Top Five Après Ski Resorts in France
Unlike our Austrian friends, France might not boast more après-ski related injuries than ski injuries but France has its fair share of lively resorts where dancing on the table in your ski boots with a pitcher of beer in hand is par for the course!
This is Powderbeds’ guide to the top five après ski resorts in France:
1. Val d'Isere
A favourite amongst Brits, Val D'Isere is home to the infamous La Folie Douce just up from La Daille where you can party in ski boots into the early evening. La Folie Douce is all about DJs on a balcony, banging euro style dance music, shots and magnums of rose - it's not for the faint hearted! Head down early to Cafe Face where the beer starts off cheap but the prices rise with the time.
The Morris Pub, a British style bar serves awesome burgers and there's also Le Petit Danois, a Danish bar, which serves free shots during happy hour! At the end of the night, visit the legendary Dick’s Tea Bar which has been catering to Val d'Isere's party loving crowds for over 30 years. This ever popular haunt , located near the foot of La Face piste, opens for apres ski at around 4pm every day with live bands and DJs. The fun continues right up until 10pm when the 'After Dinner Club' kicks off with more live music until 1am. Then the nightclub starts and continues right through to 5am at which time it's not unusual to see people emerging still in their ski kit.
There are also loads more low-key options if you just want a few quiet apres beers before heading back to your ski accommodation, or one of Val d'Isere's many restaurants for dinner.
Best for: On piste après at La Folie Douce
As you'd expect from one of the largest, coolest and most popular towns in the Alps, Chamonix has a vibrant party scene. And unlike many of the puropse built resorts in the Alps, which largely cater to a seasonal influx of tourists, Chamonix's size and perennial population mean it offers much more in the way of apres ski and nightlife.
The town centre is jam packed with bars and restaurants, with plenty to suit all ages, tastes and moods. One of the most popular spots for apres ski is Chambre 9, which has live bands from 5-7pm every night, except Sundays, throughout the winter. Expect crowds and the odd person dancing on tables.
Another great choice if you want to head straight to a bar from the lift, is Les Rhododendrons which is a cracking après pub at the base of the Flegere. For live music and good beer you can’t go wrong with the Jekyll. The MBC, a microbrewery owned and run by four Canadians is ideal for some great beer and food. Check out the Garage, where you can watch yourself dance in the mirrors. Bring out your Latin spirit at Mexican La Cantina. Well-heeled guests should try out Le Privilege or the Clubhouse.
The cool ski and board kids hang out in Chamonix Sud at the Monkey Bar and South Bar, which are both full of beautiful Scandinavians. Both of these have live music and are open from 4pm until late.
Best for: Mixing with Swedish, French and British party animals.
Chamonix is brilliant for a night out after a hard day of skiing.
Meribel is a cracking party town with some great legendary bars and nightclubs. No trip there is complete without checking out The Ronnie, officially Le Rond Point, an après bar on the slopes that does jugs of beer, shots, wine and live music – The Feeling used to be the house band! If you've taken full advantage of the beers and wines available, be very careful skiing or boarding back down to town!
Over in Val Thorens there's been a Folie Douce for a couple of seasons and in 2013 Meribel opened it's very own outpost. So if loud music, dancing in ski boots and yager bombs are your thing then head on over. The Couer de Cristal offers the same heady on-piste party mix as Folie Douce and is located up the slope from Le Rond Point.
In town, Le Poste is a stylish new French bar – a welcome change from Alpine pubs and grungy British watering holes. The Taverne Bar is an established favourite along with Scott’s Bar and Jack’s Bar for post ski, pre club drinks. Then it’s time to a club hosting excellent DJs and themed nights.
Best for: Beer in the afternoon sun at Ronnies.
4. Val Thorens
Val Thorens was chosen as the location of the second incarnation of La Folie Douce and with good reason. The highest resort in the Three Valleys, and indeed Europe, has a well established reputation as a party town, and the arrival of La Folie Douce and the adjoining La Fruitiere restaurant has just helped to cement that further. The site they've chosen is a total sun trap and we'd recommend a long lunch at La Fruitiere before walking a few steps across the deck to La Folie Douce for some of the best, and sometimes strangest, apres ski in the Alps.
If you're skiing nearby, you'll almost certainly hear La Folie Douce before you see it, and you may have to look twice when you see hoards of skiers and snowboarders dancing on tables to ridiculously loud euro pop!
Almost surrealy, the party ends abruptly when the lifts stop, and the fervent crowd weave their way back down the slopes to continue the fun in one of Val Thorens' many other apres ski hot spots.
Dick's Tea Bar has also branched out to Val Thorens and follows a similar format to its sister bar in Val d'Isere. Other popular haunts include the very British Frog and Roastbeef, Le Viking and Cafe Snesko. Or if it's a few beers in the sun you're after, head to Bar 360 which has a massive terrace, live music and an apres happy hour.
The Koh-I-Nor Hotel brings a little glamour to proceedings and the terrace there is the perfect place to soak in the sun whilst sipping a glass of chiiled white and taking in the elevated views of the resort and the surrounding mountains.
If you wnat to party at Europe's highest bar, club and sun deck then Val Thorens is the place to come. Just remember that sun, altitude and alcohol can be a pretty heady mix!
Best for: Partying in two resorts in one day.
In the Southern Alps, Les Deux Alpes comes up trumps for being the best night out. Smokey Joe’s offers up Mexican food or The Secret serves up Tex Mex and live music. The Rhumery does as it says on the tin and has a host of flavoured rums on offer while the Windsor Pub is a classy boutique pub. At the end of the night check out the Avalanche club before you hit the sack in your ski accommodation.
Best for: Flavoured Rums in the Rhumery
You can party in the sunshine in Les Deux Alpes.
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Posted by Katie Stevenson on Tuesday 04 Nov 2014