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Luxury Après-Ski in France

People head out to the French Alps for a myriad of different reasons; the thrill of the slopes, the escapism, the relaxation, not to mention a week of being looked after in a beautiful catered ski chalet. But there’s another very important part of a ski holiday that features highly on most skiers’ priority lists: the après-ski.

At the top end of the luxury ski holiday market, certain bars stand out from the crowd. This could be due to their opulent surroundings, the quality of their drinks menu or the smart and professional service they provide. (Quite often it's a combination of all three of these elements.) With that in mind, we've taken three French resorts and searched for the bars in each that are ideal if you’re looking for a little bit of luxury from your après-ski.

Val d’Isère

Those looking for high-class après-ski while visiting the iconic French resort of Val d’Isère need look no further than the lounge and bar area at the exclusive Hotel le Blizzard. The lounge is immaculately appointed with a real cosy Alpine atmosphere, and the drinks menu is beautifully put together, offering something to suit all tastes. The hotel sits right in the town centre, near the tourist office, and provides a welcome retreat for those looking for a sophisticated soiree of relaxation and conversation with their fellow skiers.

La Folie Douce in Val d'Isere

La Folie Douce in Val-d'Isere. Image courtesy of Jerome Bon via Flickr.

La Fruitière is part of the infamous Folie Douce, the hugely popular on-mountain après-ski venue, although the ambience couldn’t be more different. When the crowds get too much at Folie Douce, head for La Fruitière for some good food to accompany your drinks. La Fruitière has been decked out with distressed beams and exposed zinc pipes throughout, giving it a rustic charm. Guests can sit at a long communal table in the air-conditioned cellar below the stairs while sampling unusual wines and cheese from all over France. (Either that, or you can pick a spot outside; the restaurant will provide outdoor sleeping bags if it gets too chilly.)

Courchevel

To complement the range of luxury chalets and hotels in the exclusive resort of Courchevel, visitors can while away the après-ski hours in a number of truly beautiful bars and lounges at the top of the resort. For afternoon après, La Mangeoire is a wonderful place to visit. A restaurant throughout the day, La Mangeoire serves beautifully prepared haute cuisine to diners looking for something extra special. As the day wears on, more skiers show up to enjoy the relaxed surroundings, live music and large drinks menu. Moving into the evening, the après-ski steps up a gear, with La Mangeoire welcoming party-goers well into the night.

Courchevel at night

Courchevel at night. Image courtesy of Patrice Mestari - Courchevel Tourism Centre.

For further evening partying, Courchevel is home to Les Caves and La Grange, two of the most exclusive nightclubs in the Alps. Les Caves (as it’s known today) was established in the late nineties and over subsequent ski seasons has built up a firm reputation for some of the most exuberant parties in the Alps.

Méribel

Nestled in the heart of the resort near the tourist office, Le Poste de Secours is a favourite among Méribel’s après-skiers looking for something a little special. With its sleek and modern design, broad range of international beers and regular live music sessions, Le Poste is well worth a look. The bar is known for two things; an excellent choice of champagne and superb mojito cocktails. Relaxed afternoon après here regularly turns into lively evening revelry with live DJs and a vibrant atmosphere.

While not a luxury venue, it’s impossible to discuss Méribel’s après-ski scene without mentioning the mighty Folie Douce! The Folie began in Val d’Isère and branches can now be found in Val Thorens, Méribel and Alpe d’Huez. For an eclectic mix of revellers, plus vibrant and exciting piste-side après in the snow, there’s nowhere quite like it.

Meribel at night

Meribel at night. Image courtesy of G Morel via Flickr.

These days perhaps more than ever, visitors to the French Alps staying in luxury accommodation are looking for après-ski and nightlife venues where they can let their hair down in style and comfort. We hope this selection provides you with some inspiration for a little luxury après-ski during your next visit to the French Alps.