After World War II, France began to focus on different forms of power generation, such as hydroelectricity, and so a dam was constructed in 1952 on the site of the original village, which submerged its remains under water.
While feelings were mixed about the creation of the dam, it did create Lac du Chevril, one of the most spectacular man-made lakes in Europe.
The lake used to be drained every ten years for maintenance, allowing visitors to see the remnants of the village. However, as of 2000, this process has been mechanized, and the lake is drained less often.
While the dam took away Tignes’s oldest village, it did add one of its more modern attractions. Artist Jean-Marie Pierret painted a fresco on the dam in 1980, which was one of the biggest found in the world. Over the years it has decayed, but visitors can still see parts of it from the Tignes-les-Brévières side.
The Modern Resort
In the 1960s, after the creation of the dam, it was decided that new developments in the area would be placed in higher elevations for direct access to skiing and stunning vistas.
In recent years the villages have worked at updating structures from the 1960s to reflect modern sensibilities and conveniences. Today’s visitors have accommodation choices ranging from traditional chalets, hotels from one to five stars, and even house and apartment vacation rentals. The resort has also focused on becoming more child and family-friendly, offering activities for people of all ages.
A huge highlight in the area is the funicular, which transports visitors from Tignes Val Claret to a panoramic restaurant that is located at over 3,000 meters. It’s fast – getting from top to bottom in seven minutes – and can carry up to 3,000 people every hour.