La Promesse du Large

In his fabulous book La promesse du large (‘The promise of adventure’ – the title alone reflects the very spirit of Val d’Isère’s Aventure & Découverte festival), novelist Arnaud De La Grange’s heroine, Manon, says “la vie ne vaut que par le mouvement” (“movement makes life worth living”).

And oh how right she is! Her sentence should be embroidered in gold letters on blue banners to be flown at the top of the Bellevarde and Solaise slopes!

For 27 years now, the Aventure & Découverte festival has had many of us convinced that movement inspires people, unleashes the mind, soothes the soul, tans the body and brings a song to the lips of the whole world.

Through movement, human beings push their boundaries, connect with others, launch into new adventures and yearn for transformation. The 12th-century knights who roamed enchanted forests knew they had to leave if they were to fulfil themselves.

Deep down, our festival-goers have embraced this notion for a long time. In 2024, everyone believes in ‘the promise of adventure’, be it alongside the whales that swim the oceans, in the dunes of the Sahara or on a rock face in America, faced with the cosmos, the Nordic unknown or simply the void.

What matters is to give direction to our movement. Leaving is pointless without a dream to pursue. Leaving is pointless without the expectation to be transformed by movement.

On our return, we remember. We have learned from our voyage. We have become someone else. On the festival stage, we tell our adventure stories, present the images we’ve collected along the way, and say to ourselves, as in the novel by De La Grange, “Me voilà enfin maître de mon sillage” (At last I control what I leave in my wake).


Sylvain Tesson

2024 program