the small ski-resort, which still has its original distinctive village character. The site’s small streets with their numerous restaurants, bars and shops are perfect for a relaxed stroll through the heart of town. Traditional shops like the wood-fired bakery and the regional weekly market emphasise Villeneuve’s authentic flair. Incidentally there are many pleasant restaurants particularly in the Le Bez district, another particularly small mountain hamlet, where one can enjoy the regional-typical specialities.
At the same time, Villeneuve is regarded as a small mecca for après-ski. To begin with, there are plenty of well frequented bars located on the Place de l’Aravet. Villeneuve’s largest bar is called „La Grotte“ and is actually located directly on the foot of the slopes. With its large sun terrace and a varied evening programme, it is the most popular gathering place for ski-tourists during the day as well as after sunset.
To ensure that there is no time for boredom at the leisure facilities off the pistes, ski-tourists in Villeneuve have the choice between a wide range of activities. Families can spend enjoyable hours together in the swimming pool, on the lit-up ice rink, sledging or on snowshoe hikes.
Those who fancy real action, can dash through the countryside with a snowmobile, be pulled on skis by a horse across the snow on a „skijöring“ ride or they can combine hang-gliding and skiing with the help of a snow kite whilst „speedriding“.
Two special highlights also await vehicle enthusiasts and PS fans. They can either attempt a joyride with cars on the ice, or they can choose to take a trip on the snowcat, on which you can also get behind the wheel yourself, if desired.
A trip to the cinema in Villeneuve, a relaxation programme in one of the on-site spas or an excursion to the three neighbouring resorts, which can be reached by shuttle bus throughout the whole day and also in the evening, are recommended for a more comfortable leisure activity. In Briancon, for example, it is worth visiting the famous Vauban fortification and in Monêtier les Bains the modern XXL thermal bath „Grands Bains“ bids you to spend a full day at the spa.