Val d’Isere: The Top France Winter Destination

Follow the sounds of live music to the bar’s ski-in/ski-out terrace to experience a classic apres scene with a lively crowd socialising after a day out in the snow. Things are taken up a notch at La Folie Douce (at the top of Telecabine de la Dai He; 0033-4-7906 0717, lafoliedouce.com). A lounge and restaurant for much of the day (La Fruitiere sen es locally sourced traditional fare, and there’s a grape cellar with over 500 bottles to pair with cheeses from neighbouring farms), the terrace transforms mid-afternoon, unveiling a full-on club atmosphere with DJs, cabaret performances and table dancing until the pistes close for the day.

But it’s not all parties and pistes in Val d’Isere. The Old Town is filled with picturesque buildings and narrow, snowy lanes that hark back to its roots as a simple farming village. Popular in the Sixties, the harsh and unappealing cement apartment blocks of that era have now been largely removed or renovated in a return to the traditional Savoyarde style of stone- and wood-clad buildings. Avenue Olympique, the village’s main thoroughfare, is lined with upmarket boutiques for fashion on and off the slopes (find Marc Jacobs, Emilio Pucci and Isabel Marant at D6cal6s), contemporary art galleries (international artists are shown at Galerie Jane Griffiths), tantalising patisseries (after a day skiing there’s no guilt involved in treating yourself to Maison Chevallot’s goods) and fresh farm shops (try the Savoyarde cheeses from La Fermette de Claudine).

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Enjoying breakfast in a cozy atmosphere with a great view creates the perfect holiday environment.

And since no trip to the .Alps is complete without dipping into a pot of melted cheese, work in a visit to La Grande Ourse, at the base of the nursery slopes. The white chalet restaurant launched in 1936 along with the resort’s first ski school, and remains one of the area’s finest dining spots. The fondue here is a bubbling brew of three cheeses served with fresh bread, cured pork and via tide des grisons (air-dried beef) for dipping, warming the mind and body.

After a long day out, it’s back down the rabbit hole to Chalet Husky’s wonderland. Muscles relax in the steam room, feet rejoice in the deep pile of the carpets and I slip into bed, awaiting the morning return of chalet host Steffi, who will kick-start a new day of powdery pistes, terrace socialising and .Alpine feasts by serving me a vanilla caffe latte in bed.

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