New Development Plans For Val D’Isere Town Centre

“Le Coin De Val” is the ambitious €200m project that has been launched to redevelop a section of Val D’Isere’s town centre. This new development is still waiting for approval from regional authorities. If it is granted, it will be one of the most exciting and eye catching ski resort developments to go ahead in years.

Not only would this project result in nearly 1000 new beds being created in the centre of one of the world’s most prestigious ski resorts in the form of a new 50 guest bed hotel and several new residential buildings, but it would also be the site of a children’s nursery, a huge reception house, a pedestrianised commercial area and a new piste linking the lifts on the snow front to the heart of the town.

Where will it be?

The area in question for the redevelopment spans 100m along the southern side of the road towards La Daille from the central bus station, and the area encompassed by Rue Du Parc Des Sports and Rue Du Coin.

What will it be?

Access to underground parking lots and a brand new bus station is proposed to be via a subterranean road system, leaving the ground level outside space free for pedestrians and skiers. La Rue du Parc des Sports, which is currently a main access road, will be covered in snow and essentially transformed into a piste. This piste will provide accessibility for skiers from the slopes all the way down to the Avenue Olympique. A mechanised “magic carpet” moving walkway will ferry skiers back to the lifts.

What will it look like?

To keep this new development in line with the existing town, the developers are proposing to use a mixture of traditional and new materials. In the plans for the development, effort has been made to recreate the unsystematic feel of a village built up over different eras. Buildings will be different heights and made from different materials. It is hoped that this will prevent the new development from sticking out like a sore thumb, and will contribute towards creating an authentic feel, blending seamlessly into the existing parts of Val D’Isere.

“Since the dawn of time, well before the era of skiing, long before globalisation, local farmers and traders built their homes with the materials available in the valley: stone for walls and roofing, lime plaster to insulate walls, and wood for framing. Even if in 2017 the techniques of construction have evolved, it is this presence of traditional local materials that will help to create the charm of the hamlet.” The developers explained.

Existing businesses in the zone of the proposed site, including several local family businesses that have run for generations, will be demolished, and then reinstated into the new buildings. The developers hope that this will give these businesses, such as Le Petit Danois and La Casserole, the chance to reinvent themselves, and adapt to the expectations of their 21st clientele.

“New shops and restaurants will also find their place in “Le Coin de Val” “, they said. “In the same way as for shops, hotel and apartment offerings will correspond to the current demand of the guests of the resort. Authentic, cozy, comfortable, long-lasting and connected accommodation for a clientele of cosmopolitan globe-trotters in search of the spirit of the Alps.”

What do the locals think about it?

I spoke to several Val D’Isere locals and seasonnaires about “Le Coin de Val” project, and received mixed reviews across the board.

Progress is inevitable, this development could be a positive change.

“My family have lived here for generations.” One local lady told me. “Progress is inevitable, and this development could be a positive change. It just depends on how they decide to build it, and whether or not they are sensitive to families like mine who have lived here for years. I suppose it is important to keep up with the times if we want a successful ski resort, but this village is also my home.”

A member of staff from Le Petit Danois felt very differently. “For me, it’s not Le Petit Danois if it’s not in this building. The development would rip this place down and rebuild it. It would totally destroy it’s soul. You can’t just build ‘history’ like that.”

It would totally destroy (the) soul (of Le Petit Danois)

But Danois owner Henrik told us in an interview last winter that he was looking forward to the challenge of upgrading to new premises. Here’s an extract from the article:

If the new town plan finally gets underway, the Petit Danois would be re-created in a brand new building. “We’d have a top quality modern building to work with and we’d try to buy the walls – that’s my dream.” But how could you re-create the 20 years of soul, sweat and tears that have gone into the bricks of the Danois? “It would be difficult, its charm is it’s old – the stones and wood – and it doesn’t matter if you spill a drink on the floor. It would be very different with everything new but we would create something equally nice, with the same spirit.” 

I was surprised how little people know about the proposed development, and how many people hadn’t even heard of the plans at all. With big decisions being made now, and approval being sought for the thumbs up to start phase one of the work in September 2017, it is surprising to see so little information out there in the public domain. People who have heard of it aren’t convinced that it will be given the go-ahead, and certainly don’t imagine that work will begin as soon as September.

“They’ve been arguing about a tiny scrap of land in front of a chalet I manage for years now.” A Uk Tour Operator manager told me. “I can’t see anything going ahead any time soon”

An increase in footfall would be a good thing for business

I asked the staff at The Arctic Cafe, which stands directly opposite the existing central bus station (the heart of where the new development would be) what they thought. Having not heard anything about it before i explained the general concept.

“Well i suppose an increase in footfall would be a good thing for business” She said. “And it’d be brilliant to have direct access to the slopes from here. That connection would be fantastic. I just hope that it is built tastefully. Sympathetically to what’s already here. It’d be a shame to have some ugly great big building in the middle of our town.”

Proposed Timeline of Work for “Le Coin de Val”

When can we expect to see any changes? Well, progress is already underway. Clearly a project of this size and of this nature needs approval from every authority before any decisive action is taken. Since September 2016 the various authorities in question have been consulted and approval is being sought. The proposed timeline for this aspect of the project is up until August 2017. After that the “real” work begins;

  • September 2017 – November 2017. Asbestos removal and demolition of public buildings
  • May 2018 – November 2019. Construction of section 1, known as “Avale” including public facilities (bus station, nursery and Val d’Isère “Accueil” reception building).
  • May 2019 – November 2020. Construction of section 2, know as “Centrale”.
  • May 2021 – November 2022. Construction of section 3, known as “Amont” including the underground mechanic walkway that will connect the slopes to the centre of Le Coin.